As I prepare for my upcoming Art Show/Fair, I thought I’d share my pricing approach with you.
First things first, before you even think about pricing your items, you need to know your audience. Who are the people who will be attending the fair and what type of vendors will be there? The reason you need to know this is because this will determine the price range of items you should offer. You really should assess this BEFORE making your products.
Let me explain – if you are doing a local church or school bazaar, you will probably want to offer many smaller items that are priced very reasonably. Think checkbook covers, key chains, ornaments, and other chotchkies $20 and under. People attending these type of events are coming with spare cash in their pockets…they aren’t looking to buy intricate pieces of art. Your vendor competition is most likely going to be local crafters who have an average price point of $10-$20. Of course you should bring a couple of your higher priced items to encourage conversation and future sales but try to keep 75% of your products in a low price range.
Now, if you are doing an Art Show, you can raise the bar. This is where your neighboring vendors will be showing off their talents. Think jaw-dropping paintings, awesome photography, gorgeous glass works, intricate quilts, etc. This is where you can feel confident strutting your best work and price it accordingly. The people attending these type of events are coming to please their aesthetics and looking to decorate their home or purchase a gift for a loved one. These folks have an appreciation for the arts, are willing to pay for it and are most likely carrying their credit card in their pocket.
But remember, they also have cash (and children), and can be easily swayed to unload their smaller bills for a cute key chain, so be sure to offer a selection of your low-price point items as well.
And then there are the in-between type fairs. Larger holiday events that gather many crafters together and draw a large crowd. Here you can do a 50/50 split of your high and low price items. You will have a mix of vendors and customers so offer something for all of them.
So…how do you actually set a price?
I know for me, pricing appropriately has always been one of the most difficult parts of doing these events. It is not easy to put a price tag on your hard work and dedication….one that actually appeals to others, without insulting your hard work…you know what I mean, right?
The most important thing you can do is determine how much each of your products costs to make. This is a somewhat simple calculation.
MATERIALS: How much does it actually cost to make a particular item. If you used 2 fat quarters and a zipper, add what you paid for those three items to get your materials cost.
TIME: It is imperative, yes, “imperative”, for you to pay yourself. If it took you 30 minutes to make a product, you need to pay yourself for that 30 minutes. How much should you pay yourself? Well, that is up to you! A good guideline to start with is $10/hour, give or take depending on your skill level.
SHOW COSTS: Now you need to account for the costs of the fair itself. You most likely paid for a table, you also probably purchased some display items (lights, baskets, signs, etc). Add up those costs and divide the total among ALL of your products.
Once you do all of this, you have a guideline for your price. Yup…you heard me right…a GUIDELINE. Why? Well, let’s be honest…there are times when you may make something that takes you 3 hours to complete, and cost you $15 in materials but you know that there is no way it will sell for over $45… but it would for $30. Here is where you take a pay-cut. Just don’t make too many of these! Find an alternative product that actually makes you money! If you are unsure, ask a few of your friends what they would be willing to pay for an item. Be sure to ask people who will be honest with you. You’ll get a good sense of reality by doing this.
Finally, if you are looking to build your customer base and market yourself and your brand, you may want to consider offering a LOSS LEADER. This is simply a product that is sold at a low price or even priced below it’s market cost.
For me, I’ll be selling these monster tissue covers for $3.00. I will not be making a profit on these guys – on Etsy, these would sell for $6-$8! But I’m not interested in making money with these, they will serve another purpose….These will be placed at the front of my tent in the hopes that the cute factor along with the low price point will draw some customers that may otherwise have walked by. It may encourage a larger sale too!
That is my advice on setting prices for your goods. In an upcoming post, I’ll share my advice on tagging and displaying your goods to sell.