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The REAL Story Behind HANDMADE Pricing

September 8, 2017

As we handmade business owners are gearing up for the holiday season, let me take a moment to address one of the most inconspicuous critiques I receive at nearly every pop up shop, craft fair & probably behind many computer screens: 

 

A wide eyed stare at the price tag followed by a snicker/snide comment.

 

Let me preface these next few paragraphs by saying that this in no way is intended to be a rant, cause belittlement or make you feel less than {just in case you are one of the many who have reacted this way- towards me or any other maker}. 

 

This is solely meant to inform.  I repeat- ‘tis to inform.

 

 Photo by Kellie Rae Studio

 

It’s quite possible that the product you pick up & touch houses some blood, sweat & tears.  I’m sort of speaking figuratively here even though I’ve pricked my finger on many a pin & solemnly swear to remove any products containing aforementioned bodily fluids from my stash of salable goods. 

HOWEVER- the product you are physically holding in your hands {something shopping local can give you that Amazon can’t} didn’t look that polished fresh from the womb. 

Chances are it took a crap ton of trial and error before it looked anything like the beautifully packaged version you see before you today.  That takes time {in some cases, lots of time} + probably lots of wasted materials.  All which cost money.

 

It’s also likely that product you’re still holding gave someone an immense amount of joy to create.  You know what gives us even more joy? 

Seeing someone so excited about it that they are willing to fork up their hard earned cash (can I get a holla for no credit card transaction fees?) just to own it. 

If that joy could pay the bills, you better believe we’d be giving away every single product for free.  And some makers nearly do.  I can't emphasize this enough:

 

PRICING IS HARD

 

Especially for us right brainers.  I can venture to guess that nearly every maker has struggled with pricing their products to be profitable.  And while nearly every craftsperson found their way to their craft because they whole heartedly love it, we’re also here to pay ourselves a decent wage* & support our families.

*Again, something most mass produced products can’t claim to be true.

 

Want to know a secret?  Something no one likes to talk about? 

It’s a thing called wholesale.  I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version: A portion of my business (& lots of creative businesses) consists of selling products to retailers (AKA shops, boutiques, websites, etc.) at a 50% “discount” so that the local retailer can sell it to YOU & ALSO make a profit, pay themselves a living wage & continue the circle of awesomeness.  

I didn’t invent the system, it’s just the way it is. 

 

The point of this story is that my products need to make a profit when sold at the wholesale level, yet keep my pricing consistent so that you can buy the same thing directly from me or from your favorite brick & mortar store at the same cost.  It’s kind of confusing, and kind of boring & I won’t dive any deeper into that here. 

 

A note on recycled materials: Sometimes re-purposing means that the quality of supplies is slightly compromised compared to a leather hide from a tannery, & it definitely means that my cost of goods is less.  However, my passion for up-cycling fits with the goals and ethos of my business, so the method stays. 

With that method comes the labor of love which is de-constructing each garment by hand in order to turn that eyesore into something more exciting.  It takes extra time, but it also keeps more crap out of a landfill.

 

LASTLY if these facts & figures don’t phase you and you prefer to scour your local craft-y watering hole for new ideas to pin to your DIY board in attempts to try at home… best of luck. 

When you finally get the time to create for yourself you may find the materials cost nearly as much as our finished product.  You see, as a business we also reap the benefits of wholesale pricing when it comes to our equipment, etc.  And as mentioned before, we’ve already given it our blood, sweat, tears, trial, error, kinks worked out & all. 

 

In other words, if your version doesn’t turn out as planned (which is probably won’t)- we’ll still be here.  Selling the original.  Beautifully packaged and ready for you to take home in exchange for cash {the least you could do after copying our ideas is not leave us with a dang credit card fee}.

 

 Photo by Kellie Rae Studio

 

Disclosure: the thoughts outlined above are my own and though I reference makers as a whole, it is true that ALL creatives may not share the same beliefs.  HOWEVER if you ARE a maker who happens to be on the same page, and feel so inclined to share this post- please do ;)

 

May I also add that despite my choice words towards credit cards, the pros of paying with plastic sometimes outweigh the cons.  AKA I suck at counting back change.  Again, it’s a right brain & hate for numbers sorta thang. 

 

I’ll conclude by saying that I’m not perfect, nor am I against using Amazon’s (or other big box retailer’s) services in some circumstances.  Also, please note that not all “handmade” sellers have the best of intentions.  Do your research, beware of knockoffs & know that paying a little extra for something made with love goes a really long way.  Thank you.

 

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