Part of selling art, is getting paid for that art. Part of getting paid for that art is making sure you are pricing your work accordingly, so you do get paid for the time taken to create that art. Many artists (with and without great sales) are unhappy, because they are not getting paid… because they are not pricing their work properly. This is called underpricing, and I hate underpricing… especially in crochet. How are you supposed to make a living off of something if you are not valuing your time and talent? If you are underpricing, you are not going to be able to make a living off of your art. (Read Part One and Part Two to get caught up.)
Now that we are starting to narrow down our niche of buyers through magazine submissions, let’s talk about pricing. Even if you are desperate for a sale or two, setting your prices too low hurts you, sets a bad example, and hurts people in the business who are charging correctly for their work. Would you really stick with a job that didn’t pay you for your time if it wasn’t your passion? Do you want your buyers to think that they can get this handmade quality art on the “cheap”? Did you get paid an hourly or day rate? Did you get paid? Did you cover all your expenses and still get paid your rate? Undercharging may get you more sales, but now you are working overtime (and not getting paid for that either) to meet your demand without paying yourself for your time and materials. Can you seriously live like that? My bet is if you answered NO to those questions, you are underpricing your work.
Let’s talk about why underpricing is bad.
- Makes art or handmade pieces seem cheap, and people will not expect to pay more for your talent that NOT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD CAN DO.
- Your buyers will come to expect low prices for you. “Oh, Nancy Creative Corners (insert your business name) makes 5 dollar crocheted hats. You could buy 20 of them for like $100.” Now you are setting yourself up for an underpricing reputation. (And holy crap! Nancy isn’t even charging enough for the yarn for those hats!)
- You are making other artists who are selling their work at proper prices, suffer because… see point #1. They will be hungry and angry from lack of sales to your $5 hats. Don’t be a jerk.
- You will eventually not be able to live off of underpriced work. You will also be hungry and angry. This is not selling art while staying happy. This is selling art while making yourself angry.
First, see this post on pricing your crochet.You can expect for pricing your pieces well.
- You will see a drop in sales. What? Yes. Your buyers that flocked to your $5 hats will not stick around. They will be looking for the next business that will undercharge their work. You do not want those folks as customers… unless they have a change of heart and will pay your prices.
- You will find your customers. They are out there. There are people that do appreciate fine crochet work (or any other type of art), and THEY WILL PAY FOR IT.
- You will have to work harder. You will have to hustle to find those people willing to pay your prices. You can see Part Two for one way to do that… more ways to find your buyers are coming.)
- You will start to get annoyed when you see crocheted hats (or any other underpriced work) being sold for $5. Did I mention that doesn’t even cover the yarn?
If you are nervous about just going out and raising your prices, remember that you can raise them in increments. Figure out what you should be charging and get there. It’s okay if it takes a month or two. You will be happier selling your art, because your will actually be making a living and covering all costs… including your time and talent. You can do it.
You can also brainstorm smaller pieces that can be made quickly and for less money, if you still want to keep a lower price point in your selling. Just price them accordingly. You have a talent, which is why you are selling your art, and it’s okay to get paid for it. At the end of the day, it will make your life more awesome and happy.