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Why Creatives Price Their Work Too Cheap

Posted by Alison Lush on

I have a few theories.

From my own perspective.  Making jewellery is such a competitive market.  You just need to look at the thousands of jewellers selling on Etsy to see the vastness of this.  It's not good for the soul to see how cheaply some people are pricing their work.  I have to stop myself from scrolling!

But I think it starts when people are starting out in their craft.  It quite often starts off as a hobby.  Enjoying the making process and then maybe selling to a few friends and family.  It's not a business, but just something we do for fun.  I can't charge for it - it's just a little thing I make.

My business started just like that.  I loved making earrings to match what I wanted to wear.  I loved experimenting with mainly beadwork at the time.  I worked full time in a law firm in a highly stressful environment and making jewellery was my means of escape.


I then started doing the odd craft fair and even took my jewellery into my office.  The feeling that someone would actually pay for my jewellery was such a buzz.

There is also a feeling that if you do what you love, you shouldn't do it for money.  I don't know where that came from, but if seems to be a constant within my creative friends.  I was having a chat with a fellow creative when a group of us came together to open up a pop up show.  She told me that she didn't charge anything for her time!  Absolutely nothing!  She explained this away by saying that her job pays for her income.  So long as she covers her costs, she's fine with that!  I really didn't know what to say.  

I then took a long hard look at my own business.  I pretty much work long hours on my business.  Sometimes I would have a laugh with friends when I mention the minimum wage as if it is something to aspire too.  I am not actually joking!  I have questioned my business mindset!  Why is this right?  It's even hard seeing this as I writing and I questioned whether I should put this in.  But, I needed to put it out there.

Don't get me wrong, I do make a living out of making jewellery, but I don't always charge for all of my time!  After last year 2020, I have realised that time is the most precious commodity we have.  To not charge for it, is undervaluing myself.

So this year is going to be different.  I am working through all my ranges and pricing a fair hourly rate.  If the piece doesn't sell at that price, then it will be phased out.  I feel that it is such a great exercise.  Timing the making or each piece and all the material costs.  It has been an eye opener already.  I know that I should have been doing this all along.

For all you creatives out there, please don't undervalue yourself.  It's so liberating to stand up for what you make and believe in.

Thank you

Alison x

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