So to review the past posts, wholesale pricing is laying your pricing foundation. Determining correct wholesale pricing is essential when selling to stores. Retailers depend on wholesalers to know their margins and bottom line. Also, when retailing, remember it’s imperative to sell retail on your website and shows at twice your wholesale pricing. For example, if your soap is wholesaling for $3.00, then you are selling at $6.00 retail.
Pricing Products To Sell At Craftshows
The challenge of selling at craft shows is that pricing tends to be in $5 increments and oftentimes other vendors are selling below retail. So if a product typically retails for $6.95, the craft show price is often $5 or 2 for $10. Those buyers expect a "deal" from craft shows. Don’t feel pressured to mark your products down in price, or sell at wholesale prices at a craft show.
If you are selling the same line of products at a craft show that you are also wholesaling to retailers, there are a few ways to price your products a bit lower than regular retail. First, you can offer a “show special.”
Example: 8 oz. shea butter body cream
Suggested Retail: $18
Show Special (Limited Time Offer): 2 for $30 – save $6
This price is not available on your website. It is offered as a one-day or two-day special price. Rotate the offers on your products at each show.
A second way to sell at slightly lower than suggested retail is to combine products. For example, pair products together that, if sold separately, would individually be priced a little higher. This can be offered through gift sets and baskets. Let your customers know that if the items are sold together, the price is lower. Gift sets often sell because customers feel they have received great value for their purchase.
Selling A Different Line at Craft Shows
Creating a new line of candles or bath and body products is one way to get around competing with wholesale accounts in terms of pricing and playing it safe at craft fairs. If you’re not wholesaling the products, then you are free to price the items however you would like.
If going this route, ensure that you’ve covered your cost of materials and the associated shipping costs, overhead for running your business and labor costs. For labor costs, set an hourly rate and multiply it by the time it takes to produce each product.
More Craft Show Pricing Ideas
Try a promotional “Buy One, Get One 50% Off” limited time sale. Again, make sure your margins are there to make a profit as it will take an average of 25% off each item. Rotate your specials so you aren’t underselling your retailers.
Why not offer a price incentive sale? For example, if a customer purchases $75 they receive a free gift or 10% off an order.
Another idea is to give personalization on soaps or products over a minimum order. Customers shopping at craft and art shows are looking for unique items. An example would be to sell personalized melt and pour soaps using dissolvable paper to print names or photos, then embedding into the soap. Customers can order at the craft show and email a graphic to be placed in the bars. This would be a profitable way to sell shower or wedding favor soaps. Be sure to add in the extra labor that goes into creating personalized products. With personalized soaps, if they retail for $6 each, then consider offering them at $5 each if customers order 20 bars or more. Take a deposit on the order or have the customer pre-pay and ensure a timely delivery to fit their needs.
A Few Other Tips
Remember that the cost of the booth and any travel expenses fall into your marketing budget. These costs do not get added into the final cost of your items. That being said, you’ll want to determine whether your products have enough of a markup to participate in shows with high booth fees. It’s also important to know your audience and whether a show has the potential of being profitable for you. There are no hard rules here. The best you can do is research the show by speaking with other participating crafters and ask them how they would describe the average customer. Ask the other crafters what their average selling price per item is for this show, and if they don’t mind sharing their average sales per customer. Some crafters will openly share how much they make in a day or weekend, but most keep that information confidential.
Walk the craft show/art fair a year prior to applying/participating if possible. If this isn’t feasible, then ask the promoter if they will share contact names and phone numbers of a few crafters who attend the show for two or more years in a row.
If there is a website for the craft show with a listing of crafters, check out their websites and see if their products look like something your customers would purchase. Also take into consideration the price points of your fellow crafters. Gaining an understanding of the show this way will help you prepare for the types of buyers who will be attending. This is good way to determine whether a show is a good fit for your product line.
Juried shows that require an extensive application process for acceptance (typically include booth photos, product pictures and a detailed application) and art shows typically attract an audience who are willing to pay a higher price point. On the other hand, a flea market, elementary school gymnasium show and family event shows usually command a lower price point. Even after you’ve armed yourself with information, there is no better way to know about how you’ll do at a show other than jumping in and participating. But since time is money, do as much research as you can to evaluate whether your time at the show will be profitable.
Marla Bosworth is the CEO and Founder of Back Porch Soap Company, (http://www.backporchsoap.com) She teaches group and private classes on how to make natural skincare products in Boston and NYC. Ms. Bosworth also provides product, brand and marketing strategies for handmade beauty companies. Marla wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie May.com (http://www.debbiemay.com/), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.