© by Carolina Gonzalez; all rights reserved.
I was talking through IM yesterday with a friend from the US.
She has just finished a two-day craft fair and I’m getting ready for an Open House on December 8th – as you can imagine we have a lot to talk about!
One of the topics that was raised, of course, was pricing.
Since we’re online, we’ve seen quite a few talented crafters be won by insecurities and self-loathing and it’s so sad.
Pricing and Guilt –
the Old Perspective
I’ve read many blog posts, forum posts and emails talking about how crafters almost feel guilty for being paid for their work, are always afraid of asking too much, or do not like to work “for the money”. I’ve also seen many crafters at fairs who are almost apologizing for the cost of the item you’re asking about.
These problems looked so familiar to me! For years I was like that. I underpriced my work and felt horribly when I had to add the price tag to a piece I had been crafting with love for hours. In fact I was asking myself why people would want to buy my creations! My self-destructive habit even made me forget completely about crafts for long hiatuses. I couldn’t see that I was putting away from me the thing I loved most: creating.
One of the hardest prejudices I had to overcome when I started working full-time as a crafter was the subject of this chapter: pricing. So, here are some points to consider if you’re about to throw the glue gun through the window! Don’t feel ashamed if you meet many of the points – just think at one time I met them all.
Pricing and Art –
the New Perspective
- Always first, be objective with the quality of your work.
While it is completely unfair to sell underpriced, it is just as unfair to overprice. This essay is not for people who jump on trends or who want to take advantage of the customer, it is for the hard-working crafters who want to make a full-time job of their art.
Making a living out of art takes time, humility and total commitment. I know I state this almost on every article, but this point is the axis of it all. If you feel you need to be a better crafter, give time to yourself to learn. Learn all you can about anything that inspires you, and try everything.
- Being an artist is a gift for yourself, but selling your art is a gift for the world.
People are lucky that there is art in this world, and customers are lucky there are crafters who make great quality items, have great customer service and offer amazingly beautiful and unique object to a mass-produced world. If you meet those three points, then they’re lucky to have you.
- There’s nothing that can pay for art.
When you work from the deep of your soul, letting all your creativity arise, and do that consistently for a long time, you become a master. Then the piece you are working on is imprinted with magic and becomes art. That is so sacred that money is something that cannot pay, no matter how high the amount, for the real value of art.
My point is: do not make earning money more important than making art. Money will come to you – as you stop worrying about it, you allow it to flow right to you. Any amount of money you get paid for your piece is less that it’s worth, so it’s you who is making a favour, because you have been given a gift and are generous enough to share it.
- Sad but true: you have a privilege.
The First World is a small place compared to the millions of people that suffer hunger, poverty and wars. You are doing something you like while others have to pick up food from rubbish dumps to eat. Work hard to be worthy of the privilege you have.
- Business does not mean boring, squared or uncreative.
I’m happy when my tags look wonderful on my items. I love it when I exchange experiences with other crafters in forums, blogs or writing articles. I love to find new artists that inspire me, amaze me and make me want to learn new crafts. I love to share my love for art with my customers. I love designing new business cards. I live, breath, sleep, eat and drink my business. I LOVE my business.
All this is marketing and business. All this is creating too. I try to make as little difference between them as possible.
- The more you give away the more you will receive.
If you want changes and opportunities coming to you, then stop thinking about yourself. When you see that you sell less, block your frustration immediately and give away a new batch of earrings to your best ten customers, or send samples to ten online customers. It is a Karmic law that everything you give will come back to you three times, so stop sending frustration all around and start spreading generosity and love… and wait happily for its return.
In the end, finding opportunities to sell and improving as a crafter is a habit, not a goal. Making a goal of money is a completely wrong idea! Your goals should be around having a better life, and money is only one of the ways of getting a better life, but not the only way!
To be satisfied, your mind must be on your art, on the ones you love, on your dreams for the future… but certainly not on money.
Author and multi-creative spirit Carolina Gonzalez of The House of Eleggua is always up to something new and interesting. You can also find her at House of Eleggua on Etsy.