Pricing is not easy and if you’ve asked anyone in a creative business they will probably tell you the same thing. How can you put a price on something so personal? How do you know what the market can bear? If you are starting out, what are people willing to pay? Do I include my time-spent initally? Materials? Cost?
What I never fully understood about business and furniture in particular before starting Blue Egg Brown Nest, was that there was a major cost involved with each project I was to work on.
I had to spend time finding a piece, pay for the piece, pay for materials (paint, brushes, rags, space, wax, dark wax), pay to have it moved to my home, and spend the time completing and marketing the finished product. Whew! So sorry, dear friends, about not being able to give pieces away for free – that would mean at least $200/$300 out of my pocket for cost and probably more than that depending on the piece. Did. Not. Understand. That. At. First.
I think if I was going to offer a bit of advice on the subject of pricing, the best strategy for me is to shop. Go out there and find items that are similar to yours online and in stores. Check out Etsy and markets and even retail. What is your product going for?
Second, how well do people know you. That does have alot to do with it because people want to know that you have a quality product and good reputation so that they will feel comfortable about paying the price you ask. This is getting a bit more easy with sites like Etsy because you can post images and do a bio – your marketing will be what catches the buyer’s eye and convinces them that you are quality.
Standards. Like in dating, people will rise to the standard that you set. This means that you don’t want to give away your product for next to nothing. Buyers want to feel as though they’ve purchased something of value. I don’t know about you, but I treat the my Tori Burch handbag much nicer than the little clutch I bought from Old Navy. Same thing. I feel like you need to add value to your items by setting a price that exudes quality. Of course, it’s a fine line because you need to be realistic. Once you are more well-known for your craft you can adjust your prices accordingly. For example, when I first started out, I did not factor in my time spent. I didn’t feel like I had the right to do that. Now I feel as though if I am taking away time from my family and working really hard, then I should factor that in. Pricing is fluid and you may find yourself adjusting from year to year. Just don’t do too much or your client will get mad at you.
Play. If you have a one-of-a-kind, amazing creation/piece/project that you’ve completed, play with pricing it high and let it sit. The higher you price pieces, the less inquiries you will get. BUT, it just takes that one perfect fit and it’s worth the wait if you have the space to hold your piece. Then price pieces that are a bit easier for you to create at a lower number. Things may sell quicker if you price lower, but that does mean you will have to work harder and faster to keep up with demand. This may be okay for some. For me, I want to also have time for my family & for myself and, frankly, I don’t want to work like a dog.
As my DT (dear therapist) says, it’s all about balance. If you are looking to make a real profit, you will need to work hard and spend alot of time. If you are doing it out of enjoyment, then you can play a bit more with pricing. Just please make sure that you factor in YOUR own costs and recoop then. Otherwise, the process if going to become very frustrating. At the end of the day it is not about the profit and if it is, you probably shouldn’t be doing something so personal & creative to make your money. Have integrity in what you are doing by respecting it’s value. You many not become rich, but you will feel good about carrying on to your next piece and building your business.
Great post, Christen!! I sometimes find myself struggling with my pricing because, like you, I value my time and want to recoop all my costs plus come away with a profit – as well as feeling good about giving a fair price to my customers. I think a fair amount of our colleagues in this industry are in it purely for the joy of it and the creative outlet it provides – and alot of those vendors can end up pricing very low and by comparison make some of our prices seem very high. But like you mentioned, having standards and producing a quality product you can stand behind deserves a good (albeit sometimes higher) price tag. When I find myself questioning whether my prices are too high – I take a step back and tell myself I deserve it for all of the time and effort I put in to creating that piece. I also open up my latest Pottery Barn catalog and realize what a steal my pieces are in comparision to the Big Box retails all around. 🙂 Keep up the good work and see you at Lucketts!
Carolyn Elizabeth Designs
Great post!! Thank you, women sometimes under value their work and time, big mistake!
What a helpful post! I’m opening an etsy shop soon and it’s difficult deciding on pricing on things that you spend hours on. I want to be competitive, yet I don’t want to shortchange myself, either. It’s nice to hear the voice of experience!
Thank you so much!x
Suzanne Standish says
Thank you again for sharing your gift. Your knowledge touches my heart, and spurs me on to following my passion in this business!