To Sell or Not to Sell

As a crafter, the topic of selling my finished pieces often comes up (as I’m sure it does with all crafters). I love creating crochet items, especially my dolls and often, well-meaning friends and family (and sometimes strangers) tell me I should sell what I make. I appreciate and love the sentiment because it means they really like what I make. It makes me feel great. And then I get nervous thinking about it.

I have sold a few of my items but it’s not a business. Every now and then someone asks me what I charge and I halfheartedly give an answer because I have no clue what to charge. I come up with something and sell them what they want. A terrible way to do business! I also do a craft fair every year around Christmas at the elementary school where I work. I’ve done it for about four years now and I’m finding that people tend to under value the work involved. I have a hard time sticking to a price because I tend to under value what I do as well (*head hung in shame*)! I tend to feel a lot of stress on how to price my items. I know there are formulas out there based on materials used and so forth but the truth is, I am a lousy sale’s person when it comes to my work.

I spend many hours and days creating a doll using yarn that I acquired from many different places. I have yarn that was given to me, yarn I bought at yard sales, and of course, yarn I bought at craft stores. I just grab what I have that matches what I want to make.  I have no idea what the costs are for the materials I used to make that individual doll. People always ask me how long it takes me to make something and I stare at them blankly. I can’t really answer because I don’t usually take note of it. I crochet when I can in fits and spurts so figuring out formulas isn’t that easy. Some dolls are more expensive to make than others but I couldn’t say by how much. But they all take time and effort.

My friends and family always tease me about my negotiating skills. Namely, that I don’t have any. 🙂

True story and usually where the teasing begins: About two years ago, I was doing one of those craft fairs I mentioned above and had a set price for a doll that I thought was fair. The hair alone had two skeins of expensive yarn. The doll was a large one so it took some time to make. It was priced at $60. I had another smaller one priced at $40. One of the little girls in the program I worked for wanted that $60 doll. Her sister wanted the $40 one. It was right before Christmas and their grandfather came to look at them. He looked at the price and must have made some noise to indicate they were pricey so I immediately offered it for $30. He bought it and then the sister chimed in that she wanted the other one so I lowered the price to $20. Did I mention that he didn’t even ask for a lower price…for either doll? He took them both and my family has been teasing me ever since.

Side note: the girls who ended up with those dolls (and are no longer in the after school program) still come up to me at work to tell me how much they still love their dolls. Well, I guess I can’t put a price on that :-).

Large red hair doll_1

This is one of those dolls they bought.

front of doll

This is the other one.

I know I want to try my hand at making money with crochet. I’m finishing up a book on making dolls I started 4 years ago! This year, I finally put some real work into it. It’s almost done and I’m very proud of that. Now when people ask me how my book is coming along, I can honestly say it’s almost done with pride in my voice versus mumbling something about how I’ve been busy.

As for selling my pieces, I’m not sure if I want to sell but I AM thinking about it. I’m learning about online stores like Etsy and Stonenvy. I recently bought some books to help me learn about the process of selling my wares. I’m not sure which direction I’m going to take but I know I’m going somewhere 🙂

IMG_0613

I’m also in the process of strengthening my backbone 🙂

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