This is a subject that hits different nerves in each of us who have our own handmade businesses. And this question is the one I get asked the most about. How do you determine your prices?
My on-line business is different for me than for most. When I decided to turn my hobby in to a business, one of the first things I determined was it was a hobby for me, something I did on the side after my full-time job. It was then and still is today this same way. I don't ever plan on making it my soul source of income. I don't want to have to rely on my selling of jewelry to survive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is wrong to live off your handmade business!! For those of you who can, I applaude you. This is simply a decision I chose to make for my business! I see my business as a way to support my beading/jewelry making habit and to also give back to a couple charities that I support.
In pricing my items, one of the biggest contributors to my price is the market/region in which I live. I live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the county in which I live (Athens Co., Ohio) is the poorest in the state. Several of my customers (even though my business is on-line) live and work in this area. In knowing this, I decided to create jewelry with quality materials, that is stylish, trendy and affordable for everyone.
Many find it hard to believe that I produce the jewelry that I do and price it as I do. I have several tell me that I don't charge enough, that I make it difficult for other jewelry designers to get more for their items that are comparable in design/materials, and the list goes on. But on the flip side of those comments, I receive feedback from my customers that is completely opposite; "what a great deal for such quality," "love buying from you because I get something that is one of a kind and is well made but doesn't cost a fortune!"
When I get the criticism, I immediately tell them why I do this and that it is my goal to provide quality that is affordable. Jewelry for many is a "luxury" and I want everyone to be able to afford it, no matter what! People are looking for good deals, especially in today's market and I am doing what I can to reach out to those who want to "splurge" on themselves, but still have a little money in their pocket!
Does that make someone else's creations not worthy of the price they charge? Absolutely not!! We are designers/creators/artists in many different formats and we create items that you can't find in "big box stores." We use our hands and our home studios to create items that are personal to us that we want to become personal to those who purchase them. And because of this, I encourage all of you to be able to justify why you charge what you charge when someone decides to criticize or question it.
So to answer the question, "what should I charge," I will answer it this way. Do what works for you. If you are doing this full-time and making a living off of it, then make sure you are covering the cost of your materials, your time, etc. If not, and you simply want to pay for your hobby, then price according to that. It is different for each of us and I believe there is no easy answer to this question unfortunately, other than do what is best for your business and stand firm that your creations are personal, unique and deserving of the price you are asking, no matter how high or how low!
Now, go create and have fun! Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn