Putting a Value on Love, Sweat & Tears (& possibly the teeniest bit of blood….)

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I *LOVE* what I do……I’ve said it before, & I will very likely say it again (a lot) before there comes a day when I decide I don’t want to or can’t do it anymore!!

But for me, the hardest part is ALWAYS figuring out what to charge for each of my creations, large or small – I have a formula now that I stick to, that involves materials costs, post & packing costs but most importantly the TIME it took me to make the item……it might surprise you to learn that it actually takes a long time to make a Tutu – every strand is cut by hand, the waistband is stitched by hand & then each piece of hand-cut Tulle is hand tied to the waistband and then sometimes that is oh-so-careful wrapped in a Satin ribbon to finish it off! (oh, and ALL those Hands actually belong to me…..& I still sadly only have 2 of them, even though I might have asked Father Christmas for an extra set….)

For me, every single creation is a labour of Love – from the start, I said that wherever possible I wanted every Tutu or Tutu Dress I made to be Unique, because even the littlest of Princesses can appreciate, on some level, the magical qualities of something that was made JUST FOR YOU & that there isn’t another one like it anywhere!! (this isn’t always possible, particularly when there is more than 1 Little Princess in a Bridal party……)

But proper (& accurate) pricing is so important in the world of Handmade – I can promise you that most people who run a business selling handmade things feel the same way…….those of us that strive to carefully price our items in order to cover our costs will invariably find ourselves trying, at some stage, to compete with someone who has NO IDEA about how to realistically price something that is handmade!! I can completely understand the urge to not OVERCHARGE for something – believe me, I go through that mental battle every time I have a new creation to price up, but UNDER-CHARGING is in many ways worse…….I know that I am not over pricing my products – there may be people out there who don’t agree with me, but the simple fact is that they are wrong because they haven’t watched me sit down & work out every single teeny tiny cost, add it all together (whilst likely forgetting about the 2 nights I sat on the sofa STILL tying bits of Tulle) & price my product accordingly!

Those people who put a handmade item up for Sale without doing their pricing homework 1st will mainly be hurting themselves in the long-term, as without charging correctly they are never going to grow and thrive as a business – but in the short term, they are hurting those of us who ARE doing our homework & who are doing everything in their power to make the thing that they have spent hours toiling over affordable to as many people as possible.

I standby my belief that, for the most part, it is WORTH paying the extra for something handmade – it gives people the chance to own something, created by hand by some truly incredible Artisans who aren’t being paid a fraction of what their time is worth……but they do it because they LOVE it, & it’s nigh on impossible to put a price on that!

2 Comments on Putting a Value on Love, Sweat & Tears (& possibly the teeniest bit of blood….)

  1. Kelly McKenzie-Day
    17 June, 2014 at 12:22 pm (3 years ago)

    I absolutely agree that pricing is one of the hardest aspects of being part of the handmade community.

    I too have a meticulous pricing system; because I am an anal retentive, organisation driven (but ever so slightly forgetful) control freak, mine is all put into Excel and the price of each item is calculated according to the sum of its’ parts. Sometimes I even remember to pay myself for the time it took to create the item! (*sigh* those are good days)

    I have seen people selling things at ridiculous ‘knock down’ prices with the Handmade tag attached and I often wonder just how they’re managing to stay in business. I sometimes wonder if I am missing a massive crafting wholesaler that the entire handmade community, except me, knows about – (this miracle wholesaler sells things at 1/10th of the price of other wholesalers so the baseline cost for creating products goes down dramatically). More often I wonder exactly WHOSE hands the items were made by as the pricing seems completely unfeasible for a true handmade creation.

    I think all we can do is keep plodding along, pricing as we go and being honest about what the true cost of an item is. It is a sad fact that some people will not want to pay for our time & skill as well as the raw materials…but without our time, those things are just ‘stuff’. Buying handmade to me means paying in part for the passion, creativity and skill of the artisan behind it.

    Reply
  2. Nicola
    17 June, 2014 at 12:26 pm (3 years ago)

    Well said, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Reply

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