What Is Your Crochet Talent Worth?
Gotta tell ya a story…(keep in mind I know the value of my skill and this gal’s responses didn’t sting a bit), I had a gal (friend on fb) reach out to me asking if I could make a crochet baby Yoda. Not the tiny one, I’m taking the big sucker and in the pod 16″ tall, weighing 2 lbs that’s been all the rage lately. I said I could but needed to know when she needed it. She said she wanted it to give as a Christmas gift for her son. She messaged me 9 days before Christmas. Clearly, many (not all) non crochet folks have no idea how long it takes to make more involved projects like this. I’m fast, but I’m not THAT fast and I had to consider shipping time and holiday shipping delays. So, I told her that I could make it for her but there was no way it could be made, shipped and delivered in time for Christmas. She said, okay thanks, but this morning she messaged me and said she still wanted me to make it. Okay, cool, right? Eh, no…
So, we start talking about price and this is when the gal went off the deep end. I quoted $220 plus shipping. I had researched prices on Etsy to calculate what I thought was a fair price. The baby Yoda without the pod runs $180-200. She asked me if I was on drugs and said she saw another one for $45. I asked her to share the link with me and when I looked at the listing, it was for a 6 inch tall doll and without detail. I explained that it’s not just about the cost of the yarn, the price also includes my expertise and time in creating an item. When I pointed that out to her, girl gone crazy and I mean CRAZY! First, she said no one’s “expertise” is worth that much, then she criticized my Etsy shop listings pointing out the “poor quality” of my items. I have a 5 star rating. Finally, she threw several colorful metaphors at me and told me what I could do. She was very sweet until we started talking money then she went from angel to demon in a hot second. Princess, eh? Needless to say, she’s been blocked.
But, this experience made me think I should write a blog article about what our talent is worth. Two words…A LOT!
Like many people who sell items, any item, yarn artists deal a lot with lowballers. For me, this isn’t a big deal, because I know my worth and I know quite well how to say, thank you for your offer, but…
As handmade artists, we will always have the competition of big box stores selling machine knit beanies for 5 bucks and other machined items, but nowhere will you find machine crocheted items and that’s a plus for us. But, what we do face are those who do not see our craft as truly valuable. So, what do we do? Here are a few tips to help.
- REALIZE YOUR WORTH.
If you’ve sold your crocheted works and have received positive feedback and positive reviews, then there you have it; your products have a solid monetary value.
- YOU LOVE THE CRAFT SO MUCH YOU DON’T CHARGE MUCH.
Here’s the rub on this one. I get it. I love the craft, too. So, for me, I donate. I have a charity I do every year called Beanies For The Homeless. Every month, in addition to items I create to sell, I also make beanies specifically to donate to those who are homeless. But, when it comes to charging, I definitely charge what I’m worth. I do not undercut the price on my items for sale unless I’m having a close out, which I do annually at the end of the year.
- DON’T ALLOW PEOPLE TO UNDERCUT YOUR PAY.
Let’s say you work for a company and your supervisor walks up to you and tells you they are cutting your pay. They do it for no good reason. They have no complaints about how you’re doing your job, your work ethic, punctuality, etc. Would you stick around? Probably not. So, why do it to yourself? Haggling is not an option for me. The prices are what they are. The potential customer isn’t at a yard sale. Again, your skill has VALUE! So, don’t shortchange yourself.
- DO COMPARISONS ON PRICING.
Make sure to see what others are charging for their finished works. Make sure to figure an average. Drop the low and the high. Remember that many who sell on Etsy, Ebay, Posh, etc. are undercharging or haven’t researched prices themselves.
Is it really 3x the cost of yarn to come up with a retail price? Not necessarily. Keep in mind, and I know I’m sounding like a broken record but it’s true. SKILL AND TIME = MONEY! It is not just about the cost of yarn. The complexity of the project, time and talent it takes to create that item will determine how much you should charge. The area where you reside is also going to determine how much you can actually get in sales. If you can’t fetch what an item is worth in your locale, get those items listed online and only sell items you know will sell well and for your asking price locally.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR THE SALE.
Another rub…you LOVE to crochet…you LOVE to create…you HATE the selling part. It’s a problem many yarn artists face. Look, the bottom line is this. You know your work is great, so don’t shortchange yourself by being shy and caving to a lower price. Haggling is NOT an option! At shows, I always have a small section of “sale” or “markdown” or “close out” items that people can choose from. Unless I intend to offer lower prices, my prices are static.
- KNOW YOUR MARKET.
It’s important to know what your clientele want. For me, this year it was ALL about fingerless gloves and I made and sold a ton of them. They were quick to crank out and I had them priced right so that the customer was happy and I was profitable. This is what worked well for me. That may not be the case for you. See what others are making and actually selling. You can always make versions of your own that are different opening up a wider market.
- DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR REGULAR CLIENTS.
It’s great to focus on getting “new” business, but remember the people you sold to previously. Those people obviously valued your work, otherwise they wouldn’t have purchased from you. Let them know what you have on deck for the new year regarding new items you’re working on and give them a small discount to let them know they are a valued customer, because THEY ARE! For example, you can set up a discount in the form of a dollar amount off or a percentage off in your Etsy shop. Something else I do is include a small freebie, such as goat milk soap samples in a ziploc or a crochet scrubbie or coaster.
Lastly, stay positive! There are always ups and downs in our industry. You’ll lose your crojo at times. I know I have. You may feel that you’re fed up with lowball buyers. You’ll no doubt, be in the middle of a large project and just want to give it all up. You are not alone! We all feel these things. When this happens, visit my group, Crochet Au Lait Community, where you will find the support of others just like you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS! LET’S MAKE 2020 THE YEAR OF THE CROCHET HOOK!
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