How to Price Your Crafts for Sale

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Pricing Crafts for Sale

I am putting together gift baskets like a "sweetheart basket" for Valentines consisting of candles, lotions, bath beads, etc. How do I decide how much to charge for them? Other people trying to sell crafts probably have the same problem. Thanks!

Three to Four Rule

A general rule on pricing is that you charge three to four times what it cost you to make the item. One portion is to cover supplies, one to cover the wear and tear on tools, one for electricity or other utilities to make the item, and the fourth is for your time.

Always the bug with selling crafts is finding a price that will be acceptable to the buying public, and the three to four rule sometimes makes that craft unaffordable to most people. It also depends on whether you can buy your supplies wholesale or retail or if the items you make are free to begin with, like using nature's bounty or making things from scrounged and re-purposed items. For example, a welder may make yard art from old metal parts found along the road.

Keep Your Items Distinct and Unusual

Some of this depends on if you're doing this for fundraising (and offering what you make for donation) or if you're trying to turn a profit for yourself. The market you want are those who don't have the time or talent to do what you do. Many other crafters will go around and see what's out there and duplicate your idea sometimes for less than what you can charge. People are always looking for a bargain so there's a fine line between a "fair price" and what will "discourage selling." You may want to give yourself some leeway so if you make a lot of baskets and don't want to bring them home, you can reduce the price to move them.

When I buy handmade items, I gravitate toward things that are unusual and distinctive. I bought two long angels whose gowns were made from an old quilt and a cross-stitched tablecloth. I bought a one of a kind, four-tile picture of an angel holding the earth in her hands. I'd never seen anything like these before or since. Some people go to craft shows knowing they are bound to find the standard things but you won't see me at tables with mass produced items.
Toni B.

Get At Least Double Material Cost

For the reader who is wondering how to price her gift baskets, I would say the first and most important thing to do is to check around to see what other, similar products are going for in her area. You don't want to price yourself out of the local market, but you also don't want to cheat yourself out of a fair profit.

Also, make sure you're getting at least double your materials cost (basket, toiletries, trimmings, etc.) plus a fair wage for the time it takes you to assemble a basket. The more time and effort you put into making them personal and special, the more you should charge. Anyone can just throw some filler into a basket, add a few items, and call it a gift basket, but if you arrange it beautifully and professionally, that's really what customers want.

And to make them really special, if at all possible, I would suggest having you, a family member or friend be available to hand-deliver the baskets for an additional fee. Have them dress up very nicely in a tux or suit for a man or a fancy dress for a woman. Many people would gladly pay to know their basket will be delivered in such a memorable way to their loved one's office or home.

What Price Will the Market Allow?

The biggest problem with pricing crafts is the temptation to expect at least minimum wage for the time you put into making the items. I have rarely seen anything sold at a craft market that actually sold for enough to really provide that level of income.

When I last sold at a craft market, I took the price of all materials, supplies and containers/wrapping and doubled it. Once I had that total, I could decide what the market would accept in addition to that amount to pay for my time. I found that the more time required to produce the item, the less per hour I was actually able to make on it.

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