Admit it, you’ve wondered it too. Am I charging too much? Am I not charging enough? I see these questions so much. Once upon a time, a former employer told me, “never apologise for your prices” and that has stayed with me ever since. So, you’re making a baby blanket. The yarn costs €15. Some say treble the yarn cost. Some say work out how many hours it takes and charge minimum wage plus the yarn. I say, charge what you think it’s worth. Not what a retailer selling hundreds of factory made items thinks it’s worth.
We have a store here in Ireland called “Penneys” (in UK it’s called “Primark”) They sell super cheap clothes and homewares, mostly manufactured in factories in developing countries. When people quibble with me over prices, I usually tell them that they’re right, and instead of paying me what I’m quoting, they’d get one much cheaper in Penneys. You’d be amazed how many people fall into the trap and respond with “but I can’t get one of them in Penneys”
No, you can’t get it in Penneys. You want a baby blanket? In particular colours, and particular yarn, and a particular stitch?, all of which I can give you but it’s not worth what I’m quoting because why?? Some people won’t pay, and those people I don’t even entertain because my time is worth more than that.
If you quote €50 and they quibble, so you say you’ll do it for €40, I hate to tell you, but, they don’t think “ah fair play to her, she’s giving me a bargain”. They think “ha, I knew she was trying to overcharge me in the first place”. That’s the reality sadly, they’re so used to buying from retailers who buy in bulk, that they think you can charge the same prices. To be honest, I think some people think I don’t have to buy yarn, I just run out to my back garden and shear a sheep.
I have a family and children and a job. My knit/crochet time is the evenings. My every spare moment occurs after 8pm. If I’m making something for someone else, I’m selling my free time. I could be making things for me or the kids. Making things I enjoy at leisure, instead of making something I don’t want to make to a deadline. So how much is that worth?
If someone placed a bet with you NOT to knit/crochet for a week, how much would the payment need to be to make it worth your while sticking to it? Answer that, and you’ll start to think more about what your time is worth.
And to those who sell cheap for the sake of selling. You are part of the reason you have to sell cheap. You are the people the rest of us are compared to when people expect handmade for factory prices. Don’t undersell yourself, or your craft, or the rest of us.
If you’re willing to work for free, you’ll never be unemployed.