It’s getting easier and easier for people to sell their handmade goods online. This is both a great thing and not-so-great thing. It’s safe to say that the online marketplace is crowded! There are crafters trying to run a business beside hobbyists that are selling goods for fun. This can create some difficulties in pricing your products when you're trying to make a living selling your artwork.
Pricing your products is the number one issue in the hobby vs. business conundrum. Generally, hobbyists don’t think about the bottom line. They price things based on what they would like to get, not from a technical formula involving labor and materials. So their prices are usually much lower than the professional crafter's. If you’re trying to run a business alongside someone who makes the same product as you, it can be hard to compete with much lower prices. As a business owner, though, you know what your items are worth, you're pricing your products according to their value, and you shouldn’t lower your prices to match. There is no way that you can maintain a business by doing this.
Since you know that pricing your products lower is no way to run your company, how do you keep going in a hobby vs. business world?
- Stay original. Keep inventing new products and techniques. Keep your customers coming back to see what is new.
- Differentiate yourself with quality and craftsmanship. Using better materials and methodology warrant higher prices. This allows you to promote the quality of your products. People will pay for quality!
- Run your business like a business. Deal with customers professionally. Get orders out quickly, respond to questions promptly, handle any problems considerately and you will have repeat, loyal customers.
- Diversify your business by expanding your sales channels. You may consider consigning and/or wholesaling. This is additional revenue that the hobbyists don't consider. It really gives you the chance to create more opportunities for yourself outside of the online marketplace.
- Get your own website and stop competing. In a marketplace, you are competing with others on the same site. Instead of using a marketplace shop for your goods, a free blog for your posts and a photo sharing site, show the public you mean business by establishing a branding website that is all you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making crafts for fun and a little extra spending money. But for those that are trying to run a business, stay the course in the hobby vs. business price wars. You are building a business that isn’t going to happen overnight, and there’s going to be competition along the way. While immediate sales are gratifying, you should focus on ways to make a long-lasting career from your products. Keep pricing your products where they need to be and don’t focus on what other people are charging. When it comes to selling crafts in a hobby vs. business world, there is room for everyone!
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