Monday, 14 April 2014

FAQs Series: Pricing Handmade Goods

Most designers don't start small businesses with a view of making as much money as possible. They're started because people are passionate about what they make/design, and because they want to share their creations with others, so every decision is made with their customers in mind, rather than lining their own pockets. If you think of your favourite indie designers, I can guarantee most of them will just be taking just enough money to get by from their business, and putting as much as possible straight back into it.

However, we still need to be financially viable to keep providing you with the products you love at the quality you love. One of the most difficult aspects of running a business based on products you've made yourself is pricing, and is usually what separates a business with long term prospects and one that will usually remain a hobby. Your price tells a story and gives value to your creations - so make sure you're telling the right one!


A lower price does not necessarily mean more sales - instead it may have a negative effect on how others value your work, and so it's important not to price your items too low that you devalue their worth, but it's also equally as important not to price them too high for your market. Most creatives have difficult with pricing, because they struggle to match what is offered on the high street manufactured on a mass produced scale in China or by craft hobbyists.

It is so important to understand your market and your competitors - especially whether they're hobbyists who just want a little extra cash on the side, or whether the work full time and need the money make from their business to live - there will be a HUGE difference in pricing between these two groups. The pricing of your items will depend on your target market as well as the demand for the product, and what similar products there are out there, but this does not necessarily mean you have to compete with the prices offered by others. When I started Little Miss Delicious, one of the things that really surprised me was how much polymer clay artists undervalue their creations because they just want to sell a few pieces a month, and that is still something I'm constantly battling with since it effectively makes it seem like I'm charging a great deal more, when the reality is just that I work very hard to maintain a full time business, while the average clay enthusiast just does it for fun, and their livelihood isn't relying on the money made.

My prices are based on the fact each item is completely made by hand, and clay items especially are a very time consuming process, as they are individually hand sculpted as well as hand painted. On average, one piece can take up to 2 weeks to finish - which is why I tend to make things in big batches!


There is no simple calculation when it comes to prices, especially when it comes to evaluating the worth of something you've created. However, there are handy guidelines and formulas to take into account when it comes to pricing your items to ensure you're giving them the correct value rather than underselling yourself - which seems to be a huge problem in the handmade community! Instead of stressing over cheaper competitors, the price for handmade items should be based on the cost materials used and how much work goes into producing them. One of the most helpful formulas I've found for calculating the price of handmade goods is:

Materials + Labour + Profit = Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price

This ensures all expenses and profit are accounted for in your pricing, although this can sometimes be a difficult way of looking, especially when you're competing with people who sell similar designs at a much lower price than the true costs involved, but it's important not to let this affect your pricing.


Materials

This includes all your material fees that should be incorporated into the final price of the item, from the cost of buying your materials to the lesser thought of expenses such as PayPal fees and website maintenance costs (or transportation costs for events). I tend to divide the cost of each item I purchase by how many pieces I can get from it to work out how much each piece costs to make. Another way of calculating the material cost of your products is to write down your total monthly expenses then divide that by the number of items you'd like to sell a month. Items you buy once and use over and over to produce your products are better absorbed into the overall cost of your business rather than individual product costs.

Labour

The main difference between mass produced items and handmade products is the time invested into each item. It's important to calculate how long it takes on average to make each item, and adjust your price accordingly. There is no set hourly price, so make sure you do your research! Ideally you want to be earning no less than minimum wage, but due to the time involved in producing  LMD items I tend to price this lower as otherwise the items would be priced well out of my market, but this will be different for everyone depending on your methods and how you value your time - keeping in mind a crafters most valuable resource is usually their time!

Profit

Possibly the most challenging part of pricing your items (and something many people forget to include) is allowing yourself to profit from each item sold. While at start of running your business you may only break even, this is because of the initial large investments made, and so once past this stage you should be making something on top of the costs of each item. Again, there is no set price for this, but it should be within reason and largely dependant on what you're selling and what you want out of your business; whether it is something you're looking to do full time etc. This is also where branding plays a huge part - the stronger your brand, the more consumers will be willing to pay the extra to own something from it.


Retail Price

Once you add the above 3 together, this becomes your retail price. However, that is not the price you sell to the general public - it may be tempting to do, but not only does it massively undervalue others that do price their items at the correct retail price, but it also rules out any possibility of selling your goods at wholesale should you choose to do so later down the line.

If after this you feel your price is too high for your target audience, it might be beneficial to consider the way you produce your work and try and see if you can adjust the design or your methods to reduce costs. I do this by buying supplies in bulk and creating big batches of items at once rather than just working on one piece, and it's made a huge difference.


But no matter what you price your items, they'll always be seen as being too high for someone, so it's important to focus on your target market when it comes to pricing rather than a more general audience - especially if that more general audience don't understand the value of handmade items! When I first started, I never expected to run LMD full time so massively under-priced my designs, but it wasn't until I raised the prices a few years ago that things really took off - the higher prices made people appreciate their purchases more, and realise the value and worth of handmade. So Don't by shy and undervalue yourself, but instead use any price criticisms as opportunities to explain the worth of what you produce, the time and effort that goes into them, and the specialist nature of their value. The more makers stop under-pricing their items, the more valuable the general public will start to see them and realise why handmade pieces cost more than mass produced items from China! Then maybe next time a stranger asks what I do and I say I'm a jewellery designer, they won't be so surprised when I tell them I don't sell on eBay and I actually do it full time ;)

This post is just my view on the topic and I'm sure there are lots more out there, but I hope this has provided a helpful insight into the process behind pricing handmade goods! What's your best pricing tip?

Read more FAQs Series posts here.


Monday, 31 March 2014

Freshly Baked: Coaster Crazy

http://www.littlemissdelicious.com
http://www.littlemissdelicious.com

I'm always looking for exciting new ways to expand the Little Miss Delicious range, and I couldn't wait to share the latest products with you! Made in the UK, these cute coasters are the first of hopefully many LMD coaster designs that will be available over the next few months.

Available individually or as a pack, they're the perfect way to brighten up any home! Shop Coasters here.

Which character would you like to see in coaster form next?



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Happy Birthday, Grandad

Today would have been my grandad's 67th birthday, and is the first one without him here. I miss him more than words can say, and will never stop feeling like he was taken from us too soon - although I don't think there's ever a time to lose someone that isn't too soon.

I spent a lot of the morning in tears, which I know he would have hated. So instead I decided to turn the sadness and anger into something more productive and went for my first proper run. Definitely a long way to go, but still proud of my first one. I've been putting it off for a while thinking I wasn't ready, but I guess everyone has to start sometime!


In October 2012, our family got the devastating news that my grandad had glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumour. After the hardest 10 months of our lives watching the strongest, most amazing person we all knew (not many people would be eating pie and mash an hour after brain surgery!) fight something he knew he couldn't win, he passed away in August 2013 and not a day goes by where we don't miss him. He was more than just a grandad - he was a second dad, a best friend and the one that always helped me achieve anything I wanted to do. I wouldn't be half the person I am if it wasn't for him, and seeing how strong he was during his entire battle is just another reason he is one of the biggest inspirations in my life, and shows exactly why he managed to touch the lives of everyone he ever met - and it was because of this that I wanted to help honour his memory, and help other families that go through what we have.


While helping to care for him during his illness, exercise became my main outlet. I honestly think one of the main reasons I enjoy the 30 Day Shred so much is because every time I do it, I remember how therapeutic it was to help get out my frustration on the hardest days. Every time I felt like my strength was waning or the sadness was taking over, the last thing I'd ever want was for him to see that, so I used to work out or go for long walks, and now exercise has become so much more than just a coping mechanism - it's become a big part of my life.

Because of this, I'll be running the Great North Run in September with my dad and auntie for The Brain Tumour Charity in his memory to try and raise as much as we can for a woefully underfunded cause - over £500 million is spent on cancer research in the UK every year, yet less than 2% of that is spent on brain tumours. Research offers the only real hope of dramatic improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and management of brain tumours, and so we'll be doing everything we can to help such an important cause. 

You can donate over on my Just Giving page, and any donations to a cause so close to my heart would be greatly appreciated! I'll be posting about my training and progress as I go along, as well as any fundraising plans, so be sure to keep checking back for updates. 



Friday, 28 March 2014

Feature Friday: Clumsy

Pineapple Plushie Cushion

I first met Kate when I was living in London 4 years ago, and fell in love with her work immediately! Specialising in kustom, tattoo, tiki, rockabilly, macabre and cute, her products are all the best things in life rolled into one amazing brand, Clumsy.

Ship Tattoo Bag

Happy Cactus Riding a Pinata Necklace

Kate is not only the genius behind Clumsy, but she designs and makes all the products and prints too. She's a designer, illustrator, artist and kustomiser (and pretty mean with a sewing machine!). It's been amazing watching her brand grow from when I first met her, to having such a strong identity and character now. It was hard just picking a few pieces to feature because I love everything she makes, so be sure to check out her store to see it all! 

Atomic Cats Cushion

Mexicana Zip Case
You buy all these pretties and lots more on her website and Etsy. She also takes specific requests too, as well as making amazing custom pieces for weddings! 

You can find Clumsy here:
Website: clumsykate.com

Feature Friday is about celebrating all things inspiring and handmade/independent. Want to see your favourite brand featured on the Little Miss Delicious blog? Please email details to info[at]littlemissdelicious.com!



Thursday, 27 March 2014

NEW Limited Edition Sweet Heart Collection!


The brand new Sweet Heart Collection is all about celebrating your love of food - with a cute Little Miss Delicious twist!

I picked all the favourite LMD designs as well as a few new characters to include in this limited edition Collection, full of cute heart shaped foods.






I had hoped to have the collection completed and up in time for Valentine's Day, but unfortunately after being ill for most of January, it took a little longer to finish than I anticipated. But who says cute heart shaped goodies are only for one day of the year anyway? ;) 

The collection is extremely limited with only 10 pieces available per design so get in quick before they're gone! Shop the Sweet Heart Collection now.



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Before and After - 6 Months of Healthy Eating and Exercise

When I decided to start eating healthier and exercising a few months ago, it was so I could feel better and hopefully not as tired all the time. I didn't really expect my body to change that much - and one of the main things I said at the time was that I didn't want it to! After being on the small side for a very long time, it was nice actually having boobs and a bum, what I didn't realise was how much everything else had changed too.

I was feeling a little down yesterday because I weighed myself for the first time since starting my new healthier lifestyle 6 months ago just to find I'd actually put on weight, and I'm also in the first stage of an IC flare up which means a super bloated tummy, so I was feeling all kinds of gross. But when my aunty mentioned how I looked like I'd lost weight, I remembered I'd taken pictures back in September when I was just starting to exercise/eat better, so thought I'd take new ones to see if there was any difference. I genuinely couldn't believe the results.



I never in a million years thought I'd ever have actual before and after style weight loss pictures, especially not so soon! I also never expected there to be a big enough difference to share the pics - so please excuse the underwear ha! I had no idea my body had even changed at all, but it's so amazing to know all that hard work has been worth it, and all the times I've cried trying to do push ups wasn't in vein.


The main drive behind changing my lifestyle wasn't weight/body related at all. I was just sick of having so much IC pain all the time because of my diet, so decided to start cutting out everything overly processed, full of additives and just generally anything that made me feel bad. One of the main things I cut out in the beginning was meat, and while that was more for ethical reasons, almost immediately I noticed a huge positive change in my health. I instantly started feeling better, but more importantly eating better. By cutting out meat, I was a lot more aware of what I was actually eating and making more of an effort to ensure I getting enough fiber, iron, protein etc through my food choices. This has meant a lot more fruit and veg, and just actually preparing meals from scratch rather than ordering in all the time (although I still have weekly treats!). I've also cut out caffeine, chocolate and fizzy drinks because they just weren't worth the pain, and knowing it all means less IC flare ups means I never really miss them. I'm now in the process of cutting out milk and switching to dairy free where I can, which is definitely making me realise I actually really enjoy cooking! It's been so exciting trying so many new different things, and I can't wait until I'm brave enough to start sharing what I make


Exercise wise, I've had to be very careful and build up slowly since if I overwork my body, I'll get an IC flare up. It meant when I initially started doing the 30 Day Shred in September, I spent 2 months doing it without weights and (despite what Jillian Michaels says) taking breaks when I needed to. I'm still on Level 1, but now I can use 1.5kg weights during the full workout, without stopping or missing one rep, and tend to do it twice in a row a few times a week too. I try to do it at least 5 days a week, and I've also started training for the Great North Run (very, very slowly!), which means lots of walks and hopefully from this week onwards, I'll be able to start running too. Going from the only exercise being my walk to the fridge and back to working out pretty much daily the past few months has left me with so much more energy! One of the main parts of my IC that tends to get me down is how fatigued I feel, so knowing by eating better and exercising I'm slowly getting more energy makes it 100% worth it.

I still have a long way to go, but it just goes to show that numbers aren't everything and you don't have to eat less, just more of the right things!



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