I'm having a business/pricing crisis and since so many artists have difficulty with pricing/business I thought I'd post here as my crisis could turn out to be beneficial for someone else. :)
In one of the groups I belong to on FB, one of the members posted a set of wood/stone stretch bracelets she found priced at $175.oo. Set of 4. Cute but nothing extra special about them, just a single gemstone connector and wooden beads. At first glance I thought Wow! I am not charging enough. Breakdown the price and it's about $45 each bracelet. Looking up the components and how I charge for bracelets that aren't stretch the numbers seem to be about right. Poke around her shop and she has had 3000 sales, quite a few of these sets. That makes an estimated $90k a yr in sales. Her shop is full of bolo leather, wooden beads, and single gemstone on a chain, prices from $150 - 890 Nothing that I can't make, using materials I have on hand.
So why does this create a crisis for me? I look at my shop and then look at hers. She has mostly production pieces, things that can be made made quickly and easily over and over again. I have mostly one of’s with only a small handful of production pieces. We opened at almost the same time, days apart at most, I’ve averaged one sale a month, she’s averaged 11 a week and I haven’t come any where near 90k total. One third of my sales are production work, 20% is custom work, and the other half is one of.
Until I broke down those numbers I felt the bulk of my sales were production work. I felt I wasn’t charging what I should be, I felt woefully underpriced.
When we compare ourselves to others it creates a "what am I doing wrong" thought process, and that is a dangerous place to be. It’s comparing apples to oranges.
My goal has never been $90,000 a year in jewelry sales. My original goal was a consistent one or two sales a month. Combining all sales from Artfire (I started there and moved to Etsy) sales on Etsy, sales on FB and offline I have met that goal. The whole idea when I began selling was for this to be a self supporting hobby, gold and silver, and all those sparkly things can get a little pricey :) To me meeting your goals is the definition of success, once met it’s time to set new goals.
This crisis though, has gotten me thinking about the direction of my shop, about my pricing, about business vs hobby. The moment I started selling it became a business and I have treated it more like a hobby. Oh, I’ve priced properly taking all things into consideration. Considered other avenues for sales and weighed those options for profitability, and added items based on sell ability. But still, there are things I would do as a business I am not doing now.
Perception is a powerful thing. I don’t really like it when people say I ONLY USE THE BEST. This shop did that, she’s selling wood stretchy bracelets, and has managed to convince people they are something extra special. My hats off, she turned a simple inexpensive material into an only the best product. Maybe my crisis has more to do with marketing than pricing, as we do seem to price similarly. I understand marketing and, having been self employed since the age of 20, I know what to do. I’m not entirely sure why I resist it so much in this endeavor of mine. My hand work has always sold itself, someone sees, comments on it, a little chit chat, asks how much and orders. It’s just different online, and while I can still follow the premise it’s difficult to replicate that "in person” experience online, the warmth of the interaction, the smiles, the laughter, seeing their face when they hold it. I do however, have a couple ideas on how to maybe bring some of that warmth to the screen.
Ok then, having met my goals I suppose next is doubling, setting a dollar amount to aim for. 90k is more than I want, that’s full time work and I think I’m pretty happy with part time! Up until now I have done nothing more than passive marketing, a little cross promotion working with Etsy teams but nothing truly marketing myself. I have felt like I might be ready to step it up a notch and have been laying out ideas and I think it just might be time to start developing those plans. End of year is coming fast and it will be time to implement them before you know it. So the next couple of months will be all about the holiday season and me planning my marketing strategy. Don’t worry I Hate a hard sell, I won’t even buy something I need if it involves a hard sell, so the plan will still include passive marketing. I’m just going to get much more creative about it.
Hopefully this has helped someone in some small way to remember to use a crisis to push you forward, don’t let it hold you back. You are worth it!
Til next time!
Thanks for stoppin by!