It’s hard to put a price on your hard work. But even if you don’t need to make money from the goods you’ve created, it’s also important not to sell yourself – and your handiwork – short. These tips will help you set prices in a way that makes your customers feel like they are getting their money’s worth and gives you the right return on your investment.
1. Your Time is Money
When you’re calculating your costs, make sure to include your time. We all know that time is valuable, so don’t underestimate it. Be sure to include the time you will be spending getting to and from the fair and staffing your exhibit booth. Use your state’s minimum wage as a starting point – because you should be paid at least that!
2. Calculate Your Costs
A common formula to follow for craft pricing is to first determine your cost. This can be done by simply adding together your cost of materials, overhead and time. While you may not be creating your goods specifically for a craft fair, you should still consider the cost of exhibiting as an overhead expense. For example, say it costs you $200 to exhibit. You should spread that cost out over the number of items you make to ensure you at least break-even.
Here’s a real world scenario, using beaded jewelry as an example:
Total quantity made: 60 bracelets
Cost of Materials (beads, wire, etc.) = $600
Overhead Costs (exhibiting fee) = $200
Time (5 hours to create, 8 hours to staff, 2 hours to transport @ $15/hour) = $225
Cost Formula per unit Made: ($600 in Materials + $200 in Overhead + $225 of time ) / 60 units made = $17.08 per bracelet cost
This $17.08 per unit cost is the minimum price that you should be charging. To set a full retail price, double your per unit cost (but take fair market value into account). Doubling your per unit cost would give you a price around $35 in the above example.
3. Appraise Fair Market Value
Say you’ve done your calculations like we showed above. Also do some research. What are other vendors charging for similar items? If the item looks particularly luxurious, you may be able to charge more, while if it doesn’t appear to be expensive it’s unlikely that prospective buyers will empty their wallets. If you charge $35 for your bracelets but all the other vendors are only charging $25 for comparable products, maybe $25 or $30 is a better price point.
4. Know Your Audience
Knowing who will be attending the craft fair is something that you should of course do before even deciding to participate. The audience can also affect your product and pricing strategy. If the clientele are parents with younger kids, they may be looking for child-friendly, lower cost items. If the fair is part of a larger festival that attracts wealthier clientele, they are likely to be looking for more unique, upscale items and have a larger budget.
5. Don’t Forget the Sales Tax
Most states require any sellers to collect and pay taxes on the sale of any taxable goods and services – even if you don’t live there. This can also require that you register and/or obtain a permit. Make sure you know the laws before you sell - you don’t want to be fined! Click here for a state-by-state sales tax guide for craft fair vendors.
6. Match Your Display with Your Pricing
Make sure that your display accurately reflects the pricing of your items. This doesn’t mean you need to spend vast quantities of money on set-up. Be thoughtful about your décor, including the color scheme and ways that your items are laid out. Sometimes a minimalist display can show expensive items to their best advantage. A bonus tip: lighting – like our Silicon Lightworks battery-powered exhibit lighting – can make a huge difference (there's a reason for the old adage "Shiny Stuff Sells" - to learn why, see our post on this topic here).
Selling isn’t always easy. But if you have the right audience, the right price, and the right display, you’re sure to have success.
- Danalynne (Wheeler) Menegus