Wednesday, February 17

Pricing a handmade bag

I was going to post a photo of a new shoulder bag, but due to the lack of sunlight I couldn't get a  good enough shot. I'm sick of the white stuff, aren't you?
Meanwhile I've been dealing with a sensitive issue -- how to price a handmade bag. My new line of fashion bags are all one-offs. There are a lot of clever details on these bags inside and out and this should obviously be reflected in the price. It's difficult for me to estimate my hourly rate, since I couldn't possibly compare it to the work I used to do out in the corporate world. My husband thinks I'm undervalueing my own efforts, and I do agree that my profit margin for Dunibagz items is pretty small. Well, I've put that down as a learning experience, and I confess that I was a little overwhelmed with the masses of similar items that I was competing against (and which cost less too). I think having my own website is a step in the right direction. Yeah, it's coming along :) There's a certain giddy excitement that comes with creating a whole new collection. I also don't feel so much pressure to churn out one bag after the other in order to remain visible (on the new items page) day after day. Where's the joy in that? Not that I actually did churn them out.
I have also been studying the bag categories on both Etsy and Dawanda and to my great disappointment I've come across quite a number of shops that sell perfect, cookie-cutter handmade bags. Sure, handmade by an assembly line in Bulgaria or Vietnam! Enormous genuine leather bags, each one identical, that sell for less than 100 Euro? Come on. A real handmade bag exudes the artisan's touch. It has personality and each handmade bag - although of impeccable craftsmanship -  is never exactly the same. That is what makes a handmade product personal, charming and unique. And what I hope my future customers will fully appreciate.


  1. I have wondered about some of the bags on etsy. I do agree with you that pricing is such a difficult issue but I have seen wonderful artists sell their wares--even with their higher prices. I think it just takes time.

    I like to buy art and handmade items when I go on a trip. I have been to a few island places in the Caribbean and I will only buy directly from the artist or artist cooperative. I look for those handmade marks (non-identical, non-perfection) but perfectly charming.

  2. I totally understand what you are saying. Pricing is so hard for me too. There is such a wide array of prices for very similar items on Etsy. I can't wait to check out your new website.

  3. Yes I am very sick of the white stuff.
    Good luck with your pricing issues. I'm sure you'll get it figured out in no time.

  4. Pricing is very hard for me too and I don't spend near as much time on my products as you do. I agree with Erika that there's something special about buying directly from the artist. I hope you find the perfect price point for you and your customers!

  5. I'm so tired of winter, too, Duni...and I'm totally in synch with your issues here with pricing work vis a vis the rest of the competition. I despair at folks selling their jewelry for less than the price of materials--it makes for tricky competition. I struggle with the "hourly" issue, too, as I'm also striving to be very creative and different....and this really takes a lot of extra time (and brain power!) Put all this into the context of a difficult economy and it's really hard to find the right audience for fair prices for my work....

  6. Wow...ditto to everything you said. I don't make purses as a primary item, but I do make them and other knit items. I think pricing is especially a challenge for people who make things that are very time consuming and labor intensive like that. It sucks because you are up against others who undercut themselves in attempts to move work. I find this very ironic and so anti-handmade as a pricing philosophy in itself- you know, the whole we are not walmart/ a handmade piece should be loved and labored over to perfection not banged out in mass quantity. Grr....I could go on and on. Basically, I'm so happy to see a fellow artist who is taking steps to find a way to get the profit you DESERVE for your hard work. Amen sister!

  7. Oh Duni! I think you have really touched a chord with the dilemma of handcrafting ANYTHING! Pricing is sooo hard! I see by the number of responses from sister-artisans that you are not the only one who wants to do high quality work and be respected for it.
    As far as the white stuff is concerned we only have a few more weeks of this and suddenly it will be spring. So I am trying to get my mind ready to do flowery pieces of jewellery!
    Thank you for stopping by my Blue Monday post and actually choosing a necklace that you think has potenial to be listed. I must apologise for the poor quality of those photos for that post. I will take new pictures before I list them. I am thinking about restringing that necklace and giving it a sterling silver clasp to go with the matching earrings. At any rate I really agree with you about how hard it is to take pictures at this time of year. I think I just might get my tripod and photo lights out. It is not enough to be an online crafter making things by hand. You have to be at least half a photographer to take pics of everything!!

  8. It's very hot where I live right now. Never seen snow before but every time I say I want to see snow, my friends say, "You cry when it's 15 degrees. You'll kill yourself out in the snow!"

    Anyway, I do agree with your husband about you pricing your stuff cheap. The quality's pretty good so you can price it higher. That immediately puts your product in the covet category! Look at the Anya Hindmarch cloth bags. Wasn't that $5,000? Crazy expensive for just a canvas bag and rope! But people lined up on a cold winter's day to get it!

  9. Hi Duni

    I wish you many succes with your bags :-)

    I cannot send you sun
    he was also not here today :(

    Have a wonderful weekend

    Kareltje =^.^=
    Anya :-)

  10. Hi Duni,
    A long time ago, in my younger days, I used to make handmade jointed teddy bears and sold them at craft sales. And, I'm with you, I had such a hard time pricing them to be competitive. I'm glad that my family's income didn't depend on it. If I would have priced my bears based on hourly wage, it would have shown me making $0.50/hr. So sad, huh?

    Good luck with your pricing.

    And, yes, I also have enough of the white stuff.


  11. duni.. you're good designer
    I wish you many succes with your bags :-)

  12. The quality and style of your bags is definitely worth a higher price. Go for it!


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