Wednesday , 20 September 2017
Now that you're making only the things you love and that make you happy, how do you put a price on it?

How Much Are Those Earrings? Pricing Tips For Etsy Sellers

Rustic, Organic, Copper Earrings

Rustic, Organic, Copper Earrings

Now that you’re making only the things you love and that make you happy, how do you put a price on it?

I’ve researched and read a lot of advice about how to price artwork. There are formulas you can use to get you started. An excerpt from the Etsy blog gives this simplified formula:

Cost Price (Labor + Materials Cost) x 2 = Your Wholesale Price

Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price

I made some earrings that I loved out of copper and aluminum. I cut and hammered and polished and fired and twisted and a whole lot more. They take time and skill to make. I decided to sell all earrings for $12 a pair. Then I got to the market and my fellow artists saw my prices and said, “Whoa! You can’t sell those for that! You’re way, way too low! I’d buy those for $65 and I don’t even have money.”

I caved to the pressure (I was brand new at selling anything and they’d been at it for a while) and I upped my prices to somewhere in the upper 20′s and low 30′s. Nothing sold.

Another week at the market. Nothing sold.

I stomped around that night after the market and said to myself, “This is my stuff. I made it. I can sell it for whatever I want!” So I took off those tags and put my prices back to $12/pair. That week I sold a several pair of earrings! Ever since, I’ve been to the markets and I sell my earring for $12. People get so excited and I get to move some inventory so that I can continue hammering away in my studio.

That said, there are a couple of caveats here. One is that if your prices are too low, people think your work is not quality or that you don’t value your work. My dad once tried to sell a boat, motor, and trailer in the paper. He priced it at $300 and no one called. A month later he put the same boat, motor, and trailer in the paper for $800. He got lots of calls and “settled” on $500 with the buyer. When  he listed it at $300 people thought it was junk.

The second caveat is to be respectful of your fellow market sellers. I wouldn’t price anything I’m selling that is similar to another artist’s work at a far lower or higher price. (The key word here is “similar”. Your work may not be anything like what other artists make – then you can do whatever you want as long as you remember my dad’s boat story.)

By the way, the earrings that my friend said she’d buy for $65 – I removed the earrings from my sales table and one day when she didn’t expect it, I gave them to her! She loves them and wears them a lot. It  makes me happy that she loves them.

Note: I did raise my earring prices to $14 per pair as you’ll see in my Etsy shop

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27 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I feel like that’s where we are now! We want to make sells, so we tend to under price our items – even though the quality is excellent! Thank you again!

  2. The bottom line is that if you sell for a price that doesn’t cover your materials, labor, and overhead with a bit of profit for your business on top then you are either a hobbiest or digging yourself into a hole. Thanks for your post.

  3. As you said, as long as you’re not driving down the price of other people’s stuff, then you should charge what you want to charge. Some people get really touchy because they want to make a living at making jewelry (for example) and can’t do that if the prices are driven down by others. It sounds like you are sensitive to that issue, though.

  4. This is something I constantly struggle with. I’ve recently raised the prices of my hats and scarves closer to what others are selling at and we are getting more notice (favorites) but still no more sales. I’m also finding a lot of lost time on the computer networking with other people and I suppose that needs to be covered in my pricing as well.

  5. I’m new to Etsy but have been selling my handknit jewelry for several years locally ! If you underprice it really is difficult to keep your spirits up !

  6. It’s good to learn something new everyday and it’s better to find people who thinks like me. By the way, your earrings are beautiful.

  7. dafnayaromdesign

    I agree with chayagallery, underpricing makes it harder for your spirit.
    I wonder about the formula… the key here is how do you price the labor? on what basis for an hour?

    • You can do two things. Your labor can be found by asking yourself how much money do you need to bring in each month. If you have other income great. Then ask how much you want to supplement that income. Then do the math: hourly wage may be $15 per hour more or less to bring it up to what you want your monthly income to be. Always incorporate your labor and costs including marketing, packaging, shipping etc. A great idea is to take classes from SCORE, a group of retired CEO execs who can mentor you along the way.

  8. It’s important to keep your prices at a level where you’re making a profit. It’s hard to sit with a load of merchandise that people aren’t buying, but your target customer will pay the price you ask if it is fair.

  9. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    Good article.. But I’d like to add -though some people may jump on me for this- I don’t sell my jewelry for a living. So if I have to sit with a piece for a while, it’s okay. I find that my higher priced jewelry sells as ,much or more than the lower priced ones, and if your price is a little higher, you can always run a sale (which I do every few months). It also enables me to offer a standing discount to repeat buyers, and specials on FB, etc. or discount for multiple purchases. You can always lower your prices, once set, but raising them is a different story..

  10. Thanks for all of the great comments and discussion! Pricing is one of our most sensitive issues.

  11. dafnayaromdesign

    Hi Sharee
    How would you advice to price the labor?
    On what basis?

    • Well, that’s hard, too! Think about what you would pay someone to do your labor (let’s say you’re the designer, they’re the implementer). Would you pay them minimum wage? Would they be loyal and happy workers at minimum wage? What do you think is a fair price above that for their skill, loyalty and contentment with your product and “company”? That might help you consider your labor pricing. Would you be happy if someone hired you to make that thing for $10/hr? How about $15/hr? Are you an expert and really, really skilled at what you do? Maybe you wouldn’t work for them unless you were paid $30/hr.

      I hope this helps a little. –Sharee

  12. Great points. It is really important to make sure you are paying yourself a living wage, even if you aren’t crafting for a living. Sometimes it’s just a question of finding and targeting the customers who will pay you what your products are worth, rather than appealing to bargain shoppers. There will always be people who undersell because they are more interested in the validation of sales than profit, but it’s not great for the survival of the crafting community as a whole.

  13. I had my earrings at $6 a pair at first. That’s only a tiny bit more than it costs to make (with hardly any actual labor charge) so now they’re $12-14.

  14. Its very important to keep a benchmark on your creations! I am fairly new to the creative artists guild and this is an advice given to me from a pro- add the price of every item that you have put onto your creation, include your labour cost and then mark your price in such a way that should you have a sale, you can still make a profit.

  15. Great article! I just price my cards and call it good. I have been advised to raise the price substantially, but what the hey…

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  16. Pricing is always on my mind! I liked my initial prices which are prob $10 cheaper in most cases.

    I’m still trying to decided if I like where I have them at.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. wow your dads boat story is really cool. im raising my prices right away! thanks for the tip!

  18. Great article! Very interesting to read because it had real life experience in it. Visit me at http://helenslightreadings.etsy.com to get some perspective on life experience.

  19. All of these are great ideas. I would add another one which might sound airy fairy to some of you, but hey..I seek first to put into my mind how much I want to bring in for the year. And then go about my work. This always works for me. The mind is very powerful. A goal is a dream with a deadline. Put your mind to work first, then give it a deadline, then go to work.

  20. Now I know it’s been awhile, but the cheapest pair of earrings in your Etsy shop is $31, and the most expensive is $135.

  21. Just a quick note. My husband and I recently moved from a fairly affluent neighborhood to a somewhat rural mountain area – a method of downsizing and getting away from the horrible traffic problems. This area has practically nothing as far as shopping venues (one grocery store?). But in the summer they do have several arts and crafts shows. We visited one that was very close by and I was astounded! Why these talented artists even set up a table is beyond me. Several of them had absolutely gorgeous, intricately produced, quality jewelry and their prices were bottom dollar! I asked several of them how they could sell their wares so cheaply and they pretty much all said the same thing: In these rural areas, people just won’t pay the prices that we would charge if we were in a large metro area. One very talented artist indicated that what she was charging for a particularly outstanding necklace was, she agreed, ridiculously low and that if she had it for sale in a city in Florida, she said to add another $100 to the price! I still can’t understand why they sell here because the prices they charged were so low they could hardly have covered the cost of the materials alone! I am trying to price my jewelry to be exhibited (for sale) at an Artist Gallery near here but I don’t know what kind of price point to consider. I charge a fair price for what I sell on my website, but I know that it won’t sell here for that same price. Any suggestions or input?

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