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Submitted on
April 25, 2012
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102 (who?)

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:
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:)
TheHarley Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
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.
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:
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] 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 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.
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!
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!
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.
Maiko-Girl Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
So true and very nicely written and explained!
Glori305 Featured By Owner May 30, 2012

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.
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.
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