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Cutting for Business readers! I have two favors to ask, straight from my heart:
- Please stop selling your products too cheap. A good pricing strategy is not “look up similar items on Etsy and price yours a few dollars below”. (I actually copy and pasted that text from a Facebook Group.
- Stop telling yourself your prices have to be the cheapest. They don’t have to be. And, I’m going to share with you a list of reasons why.
- I know I said I needed two favors, but I actually need three: Share this with another crafter.
5 Reasons Your Prices Don’t Have to be the Cheapest
1. Cheap Prices = Cheap Materials
It may or may not surprise you that studies have shown that many buyers equate cheap prices with inferior materials or lack of experience.
Think of it in your everyday life. You see a name brand product at a store. You really want the product, however, you know you can get a cheaper one made overseas. The cheaper one made overseas probably uses cheaper materials. It’s the same premise.
So, if you are using high quality materials and you have experience making the product – price it accordingly.
2. Work Smarter, Not Harder
It may be a popular quote, but it is true. To explain this, let’s use an example:
Sally and Betty both make t-shirts using heat transfer material. One of their designs is similar and they are both selling them on Etsy. Additionally, it takes both Sally and Betty 1 hour to complete the shirt from designing to packaging. Sally is charging $10 for the t-shirt and Betty is charging $15.
For a net income of $200, Sally has to sell 20 shirts and invest 20 hours of labor. For Betty, she’s made the same profit after only 14 shirts and 14 hours of labor (it’s actually 13.3 shirts). Who would you rather be in this situation: Sally or Betty?
3. You Don’t Know Your Competitors Supply Costs
You can’t compare your product pricing ‘apples to apples’ or ‘oranges to oranges’ because you don’t know what the other small business paid for the supplies.
Perhaps, the business owner bought a large amount of supplies in bulk or has a deal with a supplier and paid much less than you.
Or, maybe the crafter with the lower price has struggled selling the product and has a lot of supplies on hand. They could be trying to discount the product to recoup the money they’ve already spent.
4. You Don’t Know Your Competitor’s Pricing Strategy
Selling at or below your cost for an item is often used as a promotional strategy.
If it doesn’t take long to create an item, some sellers will sell their items at near their cost to gain publicity, especially on social media. By gaining new social media followers, they ultimately gain more customers to purchase other items they are selling.
5. Consider the Long Term
Anyone can beat your prices temporarily – for weeks or months. However, those that are in it for the long term will burn out if they aren’t making a decent profit.
Let’s look at one more example:
Sue and Jane both sell painted wood signs with similar designs on them. It takes Sue and Jane both 2 hours to complete a sign from design to packaging.
Sue sells her signs for $36 and they cost $12 to make. Jane sells her signs for $48 and they cost $12 to make. Sue’s net income per sign is $24; while Jane’s net income is $36. In a particular week, Sue and Jane both sell 20 signs and work 40 hours.
Sue has brought in $720 for a net profit of $480. Sue is working for $12 an hour.
Jane has brought in $960 for a net profit of $720. Jane is working for $18 an hour.
At this pace, Sue brings in $24,960 a year; while Jane brings in $37,440 a year. In the long run, it’s smarter to be Jane.
Please, I’m begging you: Stop obsessing over the prices that other craft businesses charge. And stop using other’s pricing to determine your own prices. Instead, set your own goals and stick with them.
Need help pricing your handmade items? See this post.
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.