After writing and posting our article 10 Reasons to NOT to Lower the Prices of your Handmade Goods, I came across a comment on social media that made me think we need an article covering the reasons you should not make remarks about a vendor’s prices being higher than you would like…so we went ahead and put one together 😉
First, let’s thank the millions of people out there who do understand the value of handmade and support those small businesses; you have no idea how much you are appreciated! Without you, handmade vendors, artists and small businesses couldn’t do what they do and the world would be full of mass produced products.
The people who don’t value handmade or understand why the prices are higher are few and far between, but let’s be honest, almost all of us have come across one of these shoppers at some point. Whether it be a snarky comment at a craft show, an anonymous email through your website or a post on social media, little comments about your prices being too high, aren’t so fun to hear.
I’ve come across comments like this one before and my stomach always sinks for the artist. It’s seemingly a small comment but to the people whose business is being commented on, it feels like a slap to the face. An amazing vendor had shared their work on a Facebook group, which was a place for handmade vendors to post their work and buyers to browse, ask questions, etc. After one buyer had gone to check out the vendor’s work and saw the prices, they decided to come back and say something. Remarks like “yikes!” “no thanks!” or “ouch” when referencing prices of handmade goods really aren’t necessary…..and here’s why:
1) The business owner will read that comment
This isn’t a large corporation where people are hired to post on Facebook, answer emails or reply to tweets. That comment you’re making is going to be read by the very person who makes these items. They read every comment. Because they care, they want to improve and in hopes people are saying good things about them.
2) Maybe that’s the intention but realize they’re a person with feelings
If the intention is to comment where they’re sure to read it, realize they have put their heart and soul into their work. They’re working really hard to make their products and get the word out about them so let’s not crush their dreams or cut them, their products or their prices down. Let’s build each other up instead of instilling self-doubt.
3) It’s saying their work’s not good enough for that price
“Wow, I’m not paying that!” after showing interest tells the vendor that you like their work but not enough to pay what they’re charging. You know what they’ll hear? “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”. If it’s something you love but is out of your budget, ask if there are any options in your price range. The artist may be able to make you a smaller version or something similar using different materials; handmade business owners are almost always extremely accommodating.
4) Remember you’ve chosen to shop handmade
These vendors aren’t posting their work on a “Lowest Prices, Not One of a Kind” group or selling at a Discount Craft Sale, they’re advertising or selling through a handmade forum. We wouldn’t walk into Versace and yell “$500 for a T-shirt?! No way!” (hopefully not anyways). We’ve made the decision to shop at Versace, knowing they charge more than we would normally pay for a T-shirt. So even if we think their prices are ridiculous, commenting on it ends up making us look like the silly one since we came to them, not the other way around.
5) They’re doing the work of an army
They’re most likely one single person doing the work a large company would have multiple departments and a team of people for. They are their own:
- graphic designer/branding department
- web developer
- social media manager
- product designer
- pattern drafter
- label and packaging department
- shipping department
- sales person
6) They likely already have their own self-doubts
Putting your work out there can be extremely intimidating. They’ve most likely already questioned; whether their work is good enough, if people will like it and if they do, be willing to pay for it, if their business going to make it, etc. So additional comments from a stranger that aren’t uplifting, only adds to the doubt. Nobody needs more stress and doubt in their lives.
7) They’re not trying to take advantage of anyone
They haven’t slapped something together and said “Man I’m going to
bait a lot of suckers into buying this piece of junk for more money than it’s worth.” They’re putting their best work out there in hopes to make enough money to be able to wake up and do it again tomorrow.
8) They’re also not getting rich
Maybe they do have goals to grow their company and one day make millions of dollars but at this point in the game, they’re working hard to make each sale which, if they’ve priced their products properly, will cover their costs and make a small profit.
9) Not all handmade items are created equally
Handmade vendors also have varying ways of conducting business so just because one person is selling handmade earrings at $25 doesn’t mean every vendor will sell them for $25. Some may use different materials, be more skilled, use a different process or have built up a brand that allows them to charge more.
10) The choice is yours
At the end of the day, you absolutely don’t have to agree with what handmade vendors are charging but you also don’t have to buy from them. We hope that potentially hurtful comments can either be made constructively or not at all. The best part about handmade businesses is getting to know the owner. Ask them about their company and you’ll probably get an amazing story behind what goes into their products, how each one is made or where they source their materials. From that, you may grow an understanding as to why they price their products the way they do.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!