Selling crochet items

Forum: Crochet Talk

Hello fellow crocheters! I have a question regarding selling homemade crochet items. I have a hard time pricing items for sale. I usually make things for free or just the cost of the yarn for friends and family and I have a hard time charging them for what I think the item is worth. I have checked out etsy and other sites where people sell homemade crochet items so I have an idea of what people charge but often items are undercharged. For example, it could cost approximately $70 for the yarn to make a blanket and it takes many, many hours to make. I would think that the cost of the blanket should be at least $125- $150 but not a lot of people seem to want to pay that for a blanket from comments I am hearing. I am making a hat and a scarf for a friend right now and I am only charging for the yarn which cost almost $20 but I have had a few comments that they could buy a hat and scarf from a store for less. I agree that is true but it wouldn’t be handmade or the same quality. I tried explaining that I use a more expensive yarn to achieve a nice quality but I feel like they think I am just overcharging, yet I am not making anything on it. How do you deal with pricing your items and those comments? I feel bad to charge a lot for anything I make but I am almost always only getting the money for the yarn if I do charge.

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22 Replies

Debbie Pribele ...

it’s sad isn’t it …
my opinion: know what you think is a fair price and stick to it. There are lots of people out there who respect “handmade” and the costs.
Point out that it’s not made on a machine and not made by people working for next to nothing and that you have put X amount of hours and love into it. . and then let them make their own decision.
I hate charging for things but when someone asked I did a calculation and said, “this is how much” and they either take it or leave it and I don’t think about it .. no second guessing. That’s the hard part, to train your brain not to start negotiating.

Scarlettdarlin ...

Several thoughts come to mind. You can determine the hourly wage you would like to make and then multiply the number of hours times the wage, plus the cost of your materials. Conversely, some people simply multiply the cost of materials by 3 to 5.

Once, many years ago, a woman saw my mom crocheting a baby blanket while at lunch in the building where she worked. After introducing herself to my mother, the lady asked if Mom would crochet an afghan for her king sized bed and how much mom would charge. Mom picked a number out of the air and said $100 plus the cost of the yarn. At the time, that sounded like a lot of money and it was. Once Mom began actually crocheting, she figured the amount of rows and how long it took her to crochet a single row. She realized she was only earning $0.17 per hour!

CharlenesCreations ...

Thanks for the great advice! I can see only making $0.17 per hour… I probably make less! I am ok with not making a lot of money as I love to crochet and would do it regardless but I do want to make something and I just wish that everyone realized the cost of the yarn and how much time things take to make. I think I need to take your advice and just charge what I know the item is worth! Thanks again!

MandaPanda ...

I agree with deciding on a number and sticking with it. I think you will run into 3 types of people.
1. People who will scoff at the price and say its too much, and immediately not buy it.
2. People who will think it is a lot of money but will buy it anyway (they will maybe try to talk your price down a bit)
3. People who will buy it at what you are asking because they understand that handmade means well made, and will recognize how special and rare handmade things are these days, and are willing to pay for what it is worth.

As more people start to realize that this is true, through market, and bazaar vendors and places like etsy…people will begin to remember what quality items are worth.

Debbie Pribele ...

and then you have the people who have you make something for them and then they never arrange “pick up” … and there it sits…

CharlenesCreations ...

Oh no… that’s terrible! I would be very upset if they didn’t pick up. Hopefully I get a lot of customers from type number 3!!!

Andria ...

I usually charge buy the hour and have them buy the yarn. I will tell them the weight range to stay in and what brands would be best then they are able to better judge cause they are buying their own yarn,picking there own colors and Then they are only paying for my time. So the bigger the item the more it will cost… This dose lead to some people just not buying the yarn at all and me not getting to make the item but at least this way the “item” didn’t waist your time and money to just sit there….

Debbie Pribele ...

yes.. hopefully there are more and more of those folks out there.

SunShinyDa ...

After reading the above comments, (I agree, ladies), I prefer the term “handcrafted” versus "handmade or "homemade""!! Seems like “handmade” has such a different image to it versus “handcrafted” and I am sure you will agree your work IS hand crafted!!!! We ARE “crafts people”!

grandmawD ...

I have enjoyed this discussion, it has really changed my thinking for the next time I go to a craft show. Yes, I could probably make that item you are selling, BUT will I, that is the question??? I should buy a handmade/homemade craft item from a craft show instead of an item from Walmart in the made in China section!!! So crochet on people!!

Debbie Pribele ...

“buy local” is a good motto to live by
buy local and buy direct.

Chudames ...

I give what I believe to be “fair” quotes, and mention that I am including the cost of yarn (and shipping if applicable). Most other artists/crafters give me a more fair pay than other people. I figure, if I tell them a hat that takes me 5+ hours of labor + the cost of yarn + shipping at $45, and they say they can get a hat for cheaper at a store, then I don’t argue (and don’t make them the hat).

People are willing to pay in the high-end cost at a nice department store like anthropology, macy’s, pier 1, and so on, but for some reason they can’t see paying that same amount for a hand-made version.

I’m always willing to negotiate a bit (like using cheaper materials to cut down on costs), but after having so many people “expect” that it should cost them nothing (when they would expect me to pay them a fair price for something they would make), I have gotten burnt out and tend to be more picky about how I spend my personal time.

A lot of people don’t understand the cost + time a person is putting in to something THEY want. They’re willing to pay a tattoo artist $200 for their time, and ink. But for some reason people get almost offended when you ask the same for a custom piece of knitting or crochet (my BEST pay has been from a tattoo artist, by the way. They refused to pay less than $50 for a scarf and that included materials).

I have to say, I almost always tell people no now because I’m so disheartened by what they want vs what they think my time is worth.

A Moore Eh ...

It really is a shame that handcrafted items have less value on them than store bought items. The problem, in my opinion, lies with craftspeople who do not price their items for what they are worth. We’ve all done it. Locally, you have to stay competitive. But I got tired, very quickly, of making multiples of the same item, having people not follow through with pick up, or not buying an in stock item because they want a different shade of the same color. So I stopped doing orders and now just craft for craft shows. That way I see all of the return in one day. I make popular items in limited supply and upped my prices this year. People scooped our stuff up because they knew there were only so many available and wouldn’t be any more made available until next year. (This also helps me way more with balancing my home life and pattern writing!) We also worked very hard at building rapport with our existing customers and many of our sales are repeat sales to those people who value handmade and take pride in supporting 2 local stay at home moms. We also donate money to our local children’s hospital annually, so part of our customers money goes to a good local cause. The other thing that has been a huge advantage for us with pricing is that we are a team of 2. So our business cards, table fees, t-shirts are cost-shared. We have less overhead coming out of our sales, and we now know twice as many people to network with. And we swap yarn all the time too when one of us runs out! I got off track here LOL. When pricing handmade or handcrafted items, you have to look at whether doing it at your chosen price makes you happy and wanting to continue crocheting more, or if it makes you want to poke your eyeballs out with a hook if you have to crochet the item again. Because if you give someone a great deal, more people will expect the same deal…and if you are the type of person who has a hard time saying no….goodbye eyeballs. HA! I jest, but really, pricing is super hard, but do NOT feel guilty asking what you deserve for your item. You would feel just as good giving it away to someone who will appreciate it as you would selling your item for pennies on the hour.

Debbie Pribele ...

lol goodbye eyeballs lol… cracking up.. lol

GNAN ...

Pricing is a b****…..I usually end up not charging enough for the amount of time….but I stick with what I told them….then I adjust the next one…..I also like to work up my creations first…set my price and be done with it…the right person will come along who will appreciate your work and won’t bat an eye at the price…I also keep up with my time on a project…..to the minute….so I can tell them the hrs that went into it….what gets me is when they come up and say I can do that or so and so can do that..and don’t charge that Much…and I tell them politely To make it them self or get so and so to make it, you get what you pay for….Not trying to be conceited but I know my work is good and what it’s worth….and I do give a family discount to family and close friends….but the general public I try to be fair…..o and one last thing…I check out the competition and see what they charge for like item and I charge I little less or the same thing depending on the item…