One of the most asked questions in the Andrie Designs Facebook Group is “How do I price my items to sell them?”. We often hear thoughts such as “Am I charging too much?”, “Nobody will pay that!!!”, “I don’t want to rip anyone off”. Quite often, people end up charging less to make others happy but not really earning any money from the sale!
You may even convince yourself that you’re doing it for the love of it. A noble thought…but, unfortunately, love doesn’t pay the bills. Don’t sell yourself short. It undermines both you and the industry as a whole. People are finally starting to see handmade for the quality, unique items that they are rather than being cheap items.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pricing your products. No ‘one size fits all’. If you’re having issues, ask like-minded handmade businesses or consult a business expert for advice. The following, however, are a few things to help you get started:
Research, research, research
A little research goes a long way. Take the time to get to know your market. How are other makers pricing similar items? Do you share the same target audience? How are they calculating their price? Don’t be afraid to ask around for advice. Sure, some people may not wish to share, but in my experience, I have found most people more than willing to help a fellow maker. While researching your market, make sure to check out relevant hashtags to your creations AND location. It will help to determine how the market is working in your area.
Work out your costs – honestly and realistically
Sit down and write out all of your expenses for making your items. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it adds up. Fabric, interfacing, hardware, thread it all needs to be accounted for. Don’t leave something out just because you only use a small amount. That little becomes a lot when you’re making numerous items. It might only be a dab of glue now, but it will soon be a bottle that needs to be replaced.
What about the pattern, machine maintenance, electricity, website maintenance, insurance? You don’t want to sell hundreds of items only to discover that you haven’t made a cent.
There are a number of ways to use your expenses to determine the retail price of your item. Here are some suggestions worth researching further:
- Multiply the cost of materials by 2 or 3. E.g. materials x 3 = retail, or materials x 2 = wholesale, wholesale x 2 = retail.
- Multiply the cost of materials by a percentage. E.g. 40 – 60%.
- Add an hourly rate for labour and work out how many hours the item takes to make.
Give yourself permission to earn money
Your time is valuable and you should be compensated accordingly. Working for $2 an hour might seem like a great way to get started, but it’s not sustainable and will end with you tired, miserable, and no longer enjoying your beloved craft. You are not ripping someone off by charging realistic prices. If someone likes your product then they will be willing to pay for more than the cost of materials used.
Reduce costs (without reducing quality)
Find ways to reduce your costs to allow for lower, but still realistic prices. Can you speed up construction with a production line rather than individual items? Are you buying items wholesale where practical?
Stand your ground
Once you have decided on a fair price, stick with it. Don’t let people talk you down. You have done your homework and know that the price accurately reflects the cost of making the item. If someone isn’t willing to pay the price, then they’re not the customer you are looking for. Kindly thank them for their interest and move on to someone who appreciates the time and effort that goes into a handmade item.
Some bonus tips:
- You will not sell to everyone and THAT’S OK! Not everyone is your target customer so don’t try to please everyone
- Don’t forget that you are the expert when creating an item, not usually the customer. Charge what you are worth and stand by it!
- Don’t be afraid to say no! Not every design, order or request will be worth your time so be comfortable with saying no because it is ok to make things you love and not things you don’t!
Most importantly, be confident in yourself and your hard work. You are worth it.
What advice do you have when it comes to pricing your items?
The Little Bird Designs
8 thoughts on “How to Price Your Handmade Bags to Sell!”
Great article. Thank you. Gave me some much needed condifence.
You’re welcome Laura! Glad you found it helpful!
excellent. relevant & useful foundational information. having 1st public offering of my crafts in 2 weeks. will apply your tips & see how it goes. thanx.
Great tips for start ups..thanks
You’re welcome! Pleased to hear you found them helpful!
Wonderful advice for pricing!
Question, how to decide lenght or type of strap to put with handbag?
Thanks Michelle! In terms of handbag strap length, it depends on the size of the person you are making the bag for. However, as a starting point, feel free to check out the lengths used in our free Good-To-Go Messenger Bag pattern. Happy sewing!
Thank you so much. Very helpful