Pricing Crafts For Craft Fairs A Beginner’s Guide

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This is one of the biggest questions and hurdles crafters face. There are so many things to consider and it can be quite daunting. This post will break it down and help you systematically come up with a minimum ballpark figure.First of all, before you consider the rookie mistake of “low balling” to try to get the most sales; you need to understand that your price points say a lot about you and your products – and it may not be flattering.

If you are charging barely above wholesale prices; your potential customers are going to wonder why so cheap? Perhaps you are using junk materials, it isn’t really handmade, or isn’t high quality. That’s not the message you want to send as a professional.

Also, if you price your items too low, you will not make a profit. People who do this are not considering all of the costs – including being paid for their time. Here is a list of things to consider when setting your prices (and how to keep your costs down)

  • Materials (get an EIN and wholesale items when possible)
  • Time (How much time does it take to complete your item?)
  • Salary (How much do you want to earn per hour for your time?)
  • Fees (Rentals for fairs and travel fees)

Now let’s look at each of these in detail.

Calculating the Cost of Materials

To figure out the materials costs you need to sit down and make a list of the “ingredients” in your product. This includes your item and the packaging! consider how much each one costs.

Let’s say I am making hair bows. My product includes the barrette, the ribbon to make the bow, the glue to affix it. I also package them on cardboard backers slipped into plastic sheets.

For simple math lets say the following for each hair bow

  • One wholesale package of 10 barrettes is $5.00 so each piece is $.50
  • A yard of ribbon is $3.00 and I use a 1/3rd of that so another $1.00
  • Packaging materials are 10 for $2.00 so your per piece price is $.20
  • The glue is one of those items you can kind of fudge on – who knows how many drops are in the bottle right? So use your best guess. Add maybe 10 cents or whatever you work out is appropriate.

So we have $1.80 in supplies.

Calculating Time Costs

Let’s say you can make 6 barrettes in an hour and you want to earn $10 per hour you take 10 and divide by 6 and get $1.66

So now we have $1.80 in supplies + $1.66 in salary which comes to $3.46, but we aren’t done yet!

Calculating Projected Sales & Fees

The next step is to consider how many can you sell per month? At first, you will be estimating, but over time a clearer picture will emerge as to how many you can sell. For this example let’s say you can sell 200 per month. ($692)

Next, we have to figure out your other expenses. How many shows will you do? Let’s say this is a sideline and you are only doing 2 craft shows per month. The rental fees are $80. Your travel expenses are $20 and your hours worked at the fair will be 20 total. (yes these numbers are generic for the sake of easy math lol)

Ok, so now we add these fees 80 + 20 + 200 (hourly rate) for a total of 300.

We said earlier we were going to sell 200 per month – so now we take this 300 add it to our 692 from earlier for a total of 992.

Take your $992 total and divide it by 200 for a total of $4.96

This means to meet your basic goals you need to sell each barrette for $4.96.

The next question becomes can you sell for that price in your local markets? If so, price your items accordingly.

If not, you will have to cut some expenses or change your production somehow. Perhaps you’re willing to take $9.00 per hour instead and you can find a less expensive wholesale price for your materials, but still keep them high quality.

Maybe you are not being the most efficient when it comes to assembling your items? Once you reconsider these scenarios, rework your calculations and your new number should be something the market will bear. If not, craft fairs may not be the ideal market for you and you may want to consider other avenues (or even a different craft)

Remember – people will pay for high-quality handmade items if they deem them to be truly high quality. If you are selling “cheap” – then your customers will believe your time and products to be “cheap” and will not pay fair prices.

When you set your prices too low; you not only shoot yourself in the foot – you also do a big disservice to all other crafters!

Other Fees to Consider

Consider also in this scenario I did not include fees for credit card transactions. Every company is different. Not every crafter can afford or wants to accept debit (but your sales will usually be better if you can manage it without cutting too deeply into your profits)

If you decide to accept these payments then you need to factor those in as well.

There are some free calculator apps out there that can help you, but I recommend working it out on paper yourself first. Every person is going to have different things to consider and it’s very important that you understand how and why you are coming up with the price points you are.

If you have any further questions or need some help hammering it all out feel free to comment below and I’ll work with you to ensure you are getting the right numbers.

Good Luck!

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Comments 33

  • Hi, I have a question. I’ve been selling table runners for years at a local craft fair. I do well, and people come back every year, just to see them and buy them. I’ve never changed the price of them but material is so expensive now I’m not making a profit anymore. How can I raise my price without losing my faithful customers?

    • Mark your prices up and be honest about it. Tell them that the cost of materials has gone up so much that you can’t afford to offer them at X price anymore. Maybe offer an incentive. Spend so much get so much off or buy one get the second one for a lower price etc. That shows you are trying to give them a good deal, but then you’re also covering your own costs. If you aren’t making money, your business isn’t sustainable – period. Those who love your work will understand.

  • I have maybe an unusual way of pricing. I first figure out the cost of materials and double it. Then I look up the item online to see what others are charging online. I will charge a little less than online because I only do craft fairs and don’t do any online selling. That way if someone wants to buy from me but says they can probably get it cheaper online, I can honestly say, They won’t find it cheaper online.

    • If that method works for you K go for it. For my particular items, that wouldn’t be enough to compensate for travel, time preparing the items and packaging, and all my incidentals, but everyone should find what works for them.

  • I don’t have a clue how to price our Christmas Bazaar Items. First there is a group making inexpensive items (Tree Decorations) for our craft group. Most of the items have been made by using all the supplies that were donated from our own stashes. ie: Mason Jar Lids into wreaths. Clothespin decorations, etc. This is a Sr. Housing site and most of the people are low income. Other crafty people are setting up their own tables for themselves. I will have a table of my own, which includes felt christmas tree decorations, some lovely mason jar wreaths, homemade cards. and other small items. My style is totally different from the craft group and I think will sell for more although I have made a number of things for them. One thing we plan is to advertise and post signs outside of our building and will be seen by others heading to the Christmas Bazaar across the way at the Community College with is a big event and we just might pick up some of that traffic. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • If there is time between now and then, look for a couple of other area craft fairs and attend them. Walk around and look at see what other vendors are selling and the prices. Pay attention to what booths seem to be the busiest and really get a feel for what is popular in your area. You want to keep your price points low enough that they seem like a fair value, but not so low that they appear “cheap”. Your situation is a bit different in that you’re not doing it as a business, many of your items were donated so no expenses there to recover etc. You may also want to consider a small sign in your booth spaces “proceeds benefit xyz” to help people feel good about purchasing from you. Make sure your space looks very nice and is well organized, not just stuff set out on a table. Follow the many other tips on this site for staging, set up using lines/color etc. to help get people into your booth. Good luck.

  • I’m wondering what a good price point is for handmade hair bows? I make several different kinds. the larger ones are an octopus style and take quiet a bit more ribbon than just a standard twisted boutique bow. I’m setting up for my first ever craft show and would like to have a good idea what to charge. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Carol,

      Use the guide for your pricing. I really can’t advise you exactly what to charge because I don’t know what area you are in, what the market will bear there, how much time it takes you to make them, how much it costs you to set up etc. The article I wrote gives you a good guide to add that all up for yourself and to make adjustments as necessary.

  • I made a really cute toto bag and it took about 6 hours, extra batting, interfacing, has 1 pocket on side for a bottle of water etc, another one on the other side. plus a large pocket on the front of both side, pockets on the inside as well, sturdy straps with batting in them…found 1 on Vera Bradly website that is comparable and decided to charge $50. for the amount of work and time and far no luck

    • With higher end items like that, you may want to consider consignment in boutiques over craft shows. Chances are you are overpriced for the events you are attending.

  • Hello there! I was excited and grateful to find your useful information on pricing items. One question on how to figure out items that take a longer amount of time. One item I crocheted took about 24 total hours because of the size and technique plus a large amount of filler, so how would I figure the price of salary if I wanted to make $10 an hour? The supplies come to $15. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • I would use the same formula outlined in my post. If that makes your price too high, I’d find a crochet project to sell at fairs that you can do in less time at a lower price point. Take a few good pictures of the higher-end items and accept custom orders. Top-quality costs more and those that value that will buy and sadly, you’ll have many who will balk at the price. In which case you can explain politely to them that you are being paid for both your time and your supplies and skills in crafting a larger, more complex item.

      • Okey dokey. Less time consuming items for craft fairs. Maybe time consuming items for Christmas bazaars!? Thank you!

  • Thank you for your reply. I’m glad I found your site, things I never thought about. Since I’m just thinking this idea through, there is lots of things to look into. Again, thank you!

  • Hello, do you think there is a market for holiday wrapping for gifts bought at the fairs?

    Thank you

    • Hi Charlene,

      If you’re very good at wrapping beautiful presents it may be an option for you, but I would probably work with a promoter. If you set up a booth people may think you are selling the paper not providing a service. Perhaps a promoter could give you a set fee to provide “free wrapping services” as an incentive to shoppers? I might try that angle first and see how it goes. 🙂

  • I am new to crafting and doing shows. Because I try to make each item unique and different no 2 exactly alike. Would buying wholesale really work for me? I get supplies every where. Goodwill, yard sales, online auctions, dollar tree, Walmart. I am always on the lookout for something I can use. With that being said sometimes. I have very little invested but still have a quality product. I have read you price 2X your investment which seems to be really low to me. Amy Suggestions

    • Hi Regina,
      Source the items for your products wherever you can get them at the best prices. My guide is a general guide I add in the cost of my materials, my booth rent, plus my time and what I want to make per hour. I don’t double the price of my supplies and use only that number. Some may do it that way, but to me that doesn’t take into account the labor, the fees to set up/sell etc. I personally like my methods of calculations over the “double your expense” method – but I’m a bit biased 😉

  • The information you provided really was very helpful. I am new to the idea of selling my homemade crafts. Since I am a retired teacher, I am trying to use my sewing and crafting skills to make a little extra cash doing what I enjoy. My products extend over a variety of things, including items for baby and children, sewing crafts, quilts, etc. The information you provided helped me greatly. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for your approach to calculating selling price.
    I notice you don’t mark up your “ingredients”, something I always do. I’m curious why not?
    Thank you!

    • I don’t mark them up because I figure their actual cost into my formula, sometimes if it’s a close amount I round up to the nearest dollar, but this pricing plan includes my actual costs, my time, and other expenses and feels more “concrete” to me. Everyone has their own methods that work for them, but this is just what I’ve used as my go to.

  • One comment I’ll throw out—is that you should NOT base your material price on the SALE price that you may get for them. The craft stores often have half off sales – or you can use the 40% off coupon- so much so, that you work around WHEN they have a sale to time your new purchases. BUT!!! What if you took an order at a show–and you HAD to buy your materials at full price b/c there isn’t a sale going on? IF you price your items based on your 40-50% materials price– then you’ve lost 40’50% on a custom order sale that had materials at full price. By figuring your product price at whatever the retail price is for your materials… you’ll MAKE 40-50% more profit when you do buy them on sale– PLUS— you have a little wiggle room, should someone want to buy in quanitity and you can give a bit of a discount.

    • Good points Connie. Of course, many of us order our supplies wholesale and don’t purchase at full retail price. For those who do buy materials from Michaels or whatever though, that is a very valid point on custom orders.

  • Hi, thankyou for the information. I have never figured in the operating cost of going to the craft shows. My question is in pricing your items do you find tag each item better than pricing by signage for the group display?

    • Hi Peggy,
      I think individual pricing vs. group pricing would depend a lot upon what you are selling. For example I sell soaps and will put a price per bar on the display itself because pricing each bar of soap would be a bit much. It’s simpler to do a price sign. Other products do better priced individually – it really just depends.

  • This is great information. I wanted to know how I can market and sell my wreaths and tutus at a price that will provide me with a good return in profit. I have been complimented on my work and some people have even purchased wreaths and tutus from me. However I have run into some individuals that like my product but are not willing to pay what I am asking. I normally get my supplies from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or even art supply stores, it all depends on what is needed for the particular wreath or tutu. I do go into stores and on line to see what these items are selling for and I have noticed that I can do exactly what is in the store or online! I am aware that if it is too low in price, I’m losing out profit wise, however I don’t want to appear as if I am price gauging. Please provide me with some insight to help me market and price my items.

    • You need to find a wholesale source and stop buying your supplies from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby first of all. They are way, WAY overpriced and you can cut a lot of expense buying your supplies wholesale. That should do a lot for you and allow you to maybe even lower your prices a bit to what the market will bear. If multiple people are balking at your prices – you are asking too much for your items in your area. The next thing after you reduce your costs for your materials is to work on packaging and marketing. What makes your wreaths the best? Are they original designs? are they sturdier and better made than store bought? Do you focus on some interesting local themes perhaps? You need to get your costs down, focus on knowing your product inside and out and be passionate about what you are creating :). After that, you need to push the differences – what makes yours better, more unique etc. so that people understand your products are not “just another version of”… but something truly special and interesting. I get most of my buyers by loving and knowing my product inside and out. I can talk soap and lotion and cats all day long and I know my stuff inside and out.

  • Hello this informations is great thanks for sharing. I just started crafting making diaper cakes is there anyway you could help me figure out the best prices for them. Thanks so much!!

    • I would use the guide I laid out above as a starting point. I have no idea what you pay for in materials, how much time it takes you to make, what other supplies you use, where you are setting up and the booth rental etc. I would research what other similar ones are selling for by looking online. You can also visit craft fairs in your area and check out what the local market is doing. Good luck to you 🙂

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