There’s a TON of other pricing guides for handmade goods to sell on Etsy and a lot of them have really valuable information. After all, we, the fiber artists, are carrying on an important tradition of working with our hands to turn unassuming string into things that can be used functionally, practically and worn as pieces of art.
The issue I found with a lot of the pricing guides available is that the price point comes out way too high. I want my knit & crocheted items to be accessible to a wide audience and when the price is too high, it narrows the consumer base since many people aren’t going to buy items they feel are overpriced. It can be difficult to find that nice balance where the consumer is happy with the price and you, the artist, aren’t working for pennies.
One of the formula I’ve seen for handmade items has been:
(Supplies + Labor) x 2 = Wholesale price
Wholesale x 2 = Retail price
Let’s apply this formula to one of my items and see how the price point comes out. The washcloth is one of my newer items and I just went through the process of figuring a fair price for it. But first, let’s apply the formula found above to find what the price point would be.
In order to figure out the price for supplies, divide the price of the skein by the yardage. This will give you the price per yard.
Price/yardage = price of each yard
$3.79/153 = $0.02
Next, figure out how many yards your project took. For my washcloth, it took about 70 yards. Multiple the yards the project took by the price of each yard.
Price of each yard times the yardage project took = Cost of supplies
$0.02 x 70 yards = $1.40
Now comes the tricky part: figuring out the cost of labor. The price I would like to be paid is $15/hr however I realize this is the part where I need to be flexible since knit/crocheted accessories aren’t as highly valued as other forms of art. This is not saying what we do as knitters and crocheters isn’t valuable, it’s saying in our culture, it’s not as valued as it should be.
So, back to applying the formula to the washcloth.
$1.40 (cost) + $15 (supplies) = $16.40
(Cost + Supplies) x 2 = Wholesale price
$16.40 x 2 = $32.80
Oh my, that’s a high price! Now let’s figure out the retail price
Wholesale x 2 = Retail price
$32.40 x 2 = $64.80
Now, you find me someone who’s willing to pay $64.80 for a washcloth and I will find you a needle in a haystack.
As I’ve been saying, it is unfortunate knitting isn’t as valued as other forms of art. And it’s sad we can’t use this formula to price our work accordingly.
I’ve found for my knitwear, the best way for me to price it is to do some research on Etsy. There, I found washcloths priced anywhere from $4.50 to $12.
Although I understand the reason behind the low price point, I can’t imagine doing so much work for so little pay. And if the item were to sell at wholesale price, you would only be making $2.25 which is enough to pay for the yarn that it took to make the washcloth and to make another one with a few cents leftover but is not paying you for your valuable time. This is not a sustainable way to price items if you want a long-lasting business and to keep your sanity.
I decided to lean towards the higher price point and priced my washcloths at $10 for the regular size and $12 for the larger size. Although I’m taking quite a pay cut from the $64.80, it seems like a reasonable price consumers will be willing to pay as well as making enough to sustain my business.
So, to conclude, I found that I end up pricing my knits and crochets primarily by the cost of supplies and labor with a little give and take (but mostly give).
In the end, the pricing is really up to you, the artist. You have to take into account the value of the items you’re making, the time it took to make them and effort it took to design the item. Just be sure to value your time and work as much as you can in our culture that seems to have forgotten the art of handmade. Maybe one day, our work will be valued as much as it should be.