Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Price & Profit

Pricing, pricing, pricing!  “Where should I price my product?” is the never-ending question. Every small business owner has asked it when getting ready for a craft fair. Is the price too high? Too low? From my experience, I can tell you that the bottom line is that your time is money and that there is value in that. So don’t sell yourself short by pricing too low and don’t allow inventory to just sit there by pricing items too high. Here are some ideas on how you can do what you love and reap the benefits of selling at the same time.

I’d like to share three techniques on how I come up with pricing when getting ready to sell.

 

Price Point

Following are several factors you should consider when setting prices for your hand-made items.

1. Cost of Materials: Write down the total cost of your materials per item. If you use one yard of material, but make three items from that one yard, then divide the price of the yard by three and apply the cost to the item. Accounting for all costs is very important so you know what your break-even point is.

2. Related Costs: Account in your expenditures for the cost of the booth, any travel expenses, etc. Divide the total amount of related costs by the number of products you’ll be selling and you’ll have a better idea of the amount to add to each item sold.

3. Pay Yourself: As I mentioned before, your time is of utmost value. Set a reasonable hourly rate and multiply by the time it takes to produce each item sold.

Add these factors together and now you’ll have a better idea of how much you should charge. Another great method to set your pricing is found here: http://artsandcrafts.about.com/library/howto/htprice.htm

The most important thing is to find a pricing strategy that works for you. But notice I used the word, “strategy.” I use that term because there really can be a “science” to it. Make sure you do not guess what a “good price” might be without taking into account your costs.  Make it worth your while by doing the homework beforehand to come up with a price that will be positive for your business.

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“Know the Show” and Plan Accordingly

You also need to keep in mind the audience you are selling to and what price the market will bear. If your high-priced items just won’t sell, look for ways to reduce your materials/labor costs, which will allow you to lower your price and still sell profitably.  If this can’t be done, find something different that you can sell for a lower price while still making a profit. Each craft fair is different, and even the market and economy will vary from year to year, so make sure to keep these factors in mind.

“Knowing the show” will also allow you to understand the groups who will be coming through. Oftentimes juried shows attract an audience who are willing to pay a higher dollar amount. A show at your local elementary school gymnasium may have you rethinking the items you choose to sell. It’s hard to tell, but taking the time to evaluate after each show you do will help you the next time.

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Ways to Move Your Products

And finally, a few ideas on how to “move your products” when selling at a craft fair. What works for one might not work for all, so be creative in how you package your prices. That is one of the luxuries of being the one in charge! You decide for yourself some new ways to sell! Here are a few ideas:

1. Offer a wide range of price points. Make sure everything is clearly marked. Potential customers want to know immediately how much something costs. I like to call it the “Car Sales” approach. I don’t know about you, but one of the things I don’t like when I am looking for a car is not being able to find a price front and center in the window. If I see the price at first, then I immediately know what is within my budget and what is not. If I don’t see a price, it is a rarity that I will actually find the sales person to inquire about the price. I want something fast and easy. The easier it is to find a price, then the more likely I am to become more interested. Offering items at different prices that are clearly marked will bring more consumers into your booth. They are less likely to “just walk on by” because it is obvious if they’ll be able to find something in there that fits their price range.

2. Combine items. Pair items together that, if sold separately, would individually be priced a little higher. But be sure to advertise to customers that if the items are sold together, the price is lower. Customers will feel they have received great value for their purchase. And they should, too! You’ll make more money with a higher transaction value. It’s a win-win for both the buyer and the seller.

3. Get creative with your sales! Here are just a few ideas of what you can do to boost your sales!
– Include a small, free gift with a minimum purchase amount. 
– “Buy one, get one at 50% off” sales. 
– “The more you buy, the more you save” kind of sale.  For  example, if they purchase $50 worth, then they could receive 10% off their entire order, or if they purchase $100 worth, then they may receive 20% off their order. 
– Offer free personalization whenever possible. Many are coming to these shows for that one-of-a-kind, unique gift to give. Personalizing something shows exactly that. They won’t be able to find that at a big chain store! So if possible, personalize! You might even think about taking pre-paid orders for items to be personalized at home later for pick-up.

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Pricing can be tricky, but each time you sell, you will learn so much. Ask friends and family for objective and honest opinions. Keep an open mind and don’t be defensive. Talking with them can be very helpful. Discussing these things with fellow crafters both online and around your community can also be beneficial.

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We want to hear from YOU on the blog!
How have you priced your items when selling at a craft fair? What has been a proven strategy that has worked for you? What methods have you used to move your products? We’d love to hear your experiences!

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Next Week’s Tips: What to Bring to the Craft Fair and Making a Good 1st Impression

 

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10 Comments

Filed under Selling at Craft Fairs

10 responses to “Selling at Craft Fairs: How to Price & Profit

  1. linda rose

    Thanks for the info…I’ll be selling at a craft fair this weekend so this timely advice!

  2. Jennifer Nilsson

    I LOVE the fact that you are doing this ongoing article! Thank you SO much for providing this along with your awesome patterns. I am doing a fair on Nov 1st and while I have done many fairs in the past, it’s good to have a refresher on this topic. Thank you :)

  3. This is awesome information! I was thinking of entering my first fair this year and realized I just did not have enough information! Thank you for sharing such great knowledge!

  4. Great info. I also have my first craft fair, in a long time, on Sat. I’m nervious.

  5. Leia AKA ZooNana

    Remember that lowering your prices won’t always increase sales. Sometimes raising prices is better.

    I know this sounds strange, so let me explain. When someone sees a really low price on an item, they often think, why is this so low? Is it because it’s not quality craftsmanship? Did she use low quality supplies to make it? Or does she just not think her work is very good? Sometimes they even wonder if it’s really hand made. If the prices are this low did they perhaps just buy them from China and say they made them? (trust me this happens a lot)

    I was set up across the isle from a doll maker (she made mainly stuffed animals) at a local fair many years ago. Her booth was SO busy she sold out halfway through the fair. She also had a pile of orders for more. I sat there in awe as people paid $60 and up for her creations, and honestly they were well worth it, her items were amazing. I went up after the fair and congratulated her on her success and she told me she was dumbfounded. She had been selling for just a short time but had never sold this many, ever. She told me that usually she sells them for about half these prices, because she wasn’t real sure about how to price things. Because this particular fair cost so much to get into, she raised her prices to help cover her booth fee. She also raised the prices because she was afraid she’d sell too many and she wouldn’t have enough for the fair she was committed to do the next weekend. She mainly wanted to take orders and get her cards out there. Boy was she in for a surprise. See, when the people saw the prices, they weren’t put off by them. Customers saw this as a sign of quality and were happy to pay it.

    I see this in my own sales. I’ve been doing craft fairs for more than 17 years. I am often disappointed in my sales when I lower prices for craft fairs. To keep myself from lowering prices on things I shouldn’t, I have variety of items in a wide range of prices, to accommodate any budget. I also judge a fair by it’s location, size and customer base and factor that into my pricing equation. Some of the exact same items I can’t get to sell at craft fairs, sell for MORE (often much more) when I sell them online, AND the customers have to pay shipping. (customers aren’t concerned about the additional cost of shipping because they ARE shopping online, and know to expect it)

    Granted this isn’t going to work for everyone or everything, but please think about it when setting prices.

  6. valarie

    these articles have been very informative, but the comments people have been leaving are even better!. Something that seems to work for me, is to have a few really showy pieces that are somewhat over priced, next to some high end pieces that are priced a little lower. People are attracted to the higher priced item, and when they get put off by the price, the lower priced ones seem really great, even if they had not originally planning to spend that much.

    something else that works is grouping things together. for example if you see someone is buying a lot of cocoa mix, you might want to point out the decorated mugs that would be nice with it. If someone is looking at a scarf, make sure they notice the matching brooches you have next to them. A lot of time people come to craft fairs strictly to buy gifts, so they are going to look for the little “touches” that make the gift special.

    Valarie

  7. Great tips! My sister and I sell at craft fairs – large juried ones – my theory is this, if someone is going to spend $10 to come through the door -then they are going to shop! And they sure do! – I like your car sales tip – kind of funny – but on that note what we do in the booth is this: we are always fixing/rearranging items – so we have items in our hands, either clothes or hairbows/headbands. When we see someone looking at an item we approach them, greet them, and then take the item they are looking at off the hook – talk about it and hand it to them – it is a natural reaction for some to take it – this creates ownership! Funny but 9 out of 10 people will purchase what they are holding – Also we don’t hover – we will excuse ourselves from them and move on to another customer – now although no one is buying at that moment you have several people walking around your booth holding items – this will actually draw people to your booth – to see what everyone it buying (people think they are buying because they are holding the item – remember ownership, right?) and they want some too! Also put labels on your bag with your name/logo free advertising………….. Well I could go on and on – but I love doing shows and we usually sell out!

  8. Lindy

    In regards to pricing…I would like to raise my costs in order to cover entry fees and travel expenses for the show. For example, say I offer “Item X” for $20 at the craft show and someone buys it. Later, they go on my website and find out that I offer it for $15. Will they feel ripped off? I would hate to shoot myself in the foot over something like that. Is this one of those situations when I should just have to suck up loss?

    On the other hand, if they do purchase from my website, they would have to pay shipping so it would all come out in the wash as well. But how would I explain that?

    If anyone has suggestions/opinions, please e-mail me at link4pink@yahoo.com. Thanks!

  9. holly

    again, THANK YOU for these articles! they are very helpful and informative!!!

  10. AlishaSays

    THANK YOU so much for these articles. Again I agree with the sister who did not share them with me!!! UGH! I think I’ll be calling miss holly right now!

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