Sunday, February 5, 2012

Etsy - Product

In this post we're going to talk a little about two things: Quality and Pricing.


Not everyone is cut out to sell their craft experiments. Unfortunately, these people often try to anyway. Let's start out with some show and tell. These are real products from etsy. (Yes, one is mine, but the rest are not.)

Actually quite cool.

The Worst. Ever. I don't even know what to say about this.

Nice. Decent. (I admit, this is the one that's mine. Yes, I'm using it as the good example.)

Heinous. And really, really tiny. What the heck are you supposed to do with a 1 inch wand and a resurrection stone the size of a fingernail?

No, I'm sorry, but this is not Johnny Depp.

Also, I'm pretty sure his eyes actually line up with each other. I will not pay 135$ for a portrait of Quasi Modo.

Neither is this.

I mean, if we were going for abstract or surrealist or something, this would be great. But selling this as Johnny Depp? Just... No.

This... This is what Johnny looks like. This is good. This I would buy. (If I wasn't broke.) It's like 1/3 of the price of the others, too.

Are you getting the idea?

It's hard. There's not really I lot I can say about quality. How do you tell someone to only make quality things without just saying "only make quality things"? Anyway, quality is one of those things that is really obvious in other people's stuff, and hardly ever in our own.

Just make sure you're not selling lame crap and pretending it's good. Be hard on yourself. I'm my own worst critic, but I think that's what makes me produce marketable stuff.


We're going to start with a photo example on this one too, but there will actually be words following it.

This is $4.99, but actually very nice looking.

(I'm going to refer back to this one tomorrow when I talk about pictures.)

This is $210

Which would you get?

And these, I just had to add because of their what-the-heck factor:

$157? Maybe it's supposed to be high art of some kind?

And this is only $8, but why is it even real? Why? (I'm coming back to this one later.)

Pricing products for etsy is really hard to do. You have make it cost enough to cover your expenses and make it worth your time. But you also have to make it cheap enough that people will consider getting it.

The first two
are examples of how price can affect your choice of product. This seems kind of obvious and common sensical, but hear me out.

When I see the 210 dollar hallows sign I say "Cool. Dang, it's $210. Oh well." (And sometimes I go on to wonder how it could possibly cost that much to make such a little thing in the first place.)

But when I see the 4.99 one (or honestly, any of the nice looking ones under 20$) I actually stop and think "I could get that. Should I get that? No, I shouldn't. But I want to. I could. Maybe if I... No, I shouldn't. But I want to..."

That's what you want people to do. If the price fits the product just right, you'll drag people in. And people who have a little more money and a little less self control won't even get that far. They'll just hit buy, pay for it, and think later.

Humans are total suckers for good price deals. Make something a bargain, and they can't resist, even if they know they don't need it.

The second two
pictures demonstrate this: know your product.

I saw a shawl the other say that was selling for 1,250 U.S. dollars. Yes, I know that knitting isn't easy. It's time consuming, and it's detailed work. But no one, and I really mean no one, should ever have to pay a thousand dollars for a woolen shawl. And there aren't a lot of people who are going to.

Shawls are not big buck items.

For some reason, people will really shell out for paintings, but they have to actually be good. They are big buck items.

Charm bracelets are not.

Photographs are. (Again, only if they're good.)

Hairbows are not.

Keychains are not.

Quality jewelry is.

Plush toys are not.

That ugly 1 inch wand and resurrection stone (sliver, more like)... girl was asking 49.95 for it. Honest. You can look it up. Will anyone ever pay it? Maybe when those flying pigs advance into space travel.

It's the hard truth. But even if you spend forty agonizing hours on your harry potter wand (which, lets really hope you didn't), and plan on charging minimum wage, people just aren't going to buy it for 300 dollars. They just aren't.

This is where that heinous deathly hallows sign comes back in. There are other hallows signs that are nice, made of metal, are obviously well crafted. People would gladly pay 8 dollars for them. But that one? Cheap, fragile, and downright ugly. Not worth 8 dollars even if you threw in free shipping.

Be smart about it. If you want to sell, you have to be reasonable in your pricing. It might hurt a little, when you think of hours spent, effort expended, the care and the hard work that you put in. And by all means, do not cheat yourself. If  raw materials cost you 10 bucks, never charge less than 10 bucks.

But the rich and famous don't shop on etsy. Mike Tyson isn't here to spend a ten billion dollar paycheck on some bling.

Like I said, choosing the right price is hard to do. Especially for artists. We have some kind of inner need to price our stuff like it was in a museum and not an online trinket store. But don't do it.

Make it cost enough to cover your expenses. Give yourself a decent profit margin. And stop while you're ahead.

That is all for today. I have one more coming tomorrow. Tune in for some marketing tips, including photography and wording.

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