Thursday , 13 May 2021
It's a tricky thing, this pricing business. Whole books have been written about pricing strategy. Whew! As long as I am respectful of my fellow artists and respectful of my own skills, I think I'm on the right track.

How much is your experience worth?

Children Art Dancer Mexico

Children Art Dancer Mexico

I attended a watercolor art class a few years ago. The teacher demonstrated his techniques while we watched and then we attempted our own paintings. During the class he told us that he would sell the demo paintings to us for $350 if we would like to buy them.

Someone in the class actually had the courage to say, “How can you sell that painting for $350 when it only took you 25 minutes to paint it?” He answered, “It took me 30 years to paint that in 25 minutes!”

I’ve always remembered that and it has given me courage to price my items in a way that includes my experience. Even if my materials are low cost, and even if I can make that thing in 15 minutes, no one has seen the ones in the trash or the ones I won’t sell or the ones that I made in the beginning. We all grow as artists and we need to value our skill and experience.

I can’t remember not knowing how to sew. I learned from my mother as she sewed my dresses and my Barbie Doll’s dresses. I’ve made over a hundred purses, totes and wristlets since last year when I started experimenting with them.  An interesting thing happens when you make that many – your voice starts to emerge. People can tell those items are made by me. The consistency and quality of the end-product has also improved and my prices reflect that.

It’s a tricky thing, this pricing business. Whole books have been written about pricing strategy. Whew! As long as I am respectful of my fellow artists and respectful of my own skills, I think I’m on the right track.


More tips on pricing your Etsy items. 

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  1. That’s a good perspective to keep in mind, and will be one of my considerations when pricing. Thanks.

  2. Love that! Definitely something to keep in mind!

  3. Great timing! I’ve been wondering if I should reduce my prices since sales have been very slow but your article has reminded me that buyers pay for our experience. Thanks!

  4. This is so true ! I’ve known how to knit forever – like you describe, sitting by my Mum while she knit . You’ve really given me food for thought – thank you !

  5. I LOVE that Painting!
    I also agree with your point of view.
    I have been Making and HandPainting Functional Pottery for close to 30 years now(WoW, I’m getting old)This started as a hobby and blossomed into a business. Some of my Designs, I can paint faster than others depending on the detail involved, but if two similar sized Vases are sitting beside each other, I make the prices comparable, averaging a little more on the easier one and a little less on the more difficult one.

  6. Thanks so much for your point of view. I have a tendency to under price my items hoping to attract more sales, but I’ve been thinking about increasing my retail prices once I get my website up and running. Like you mentioned, I’ve been sewing for over 30 years, and my experience and attention to detail are probably what attracts buyers to my shop. I, too, have trashed items because I felt that they were just “not so” ~ not up to my critiquing. So, thanks so much for reinforcing our self-worth as crafters! There truly is a market out there for each and every one of our products, and we have to believe that people will pay for it! I absolutely love your painting, by the way! The colors, fluidity, and detail is magnificent. As a sewer, I love the beauty of the fabric and ribbon ~ lovely!!

  7. I love that painting, too! It’s not mine, though – I found it on Etsy. Click the image to go to WatercolorByMuren’s shop to see more fantastic paintings!

  8. Thank you for adding this….real food for thought for my product pricing! I am never going to vacillate now in pricing my jewelry!

    And that painting… Is really beautiful! You caught the right one to attract attention!


  9. That is a great perspective! I’ll let people know how long it actually took to make my items after they state that my prices are too high.

  10. My products are underpriced too. I’ve done the method of (supplies + time) x 2 = wholesale x 2 = retail and thought that was way too high. However, I’ve recently talked to a reseller about a wholesale order and realized that where I have priced my items doesn’t give the wholesale price they are looking for. I’ve recently raised prices on my knit items and have gotten more interest in them.

  11. Nancy LaBerge Muren

    This is so true. I cannot count the many times I have carted paintings to a gallery or and set up paintings in a show and then took down and returned home with the ones that did not sell. Next time having to reframe because something broke or got dirty. This is a very good thought. Thanks! and thanks for the complements on my painting.

  12. i am so thankful for this article. i haven’t started my etsy page yet…i promise i will…as soon as a camera becomes available to me. i have come to depend on the info in these handmadeology articles. i have to thank them for the information i am gaining from them and their online series of “classes”. if you get a chance to take one of them…they are wonderful for we the beginners and a great reminder for those who have been in business forever. i thought the pricing model made my products too expensive also….but that’s why i bought the quality materials i did. i wanted to produce a quality line that people will learn to know me for. good luck to all of you in your businesses!!!! peace and love to all of us!!! God Bless!!!!

  13. With the economy being in the crapper, I have come down over the last couple of years with my prices. It’s sometimes kills me to realize how much more I used to make. (Now I’m lucky if I break even.) I’m trying to slowly push up my prices to be amounts that I feel repays me for the time and effort it takes me to make, as well as the years of learning, experience and experimenting that I have done. It’s been frustrating, but soon I will be back to a place that I am happy to be. (I’ve also tried to promote how I make my pottery to help the buying public with understanding as to why I charge what I charge on my blog.)
    Sally Anne

  14. After reading the very interesting article, I wanted to see the author’s handbags. I was pretty sure the article hadn’t been written by Timothy (was having a hard time imagining him learning to see by watching his mother make dresses for his Barbies!) but it took me forever to find the author’s name.

    I’m not sure why it’s hidden over there in the right column, but it’s frustrating. And it’s not the first time I’ve felt the same frustration trying to figure out who wrote a post on Handmadeology, I’d just forgotten where I eventually found it.

    But, Sharee – how do I see your Etsy shop? I can’t find a link and I’ve given up. This is just too hard! :(

  15. *sew, visualizing Timothy learning to SEW. Sorry!

  16. Thank You!

  17. Perfectly put! That is an excellent example of how the experience makes a difference. I watch my all my husbands attempts as he works out a new design, making little adjustments here and there until it comes out right. When the final product is listed for sale, people often gripe at the price, but they haven’t seen all that went into creating it. Thank you for making it clear to the rest of the world!

  18. Thank you for all of your comments! This morning I was working in my studio and wouldn’t you know it, I have a new little pile of “give aways” for my friends who visit! It shows that I’m working, though; and it shows that I’m growing as an artist. (And it gets my friends to come over often!)

    I’ll be sure to put a link to my Etsy shop in future posts. You can find me at

    Oh! And check out my blog where I show you uber-crafty ideas and delicious food!

  19. I never thought about pricing this way. I think that teacher made a really good point, and helps to explain why sellers mark up their products as years go by, besides inflation of course. This article was very interesting!

  20. This is a great perspective. The work of a “master” should generally be more valuable than the work of someone new to their craft. Thank you for this reminder of an often forgotten side of pricing in the handmade & art worlds.

  21. THANK YOU so much for this article. I recently opened my Etsy shop, but lately found that many other craters have lowered their prices extremely low. My prices are high compared to them; however, my product includes a labor intensive step that none of them offer. This I thought was a niche I could and want to fill. After reading this article, I feel comfortable with my prices and plan to focus on trying to attract buyers who want the kind of details I love to include.

  22. Thank you for your article. I hopped on to find the article with the wholesale pricing formula. I am working on my first business deal and need the formula. Glad I read this before…..

  23. Thanks for the post. I had never considered the experience factor when pricing my work. For me pricing and selling is so much more difficult than creating, and so much less fun!

  24. Good for you! I totally agree. While I am not an artist and don’t sell artwork, the message is universal. When calculating pricing for vintage, the cost (and time) of locating, procuring, cleaning, and packaging must be considered. Same goes for other venues.

    Good article!

  25. The comment “How long does it take you to make such and such piece of pottery” comes up often at shows. I plan to gently add my years of experience to my answer….

    Thanks for the article!

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