Thursday, April 1, 2010

Econ 203: Everything Isn't About You, OK?

After a very good Etsy virtual lab panel with the women behind The Handmade Marketplace, I'm back in pricing-rant mode. This time I'm making it as simple as possible. Selling vintage things that don't contain a piece of my soul probably helps remind me of the whole capitalist system thing.

An item is "worth" (and I'm using the financial definition of worth) the amount of money a person is willing to pay for it and the current owner is willing to part with it at a given point in time.

Stranded on a dessert island, fresh water is worth more than diamonds (unless you know how to turn the diamonds into a precision cutting tool and do something Gilligan's Island/Macgyver style).

A soda at the movie theater costs hardly anything to produce, but because people are willing to pay $4, the theater can and does charge $4.

Whatever you sell, it's good to know your real costs so you know if it's worth it to keep doing and making and selling.

Finding the person who will pay more for the thing you have may take time and energy. Is your time and energy worth the extra money? Is the thing you are doing/making in the first place worth your compensation for doing/making it?

All sorts of other things probably factor into your idea of worth. With Etsy, we're doing what we love. Hobby and job blur. That's ok. We're human.

But so are our buyers. And as humans, they will pay whatever the item is worth to them. They will pay for the story, pay for the way it reminds them of their childhood, pay for whatever reason the item is worth something to them. If a vintage seller finds a $1 cup, but it's the exact cup someone drank from while they watched the Bears win the Super Bowl with their grandfather right before he died, that buyer will gladly pay more than $1.

So think like a buyer. Find your buyers. Find out more about the people who already bought your items. Find out more about the people who look at your items. Stalk your audience. Whatever you have to and are willing to do.

So long as it's worth it.

1 comment:

KB said...

Thank you Jill. I have been considering selling on Etsy but, so many shops are underpricing similar items to what I would be selling that I wonder if it would be worth it. At this point, I need to figure how to market my items so that they do not just sit there. Your outlook is similar to mine and it makes me feel better to see that I am not alone.