October 8, 2019

This morning I was scrolling through some of the groups I’m in on Facebook, and I came across a post that I simply HAD to share.

Many of us do custom products – whether it’s books/journals/planners, or mugs/shirts/hats, or other products (or even services) – we often receive emails with remarks such as…

“It’s too expensive”
“Do you have a discount code or coupon I could use?”
“I know it doesn’t cost THAT much to make, can I get a discount?”
“You need to lower your prices to compete.”
“I can buy this same thing elsewhere for much cheaper.” (Often comparing to Walmart or other stores for example).

I’ve also seen…

“Can you do more customizations for free?”
“I want this, but I want it different. Can you do X (which can add x hours of added work) for no additional costs?”

Or even worse…

“I just bought this from you, but I see now you’re running a sale, and I’d like to get it cheaper too.”
“I bought this from you, but I found something similar cheaper elsewhere. Can I get a refund? Do I have to send it back?”

Before I share the post I wanted to add some of my own comments for our industries.

I will add a slight disclaimer – at times, asking for customizations or enhancements doesn’t always mean they ask for “no additional costs”. (But I HAVE seen it many times).  And sometimes it’s taken for granted, and people don’t always realize what’s all involved.

But this post isn’t so much about that – it’s more about people who purposely complain about the costs of custom made products, and try to get it cheaper.

We live in what now seems to be a “discount society”.

Stores routinely have sales – totally understandable, it’s part of business.  And only a very select few honor a price guarantee for 30 days after you purchase, where they’ll refund you the difference. (Typically these are enormous chains that have a 5000% markup anyway and CAN do this).

Unforunately I see in some of the groups I’m in, especially those selling on Etsy and other marketplaces, that they’re bombarded with posts and comments like the start of this post. Sometimes they’re at craft events and fairs and have people say these same things.

Why do we need to try to undercut EVERYTHING? This isn’t Walmart with “Rollback” pricing. These are people’s livelihoods.

Do you realize just how much time is involved in creating a product? Sure I can create a journal or planner template in “not too long” of a time now, simply because I’ve done it hundreds of times. I picture it in my mind, draw it on paper first, then create it on my pc. But it doesn’t matter whether the template took me 10 minutes or 30 minutes, or even 60 minutes (Yes, I have some that detailed and extensive).

TIME is involved. And not just time… creativity.

Artists draw, or take pictures – sure there might be others like that, but if they created it themselves, that took TIME, and CREATIVITY.

Big box stores / major retailers have enormous markups on their products, and they’re mass produced.

When a “home business” person or small business person charges a fee, they’re taking into account their time involved AND their design eye, NOT a mass produced item. It’s typically very individual.

Time is a commodity we can’t get back.

So the next time you think about something being “too expensive” just because it was custom made or try to insist that you get it cheaper, force your mind to also backtrack on this post, and remember what actually goes into these types of products.

I read recently a remark which is also very true:

When you’re buying a gift for someone, family or friend, rather than running off to the box stores and other major retailers, consider supporting a local business (or even an online craft business where possible) for something more unique or custom. Major retailers and box stores simply look at the bottom line, and you’re just another number to them.

A home business, small business or person starting their business will take that sale, and especially if they’re new, they’ll be SO excited and may just dance a little at the sale. Isn’t that worth more?

Now for the post I wanted to share. This sums it up beautifully:


A customer wanted to purchase a beautiful Wire Wrap Bracelet and spotted an artist who did absolutely amazing work, but she charged a good price too.

The customer thought that the artist’s price was way too high so she approached the artist and in quite a brusk fashion stated “I want to buy a Bracelet from you, but I think you charge too much.”

The artist was a little taken aback but replied, “Ok, how much do you think I should charge?”

The customer replied “I think you should charge “X” much, because the wire will cost this much, and the clasp this much, and the cabochon this much. I even factored in the price of your pliers.”

The final price the customer had calculated was a lot cheaper than the artist’s original price, but she said “Ok, deal. You will get your goods in a week”.

The customer was very pleased with herself and can’t resist telling all her friends what a fabulous deal she has negotiated and how smart she is, and that in a week she will have her gorgeous Bracelet.

A week later her parcel arrives in a lovely packaged box. She opens it and inside is Wire, a Clasp, a Cabochon, and 2 sets of Pliers. Angrily she contacts the artist asking “How could you do this to me? I asked you for a Bracelet and you sent me a box of Wire, a Clasp, a Cabochon and 2 sets of Pliers?!?!”

The artist quietly replies “My dear, you got exactly what you paid for, if you think there is something missing, then you will need to pay for it.”

Moral of the story, when you buy handmade you are not just buying the materials you are buying the artist’s , time, effort, love and dedication that goes into making your pieces.”

Know your worth and price accordingly!

Feel free to share.

About the author 

Amber Jalink

I've been working online full time for 23+ years... yep, I know a little about doing business on internet ;)

  1. A great little story!
    Our daughter is a silversmith who makes exquisite jewellery. Luckily she has not experienced those remarks (yet!) from potential customers, but I will send her the little story anyhow!

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