Business Saturday: How to Price and Market Your Handmade Jewelry Designs
An interview with James Dillehay, author of How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell
ABOVE: Photo courtesy of James Dillehay
Q: Tell us a little bit about why you started developing your own pricing and marketing strategies for handcrafted items.
A: When I first started selling my work, I was very confused about how much to charge. Talking to other craft artists seemed to make it worse because they all used different “formulas,” none of which really seemed to account for all my costs or selling in different markets. So after studying how larger businesses priced products, I came up with a formula for my handmade items that guaranteed I would not lose money.
Q: Why is it important to develop formulas for pricing handmade goods?
A: Without a formula that takes into consideration your production and selling costs, you risk losing money. If you are only selling at the occasional craft show, your bottom line is not going to be as important as it becomes when you step into doing shows every month or supplying stores as a fulltime
business. The larger your business, the more critical it becomes to know what each item costs you to make, so that when you sell in quantity you don’t wake up one day to discover there’s not enough
income to pay the outgoing expenses.
Q: Do you have any tips or tricks for budgeting time to stay on track with bookkeeping?
A: If you find yourself procrastinating about bookkeeping, remind yourself of the bigger picture. Your business is a product itself. You wouldn’t make a set of earrings and leave off the ear wires. Likewise,
imagine that your business is incomplete until you know exactly where you stand month to month.
Q: In your book you mention the fact that underpricing your items can be just as detrimental to your business as overpricing them. Can you elaborate a bit on this?
A: It’s tempting to think that lowering the price will help an item sell faster. This is not necessarily or even often the case. I’ve had to raise prices two to three times to find the point where customers view the item as worth the price. When they see a low price, they often think the item is cheaply made so they pass it by. Raising my prices has actually increased sales of some of my items.
Q: How do you recommend that artists develop a personal relationship with their clients when they are interacting through the Internet?
A: There are many opportunities to personalize your online interactions; it’s just a matter of remembering that behind every email address is a living, breathing human being, so take a deep breath before you hit send and consider if the message you are sending is the one you want to be remembered
for. Read every email you receive a couple of times before answering. When you are in a hurry, it’s easy to misread messages. Answer each and every email promptly and courteously. If someone asks you what might seem like a dumb question, answer them with patience and in clear, easy-to-understand
answers. Never answer emails when you are feeling stressed or pushed.
For more great tips on pricing your handmade jewelry, check out these resources: