So, you want to sell your fabulous one of a kind, handmade, cannot-be-found-elsewhere items for what they are actually worth and also get a little something for the time involved in scouring charity shops and upcyclables for materials + the hours of creating, photographing & editing + the time spent writing product descriptions & getting it all online and let’s not forget the additional costs & commissions involved in setting up and selling through a webshop + those pesky online payment portal fees, whew!
As I’m often asked if I have a specific formula for working out the final cost of my quirky creations I figured it was about time to share my thoughts on how to sell your handmade gear:
Unfortunately, your typical (non-maker) customer simply doesn’t realize the amount of talent, time, work and money that it takes to create and attempt to sell each item and when they stumble upon your online shop will always compare the price of your products to that of something similar found in the massive unethically produced international chain stores.
You simply can’t compete. Nor should you have to.
If a well-known, multi-billion dollar brand charges 5 – 15 dollars for an unethically mass produced shirt why should you accept a pittance for your handmade only-one-in-existence garment of fabulousness? Take a look at the startling breakdown of the costs involved when I create made-to-order clothing and accessories at fast fashion prices right here.
I’ve come up with this easy price making calculation:
Material Costs + Labour + Fees & Commissions = Your Final Fair Price
My personal definitions of each pricing point are as follows:
Material Costs: the exact cost of all materials required to create the item
Labour: the amount of hours spent brainstorming the idea/design + sourcing materials + creating template/pattern + preparing materials + sewing/assembling multiplied by your hourly working rate
Fees & Commissions: the commission percentages and fees paid to your online selling & payment portals (or wherever you’re selling your handmade goods. ie: craft stall rental, market space, etc…)
David Picciuto from Make Something has another fab formula for pricing handmade gear:
In all honesty my prices still don’t reflect a fair hourly rate and I absolutely do not make a living wage from selling my sustainable style creations which brings me to the most important piece of the handmade selling puzzle:
Unfortunately until your unique brand is known, through an insane amount of hard work & self-promotion or by some amazing stroke of internet-sensation-causing luck, to get your wondrous products seen, loved, purchased and generating a bit of cash flow you’ll have to compromise a bit and cleverly gift-away or trade items with those who can help create a buzz and send potential buyers to your shop. (Exchanging crafty creations with your favourite bloggers for reciprocal reviews and links is a groovy start – just remember that your handmade goodies and blog reviews need to be created and delivered in a timely manner.)
I spend loads more time creating for and marketing my blog, tutorials, channel, thrifty style inspiration and ethical fashion info than my online shop which is definitely why I have such success with the former and not so much with the latter.
At the end of the day it all comes down to you and how much time and energy you’re willing and able to put into the behind the scenes work and marketing required to bring in the customers and sustainable style fans who appreciate your unique handmade “slow fashion” products and the talent, creativity & story behind it all.
zero marketing = zero customers = nothing sold no matter how cheap or expensive your prices are
What are your top tips for selling your handmade gear?