He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. ~St. Francis of Assisi

May we each strive to do ALL that we do as an artist working as unto the Lord for His glory! Thanks for stopping in to visit! ~Cara Louise

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Difficulty of Pricing Hand Crafted Items

With some forced time off from actually crocheting lately, I decided to take a bit of a closer look at my prices for my items. It is always a challenge to come up with a reasonable price for handcrafted items. As the artist who worked on the piece, I do become a bit attached to it! These aren't mass-produced 'things', like those poor-excuses-for-doilies I see being sold in the local craft supply stores for a dollar or two. If one were to compare my work with those 'doilies', several immediate differences in quality and care would be evident. Yet a lot of people who aren't familiar with my craft have no idea of the time involved and can't seem to justify the cost difference between my work and what they can find at the dollar store. So what is an artist to do?

I have made mistakes in pricing things, and ended up barely covering the cost of materials. Or I did make some money, but averaging it out over the length of the project brought my 'hourly wage' to about $1 an hour. The standard contracting price is cost of materials times three. But in the case of thread crochet work, my material cost can really be only a few dollars, but the time factor can be enormous. So I have come up with my own little bit of a formula by keeping careful records of how long pieces take to finish and multiplying that by what I think is a reasonable hourly rate.

What is that reasonable hourly rate? Well, that is for each craft-artist to decide for herself what she feels comfortable with. Are you going to feel taken advantage of if a project ends up only earning you $1 an hour after taking out the cost of supplies? Is the non-crafting public going to agree your time is worth $10 an hour? Or maybe is the answer for you somewhere in between those 2 points

Crocheting and crafting is just a part of who I am. I crochet because I can't imagine NOT crocheting. It is energizing to me- I get a real charge out of watching lifeless bits of string turn into something amazing. It is challenging- learning new things every time I look through Pinterest or Facebook. And it is comforting- there is a soothing peacefulness to the repetition which literally has made my eyelids heavy with sleep on occasion! If you craft because you just can't help yourself, then charging for the supplies, the postage, a bit extra to buy MORE craft stuff, and maybe enough to treat yourself to a cup of coffee and a muffin (well, and maybe a sandwich for lunch too, with ice cream for dessert) might just be enough to make your day! If you are trying to earn a living at your art, well, that's a different animal altogether, which I am not able to address because I honestly have no clue!

Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated- thanks for dropping in to visit. Next time I'll try to have some molasses cake on hand. 

Peace, love, and crochet! ~Cara Louise 

Please visit the NEW HOME of my blog and website! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Cara,
    I too have difficulty pricing my hand crafted goods. There is a particular item which takes at least 8 full hours to complete. It is a shawl made on a loom and is knotting work, there are 640 knots in each shawl apart from the winding onto the loom and the cutting off and trimming.... What I charge at present covers the yarn and about £3.00 per hour. No one would work for that amount, but skill is not much appreciated unfortunately.I have taught a few people to do this craft as well ....so ,how much for a tutorial ??? I don`t know.
    I , for one appreciate the work , skill and time you put in to your items, and feel that you should charge at least the national wage per hour plus materials/postage.