Buying that item at the artisan fair may have felt like an expensive splurge. I'm going to give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at common overhead costs that add up quickly for a small artisan, but must be factored into a retail price.
Running a shop online is great! Flexibility, work in your PJs, set your own hours, and reach a global audience. Assuming everyone is aware that there are costs for fabric, thread, zippers, labels, shipping envelopes, packaging, price tags, and *maybe* labor, let me show you some of the "others" I have encountered the past 3 years.
Depending how you purchase your item via Etsy (direct checkout with a credit card or PayPal), I am charged $0.92 or $1.24 to sell the $12 crayon roll).
Other costs that you may not have thought apply to a tiny business owner such as myself:
As you can see, there are many costs associated with running a small handmade business. It's important to factor all of these items into the price of your wares, or else you will never break even, let alone see a profit! I think this is why many small businesses don't survive. Certainly the hobbyists who are only charging enough to cover their raw materials are likely losing money at the end of the year.
Kind of makes you want to pay cash and say, "Keep the change," the next time you buy something from an artisan, doesn't it? At the very least, don't ask for a discount!
What do you think of the cost of handmade? Is it worth it?
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.