One of my biggest bugbears is underpriced handmade items on Folksy. Especially crochet items. My second-place biggest bugbear is the excuse: 'I only do this for a hobby, so I don't price my items too high'. If you're flogging granny blankets for peanuts (I have seen them for as little as a fiver), I'm afraid your hobby isn't so much crochet as crippling those businesses who are trying to make a viable living.
So imagine my horror when a friend on Twitter sent the following message:
How come your prices are so low? I'd be whacking them up for the effort it must take to make these.
It's worth noting that this friend is not a crafty-type, he doesn't sell on Folksy and as a 'he', he's kind of er... under-represented in my customer base. Oh dear.
I'm not the only person ever to write a blog post about the perils of pricing handmade, so in brief... Scrubbitty cloths sell for £7. The minimum wage from 1 October for a worker over the age of 21 will be £6.08/hr. So either my materials cost me 92p, I am younger than my birth certificate says I am (younger workers get paid less), or I crochet at the speed of light.
None of these statements are true. And it gets worse. I live in London, where the cost of living is higher than anywhere else in the country (and the 18th most expensive place to live in the world). Consequently, a worker can rightly expect to be paid the London Living Wage - £8.30/hr.
This means that to sell Scrubbitty cloths for £7, either my yarn suppliers are paying me to use their yarn, or I am a Time Lord (Time Lady?).
Again, neither of these statements is true.
I will be raising my prices. Not all at once, and not by the margins they need to straight away, but I now have a pricing plan which includes a series of increases over the coming months to try bring things back into line gradually. I'll be applying it to both shops.
I have learned my lesson. Pricing is difficult and although it's easy to ignore, I do so at my peril. It's like the ironing, doing my accounts or the bindweed in the garden - it has to be kept on top of!