PET PEEVE ALERT!! Seriously, this is something that bugs me to no end. I can't count the number of times I go looking around on Etsy doing price comparison, or looking for packaging inspiration, or just looking at what other people are doing, and I see beautiful crochet work priced dirt cheap. Yesterday I saw 61 items priced at $3.00. Not $3 each, $3 for all 61 items. It has to stop. Here are some really good reasons why pricing your work that low isn't a good thing, even though it might help you get sales.
1. It disrespects your work.
When your work isn't priced according to all the time and skill that went into it, you are sending the message that your work doesn't matter to you, that it didn't take skill to create, and that you don't value your work. Crocheting takes time, it takes planning, it takes an understanding of color play. You created something that you think is good enough to sell to other people, so why don't you value that? Make sure when you price your work that you value your time and energy. Take into account the cost of the yarn, and the amount of time it took you to create the item. Think about fair labor - even minimum wage, entry level jobs have a minimum wage. However sucky and exhausting working in fast food may be, that companies values its employees time. Shouldn't you? When I go looking for an item on Etsy or on another handmade marketplace, I'm looking for something special, something handmade, and something that clearly had a lot of love put into it. I don't want crap I can buy anywhere. I'm willing to pay for handmade, don't assume I don't know what I'm looking for.
2. It makes you look like a factory.
When you don't price your work well, it makes it seem like you don't care about your work at all. If you don't care about each handcrafted item, why should I as a consumer? Why should I buy something handmade, when even the artist doesn't value the product? And frankly, when I see things like 61 items for a total of $3.00, I start to wonder if it's all really handmade. I know how much time goes into crocheting an item, and I know how much yarn costs. There's no formula that would make that price legitimate. Handmade businesses are not the place to use price as a means of competition. Sure you want to be in the same price category as your competitors, but this is not the place where dirt cheap prices win. Handmade items for pennies each hurt both you as the business person, and me as the consumer. You're losing money by not valuing your work, and the consumer starts to believe that's how much crochet work is worth.
3. It makes crochet seem cheap and easy, not a skillful talent.
Not everyone can crochet, and crochet well. It's a skill and a talent. When you price your crochet items dirt cheap, hoping to get buyers, you are hurting everyone who crochets. You are pulling down the value of crochet in the marketplace, and you are making consumers think that crochet is worthless. Stop. Value yourself and your craft, and price accordingly. Remember that you are more than just a lone seller, you are a part of a marketplace, and your actions impact the whole market.
It's all economics.
I know, I know. Those three words send shivers of fear and loathing down your spine. But if you are selling your work to consumers, you better know a little something about valuing your work. I can't tell you had sad it makes me to see people who clearly think their craft isn't worth what it should be. Recognize your talent!
And because this post was a bit light on actual crocheting, here's a sneak preview of a blanket that's almost complete!