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.