What about people who say your handmade items are too expensive?
Dealing with people who tell you that your products are too expensive can be difficult as it feels like a personal insult. No wonder, as built into the price of your products is your input, the care and time you bring to the raw materials to make each piece into something beautiful. When the price of handmade items is questioned, the customer might just as well be questioning how much you, your creativity, your years of experience, your uniqueness and your time are actually worth! The answer to this question is that you can’t put a price on it! Some might consider it to be priceless, while others won’t.
So, let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assume that some people just aren’t accustomed to paying for products that have a living wage built into the price. There’s no point getting upset about the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the product or indeed giving people discounts to pacify them. You’ll be selling yourself short. There are other ways you can keep your prices at the level they should be and keep customers happy by using marketing to ensure that the perceived value of your art and craft is high. You know how valuable your work is, now it’s time to let the world know!
As we have mentioned in previous blogs, it’s really important to present yourself and your work in the best possible way using great photographs, a professional brand and a well presented website. Videos of your creative process on your website and on social media will showcase all the skill, time and talent you put into the finished articles. Let the world know that you are top class in blog posts with detailed case studies and high-quality images of you at work.
Now, the price of handmade items is an important factor but if price was the only factor the buyer would not be contacting you in the first place. The important thing is to tap into why the customer is looking for handmade articles and double down on that. Even customers who complain about the price of handmade items are looking for something special and bespoke, so how do you charge the right prices and avoid negative comments? Well, the secret sauce is to give people exactly what they are looking for….
Ten Top Tips to Get You Around the Price Conundrum
Some of these you may well have already thought of, but just in case you haven’t..!
Create ‘limited edition’ series or items. One month you might make a range of squirrels with top hats, promote the range and then not make them again. The following month you’ll make squirrels on bicycles and promote that range. Or, you can number your paintings: ‘one of twelve’ or ‘eleven of twenty’ to push the price up. People might go looking for the number twenty of a series for a twentieth birthday present or to commemorate some other significant date. Banksy did a series of numbered paintings of Marilyn Monroe and collectors and other customers went after particular numbers for different reasons.
Create cheaper versions. If you are an artist, for instance, you could do a limited number of paintings at a price you’re really happy with and then produce prints of those paintings to sell at a cheaper price. Then (back to limited editions idea again) you could even have limited runs of those prints at a higher price. Making a cheaper option available is great for anyone who might have been unwilling to pay the true price of an original painting.
Create pre-orders to your loyal database, ie. those customers who regularly buy from you. You can offer the items as collectibles prior to general release and even create an event so that people can buy your products before they are made available to the general public. This is a proven strategy for raising prices and demand before you make a particular range of products available on general release.
Work with key partners and come up with licensed collections. For example, you could work with the White Company and come up with all white collections of your products. People pay more for the added value and the well known name you are collaborating with.
Create the same items but with different materials. Maybe sketch your subject or landscape in pencil and then make it as a tapestry, or paint it says a watercolour. The sets can then be sold at a higher price than the individual items.
Mirror the trends in contemporary art. Do a Marilyn Monroe, a David Bowie, or a Queen Elizabeth. These represent collectors’ interests as well as cultural relevance and can be charged at a higher price. Don’t underestimate the power of nostalgia!
Diversify. Take an item such as a signature print and use it across different applications. A signature painting style could be used as a print on clothing, wallpaper or even home furnishings. What people might have not been prepared to pay for on a canvas they may well pay for when combined with the added benefit of being a set of comfy cushions!
Add your signature to everything. A real signature as opposed to a printed one. If you hand sign all your prints for example, it will increase their perceived value.
Be extraordinarily brave. A well known international photographer once added an extra zero to the price of every one of his photography prints and saw his business transform overnight. He realised that up to that time he had been undervaluing his time, effort and knowledge. Sometimes charging less has more to do with our own value than the value of the work we produce.
Collaborate. Offer other people’s collections in your deals or feature another artist’s work in your work or vice versa. This kind of work gives double the value, double the impact and double the reach. There is every justification here for a higher price.
After trying all of this and people are still questioning the price of your handmade items, they are probably trying to to get a discount! Just tell them that the price reflects the fact that the products are unique and painstakingly handmade by an expert in their field, with the very best materials, and included in the price is a little piece of you.