Thursday, 29 October 2015

How to price your handmade products....

One of the great things about the Royston Craft Fair are the friendships I've made with the other stall holders and the support we give each other.  We meet up once a month to chat about selling our crafts, sharing advice and tips.  I was asked to lead October's chat on pricing, which is a difficult subject for many crafters and artists so I thought I would share it with you all on here....

Pricing top tips....

There are 3 factors which are critical to pricing calculations

1. Costs

Don’t forget to include all of your costs:

Tools used. These will need to be replaced or upgraded at some point.
Services, including electricity, gas, phone and other bills
Products used in giveaways
Website costs
Stationery & marketing materials i.e. business cards, printer cartridges
Fees, i.e. PayPal, Etsy, Craft Fair charges
Waste. This includes supplies used and items produced that are not suitable for sale.

Some costs are easy to calculate whereas others will need to be split over all your products and taken into account.  One way to do this is to calculate your overhead cost per month and then split the results across the average number of products you expect to sell per month.  I personally add a percentage to my cost.

2. Don’t forget your time!

You need to know how long it takes to make each product and how much you expect to be paid per hour.  You can include this in your price or break down your costs and charge your time separately for a bespoke piece.

3. Profit 

As a business you need to make a profit in order to grow and continue running as a business, so add a profit margin.  There is no set figure to which to work this out.  Deciding upon your profits is a balance between what you want to achieve and what you can realistically charge.

An example of a formula for calculating a price

For a retail price if you are only selling to the customer =
Costs + time + profit (+VAT if applicable)

If you are selling wholesale the retail price is calculated =
(Costs + time + profit) *2 (or 2.4 if you need to apply VAT)

Selling wholesale may not be possible at first.  It might be that, in time, as your sales and production volumes increase, your costs per unit fall, creating a bigger profit margin which then allows you to sell to retail.

Only use this formula as a guide. Do not rely on it as if it is not the right price, especially if it’s the lowest possible price.  You also need to take into account the following....

Know your Competition

Research what others on Folksy/ Etsy/ NOTHS sell similar items for and noting the advantages they offer the customer.

It’s not just about price but the value you give to your customer.

Know Your Target Market

What you are willing and able to pay for a product may differ vastly from your target market’s budget.  By knowing your customer you will be more confident in setting a price based on what they are willing to pay.

Independent creative businesses have an edge over bigger, impersonal companies. Your prices should reflect that specialness, value, personal connection and craftsmanship.

What if I am too expensive?

• Pitch to a more expensive market.
• Change your product to add value. People are prepared to pay a little extra for something unique.
• Source cheaper supplies and/or buy in bulk.
• Invest in tools or use a different technique to speed up production.


Your handmade products are unique and require a unique price so you do not have to follow a formula. Test your price, assess what people have been paying in your online shop, test prices at craft fairs and try to see how your work is perceived at that price and whether it sells. If your work doesn’t sell, people don’t see its value as being in line with its price. I have heard from other crafters who have sold more of their product after increasing their prices, due to the perception of the quality of the product.  For many people 'cheap' equals rubbish. Is that how you want your business to be perceived?

Once people get used to a set price they are generally unhappy if prices increase.  As a result, it is better to start at a higher price and lower your prices.

I hope you have found this useful and if you have any further tips on how to price your products please leave a comment.

fizzi~jayne x

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Etsy Vs Handmade at Amazon....

I read an interesting article in the Independent by Andrew Dewson at the weekend, Amazon Vs Etsy.

Amazon who like to sell everything and have their fingers in every retail pie, have now started competing in the handmade marketplace.  Handmade at Amazon was launched recently and has already got 5000 artisan vendors in 60 countries. Should Etsy be concerned?

The article was by a US columnist so there was no mention of Folksy. Just in case you do not know about Folksy, they are a handmade market place for British designers and makers. I chose to sell with them from day one as they are based in Britain and support small creative businesses like myself.  I started selling with Etsy about a year later having seen their sellers' success stories and the supportive network of makers.

In my view, Etsy have become too corporate, now listed on the US stock market having to answer to investors and seeking profits.

Etsy is moving away from their roots, since 2013 there has been an agreement to allow the sale of factory made items, as Andrew Dewson says, "Nothing says "handmade" quite like something that was knocked out by a robot". They also made changes to their practices to reduce corporation tax by moving more revenue through Etsy Ireland and they have also changed how Etsy Ireland is registered, so that the company doesn't have to publicly disclose its basic financial information. That move could cause Etsy to lose its B Corporation certification which is given to companies who aim to solve social and environmental problems.

There is no disguising that Amazon is a large commercial organisation that have had unfavourable press about their procedures and tax avoidance in the UK.  However, from May this year the online retailer has started booking its sales through the UK, meaning their profits will be taxed by the HMRC. 

In September this year, Etsy launched Etsy Manufacturing, a service in the U.S. and Canada that matches sellers to small manufacturers. This does allow small creative businesses to grow.  If you are a handmade business that makes everything you can only achieve so much so this approach will support the growth of small businesses. However, this decision has resulted in a fierce PR backlash over what looks like a move away from Etsy's artisan roots. Whereas Amazon will only accept handmade goods and you have to apply to be a seller, it has almost taken on the business model of Etsy when it began. 

Whether we like it or not both Amazon and Etsy are businesses that need to make a profit to grow and in order to survive businesses have to change to compete.  For handmade businesses the growth of these selling platforms will mean a large customer base, improved technology and advertising that a seller can take advantage of.

Amazon already has a customer base 10 times the size of Etsy, but what are the costs for a seller like me with Handmade of Amazon?....  

Handmade Amazon fees are 12% for every sale and after 1 August 2016 there will be $39.99 monthly fee. You would have to sell a lot to make a profit from selling through Amazon which would mean you need to make a lot to sell and if like me you make everything yourself, it may not be possible to make enough to make a profit.

Whereas Etsy fees are a £0.13 listing fee plus 3.5% transaction fee and 4% + £0.20 payment processing fee.

Folksy's fees are £0.15 +VAT listing fee plus 6% + VAT sales commission fee or you can become a Folksy plus seller for £45 (inc VAT) per year which is great for sellers who list more frequently and/or have a lot of stock as there are no listing fees.  The commission fee is the same at 6% +VAT.

It's not just Amazon's costs handmade businesses should look into.  I came across a blog post by a seller who has already closed her Amazon shop. It makes interesting reading especially the small print she highlights that states they have the right to exploit you and own the copyright of your designs, I don't like the sound of that! You can read her views here.

It's an interesting time for the handmade marketplaces with artists and crafters starting new ventures all the time. More are choosing to buy from small creative businesses with other organisations popping up ready to support handmade sellers with services such as selling and marketing.  I am interested to see what happens with Handmade at Amazon and what the future holds for Etsy and Folksy.

For my business I plan to focus my efforts with Folksy, whereas the jury is still out on my future with Etsy.  I'll wait to see what happens with Handmade at Amazon but I can't justify their costs for my business yet and I definitely don't want Amazon to replicate my work and exploit my business and products.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the growing industry of handmade and Amazon entering this market. 

If you already sell with Handmade at Amazon I would love to hear about your experiences.

fizzi~jayne x

Friday, 9 October 2015

Gelli Plate and lino printing....

Last week I went into the craft den without planning what I was going to do but just to play!  I wanted to see where my mood took me and it took me to my Gelli Plate....

I used my stencils and acrylic paint with my Gelli plate.  I wrote a post introducing the Gelli plate last year and you can see the technique I use here.

My recent heat embossing post inspired me to incorporate this technique using a butterfly stamp and clear embossing powder.  I stamped the butterflies and heat embossed them on to the card before using the Gelli plate, this meant the embossed images act as a resist and show through.

I was now getting giddy with excitement and couldn't stop myself from adding pearlescent texture paste over the top through a spotty stencil.  At first I realised I had got carried away but this image does show off the colour of the copper, metallic acrylic paint I used.

Although I think I like it now.

My next attempt worked better.

I embossed the flowers with clear embossing powder again and used different stencils.  This time I also spritzed the paint on the Gelli plate with water which gave it a watercolour effect.

Once I had done a few prints I started to look around the craft den for inspiration and the Lino starter kit from the Handmade Fair was looking at me, perfect!

As I was so keen to get cutting, I cheated a little and stamped the image of the butterfly instead of drawing it. The butterfly was part of a set I also bought from the Handmade Fair so it was a good excuse to also use my new stamps.  

I mainly used the stamp to help me with the outline and used the different nibs to cut my own design on the wings.

The background is a print from the Gelli Plate.

What do you think? 

The gelli plate is fun and simple to use and you see results immediately. There are lots of different techniques and materials I could try with my gelli plate and I can't wait to give them a go.

Friday, 2 October 2015


When I had a fun day out of the craft den with Laura I mentioned in my post how our chat inspired this new feature for my blog, fizzi~fun~friday!

What is it?

Laura and I were chatting about how we have so many crafty ideas we want to try out. I have lots of techniques I want to learn and I want to grow my creativity so I don't get stuck in a rut, this is for my personal enjoyment as well as hopefully inspiring the range I sell.

So the plan is every other week on a Friday, I will take the day to experiment with new techniques and crafts, as well as revisiting old favourites that I always complain I never have the time to do.

On the list for fizzi~fun~friday (so far!).....
  • Lino printing - inspired by the Handmade Fair, I can't wait to use my starter kit.
  • Calligraphy - I have a set from years ago and a book to get me started.
  • Machine embroidery - I did this a lot at art college and university but I haven't done anything for years.
  • Shrink plastic jewellery - Using shrink plastic is so much fun and I have wanted to use this technique in jewellery making for a while.  Hopefully I'll make some gifts for Christmas.
  • Mixed media art - I want to start an art journal and experiment with my art materials I already have.
  • Using polymer clay to make my own embellishments
  • I want an excuse to use up my stash of paper, card, fabric and yarn.
  • Jewellery making/wirework
  • Take part in more Sunday Stampers.
When does it start?

I guess my day out at the Handmade Fair was my first, but today you will find me in the craft den making a start on my list. Whilst writing this I still hadn't decided what to do first so I will see where the mood takes me but I will be posting photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and using the hashtag #fizzifunfriday.  

I'll publish blog posts for every fizzi~fun~friday the following Friday, so I hope you will enjoy my first post next week!
Found this perfect print on Etsy here by SunshineGraphix.

fizzi~jayne x

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Handmade Fair....

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Handmade Fair, you may remember I went last year and loved it so much I booked my ticket as soon as they became available.

Last year it was in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, however this year it was across the road instead. I was a little disappointed as I am a big Tudor history geek but I caught a glimpse of the Palace and anyway, it wasn't a history day out it was a fun crafty day out!

The Super Theatre with moody dark clouds. There were showers during the day but it didn't dampen my fun.
Kirstie Allsopp is the founder of the event and Kirstie and her team have kept the crafty festival feel that I loved last year.  There are different tents for shopping, workshops, a Super Theatre and lots of yummy food stalls which made it really hard to decide what to have for lunch!

The two shopping villages were full of inspiration by talented artists and creative small businesses. There were also stalls selling craft supplies too, however there did not seem to be as many of my favourite paper and general craft stalls but still enough for me to be tempted and spend money!

The obligatory shopping haul photos....

What I enjoy most about this event is the workshops, it's a great way to try out a new craft. When I bought my ticket I booked a Grand Make workshop, Super Theatre session and a Skills workshop. There is a lot of choice over a wide range of crafts. 

Grand Make workshop - Wirework with Lucy Elisabeth

First up was a wirework workshop and I made this hanging heart which can be used as a photo holder.  I might need a bit of practice but it was easier with Lucy's tips than any attempt I have made before at home.

Lucy also had a stand in one of the shopping villages and her work is amazing.

Super Theatre -  Calligraphy with Chiara Perano

The Super Theatre sessions are hosted by Kirstie and are a chance to hear from top experts on various topics.  This year I opted to find out more about calligraphy.

Chiara taught Kirstie the art of Calligraphy whilst sharing her tips.  Kirstie said she always attends these sessions as a complete novice so we really see her learn.  The Super Theatre sessions aren't interactive workshops so I may have not had a chance to practice myself but I came away with lots of tips to practice.

I have a calligraphy set which I used to make my handwriting neater for my wedding invitations and have not touched it since.  Calligraphy is a skill I want to develop and I recently bought a book to learn more so I was pleased there was an opportunity to get some tips from Chiara.

Skills workshop - Lino Printing with Zeena Shah

I was so looking forward to this.  I missed out on it last year due to timings and there being so much to choose from. 

Cutting the lino is very therapeutic.   I tried a star design first but I may have got carried away with the cutting as it didn't look like a star by the time I finished! 

I had more success with a simple heart and made a repeat pattern for this card.

I had a lot of fun with this, so I bought a starter kit! I love stamping and I can see the potential of creating my own designs to stamp with using lino.

I had time to fit in another workshop so I opted for a papercraft one with Craft Asylum.  It may not be a new skill but I was in the mood for some papercraft and making a bird house looked like fun.

I was surprised that I managed to get this home safely I still have the template and I think I could tweak it so I could use it to put sweets and treats in as gifts for stocking fillers at Christmas.

Whilst at the fair I was so pleased I got to meet one of my #CraftBlogClub buddies, Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret.   Hannah had a busy weekend as she was running her Crafternoon Cabaret workshops in the VIP tent over the 3 day event so it was so lovely we had a chance to meet in person and catch up over a glass of Prosecco.

After the fair, I met up with hubby so he could treat me to dinner and whilst walking to Borough Market we found the "Performer" by Adam Frank, an installation under Southwark Railway Bridge.  It's on from 5pm until 11pm everyday and as you walk under it sets off a sensor which starts an applause. The more you move the louder the applause gets.  You can watch a video of it here but here is a photo of my acting the fool....

fizzi~jayne x