It's all Subjective: Provided you have a market for your paper mache hats,
who's to say they are too expensive? Likely there aren't a whole lot of paper
mache artists making hats like yours so it will be you that sets the value of
Really you can set any price for your work, but in practical terms, you will
want to set those prices realistically by considering what the market will
bear. With some experimentation you will find what the cap is for pricing your
work on a higher scale.
To a large extent, what any given piece its worth is subjective because handmade
work is all about perceived value. Pricing crafts too low oftentimes leads to
the perception that your work is not very valuable, while pricing crafts higher can
position your handmade goods as items of quality and skilled workmanship.
Selling handmade jewelry for 10 dollars or less, most
times, tells your potential buyer that your items are either cheap in quality, or that they have little real value. What is real value? Sometimes it may be
the materials you are using and the skill that goes into your work, while other
times it is simply the perceived value of goods based on the prices you are
asking in exchange for your work.
Not being able to establish your collection as one of distinct quality by
pricing too low will not only result in less money for your work, but
oftentimes less sales. Logic says that if your products are priced low you will
sell more, when in reality you may sell more when your prices dictate that your
items have more value.
Why do people buy iPhones when they can have an Android at a fraction of the
cost? Because Apple has positioned themselves in the marketplace as a leader in
quality, innovation and status.
You may have noticed a trend in the food business where companies are applying strategies for creating a higher perceived value, much like in the handmade industry. Food product advertising now uses terminology that allows for a higher pricing formula by equating the product features with the handmade market.
We see this in product descriptions such as "hand tossed pizza", "hand cut fries" and "artisan bread." It may seem humorous given that we know the bread isn't actually made by a fine art graduate, but the idea is that it is a quality bread invented by a culinary genius.
On a last note on craft pricing and how you can position your products to command higher prices, I would like to share a first-hand experience of my own.
For a number of years I have manufactured barrettes which sell for more for than most people are typically willing to pay for a hair accessory.
These barrettes don't sell themselves and most people who visit our craft show booths pick up the barrettes and balk at the prices. Until we talk to them about how the barrettes are made, the materials we use and our iron clad guarantee, they usually cannot imagine spending $38 or $52 on a barrette.
I charge more for these items because they cost a little more to produce and they are hand-soldered. Once people hear about the quality, durability and guarantee, they shift from a "that's too expensive" state of mind to an "I need that" feeling.
What we did was solve a problem in the market by producing an alternative to an item that is notorious for breaking. Not only do we ensure that there will be no mechanical failure we also stand behind our product with an iron-clad guarantee.
Secondly, we provided a quality barrette that is beautiful in design in a market where there is little to be found in terms aesthetically pleasing barrettes. While there are some lovely barrettes out there, they are typically glued which cannot withstand years of wear.
Year-after-year we see return customers looking for new designs and happy to show us how their barrettes have stood the test of time for 10-plus years.
What's more amazing is that a good percentage of these buyers had no intention of spending that kind of money on a barrette and yet they have become devoted customers.
You can create a loyal following for your work by designing fabulous products, filling a need in the market and offering a guarantee. When you do, you can price accordingly. Pricing crafts at a higher price point is all about creating perceived value and then delivering on that promise of quality.