The Balancing Act of Putting a Price on Handmade

on December 2 | in Small Business Ideas, Small Craft Business Tips | by | with 261 Comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks!

Virginia Lindsay is the owner and designer of Gingercake Patterns. Her book Sewing to Sell just released this November. Sewing to Sell not only guides you through the basics of starting a handmade business, also includes 16 copyright-free patterns that you can make and sell to get your business started!

Virginia discusses The Balancing Act of Putting a Price on Handmade, something we’ve all talked about quite a bit at Sew Mama Sew. (See: Do What You Love And the Money Will Follow, Placing a Value on Your Quilts + our Craft Fair Series.)

We appreciate Virginia’s honest, direct, supportive and informative approach to guiding readers through the process of sewing to sell. Her book is a great resource for anyone ready to take the plunge into sewing for profit!

You can comment for a chance to win Sewing to Sell! Just share your thoughts below and you’re entered to win.


So, you have finally gotten your courage up to sell some of those handmade treasures you have been gifting out to all your family and friends for years. Congratulations! But now you have to figure out what to charge for your time, talent and the actual materials you put into your piece. Although it is really hard to put a price on handmade, you can put your best effort forward to make good decisions by using some simple strategies.

When you take cost of goods down to the very essence, it is actually very simple. You want to be paid fairly for your time and effort and your customer wants to pay a fair cost. It is simple trade, right? Your handmade item traded for their cold hard cash! Keeping both parties in mind, pricing becomes a lot simpler.

It’s really important to value your time and effort when you are running a handmade business. If you are selling yourself short, you will quickly see your enthusiasm begin to fade away as you work like crazy and see little change in your financial situation. So first, get yourself organized and figure out the cost of materials in the items you are selling. Instead of just ripping into fabric, pay attention to how much you are using when you make that tote bag or peasant blouse.

After your materials cost are worked out (and they are usually more than you think!), it is time to determine how much time it took you to make the tote bag. Even if you are buying $10 a yard designer fabric your labor costs, not your materials, are what truly bring the cost of things up. From cutting the fabric to giving the finished piece that final press, can you determine how much time you spent making it? One hour? Two hours? Then you must decide how much you want to be paid. $15? $20?

Of course, as a seller of handmade sewn things, you almost never just make one thing at a time, but let’s use a single unit to come up with an easy equation. You spent $12 on materials (including fabric, interfacing, thread, zipper) and it took you two hours to make the tote bag. With this equation, at $20 an hour, you should be able to charge $52 for your tote bag, right? Well, maybe. Now for the hard part; although the bag may be worth $52 to you, you need to realize that customers might not be willing to pay that much. You are going to need to do some research and make some tough choices about selling this tote bag. What are other similar bags selling for online or at craft shows? If you see many of them listed around your price range and selling at that price, great! But if you are much higher, you will have to make some changes. You are either going to lower your own cost per hour or figure out how to make this bag a lot faster and simpler!

Here is a reality check that you might not want to hear… You are certainly worth $20 an hour but making and selling your handmade items are not as simple as being paid by the hour. You are an entrepreneur now! You are no longer just an hourly employee. You are now fully engaged in running your own business and your labor comes as part of a salary package deal.

Let’s talk about the other half of the pricing equation: Your customer. First, this person is special and wonderful because they are specifically shopping for something that is handmade. Either on Etsy (or Goodsmiths, etc.), or at a craft show, they know they are not going to find the same prices they will see at the big chain stores. They want to buy (or trade with their money!) something handmade and unique. They want a little bit of YOU and they are willing and expecting to pay a little more. But, they want to feel like its a good exchange and even if they love your tote bag, $52 might be just too much to ask. It’s important for them to feel that they are getting value from your product.

I have heard the saying before that a good trade is when both parties feel satisfied. The buyer did not get a super great deal and seller sold at a fair price. Selling handmade is not for people who want to work little and get paid a lot. It is for people who want to feel satisfied and accomplished with their work. That means being compensated properly.

My good friend Amy has taken her handmade business to the next level. She created Mindfully Made Studios back in 2011 by sewing bags and cuffs with spiritual quotes printed on special fabric sewn onto the fabric. Her blessing bands and patchwork cuffs have become her best selling items and she now sells them wholesale to over 40 stores across the country and has just finished a huge order for the uncommon goods catalog. Amy does all this sewing by hand with the help of two part-time employees. When I asked her about her pricing strategy, she told me this, “One thing so many sellers can forget is that you don’t just spend your time sewing to run a handmade business. It’s important to incorporate all the time you spend on the computer doing marketing and returning emails into the cost of your product. If you are selling at craft show, think about how much you spent on the entry fee and how much time you spend sitting there and selling your goods. Think about the money you spent printing out business cards and promotional signage. All these things need to be incorporating into your asking price. If you are making something and can’t figure out how to get the asking price you need for it to keep your business running, consider a different strategy to find that perfect handmade thing that will not only give your customer a beautiful handmade piece but will also bring you the compensation you need.”

Finding the right price for your handmade items is a journey that will have successes and failures. But working to find the balance between compensating yourself properly and respecting your customer’s sense of value is crucial to making your own handmade business a success!

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261 Responses to The Balancing Act of Putting a Price on Handmade

  1. JillB says:

    A really hot topic!! I remember when clothers were hand made to save money…. So long ago…
    I would definately expand my selling if I were more comfortable with pricing. My husband is always pushing me to charge more and I price to sell since I love doing it.
    I would be beneficial to me to read what the pros have to say…
    thank you for the opportunity to win

  2. Sue says:

    Pricing is so tricky. Can’t wait to read the book!

  3. Heidi K says:

    Great post. It seems tricky to find the balance.

  4. Danielle Montague-Judd says:

    This sounds like an informative and useful book. Although my crafting is at the hobby stage right now, I am keeping track of original project ideas to pursue. It would be satisfying to produce and market items to sell at local events.

  5. Kathleen Duncan says:

    I’ve tried bazaars and such, with a short stint on Etsy. Haven’t had a lot of sales. I priced items to be competitive. Love to know the secret!

  6. Cheryl says:

    Pricing is the hardest part of selling an item.

  7. Sharon Owens says:

    I recently started selling at craft shows and pricing has been a big concern. I mainly price by cost of materials plus labor although some items I price lower because I think the customer won’t pay that much. How do you get over the feeling that you should lower the cost of an item because one person didn’t buy it? At best, I feel insecure at pricing. Sounds like this book could help.
    .

  8. Shelley says:

    I would love to check out the book! This is the hardest part of selling handmade.

  9. Betty says:

    What a Great idea for a Book!! I would Love to win this!!

  10. Helen McDonnell says:

    Such a hard subject to get right – all help is appreciated.

  11. Katherine P says:

    Sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to read it.

  12. Jess W. says:

    Wow! That looks like a great book! I’ve been thinking about starting my own business, and this sounds like just the thing. πŸ™‚

  13. Caroline says:

    Enjoyed this article. Especially as I am hoping to grow my very tiny business. I’ve realized some things are fun to make but will never be profitable. I’ll make them strictly as gifts, when I have the time!

  14. Kylie says:

    I would love to learn from this book, and will certainly read it whether or not I win!

  15. Julie McKay says:

    Great article. Thank you. Thanks for the chance to win. Julie

  16. Claire says:

    Wonderful info! Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Michelle says:

    I definitely struggle with pricing. Thanks for the great post!

  18. Vicki says:

    The hardest part of selling is pricing.

  19. Vicki B. says:

    So nice to have some guidance in this area. Thanks.

  20. Sharon says:

    What a great resource! I’ve been trying to decide on starting a home-based business. I look forward to reading your book!

  21. Sharon says:

    I’ve also been debating on starting a home based business. I look forward to reading your book! I’m sure it would be very helpful!

  22. Amy Caldwell says:

    Price is the hardest part for me. Thank you for all the great info. Would love to read your book to help me figure out how to sell in my small town economy.

  23. Karen Seitz says:

    Such an interesting post. I must read this book!

  24. Raihana says:

    I just started selling handmade pouches and bags This book would be great
    As I have no idea how to price things .thanks

  25. Sassy Lass says:

    I love that the business advice is customized for handmade /homemade businesses. I’ve been wanting to start a business of some sort and I can’t wait to read the book cover to cover.

  26. Allison Sews says:

    These are all such wonderful lessons to keep in mind. I’d love to check out this book.

  27. Tiffany says:

    What a great post! So much to think about.

  28. sarah in nd says:

    i think this would be an interesting read as i’m starting to consider selling knitted work…

  29. Heidi says:

    Enjoyed this thought provoking article and sweet projects!

  30. Carmen N says:

    I love following along with this book tour – thanks for the chance to win!

  31. Terri says:

    Thank you for this. It was very helpful.

  32. Maria J. says:

    I’m looking forward to read this book. Putting a price on something handmade is challenging to say the least. It is always good to know other opinions on this subject.

  33. Cons says:

    Very helpful and honest.

  34. bobbi dougherty (FL) says:

    I would love to win this book. I never know where to start for pricing when someone wants me to make them something. Great post. Thanks.

  35. Meg Moe says:

    I would love to get this book! I am currently in the research/daydream phase of wanting to sell some things. So this would be a great start for me!

  36. Margaret Schindler says:

    This is a great post. I have thought about selling but have no idea where to start.

  37. superstitches says:

    Great information. Pricing handmade items is a challenge. This book looks like it will provide some great insights on this.

  38. Sephanie Olmsted says:

    I want to read this book. I want to make the crayon folders.

  39. Cheryl in NY says:

    My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday. I made a tote for myself recently that came out really nice. A number of people have asked me to make one and are willing to pay me. But it took hours and hours to make….this book could help

  40. Ulli says:

    Great post! Very thought provoking and informative. Been thinking about selling my things for some time, and this has been helpful. Thanks!

  41. Judy says:

    Very thoughtful and informative thank you for the information. I do wonder though about adding time into the price which I know is important but what if one person is a slow sewer and another is fast. Would it be better to use more of an average when it comes to your time and also the more you sew something the faster you get at it.

  42. marilyn says:

    What an informative post!

  43. deborah in az says:

    i used to sell on etsy and found it so hard to make any profit at all. i would love to read this book and get some ideas for changes i could make to my process. thank you!

  44. Lowena says:

    Thank you for posting this. As someone who like to make things, sometimes it’s very tricky to know how much to price handmade items without going over or under.

  45. auschick in va says:

    so many times i have wondered whether I should start my own home based business selling kids clothes (or something), but unless I can streamline the process to churn things out quickly, I just don’t think it’s worth my time to have a business (i’d rather use that time with my children — or sewing for my family).

  46. Jeanne says:

    It is such a balancing act to come up with a compromise between the high cost of quality materials and the time invested in producing a high quality handcrafted item and weighing that against what people are willing to pay. You spend a lot of time second guessing oneself, but in the end, its a help to have a guide to figuring out fair pricing.

  47. Aliza B says:

    This would be a wonderful book to have. I have been trying to sell my hand crafted items, but find it hard to price items in a reasonable way for both me and the purchaser.

  48. Donna Marchlewski says:

    This book would be wonderful to own! Thank you!

  49. Veronika says:

    I need this! This book looks invaluable.

  50. Ellee says:

    What great information for us! I look forward to reading this book for sure!

  51. Miet says:

    Thanks for this very informative post!

  52. Laurie says:

    I’ve been encouraged to sell the things I make for a long time, but I’ve never thought seriously about it. I think Virginia’s book could educate me.

  53. Andrea McColeman says:

    What a great teaser article. I am very interested in reading the book. The pricing always makes me nervous. I know I always end up selling myself short so I go back to just making things to give to my friends and family. I look forward to reading more!
    Andrea

  54. This book sounds just what I need, I find it so hard to price things I’ve made

  55. Thunder says:

    wonderful post. pricing is indeed very tricky.

  56. Judy Brennan says:

    Thank you for sharing your expertise on pricing. So grateful. Having a large boutique sale in June at a regional quilt show. Your information is so valuable to us. Would love to read the book and learn more about this topic that I just have no experience. I tend to give it away for free or very little. Thanks so much.

  57. Noel says:

    As my Scottish grandfather would’ve said, “Lassie, you’re just buying yourself a job.” I am a quilt maker. The only way I’ve ever made good money is by teaching. If I cost out all the fabric to make, for example, a large tote bag it comes to around $50 and takes me 5-1/2 hours. And that is after I’ve made it many times and have figured out every shortcut. I need interfacing, fabric, lining, thread, fusible fleece. I need sewing machine needles and rotary cutter blades and rulers and freezer paper. I make a beautiful product but very few people will pay me $120. My materials are quilt shop quality and even if i get a fabric discount and by interfacing by the bolt, it is hard to get the cost down.

    We need to be realistic about making and selling things. If it’s for fun, great. But if you aren’t making any profit, as you say, it is pointless and discouraging. Sad to say but people would rather buy something made in China for a few dollars. I recently donated for auction a twin size quilt that was valued at $350 for materials alone, including professionally quilted, and it went for $85. Go figure!

    I don’t know how any one can make money selling crafts.

  58. Mara says:

    Would love this book!

  59. Sandy Vanya says:

    I have been doing craft shows for about 14 years now & it is tough to price the items. Would LOVE to have this book! Thanks for the opportunity to enter to win a copy.

  60. Joan H. says:

    This is a difficult thing to deal with. This book sounds like an answer to my dilemma.

  61. Pamela R says:

    I have sold handmade items over the years (does macrame windchimes ring a bell??) and always struggled with making a profit even with careful analysis of product and process. this book sounds like a well thought out guide that any of us could use. Thks

  62. RITA MONTGOMERY says:

    I have sold things at 2 different craft shows and made money at one but not at the other. A lot depends on your customers and location. I don’t think I’m making more than a few dollars an hour for my items. I would love this book so I can learn how to make this a better arrangement between myself and my customers. Thanks for the chance.

  63. Eileen says:

    Soooo informative! Thank you, and thanks for the chance to win the book. Fingers crossed!

  64. Teresa @Aurea's Kitchen says:

    Thank you for helping us figure out this business.

  65. Stacey Jones says:

    I have only been sewing for about 3 years now. People always tell me I should sell but I always doubt myself and think that my prices would be to high or people wouldn’t want to pay what it is worth because it is handmade. I could really use the extra income that I could make just don’t know where to start with the pricing.

  66. jacki cohoon says:

    this is always a problem: finding the balance between what they will pay and what it costs to make something. Good thing I love what I do!

  67. I dream of having my own Etsy shop…

  68. Bettina says:

    Such a thoughtful and helpful post, I faved it immediately. I am in the process of putting together all the details/ paperwork and planning for starting to sell and find it exciting but occasionally overwhelming. I am sure I’d benefit immensely from the book- and probably enjoy myself at the same time:) Fingers crossed!

  69. Dana says:

    I appreciate the comment that looking at market value and sometimes making a hard choice to find a fair price that someone is willing to pay is ok. I feel like so often these articles just say, you deserve $20/hour so you are a bad person or a fool if you don’t charge your customers that!

    Also you need to take into account costs like replacing your sewing machine too, if you wear it out, which I did my first machine within a year of starting my business.

    But I still can’t charge $20/hour and sell my products. But I feel lucky to be able to work from home and make some profit and even if I’m not making a killing, I feel educated about the choices I’ve made and satisfied. Thanks!

  70. Ioleen says:

    I have been thinking about selling some of my smaller things I have made but the pricing is very hard to do. Your post have lots of things for me to think about. Thank you.

  71. Jo says:

    Oh this looks like a great book. It’s so hard to figure out a price for handmade. This book will be valuable.

  72. Sandy Vanya says:

    I have been doing craft shows for about 13 years with some success, however there are always folks who balk at prices. On the other hand, there are those who want handmade items and are willing to pay for the privilege of owning one of a kind items. I would LOVE to have this book to help with pricing some new items that I would love to include in my shows. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a copy.

  73. Joanna NY says:

    Thank you so much for the great info… I always have trouble pricing my handmade items.

  74. Julia S in WA says:

    Many people don’t think about the time that goes into a handmade item. I think you truly have to enjoy what you’re doing to make it worth your time & effort.

  75. shani says:

    I would love a copy of this book. I am attempting to start my own handmade business. shani

  76. Angela says:

    Thanks for this great information, and I look forward to reading the book! I am a SAHM and just starting to work on a plan to sell kids clothes at our local summer markets in the coming year. Hopefully doing what I love will evolve into a source of income with flexible hours that will still allow me to spend lots of time with my daughter.

  77. Tina says:

    This is the dream of many a sewist. I’d love to get more serious and start reaching with this book!

  78. Kristi Van Os says:

    It would be interesting to see how far off I am on selling my homemade things. I sew for the pleasure of creating nice things while I watch TV at night. Besides getting the cost back from the items I’m sewing, I know that I don’t compensate for my time. I’d love to read this book!

  79. Diane says:

    I’ve been sewing for children and Grandchildren all my life. Until recently I’ve not thought about sewing to help fill in my fixed income. In the last few months I’ve begun sewing and selling a little to lady friends at church. I made a bag for me and everyone loved it. “Can I get one?” I heard over and over. I will have to know how to price my goods. This is wonderful and will help out tremendously. Thank you so much for helping the rest of us figure it out.

  80. Michelle Smith in Michigan says:

    I am really looking forward to checking this book out. Many great ideas and tips it looks like.
    Michelle Smith

  81. Lisa says:

    Selling handmade is extremely difficult for me. I don’t have a gift for self marketing, And the cost of materials is crazy! I have a languishing etsy store, and have about given up. This book just might help, so thanks for the chance!

  82. Becky N. says:

    Thanks for sharing. Very well written!

  83. Kim says:

    This was a wonderful post! I have been having a difficult time with figuring out how much to price things. I look forward to reading this book.

  84. Laurie says:

    So well done! Thank you for the valuable information. Books like these are so helpful for me, as I’ve considered making items to sell.

  85. Jayne says:

    Its a fine line to walk! Pricing is a struggle for me and always has been. I want to price to sell, but also don’t want to sell myself short! Selling on Etsy has been challenging, but it is also a great place to do research. Thank you for all the information. Its always an eye opener when everything is broken down!

  86. Tammy says:

    Pricing my things is something I really struggle with. This was a great article, and one I bookmarked to come back to again & again! I think I NEED this book!!

  87. Claudia Sheehan says:

    I have been thinking about trying to start a small home based business to sell my handmade items. It would be launching a third career for myself. Retirement is so boring. Starting a business is the most dissimilar career from the others I have done. Reading the short excerpt above, has already given me some insights as to how a cottage industry should be run for a shot at success. I would love to win Sewing to Sell.

  88. Carol Battaglini says:

    Perfect timing. Just retired, with more time to sew what I love.

  89. Rhonda H. says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight. Friends are encouraging me to sell my handbags, but I keep fretting over the pricing issue and stalling. I am looking forward to reading the book!!

  90. Charlotte in GA says:

    Very informative. Thanks

  91. Renea says:

    I use to sell many of my sewing and craft projects but then decided that I was not pricing them right and was getting short changed for all my time. As I look ahead to retirement I have toyed with selling my creations again. This book would be a great help if I decide to do a part-time business. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  92. Rickie Long says:

    There is a huge difference between a personally fulfilling and self-sustaining hobby and a business. A business plan incorporating material costs, labor costs, infrastructure costs and profit for a specie product or product line will help you determine which side of that fence you are actually on.

  93. Melinda Meehan says:

    Thank you for sharing the great info! Starting out can seem overwhelming at times. Another great book to reference that I must read!

  94. Beth says:

    I have been considering selling at our nearby markets, but it doesn’t seem I could make back what I spend!

  95. Leanne says:

    Thanks so much for your great advice – I have just started selling at a local craft shop and pricing is the hardest part !!!

  96. Jackie says:

    What great information! The included projects would make cute gifts, too!

  97. Kathy Hassig says:

    Pricing is indeed difficult. I tried the craft show route and did not have much success. I will take your comments into consideration and try selling again. Thanks.

  98. Beth says:

    Thank you for this post! I am trying to price my handmade items to sell and am finding it really hard to determine a price!

  99. Fran Bott says:

    Thank you for reminding us that there is more to time involved that just making the item. There is a lot to think about.

  100. Amanda says:

    Straight forward talk about topics people tend to get so personal about is rare. I appreciate the approach and quite interested in this book.

  101. Gia says:

    The book sounds great!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  102. Annabell says:

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s so hard to put a price on handmade goods…

  103. Bekki says:

    What a great post. I find this subject so difficult, the worst thing is asking friends and family what they think of a product and a price and getting completely different answers! I’m going to have a good old chew over this post later.

  104. Liz says:

    I’ve been thinking about selling my work off and on for years, but can’t come up with a product that is time-effective… That could be sold for a price fair to the time put into making it. I’d love to read your thoughts about the whole subject in the book!

  105. Reena Kaplowitz says:

    Excellent. Thanks for the chance to win…XO

  106. Denise says:

    Hmm. It would be interesting to see how this relates to quilting for others, taking their product, their quilt top, and putting my work into the completion of their project. Sounds like a great book.

  107. Sandra says:

    this is very helpful

  108. Nicole in WA says:

    I love your ideas! I agree about assessing what handmade items should cost is difficult to determine.

  109. Marla says:

    I’ve recently sold some handmade items and pricing was a struggle. This book looks like it would be very informative and helpful!

  110. Kim says:

    This has been one of my biggest challenges.

  111. Crystal Wall says:

    Thanks for a chance to win. I have learned a lot from reading your blog. As someone who is new I appreciate all the help I can get. You have some amazing work. I follow you. I would love to win! Fingers Crossed! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  112. Ursula says:

    Thank you for the really great information. There are so many variables to consider when it comes to setting a price for an item.

  113. Mi Long says:

    Thank You for this insightful article. This is so very helpful. That delicate balancing act of pricing is such a challenge. The marketing tidbit that I like to always keep in mind is the error(s) of underpricing. When an item is priced low, it can send an underlying message of “bargain basement” quality. I like to price fairly, yet confidently because as was stated in the article, they are getting a “little bit of you”.. your spirit, energy, your art and soul.

  114. Heidi says:

    Thanks for this post, such great advice for a “newbie” like me!

  115. Ali M says:

    My husband would like me to sew to sell, but I’m still up in the fence about if I could keep the joy in my life that way – thanks for the info on this book!

  116. Delia from VA says:

    I have always wanted to venture into the world of sewing for $$, but never knew how to assess the value of my products. This book looks like it would be a world of knowledge.

  117. Judy M says:

    It is a very difficult decision on pricing an item. Thanks for your insite. And another thought, many of us under charge because we never know exactly what the market will bear.

  118. Anita L says:

    Thank you for your advice in this difficult aspect of sewing and selling our hand made items. It is very tricky to come to a fair price sometimes and often I feel like I’m selling myself short.

  119. Hafza says:

    This is a great post! Information are very useful and I love the book. Thanks for the chance with the giveaway!

  120. Meredith says:

    Thanks for the really helpful information.

  121. Chandra says:

    Wow, this looks like it is going to be a great read.

  122. Linsey says:

    This is exactly what I needed today!

  123. Cheri says:

    I have spent my adult life trying to sell my hand made items! If I had a nickel for everytime someone said to me..”those are so cute..you should sell them”..I’d be rich and not leaving a comment here! I would follow that to the person with “Thank you. How many would you like to order?” and they would say.”Oh, I didn’t mean me! I don’t need any!” I have always known the parts mentioned in this blog, but there has to be more to it..so maybe the answer is in your book! I’d sure like to know! Thanks for the info!

  124. Thanks for the good information. When you sew handmade items for a business, you have to try to find quality materials at great prices. Would love to read your book!

  125. April S says:

    I so need to read this book! Sure hope I’m lucky enough to win it!

  126. Diane says:

    Great post, thank you. I’m a long way off thinking about selling my work but still interested in your book.

  127. Linda Fleming says:

    Thank you for sharing – there’s certainly a lot to consider.

  128. Mama Lusco says:

    Thanks for the insight. It is a balancing act, wanting to value my time with a price that people will pay!

  129. Debbie says:

    people don’t realize the time it takes to make items until they try to do it themselves.

  130. Jean says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I always have a hard time putting a price on handmade items. Every one of them so unique and special! It’s good to get a some guidance on this topic.

  131. Stephanie D says:

    I have been asked several times about someone paying me to make them something, and I just haven’t done it yet. I tell them it would be a lot less trouble on both of us if I just gifted it to you. It is sad it has to be that way, but I really don’t think people understand how much just supplies are. Fabric is crazy expensive and you can’t go in the whole on it and expect it to be a business. I have thought about doing a craft show, but really have been scared to even start.

  132. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. Pricing things to sell is the trickiest thing in the business. I’ve been guilty of pricing my items too low, and I have experienced the quick fade of enthusiasm you are talking about. I’m so glad that there are people out their who have figured this out. Excited to read this book!!

  133. Kelly Aubert says:

    Great info! Being a beginner is so overwhelming!!

  134. Gaylynne says:

    I just love all the stuff I see on sew mama sew.

  135. Nancysue says:

    It is so hard to price a handmade item. My background is music merchandising. Easy. One Harmonica.Made in China. Absolutely no emotional connection from me to the harmonica. Easy to price. But with handmade items (aka “our babies”)along with the magic equations…. there is this umbilical cord factor that messes everything up and fogs the brain!

  136. Kathy E. says:

    Pricing our hand-made items is so tricky. Living in small-town Midwest, there are very few people that would be willing to pay what I’d expect to just cover my time and materials. So, I end up making things mostly for gifts or selling to good friends at a minimal cost. I guess I look at it as personal enjoyment while I’m creating. As soon as I don’t enjoy it, I will stop!

  137. Beth in Michigan says:

    Great suggestions. I never thought about considering the time you spend on the business and marketing end of things. Makes sense!

  138. Gina says:

    Great article! I have been considering this forever.

  139. Nancy says:

    It is such a tangled web. We need to discuss this and support each other.

  140. Nicole says:

    This is very helpful, when you are just starting out and have so much on you mind on what to do this is helpful.

  141. Nurdan says:

    Most of the time, I give up on selling the things I make simply because I think I am charging too much but also don’t want to undercharge. This book will be very useful with balancing how much to charge and how much to compensate. Thank you.

  142. Anne says:

    This book is just what I need about now. I’m good with the creative side of making, not so much the business side. Thank you!

  143. Terri H says:

    Thanks for the info and the chance to win!

  144. Beth T. in OR says:

    I have a dear friend who struggles with these questions. It sounds as if your book addresses all the things she is trying to work out, and in the same thoughtful way she goes at it, but with a practical insight that might be especially helpful to her. I am so glad I read this post!

  145. MarjoryW says:

    This sounds like a great book I would love to read. Yes, pricing is the trickiest part of my home sewing/crafting business.

  146. DebbieKL says:

    Pricing is so tricky! And some people expect homemade = cheap. Looks like an interesting read!

  147. Judi B in VA says:

    I’d love to read your book. Can’t wait to see a copy.

  148. Mandi in CO says:

    Thanks so much! This is such a challenge for me. A few friends ask me to hem pants for them, then show up with an expensive bottle of wine, and I don’t know if I should refuse it or just say thanks!

    Also… nice fabric is expensive.

    Also… sometimes I feel like a mini sweatshop, when I’m making multiples of the same thing to sell.

    I look forward to reading this book!

  149. Carolyn says:

    I will share this with my daughter-in-law. She has a shop for her handmade items.

  150. Ramona says:

    Thanks for this interesting post. Always hard to figure out what to charge.

  151. Anna says:

    I am in my third year of selling handmade products and I still feel like I am muddling through when it comes to the pricing issue. Thank you for this article. I hope to get a chance to read Sewing to Sell.

  152. Christine says:

    This kind of book is invaluable. Most of us know how to make gorgeous items but don’t have the business acumen to sell them..therefore, we are running on the wheel like the hamsters..not gaining much financial stuff.

    I’m dying to read this book. I’ve done all that analysis like the author and have probably come out close to what she would have assessed. But I bet there are a few more things in there that I would learn!!

  153. Rachel says:

    Great article! As a seller of handmade sewn accessories, I always want to make sure that I’m being fair to both myself and my customers. Thanks for your tips!

  154. Anna says:

    I am in my third year of selling handmade projects & still feel like I am muddling through when it comes to pricing issues. Thanks for this article. I would love a chance to read Sewing to Sell.

  155. Susan says:

    I would love to win this book as I am trying to have a home business and frankly, I don’t know where to begin. I love to make items, and I have an eye for detail. I would welcome a copy of this book so I can begin doing what I love and having a way to support my habit and my home!

  156. Sharlyn says:

    I have thought many times about starting a craft business and didn’t know where to start, sounds like this book would be great! Thanks for the chance to win

  157. Nita says:

    It’s something I’d like to look into, for sure. I just don’t know where to start. Maybe the book will help.

  158. Kathy says:

    These are good things to be aware of. I think the hardest thing is pricing anything you wish to sell and feel properly compensated. Have you been to garage sales?? It sounds like this book will give some sound advice

  159. Brooke In NY says:

    so many great thoughts in this post, can’t imagine how great the book is!

  160. CeLynn says:

    Thanks for this information packed post! I look forward to learning a whole lot more after reading this book,thanks also for the giveaway.

  161. Brie says:

    Thank you so much! It is such a hard subject!

  162. cynthia says:

    thank you for this post! It is very difficult to find the “fair” price and to remember that handmade is NOT competing with big box items imported from third world countries.

  163. Kristina in VT says:

    Thank you for this wonderful info and chance to win the giveaway!

  164. Cindy Fraher says:

    This information is helpful. I can never figure out how to charge for what I make.

  165. Diane B says:

    Virginia,
    I’m truly looking forward to more exploration of your book.
    Your expertise on setting or finding the right price is exactly what I need to read and help to make a decision about some tote bags I’ve been quilting. I can adjust the size too and just as you mentioned , I’ve discovered I will get one more piece of the exterior fabric out of 1 yd of fabric.
    Thank you for writing of your experience and the support you’ve already given to our sewing and quilting community.

  166. Karen says:

    I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  167. Elizabeth says:

    This is the hardest part of trying to live off your art. Thanks for the tips!

  168. Rachel says:

    I have always struggled to price my handmades appropriately thanks for the great information.

  169. anna Garza says:

    Great book to have and I really need it. At the age of 62 I decided to check into social security and was told that I didn’t have enough quarters because I spend most of the years while allot of women were working I was a stay at home mom. So I thought now what. I did allot of sewing but never really charged. So I figured now is the time to start doing what I know and sell it. But the question always is how much is fair. I just know I now have to do something to make the income I was expecting from social security. I like what the book covers and wonder if there will be any other way to get the book.

  170. Gail says:

    Thanks for the information! I love hearing from people who have experience, especially in marketing and sales.

  171. Alys H says:

    Excellent excerpt. Makes we want to read the whole book. Thank you!

  172. Christine Herman says:

    It is definitely a challenge when you start adding in all of the overhead or other costs not actually associated with the physical product. Thanks for the article!

  173. fenna says:

    would love to have a good read of this book! thanks for a chance!

  174. Alicia says:

    Thanks for all the great info.

  175. usairdoll in CA says:

    Great post! Lots of information to learn.

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.

  176. Mrs. C from TN says:

    Great that this conversation is happening! It’s a challenge when friends and family don’t understand pricing…

  177. Jordan Slice says:

    This is a great read! As a teeny (itsy-bitsy) handmade business owner, I really struggle with fair pricing…and I’ve totally seen the joy being pulled from me with under-pricing :\ good point!

  178. Ruth says:

    This is really helpful! Thanks so much.

  179. ruby t says:

    Being a career artist is a tough profession especially if there is no place to get solid pointers. this book could give insight to the world of selling not only for sewers but other disciplines as well.
    Thanks

  180. Erika says:

    Great article, I’d love to learn more from the book.

  181. Rosalind B. says:

    Thank you for great information on pricing, I look forward to reading your book. Selling my homemade items is something I have thought about for years and now that I am retired I would like to make it happen.

  182. Amanda B. says:

    Great things to keep in mind and I consider starting my own business.

  183. Sumi says:

    Pricing is so hard. I sell my crochet items and always have a hard time with pricing because what I think my time is worth is often not what someone is willing to pay, not to mention having to figure out what I will owe on my income taxes at the end of the year. I would to read this book and get another perspective.

  184. Trinity says:

    I’ve been considering my own handmade business, but I’m so scared of undercharging or overcharging. And when it comes to selling to my friends, I just have no clue what to do. πŸ˜› Good info, thanks!!

  185. Vernita says:

    Pricing is the hardest thing for me….

  186. Jessie from NM says:

    I need a book like this. I might have a book like this but where? I don’t know. I sold Sock Monkeys at the local farmers market and people are real assholes about it my price, which according my other maker-friends I was selling WAY too cheap. Maybe I need to find a better market for them?

  187. Jeanne Draper says:

    Very thought provoking. So many factors to consider.

  188. I was just discussing this with a friend yesterday! Thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

  189. Trish Smith says:

    I’ve struggled with time Management/pricing of my handmade items for a while. I really appreciate this information! πŸ™‚

  190. Sarah says:

    Another thing to consider is Does the pressure of needing to produce a certain amount of your handiwork, does that pressure take some of the joy of your craft from you? I find it does for me and so I feel very comfortable charging for my time. It’s more than me just doing something I love, it’s also work! Great things to think about.
    πŸ™‚ All the best,
    Sarah

  191. Sandy says:

    Very useful information, thank you!

  192. It is so difficult to figure out prices. Thank you for the information

  193. Courtney Elwell says:

    What a great book! Would love to win. Thanks!

  194. I really need to read this as I have been thinking for some time it might be the right time for me to sell my handmades.

  195. Connie J says:

    a very timely article for me. I am finally doing my first craft show this weekend and found pricing to be the hardest part!

  196. Tammy says:

    I’ve sold a few things here and there – I’ve not ever really focused on making a business out of sewing. That book looks great!

    One thing that I find frustrating is when I go to craft sales, hings are either priced so low I wonder how the crafter is paying for the materials, or so high I wonder how they are going to sell anything! Mostly though, people price their goods entirely too low at craft sales. I guess they hope to make the money in volume but I can’t imagine putting so much work into something and getting so little out of each individual item.

  197. Sarah in PA says:

    Very good information; it’s given me lots to think about!

  198. Bethany says:

    Very interesting! I am the only quilter in my family and I have had multiple members of extended family ask me to make them a quilt. They always tell me that they will pay me, but I think they would be shocked if I gave them the total value!

  199. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the post, I like your comment on how the customer is purchasing a little bit of the creator!

  200. Marianne says:

    I agree that pricing is such a challenge! Thanks so much for some really helpful hints!

  201. gramk says:

    It’s the hardest thing I’ve found about starting a small craft business! Would love to read some good advice!

  202. Heather M says:

    The most important thing to consider I think is that balance of what you are willing to accept vs what a consumer is willing to pay. I’ve been asked why I don’t sell the quilts I make, my answer always is that the amount consumers are willing to pay is way lower than the price I would need to get for them to cover costs and make a living. Finding a product that can be made in a reasonable amount of time and sold for a reasonable price is key. Thanks for the information.

  203. Erica says:

    This is something that I have always struggled with and why I am always really hesitant to sell things that I have made. Part of my problem is knowing that if I price something in a way that covers my expenses and gives me something for my time the total is way more than I would ever consider paying for that item, not that it is not worth it but I would look at it and know that I could figure out a way to make it for so much less so I have a hard time imagining anyone actually paying that much for something. I often think that I would love to sell items that I make but I never get past the pricing point before I decide that maybe it is better to just make things as gifts.

  204. Kelly P says:

    It’s so true that it takes courage to enter into the sewing market. I’m still trying to gather mine!

  205. sarah says:

    thank you this has been an education. i know when friends or mums at the school gate have asked about something i have made and how i should sell them i have been very dubious over who benefits exactly. i love sewing and knitting etc but it is not so much material costs that can be easily worked out but more a cost of time taken, and as you explain there is a lot more involved in the pricing of a created item. i think i need to sit down and read your book before i start down this path.

  206. Becky says:

    Thanks for the timely advice, I’m working on listing my first sewing project on my Etsy site right now!

  207. Alli says:

    I think people who decide to sell their handmades are really impressive!

  208. Theresa says:

    I’ve been dreaming about starting to sell my sewing. This book sounds like it would be inspiring.

  209. Frances Pek says:

    This post came just in time for me as I’m starting to sell some of my handmade creations after years of making. I am indeed stuck at this point, always wondering what is the right price. I look forward to gaining more insight from this book. Thanks.

  210. Min says:

    Yes…we move from hourly wages to a salary package. That clears things up and still gives us worth. The goods are the vehicle to getting paid. I loved this.

  211. Shannon says:

    It is a balancing act for sure! I am adding Virginia’s book to my list–looking forward to reading it more deeply:) thank you!

  212. Nickkole says:

    Great article, it’s something I think about a lot! Though I also worry about what to sell… I’d love to read the whole book!

  213. Megan says:

    Figuring out prices is one of THE hardest things for me… Love this article!

  214. Jess Z says:

    Interesting viewpoint. I lived in Austin for a couple of years and met so many of the original sellers, and some of their advice is slightly different. I think it comes from being part of an untouched market at the time, but things have changed with more Chinese manufacturers saturating the “handmade” market. Looking forward to reading more in your book! πŸ™‚

  215. Gale Schiermann says:

    Thanks for the post. I often make something and then someone wants me to make them one. I don’t have any idea how much to charge them.

  216. Cassandra says:

    Thank you for writing this post. Pricing is so challenging, and it is always good to hear another perspective on this topic.

  217. Sarah Marie says:

    Excellent points. Sewing for love and sewing for profit are two different approaches. Sounds like a wealth of information is waiting inside this book!

  218. Jan Roberts says:

    I always have the hardest time pricing my things. This info is great. Can’t wait to read the book.

  219. Linda S says:

    The real challenge for me is making something that customers fall all over each other to buy! Pricing is still a challenge for me. I need this book!

  220. Maureen says:

    So many of my coworkers tell me “you should sell your quilts on Etsy!” I always reply, “It’s complicated.” I finally told a persistent one that the supply costs alone for the current quilt I’m making (Cherrywood hand dyed fabric, although I do have some leftovers) are approaching $500. She had to scrape her jaw off the floor! Thanks for the insightful post, and for the chance to win a copy of your book! πŸ™‚

  221. I’ve been selling my bags for almost 6 years now, and my sister (who sews professionally) has been telling me all along that I’m underpricing. This is a hard spot for me. I’m burned out, but raising prices is scary…. I’m looking forward to learning more about (and finding) that sweet spot where noth parties are satisfied.

  222. Tara Palmer says:

    I struggle with this all the time as a newbie starting out. I’ve sewn casually for years, but I want to try to get a little income coming in.

  223. Cherise says:

    Such great info. It’s such a tricky business selling handmade things- at least I think so. I could really use this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  224. Patricia says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments on this touchy subject! Looking forward to reading the book: would love to win it!

  225. Tonia Jeffery says:

    I really dislike figuring out how much to charge for my time, especially when it is friends or friends of friends. I really want it to be fair but usually sell myself short, while feeling it is too much for them.

  226. Laura N. says:

    A very timely piece as I am currently contemplating this very thing. Thanks for the info & opportunity.

  227. Brittany says:

    This was a great post! I always go back and forth about selling my things online again the price struggle is real!

  228. Jen says:

    An informative post! Thank you! Looking forward to reading the book.

  229. Jennifer says:

    I would love to get up the guts to start pricing and selling my handmade items. This book sounds like it will be very helpful on this new journey!

  230. Jerri says:

    Great information!

  231. Kelly says:

    As a beginner, the amount of time it takes me to finish a pattern is to long to really make it worth while. I would love to sell in the future.

  232. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for this! You’ve given us much to think about. πŸ™‚

  233. Lisa Harness says:

    Lots of good information here and an important reality check! I will be checking out your new book. And, thanks Sew Mama Sew for your excellent blog and articles – I look forward to every one!

  234. Buffy says:

    Would love a chance to win this book! I live in a great town where handmade is everything. So may creative artisans making beautiful work and I get so hung up on “how can they do this and make money? Could I do it too?” But am never sure if it is worth it or how to make it succeed.

  235. Adrienne says:

    What a fabulous post! So much great information!

  236. LaShandra says:

    This was very helpful. While I’m a novice, I do very well with fleece blankets. That is what I want to make as my main handmade staple and deciding what to charge is my delimma. Thanks for helping me with my decision.

  237. Dawn Jones (Indiana) says:

    This book looks interesting, that is an extremely hard thing to figure out. It’s easy to short change yourself trying to compete with store bought. Thanks for the great post.

  238. Terri C says:

    Thank you! I think this will help me a lot. I’ve been having trouble figuring out what to charge people at church for making t-shirt quilts. A very laborious project ! And of course I feel I don’t deserve the prices that many people charge for this. Love the idea of this book!

  239. kathyh says:

    The Magic Price.
    How do both you and the buyer get value?
    Always a great conversation.

  240. Michelle says:

    I am just starting out and have no idea how to work out what to charge for my creations. This book sounds fantastic and how wonderful that Virginia has included 16 copyright free patterns . Thank you for the opportunity to win this fabulous prize.

  241. Melody says:

    Thank you so very much for this snippet from your book. I’ve been struggling with these very topics with my sewing business (I’m “The Town Sew ‘n Sew” based in Meredith , NH). I hope to win a copy, but if not I’ll need to save up & purchase a copy. There seems to be a lot of sound, honest advise in there! Thank you, again!

  242. Susan says:

    pricing has been one of my most difficult problems in selling handmade and vintage! Hoping to get this book soon – it seems to explain more than just materials + labor + profit formula I’ve seen elsewhere!

  243. Tongue says:

    very useful and thanks for sharing!

  244. I need to get on this. I keep giving away my services and crafts — I know they’re worth something, but I have no idea where to start. Thanks for sharing!

  245. Jan Sutter says:

    Wow, sounds like a lot of good sound advice in Virginia’s book. I would love to win a copy and get busy making money with the items I make. πŸ™‚

  246. Denna Day says:

    So glad to see I’m not the only one thinking about this! Thanks for the insight.

  247. Amber! says:

    THANK YOU! No, really. This is one of my biggest challenge of starting my little business. I never know what to price things. I try to look at ways to be financially savvy, but I just never know where to start!

  248. Jennp says:

    What a great post. Pricing is such a difficult topic and there’s some great ideas here.

  249. That is thought provoking. I’ve read the big articles being passed around about counting all labour and material and equipment toward pricing – it’s daunting to think of asking those prices!

    I’ve found out since I started selling 7 years ago that not many people will buy big flannel receiving blankets – the fabric/supplies cost close to $8, time is probably about 3/4 hr, so by those standards I’d have to charge about $20! That just doesn’t sell… I had to make a choice to sell them at nearly cost before I could move them. It’s tricky to find something that is actually worth making/selling!

  250. HANNAH says:

    THis is great info! So nice to hear straight forward thoughts!

  251. Bridget in CO says:

    Great post! I’ve always struggled with this when people have asked me to make things for them. It’s nice to have some direction and other things to consider when giving people a number.

  252. Cindy says:

    What a timely article. I’m contemplating making/selling handmade items and donating the proceeds to my son’s school. This really helps me work out the details.

  253. Sarah N says:

    Thanks for sharing! I know that I can do the crafting side, but everything else involved can be overwhelming!

  254. Pat S says:

    This is a very informative post, if I don’t win the book, I will definitely be buying it.

  255. Lorraine says:

    Thank you! Good guidance and some new things to think about in pricing.

  256. Claudine says:

    This is very timely advice as I’ve been sewing a few extra projects for people this Christmas and I have no idea what to charge them for my efforts. Thank you!

  257. Gina S. says:

    Great info, thank you.

  258. Heather says:

    I have a hard time charging my friends for projects I make. I want it to be affordable for them and take the sacrifice for my time.

  259. Renee says:

    This is such a tricky part of selling handmade items! I made quilts on commission and only get one commission per ten inquiries–people are not aware at how much quilt will cost! Quilts are hugely time consuming and expensive (from me at least!).

  260. lesley says:

    thank you so much for the info – this is a hard thing to figure out when you are just starting

  261. Thank you so much for this great post! Figuring out how much to price something is challenging. There are a lot of great summer markets in my area and I have considered applying for one of them. I will look forward to reading your book.

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