Pricing my embroidery

Pricing your work is hard. Whether you’re a freelancer or you sell handmade goods, putting a value on something you’ve created is tough. It requires balancing a competitive rate with paying yourself what your time is worth, and for many people (myself included), it’s easy to undervalue your time.

In the past few weeks I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking about how I price the items in my Etsy shop. I’ve posted my response to a convo from another embroidery seller on Etsy below. I don’t think I have pricing completely figured out (after all, my shop is only a year old and is only a part-time project), but I feel like I’m in a better place with pricing than I was when I first sold my embroidery.

First, here are some posts that I found to be helpful:

Why cheap can be bad (Design Sponge)

A simple formula for pricing your work (Etsy)

For my embroidered pieces, the materials are mostly negligible (under $10). It’s really the labor and the handmade factor that make me judge what they’re worth. Each piece takes about 5 hours start to finish to make. That doesn’t really translate to an hourly rate nicely; based on the pricing formula in that Etsy blog article, it’d be something like $5/hour, which seems rather low.

Instead, the way that I try and think about it is this: I don’t want them to be so cheap that just anyone can buy them, because they are special and handmade and involve quite a bit of labor. I also don’t want them to be so expensive that no one can afford them; after all, they’re only 4” tall so I need to be reasonable. I feel that the price point is accessible for someone who really feels strongly about having one, but also weeds out people for whom it’s a fleeting interest. I also need to price them at a point that makes it worth it for me to go through the effort of making them.

Most of my items linger around $60/70 per, but I do have a few items where I increase the pricing a lot. The shrimp emoji uses a lot of thread and requires a lot of effort to make, so it’s a lot more money. I also wanted a higher ticket item in my shop. Also, when I do custom orders, I charge much more than I would for the items in my shop because it requires creating a new pattern and doing a piece that I’ve never done before, which means it’s possible that I’d redo it a few times (this has totally happened to me). Sometimes the higher price drives people away, but I’m okay with that.

Also, for what it’s worth, I’ve been gradually increasing my prices over time. A year ago they were $20 or so cheaper, but as the demand has increased and as I’ve come to appreciate and respect their value, I’ve increased the prices.

Another thing that I want to point out is that I don’t do this for a living. I have a full time job in addition to doing this as a hobby, so I have the luxury of being more lenient on my pricing.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is that your work and your time are worth it!

Hope that helps.

Posted Oct 17, 2014

Jessica Harllee is a staff product designer at Etsy in Brooklyn, an avid crafter, and an amateur writer.

  1. Twitter
  2. Etsy
  3. Instagram
  4. Spotify