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Attention all artisans: stop undercharging!

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 25, 2012, 9:49 PM
As a member of the Artisan Craft community here at DeviantART, I looove to browse around the AC galleries and see what other deviants are up to, what things are trending, and look for up and coming artists to feature in the future. But sadly there's one trend I've been noticing that is very, very bad.

Undercharging your work!

Let's start off with the most important thing. Now I know some cheap buyers love these low prices, but let's be honest cheap buyers-- you're not long term supporters. People who want your work for super cheap are people who will haggle or snag a deal and run. There is nothing wrong with having sales, getting rid of old charms for cheap, or even doing discounts for special occasions but you can't cater to the cheapskates! xD You want people who appreciate handmade items for what they are. And that's a unique, quality piece.

If someone wants to buy all your hard work for just $5, perhaps you could redirect them to Forever21 to get some mass produced jewelry if they can't appreciate handmade. ;)

---

Pricing your work can be incredibly hard, so I completely understand the hesitation in raising prices. But there's things you need to consider when making prices:

►How long did this take you to make? (only count time spent actively working. if you take a break, that doesn't count. xD )

►Are you including labor costs in your price? (don't work for free! your time is worth money!)

►Are you including material costs in your price?

►Are you including the cost of potential fees (paypal fees, etsy fees, etc) in your price?

►Are you including the cost of the time it took to arrange photos, edit them, upload them, etc? This is part of the process too! A small one, but it is still time consuming.

If you spent four hours on something and charge only $3 for it, you're crazy! Even if you're just a hobbyist, your time is worth money. Try considering paying yourself "minimum wage" for by the hour work. Say minimum wage is $8 per hour. If something takes you 30 minutes to make, charge $4 for labor. If something takes you 15 minutes, $2 labor. Think like that!

It really breaks my heart to see quality work by artisans go for mere pennies. I know the costs of polymer clay and jewelry supplies, and I have a general idea about how long it would take to make most items and underpricing is running rampant here and all over Etsy.

---

It's also worth mentioning, if you think "low prices will entice buyers!" then I hate to break it to you, but that thought is largely incorrect.

People equate cheap prices with cheap quality quite often. Now this doesn't mean overpricing to look "the most elite" is okay, but if it comes down to buying an item for $3 VS $13, you're going to assume the one worth $13 is much better quality. The last thing you want is people thinking your cheap prices reflect cheap workmanship.

---

You should take constant feedback for your prices, ask people often how they think your prices are. You may need to even adjust your prices throughout the year by small amounts. Be flexible with your prices, but don't be trampoline bouncy!

Also be careful with the discounts you give. I would say never go over 15% discount unless offering some sort of extra special promotion. This discount comes out of your labor cost you added in, leaving you plenty of room to pay for supplies! I say 10% is a good standard coupon amount. I offer 10% promotional coupons online, and my business cards (for repeat buyers) all come with a 15% off coupon. I've seen people promote 40-60% off coupons on Etsy-- which is just crazy talk! You might as well just give everything out for free at that rate. xD



So in general, just remember to have confidence in your items and price them properly with many elements considered! Super cheap sales are nice, but they don't pay the bills.

Add a Comment:
 
:iconbuddingcreations:
buddingcreations Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I agree with this. i started out on etsy selling my beaded roses for only 13.00 a piece and now a few years later they are priced at 37.50. Of course my work is very detailed and time consuming (one rose takes about 4 hours),but when I first started selling I wasnt confidant that there was even a market for what I did. If only I knew back then what I knew now. I probably would have done better! Thank you for this post! New and old sellers alike should really take out the time to charge their work accordingly! I am sure there are still some pieces in my shop that could be raised, but I make smaller items so that those who cant afford my larger pieces CAN afford something of mine without me lowering my prices:)
Reply
:icontheharley:
TheHarley Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
YES.
This needed to be said.
I'm so sick of people telling me my prices are expensive whenever they're actually pretty cheap considering the time spent on my work! They're just so used to other artisans charging very little that they expect it.

If they value your work, they will pay your price.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :la:
I actually looked through your gallery-- I've been looking to add a Rarity plush to my collection of her since I already gathered all her current merchandise... perhaps expect an order from me soon. :ninja:
Reply
:icontheharley:
TheHarley Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You're welcome!
I actually have about 5 Rarity things underway right now. ^^; 4 plushies (One like this [link] , like this [link] , like this [link] , and like this [link]) and a purse like this [link] ...lol...I plan on having a flood of Rarity in my Etsy shop by the end of the month.

I took a peak into your gallery as well, you have some very adorable work! I knew your icon looked familiar! I've seen quite a few of your things in my inbox (submitted to groups I belong to). Plus, I've come across your Etsy before while doing pony research :shifty:. I've experimented with clay, but 50% of the time I just couldn't get it to do what I wanted lol. So I admire artisans who can work with it. (Plus...Micro stuff = amazing)


PS: I don't know if you've seen this or if it would even fit into your collection, but I saw it at Walmart about a week ago...it was a little bottled soap set (I think soap/shampoo/conditioner) in a Rarity tote bag (the size of a small purse). I can't find it online, but it was with the Christmas gift sets.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ahhh, I want to see a flood of Rarity. :la: I will keep an eye on that!

Oh man I didn't know they were doing pony gift sets this year... I will definitely have to look into that! Thanks for the heads up. :D And for the compliments!
Reply
:icontheharley:
TheHarley Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:XD: I'm psyched to get some Rarity love into my shop. <3 I don't know if I gave you the link to my shop ([link])...

Oh yes, there's a few different things, including a pinkie pie soap dispenser. I always look at the seasonal aisles because they price things wrong more often there and since my sister works there, she gets brownie points for finding mistakes. You're very welcome!
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I found your shop through another deviation, but I went to look at it again, just coz! <3 I added it to my favorites so I should be able to see when the Rarity flood happens.

Aaaah, a soap dispenser too? That's awesome. I definitely need to go to Wal-Mart asap.
Reply
:iconmaiko-girl:
Maiko-Girl Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
So true and very nicely written and explained!
Reply
:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
:clap:

Very nicely said.

I would also say that people that are only charging minimum wage for their labor are undercharging if they are skilled at all. As an artist what you are selling is your skills and they take years to develop.
Reply
:iconeiljagorgor:
EiljaGorgor Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
*raises her hand*
I am one of those..who would be too cheap .. if i had actually started to sell my stuff on etsy.
So dont start complaining right away..please .. hear me first:

If you start, you maybe have the world wide web to see and get an impression. But thats just for starters. It gives you an idea .. of what rly good work of an expirienced crafter could be sold for.

But you're not. You are a Newbie. And in that case. I am. And as some ppl before me alreaidy said. I need feedback. But if you ask too much you wil be known very soon as attention whore. Hashing for compliments. I dont want compliments even if I rly aprreciate them ( c'mon who wouldnt ? ), I want feedback and tehr eis no real feedback.

So I dont have the feedback I need, i dunnow how good i might be and what my work maybe is worth. So the thought that still remains is . I am a newbie .. I can't charge as much as all those expirienced ppl. I can't make my maybe-in-future-customers pay for my trial-and-error learning.

Becuase it surely feels like it. Even if I know its not. Lucky me i have two to three good friends who kicked my butt lately *grins* I still have quite reasonable prices .. but I am not cheap, ANd I think i wont start selling on etys before i don't feel like i learned enough to give a konstant quality.

Until then i will sell to ppl who contact me directly , soi know they surely want work from me and i can get feedback with saying .. "This .. is the basic price for your're desired design of Jewelry, but feel free to give what you think the time i spent to create is worth".

It rly has some intresting results , adn you learn to appreciate what you do a lot more.
Reply
:iconzarinebashire:
ZarineBashire Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I think one of the reasons people underprice their works is because even though one puts a lot of time and effort into a project, you can only sell it for as much as a person is willing to buy. I can put some of my work up for horribly cheap and yet no one has the money or likes that particular piece.

The only thing I have priced at what I think I put into it and won't lower the price on is my leathercraft, and that's just because it takes a good number of hours and I can sell them for that price.

I tend to hang around the MLParena a lot where people make and sell custom My Little Ponies. A problem that I have seen is a lack of serious feedback on projects. So many people never say anything remotely critical about a piece so people fail to get a good understanding of how good their work is. Then they turn around and try and sell it at ridiculous prices. Pricing feedback doesn't really help here either because no one is giving honest feedback.

I feel that these two are the biggest problems with pricing handcrafted art: the price people are willing to pay, and lack of honest feedback.
Reply
:iconthepressgang-ink:
ThePressGang-ink Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Totally agree.
One of the things new artisans seem to forget is that charging correctly allows you to grow artistically (new materials etc.) and as a business (if they choose to do so).
Reply
:iconkazeri-sora:
Kazeri-Sora Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm confirming that the address is correct
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Could you reply to the note please so I can save it for my records? :)
Reply
:iconkampfly:
kampfly Featured By Owner May 1, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
i'm always pretty bad with prices :( i'm always caught between overselling my stuff (pretty much feeling like a money-bag-carrying villain) or underselling (and wondering why i have no money). that's why i only have like two things up on etsy right now, because i can't figure out pricing! i spend about 4 hours on my MOST simple bottles, but i feel like a $24 charge, plus s&h, plus material cost just seems like a lot. if you have any specific suggestions, i am all ears!
Reply
:iconxpantherartx:
XPantherArtX Featured By Owner May 1, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Great advices! :) Thank you so much for this! :heart:
Reply
:iconmagical525:
Magical525 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I agree many people charge really cheap prices for their work - I think it's due to what people have grown to expect to be able to pay for stuff when they are in the shops and they don't stop for a moment to think that a one off is going to cost more because it's made by a crafts person who is good at what they do.

I've had requests for quilts in the past but as soon as they find out how much I expect and what for (as I give an estimate up front) they suddenly don't want it any more and head off to the home store and get a cheap knock off thing there for 10% of what one made by me would cost. I don't mind a bit, the people who want the cheap stuff really don't care what it's made of or how etc. and don't really want to pay for quality.

I know what I'm worth and won't work for any less for a stranger (though for close friends/family I'd do it at cost + possibly a little extra). :) That sounds a bit like an ego trip when reading that but well.. it's not that it's just that I won't work for less than the minimum wage and tbh since I am good at what I do I also feel that I deserve to get paid a bit more for being good, just like anyone else in their profession gets paid more when they have more experience/are better at it than others.
Reply
:iconimperfectkawaii:
ImperfectKawaii Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Wowwie! That is an excellent well typed journal entry *__* I have problems of pricing sometimes, so this helps. I have three people who critique my prices, my dad, my mom, and my bf. My dad is a cheapo and thinks you can buy such things at 99cents store, obvi he doesn't understand quality. My mom knows more than him about time and supplies ^_^ and my bf helps me price the final product and we try to make it fair, and also have a mind set of "how much would I buy this from someone else?".

On other note, I get sad as well when I look through other peoples' polymer clay stuff and they are super low priced when there is really much much MUCH detail in them.

Anyhoo, some people want everything as a bargin (but of course most online shopping places aren't swapmeets to haggle), and some people actually do appreciate the handmade quality and love ^_^!
Reply
:iconreixma:
Reixma Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm going to fave this journal as it has some very good points in there I need to think about...
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the support!
Reply
:iconreixma:
Reixma Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! ^_^~x
Reply
:iconqueennekoyasha:
QueenNekoyasha Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I have so much trouble with this stuff! Whenever a friend or family member buys something I made, and they ask for the price, they go, "Wow, that's so cheap!" I never thought about higher price = higher quality. Boy, I suck at pricing; I'm afraid of people being unhappy with expensive prices. But I'm faving this journal for reference.
Reply
:iconeimiyuki:
Eimiyuki Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
this is good advice. i hope to sell my anime plushies i make someday but was really nervous about how to price them so i havent tried to sell any yet >.<
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Good luck selling in the future! O: Just be confident! <3
Reply
:iconeimiyuki:
Eimiyuki Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thank you!! ^^
Reply
:icondawns-envy:
Dawns-Envy Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I agree for the most part, but it's kind of nice to have the low prices when you really want some of your favourite artisans work, but you have very little money and can't afford much that isn't necessity.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
That is very true, which is why I do offer special sales on one of a kind items that sit around for a while. I've let older charms go for as low as $5. I can't do it often, but I do like to offer it every few months for fans with little extra income. But all prices shouldn't be super low all the time, since it's just not going to ever make profit for the seller.
Reply
:icondawns-envy:
Dawns-Envy Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very true. :)
Reply
:iconanobouzu:
anobouzu Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Can this go for just drawings as well? I feel like no one would ever want to buy my drawings for what I believe are fair prices for the time it takes me to make them...but as soon as I severely cheapen prices, offer them for points, or even open a few requests, people come a runnin'...
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I've only tried selling art in high school and it was through art shows and not on DeviantART, but I imagine selling art is MUCH harder than selling a tangible object, because art can't be used it can only be admired. Which is great! But I think people on DeviantART expect a lot of art for free or for pennies with points since so many artists sell their art short or just do requests only. I think some things should still apply, like the amount of time you spend or the level of difficulty of the drawing. Like I guess charge more for 2+ characters, for backgrounds, for simple coloring VS complex coloring.
Reply
:iconxxsaturnninjasgxx:
XXSaturnNinjaSGXX Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Well put!! Thank you for this! :)
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the support! :D
Reply
:iconstrange-1:
Strange-1 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
I totally agree! I think a lot of people really forget to factor in time spent on the products.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
For sure! Thanks for the support. :3
Reply
:iconstrange-1:
Strange-1 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
No problem!
Reply
:iconsqueeksquirrel:
SqueekSquirrel Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012   General Artist
The under pricing is not only on DA and Esty, But on FA as well. And thank you for posting this. I was going to sell some pendents and did not know how to price them. All the clay, paint, glaze and time put in to them; it adds up. :3
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Yes exactly! Every little thing you add counts toward the final price. Like with what I do with making jewelry, you have to count the clay, the headpins, the jump rings, the glaze, the necklace chain... it does all add up for sure! But your time is the most valuable. :D
Reply
:iconumbraoftheduende:
UmbraOfTheDuende Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
This is a load of really good advice! Since I'm a youngling, I ask my mother what I should charge for things. I don't do jewelry, but when I started making my hats, I would just charge people for the supplies. However, you're right! My time is money and I should charge accordingly. :meow:
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Exactly! You should charge for supplies and the time you spend making each item. :D
Reply
:iconchibiworks:
ChibiWorks Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Very good information! I always think to myself, "what would I pay for this?" and my husband always appears out of nowhere and asks me, "how long did it take you, how much were your supplies, what are you charging yourself per hour?" Heh.
It's super difficult sometimes, since most of DA is younger children and they want everything for really cheap. I think we need to keep that in mind as well. Just because it's popular and people want to buy it for a cheaper price, does not mean we should sell it for that cheap.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
That's a very good point! Having someone with an outsider opinion giving your advice on pricing is a great idea too. Especially if they support you and know how hard you work!

I think that's the hardest part about using DA to help promote your product-- a lot of your audience is going to be people under 18 who have to talk their parents into it, or young teenagers who are used to mass produced items and don't really understand what goes into something handmade. It's very true what you said, just because people want it cheaper doesn't mean it should be. I'm sure everybody would love a Ferrari, but they're not going to be $100 any time soon. xD
Reply
:iconnesttheechidna:
NestTheEchidna Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Very well put! Even if someone's not making a living off of their work, they should take some pride in what they do. I hate buying things that are too cheap because, as you said, I equate it with cheap quality and am turned completely off. I don't want to pay [i]anything[/i] for something that won't last for very long.
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I think it's great to get a buyer's feedback on this. :D And I definitely agree, when I'm looking to buy from another artist I want assurance that it's a good purchase. I'd rather pay more for quality than pay less and be unsure about what I'm getting.
Reply
:iconnesttheechidna:
NestTheEchidna Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Exactly. Sometimes, it's worth it to pay a little more for something that's going to come out very well or last you a long time.
Reply
:iconabohemianbazaar:
abohemianbazaar Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
Great message to new sellers! I hate to see people undercharge for their hard work!
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the support! <3
Reply
:iconrhetta:
Rhetta Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm a huge supporter of custom/handmade items, even if, I admit, I don't usually have much money on hand. If I want something, already made, or ordered, then I'll save up, and as far as shipping is concerned, bulk purchases are the best way to go. You pay more for shipping if you buy half a dozen little items separately than if you buy it all in one fell swoop. :D This is one reason I tend to hunt through people's gallery's when I make a purchase, and their stores and such, because more is better. In all regards. :3 It's better for consumers and producers in the long run. :heart: :meow:

(Sarah, sorry for the long post, just couldn't help sharing my opinion after reading through some of the other comments :XD:)
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the support! :D It's good to be getting buyer feedback on this. <3 And I for sure agree, I love saving money on shipping. xD
Reply
:iconchupacabra-desu:
Chupacabra-Desu Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yeah I used to charge a cheap amount but when I saw someone else selling lower quality stuff for more I realized that I should just charge what I think it's worth and not the price I think people will buy it at. Not going too high of course, but certainly not below what I think is okay. OTL This is very helpful information! Thank you!
Reply
:icongrandmathunderpants:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Yeah, I find (because I love a good deal as much as anyone) that relying on what I would pay vs what it's worth won't go hand in hand. xD So I ask my buyers very often about prices, and I ask friends who know about artisan crafts and ones who don't. Usually the ones who don't know about it are willing to pay much more since they don't have in their mind "oh I could make that..." xD
Reply
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