Why You Shouldn’t Tell a Crafter “I Can Make That For Cheaper Than That”

10-thingsnottosay-856x1024The three things crafter’s hate to hear the most (this graphic has it wrong, this should be 1, 2, and 3): “Why does it cost so much?” “I can make that for cheaper than you’re selling it” “I can buy something like that at Wal-mart for X price.”

Yet most crafters won’t go into the why’s of why it is wrong to say this to crafters.

Yes – you can make what I am selling for cheaper than I’m selling it, without a doubt but I can guarantee you aren’t taking into account a number of things.  Let’s go over those things.

1. The cost of supplies.  Like any business, our supplies cost us money to buy and create the jewelry we’re making.  We have to sell our product at a minimum of two times (recommended price of three times) the cost of the supplies.  If you order supplies online, then you have to add the cost of shipping to your overall costs. If you drive all over town, then you should add the cost of your gas and wear and tear on your vehicle to your supply costs. This allows us to buy more supplies, compensate ourselves, etc. It also covers the inevitable breakage of an item(s) or supplies that happens.

2. Time involved.  Time isn’t just the time it takes to make the jewelry, but time finding the parts needed, shipping them, sorting them and creating the pieces. Some pieces take longer than others for a variety of reasons. Others take significantly less, but time is still a factor and Time is Money.

3. Display costs.  Craft show displays don’t just magically appear free of charge.  Each crafter has to buy and build their display. Some have cash readily available and create their display immediately.  Others, like me, buy a piece to add to my display for each show as I go.  It is part of the cost of running booths because if you don’t have a nice display, people won’t stop and look.

4. Booth costs. Booths are rarely free and often come with a cost.  Whether it’s a Church craft fair, the local women’s expo, or a Comic Con, you can bet that the crafter paid a price to have a booth there. The price of their items have to reflect that.  Not only do they have to break even for what they spent on supplies to create what they’re selling, they hope to break even for the booth as well. For most crafter vendors, you don’t break even on the first six shows you do – unless you are extremely lucky and have a strong local following. You take a loss on it and hope that future shows will help put you in the positive as your name gets out there.

5. Misc. Expenses.  Did you know there’s all sorts of other things that go into running a craft booth besides making and selling the jewelry? Having marketing materials such as business cards and a website is equally important to getting your name out there. Having gift boxes available for people who are buying pieces as gifts. Having receipt books and calculators. Being sure you charge taxes and then filing those sales taxes with the state. The learning curve that goes into learning the craft which often incurs costs that you don’t realize. (I can’t even begin to tell you how many earrings I break when making them).  Everything adds up.

So, let’s look at the costs a minute.

Let’s say I have a $50 booth.

I have 10 necklaces for sale at $10 each.

The supplies for the necklace ran $3.95.

In order for me to break even at the event, I have to sell 9 necklaces.  I make $.05 profit, which is likely destroyed by gas or other costs.  If I sell all 10 necklaces, I make $10.05 profit – at least half of that is eaten up by gas or other expenses.

What happens if I only sell 1 necklace, or worse, none?  I’ve just invested money into my booth that got me maybe some attention, but no profit.

So the next time you think a crafter is charging too much for their wares, consider this post. You might be able to make it cheaper if you are making it only for yourself, but you’re not making it to sell and incurring all the costs we, as crafters are incurring, for running a small business.

Support your crafters and small businesses. It means the world to us.



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