Explaining Handmade Pricing to your Customers

Explaining the cost of handmade goods to your customers can be tough. Here are some ways that you can make it easier!
Explaining the cost of handmade goods to your customers can be tough. Here are some ways that you can make it easier!

Explaining the cost of handmade goods to your customers can be tough. Here are some ways that you can make it easier!

One of the biggest challenges for many indie biz owners is that customers are not usually used to paying for products that have a living wage built into the price. It’s easy to charge $5 for a necklace when it was made in a sweatshop. For a handmade artisan trying to keep the lights on, though, that price point is not sustainable.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? People gravitate toward handmade because they want no-sweat, high quality, unique goods, but they don’t always put together that this means paying more for handmade products. This disconnect is one of the reasons I wasn’t able to keep my own crafty business afloat.

Jewelry designer Tracy Matthews wrote a blog post for Uncommon Goods* that lays out the reasons behind handmade pricing, and I think it’s a must-read for any crafty business owner. Her post is about handmade jewelry, but you could apply her overall reasoning to anything handmade, really. Here are her seven points, in a nutshell:

1. Handmade is slow.

2. Handmade artists pay themselves a living wage.

3. Makers have spent years honing our processes.

4. Handmade means higher quality components.

5. It also means more sustainable components

6. Small-scale production produces higher quality goods.

7. Buying handmade supports the loconomy.

Communicating Handmade Pricing to Customers

Shoppers won’t always contact you via your website with questions or even ask questions at markets until they’re ready to buy. In both of these situations, good signage anticipates questions they might have. How much does this cost? What is this made from? Why does this cost more than something from Wal-mart?

Your online store or booth signs probably already address those first two questions, but it’s easy to write off folks asking that last one. Unfortunately, many people just don’t know what goes into creating a product from start to finish. As the seller, it can be tough to see that from the customer’s point of view, and I think that Tracy did a great job of framing her explanation of handmade pricing in a way that’s accessible to any customer.

I always did best at shows when my booth signs were descriptive, including information about me, my products, and my prices. Adding a little “Why Handmade?” section to your booth setup and online shop might just mean better sales!

Whether you’re chatting one-on-one or communicating via signage or language on your website, I think it’s important not to apologize for what you charge. If you’ve calculated what your product costs to make and how much you need to charge to earn a living wage, there is nothing to apologize for.

Need more crafty biz support? Check out these 19 small business resources to help your business thrive!

*This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. Handmade price tag image via Shutterstock.

4 thoughts on “Explaining Handmade Pricing to your Customers”

  1. Hi there,
    Very interesting and educational topic.

    I myself am not a craftsman but I know someone who is and she struggles with this every time she opens her booth on a market or festival. It all comes down to bargaining and negotiating with each and every customer until a deal is reached or as it often happens, until they just walk away.

    She has to offer discounts all the time, hence marginalizing her own profits just for the sake of having any profits after all. Which is pity in fairness, because she puts a lot of effort in her work. Another difficulty is that she often ends up targeting low-end customers with limited budgets and even if she is able to convince them the quality and effort invested are justifying the price, it would still be hard to get amazing sales.

    I hope the world changes and become more understanding towards artisans.

    Best regards,

  2. Christabel… The worst thing your friend can do is “Negotiate” on price. We do a “Discounted” price per se at shows and we will have a “Package Deal” like buy 3 for XXX… We have already raised the price to account for those “Deals”. Quite often, we move them in to a higher priced item using the others to “open the door”… Another thing is quite often, you will get people that wait until the last minute of the show to try and get a deal… giving the “you won’t have to pack it” bit… We NEVER discount at the end of a show either !! We look at them and tell them “We have a show next weekend, if it don’t sell here, it will there”… DO NOT discount as you are devaluing your product!

  3. Hi there! I am not as crafty as I would like it to be, but I always respect others work and efforts. This is why I never negotiate about the price tag on a hand made items. We should support those people.

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