When we go to the mall, we’re often prone to do a little price-shopping. Why buy a shirt at the Bon-Ton, when you can get something that looks almost exactly the same for half the price at Rue 21? This is natural for us to do. We clip coupons, shop around, and question our needs vs our wants to save every penny we can; mostly so we can afford gas.

It comes as no surprise then that when we get customers at craft fairs, we have people who are a bit put-off by the price of goods. This is especially true if it’s more of a vendor fair, and we’re not only having our prices compared to similar crafters, but to direct-sale companies like Avon and Silpada that have the advantage of mass-produced items and no time on their part to create them.

That’s essentially the largest cost to crafting, too – Time. We, as crafters, have to dedicate hours to creating the items that you see on our displays (after purchasing all the raw materials), and we will spend hours figuring out our taxes and book-keeping too. Someone with a direct-sale company will, in the end, spend less time with their business then we will. A party may take them a few hours, plus the bookwork, but they’ll have a return of $50-$100 an hour that evening on average. We, as crafters, may complete one item in that same few hours, and if we get $5 an hour in return we’ll be doing good.

When you see our items, try to think about the hours we’ve personally put into them, and the care we’ve taken to make them look as nice as they do. We’re not underpaid labor in China putting out tons of the same item. Nor are we factory robots that work for regular oiling of the gears. We, as crafters, are people doing what we love to turn a small profit on our hobby. We have to try to find the balance between getting enough for our time, and not pricing ourselves completely out of your budget.

So next time, when you stop by a crafter’s booth and see that necklace that is beautiful, but costs more than something you’d find in a store, please consider spending that little bit of extra money. Let the artist know that you honestly love their work enough to want to purchase it, not just admire it. By doing so, not only are you taking home artwork, you’re putting money back into your local community of small businesses.

After all, that’s essentially what we crafters are. Small business owners. At least those of us working to sell our designs anyways.

We appreciate all business greatly. Likely, too, we’ll work with you on price a bit if you’re purchasing more than one item. We have that kind of flexibility since we are the artists. You do right by us, and we’ll try to do right by you.

Hope to see you at a craft fair! Shop smart, buy local, support small business. 😉