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Pricing Amigurumi

Setting prices for amigurumi can be very tricky. I thought I’d offer some pointers that may help you to set reasonable prices if you want to sell the amigurumi you’ve crocheted.

As you may know, I allow people to sell items made from any of my patterns (provided they give me credit as the designer). As my time is more than filled with creating new designs, running my shop and blog, and providing assistance to my customers, I can’t accept crochet commissions any more, so I’ve started a list of people who sell PlanetJune-designed toys for people who want to buy finished PlanetJune items. If you sell items made from my patterns, have an online shop, and would like to be added to the list, please let me know!

Although the following post is geared towards online amigurumi sellers, there’s probably some value in reading it if you sell any kind of handmade goods. Read on for my pricing tips…

Common Handmade Pricing Strategies

Note: I’m ignoring consideration of profit above material and labour costs and the wholesale/retail price factor – these are outside the scope of this post, which isn’t aimed at people who want to sell their handmade work as a serious business, but for hobbyists who’d like to support their yarn- and pattern-buying habit while they enjoy their hobby, and maybe not fill their house to overflowing with all the amigurumi they’ve made!

Very simply, there are two general schools of thought for pricing handmade goods:

  • Set prices based on an hourly ‘wage’ for yourself plus the costs of materials
  • Set prices based on material costs multiplied by 3 (or some other number)

Now, neither of these strategies work at all well for amigurumi:

Hourly wage: Unless you can successfully market yourself as creating ‘art toys’, it’s very difficult to make any sales if you charge a decent hourly wage for everything you crochet. (And if you’re crocheting while you watch TV or chat, should you really be earning the same amount per hour as if you were giving 100% concentration to your task..?)

Costs x3: While this may be an appropriate figure for, e.g. a simple crocheted blanket with a repetitive stitch pattern, the material costs for making an amigurumi are miniscule (typically a fraction of a ball of yarn, a handful of stuffing, and a pair of safety eyes) and it can take just as long to make a toy that uses less than 1/2 a ball of yarn as to crochet a blanket that takes 5 or 6 balls, so the resulting price would be far too low if you use this formula for amigurumi.

So, as an amigurumi seller, you’re looking for some middle ground: a price that covers all your material costs and accounts for both the time taken and the complexity of the project (i.e. the concentration required to complete your item), but still gives you a number that your potential customers will find acceptable.

Know the Market

What do other people charge for similar items? Look at the other shops on my list and see what they charge. You should also look at other Etsy amigurumi sellers to get a broader picture.

Don’t try to beat their prices – it’s not a competition, and doing that will damage the market for both you and the other sellers! But do look critically at your work and theirs:

  • If you think your items look as good as theirs, charge the same (or more, if you want).
  • If you think yours are better, charge more (unless they have no sold items and you think that’s because their prices are unrealistically high).
  • If yours look worse, why is that? Don’t charge less; instead look at this as an opportunity to improve your listings by either improving your crocheting and finishing skills, or by learning to take better photos, as applicable.

Your photos will make a huge difference in what sells and what doesn’t. Is there anything that makes your items more special than other amigurumi sellers? Something that may justify higher prices? Show that in your photos, if possible, but otherwise, make sure it’s clear from your item description. If your prices are the same and your photos are equally appealing, the description may also be the deciding factor for your customer.

If you’re just starting out with your shop, you may decide to start by pricing slightly lower than others, to help you gain some initial sales and positive feedback from customers, and then raise your prices a bit once you’re more established. Please don’t sell yourself too short though, by setting your prices far below what other comparable items sell for. If your items don’t sell as well as you’d hoped, there’s nothing stopping you from lowering your prices, or offering sales and discounts, at a later date.

Hidden costs of selling online

Note: I’m assuming the most common scenario: you’re selling in USD through Etsy, using PayPal to accept payment, but the general principles apply however you’re selling, although the exact fees and percentages will vary.

If you started out by selling items to friends and family, or at in-person craft shows, you may be tempted to price your online items the same way. But remember you’re paying 20c per listing (whether it sells or not) plus 3.5% (if it sells) to Etsy, and PayPal will take 30c plus 2.9% (or 3.9% from an overseas customer), so your online prices should be higher by that amount, at least.

e.g. on a $20 item you’ll pay:

$0.20 fixed fee to list the item on Etsy
$0.70 to Etsy when it sells (3.5% of $20)
$0.30 fixed fee to PayPal
$0.58 percentage to PayPal (2.9% of $20)

Those small costs start to add up: that’s a total of $1.78 that you’ve lost by selling the same online vs a cash in-person sale. So you should consider charging $22 instead of $20 for that item, to cover those costs, unless you want to accept that you’ll only receive the lower amount.

In general, the amount you need to add is:

Amount to raise prices by to cover PayPal and Etsy fees = $0.50 + 0.064 x (in-person sale price)

Notes: If you regularly sell to overseas customers, use 0.074 instead of 0.064 in the above calculation. This also assumes that your item sells within 4 months of listing, otherwise you’d need to pay an additional 20c to Etsy for relisting it.

Shipping costs

Do your shipping costs include all your costs? Aside from postage, are you buying a bubble mailer, a box, bubble wrap, tape, mailing labels…? Any of these add to your costs, and you should include them in your shipping charge (or raise all your item prices by that amount, if you want to make your shipping costs look more reasonable), or you’ll end up taking a loss each time you ship a package.

Also, remember that PayPal will take 2.9% of the price you’re paid for the shipping costs (e.g. that works out as 15c if you charge $5 for shipping), so, once you’ve worked out the cost of postage plus all your packing and shipping materials, you need to add the PayPal commission like this:

Shipping charge = 1.03 x (postage cost plus packaging materials cost)

Note: if you offer shipping to overseas customers, use 1.04 instead of 1.03 in the above calculation.

These little amounts add up, and you don’t want to end up paying for packaging materials out of your own pocket.

Underpricing: Warning Signs

  • Are you selling items faster than you can replace them?
  • Are you crocheting every spare minute of the day to keep your shop filled?
  • Are your hands or wrists starting to hurt?
  • Are you starting to wonder why you’re even doing this?

All these are signs that you need to raise your prices, if you want to keep selling what you’ve made. Yes, you’ll see less sales if you do that, but if you make the same amount of money while selling fewer items, you’ll find it easier to keep up with demand, to avoid giving yourself a repetitive stress injury, and to (hopefully) not lose your love of crochet – which, after all, is why you’re doing this in the first place, isn’t it?

Go Forth and Sell!

I hope this has given you some points to consider, whether you’re setting your prices for the first time, or considering updating your pricing scheme. It’s perfectly okay to crochet for friends and family for the cost of yarn and patterns (or for free), if that’s what you want to do, but do remember not to offer those same bargain prices to all your customers, or you’ll burn yourself out and your hobby will turn into slave labour! You’re worth more than that, but ultimately, only you can decide how much money you need to make in order for it to be worth your while to sell your handmade goods.

Good luck with your selling!

(Please send me your details if you’d like to be added to my list of sellers – see the bottom of the linked page for details – I hope it will send potential customers your way for items you’ve already crocheted, and/or generate custom order requests for you. I’m getting a lot of requests for cacti and succulents at the moment..!)

Do you have any tips to add to mine? Or good (or bad) experiences with selling amigurumi? Please share them in the comments below!

27 Comments »

  1. Eleanor (undeadgoat) said

    Well I am a student in design right now with no time to make things to sell, so I don’t have any practical experience, but there is another “simple rule of thumb” you’ve neglected, which is to combine an hourly wage with cost of materials and see where that gets you. And I would say OF COURSE charge the same for time crocheting while otherwise occupied–you don’t tell your employer to dock your paycheck because you were listening to music, do you?

    I do appreciate the advice you’ve given on not undermining the marketplace, though–too many people do, I think.

    • June said

      Thanks for your input, Eleanor! The ‘hourly wage’ option as I described it above does actually include the cost of materials :)

      All I meant by charging less for time when you’re not 100% occupied with the task is a way to justify making a lower hourly wage for your handmade items than you would otherwise be comfortable with (which, sadly, is the only way to *not* price yourself out of the market when selling handmade toys). When I sold custom-crocheted items, I was comfortable charging less per hour than I would make in my professional work, knowing that I could do the crocheting while watching movies or listening to audiobooks, vs my hourly rate for technical writing, editing or illustration work, which takes far more concentration (no movies or audiobooks!), and so demands a higher hourly rate. Although I can listen to music while I do each of those things, the amount of concentration required is very different in each case: I can conduct a conversation while I crochet, but not while I’m editing…

      • eleanor m said

        lmao this is very good, i just wanted to share something. i have been searching the web for prices for a while and posted something, and when i saw eleanor i thought you were talking to me, so i read it and realized it was someone els lol. thank you for this post.

  2. Chrisie Merriman said

    Thanks for the info! I’ve just opened an Etsy account for selling, but have stalled on pricing, specifically shipping.
    I mailed a finished item to a friend through Canada Post and it was $11.00!
    Also, my father-in-law said I should definitely sell my items, then when I told him prices would start around $15 he said, “Oh…”
    It’s so hard to put a price on our crafts… I will definitely take your info into consideration when I’m pricing items for my new store.
    Once I have a few things listed, I will send you my info to put on your list.
    Thanks again for supporting your customers like this!

    • June said

      Chrisie, I well remember the expense of Canada Post! It’s very hard to make your prices look competitive once you’ve added the shipping cost (unless you can keep all your amigurumi under 2cm thick, haha!) Good luck with your new shop :)

  3. Sara T said

    I always have such a hard time deciding what to charge people for my handmade items, and this post gives some awesome suggestions. Thank you so much!

  4. Missnye said

    Very well done. Excellent advice. I may have missed this point in your article. If not, may I add: One reason for not undervaluing your work is that many perceive a cheap product as being just that. Let’s say there are three similar products, one overpriced, one underpriced and one in the middle. Some will buy the higher-priced item, believing they are getting the best product. Some will buy the lowest-priced item, believing they are getting the best deal. MOST, however, tend to select the midrange-priced item, feeling secure that they are getting a good product at a fair price. This has been my experience and it has served me well. As my business advisor once told me, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!”

  5. Katherine said

    Thank you so very much for this, it is extremely helpful to me.

    I am always having a constant battle with myself in regards to how much I should charge for my items and what makes it more difficult is that I am my own worst crtique so I am always pricing things down if I dont think they are perfect enough and you have now given me a crucial piece of information that I can now use to base my prices on.

    I also found the online fees section of this post incredibly helpful. In all the time I have had an Etsy account selling my little creations I have never added all the costs together like you have so very kindly done for us above and I now relaise that if I am to make a little back on my items or even just to break even I really need to increase my prices and postage a little.

    I find that it is a tough world in the handemade selling market and I have experienced a lot of ups and downs in the craft fair world – I have realised that I will never be able to sell the things I make as a full time business which is why I sell only for the enjoyment of it, knowing that just one of my creations has gone to a new home across the pond or even to a lady in the same area as me gives me the satisfaction I need to continue selling online and at fairs.

    Thank you again for putting your time and effort in to the above post and again for your fantastic patterns and the permission to sell the finished articles – There are so many people out there selling patterns that do not allow this and I avoid all of them as I can only make so many crocheted projects before my house starts to look like a yarn factory and I think it is incredibly kind and generous of you to allow us to make and sell.

    sorry I realise I have rambled on for too long

  6. Susie said

    This is a great article — thank you! I run a brick-and-mortar craft store, and our artists are always asking us how they should price their items. It’s such a tough question to answer, although after almost 4 years, we do have a pretty good sense of price point… In any case, I will definitely be directing our amigurumi-makers to this post — thanks for your insight!

  7. Valerie! said

    Thank you so much for this informative post! I have just started crocheting in the last year or two and have gotten so many compliments and requests from friends that I sell my items, but I’ve never really known what the pros and cons would be to doing that. This gives me quite a lot of information to ponder, and I appreciate it all. You’ve given me lots to think about. Thanks!

  8. Kati said

    I think we will always in a big disadvantage because our art is so work intensive. Only people who are into crochet/knitting know how long it takes to make an ami, but then they would rather get the pattern and make their own.
    Outsiders on the other hand are not so interested in the crafting details, they usually just want a cute stuffie. Unfortunately, an equally cute (and also completely handmade) felt doll takes much less time to make and therefore can be sold for less. The competition from sewn toys is a major reason amigurumi is so underpriced imo.

  9. [...] Setting Prices for Amigurumi. This is a helpful post from @planetjune. If you don’t sell your crochet, that’s okay; you might get some good info on why things are priced as they are. [...]

  10. Loora said

    Really interesting to read, thank you !

    I think Kati makes an excellent point I’d take even farther: competition makes plush dolls and animals for almost nothing in China, and some customers don’t see the difference. Personally, being more on the side of the shoppers than on that of the seller, I don’t like to pay 20 dollars for what looks like a very simple ami, even if it’s handcrafted. On the other side, I’m drawn to complex amis that obviously need much work. If I were a seller, I’d probably concentrate on the higher-end amis to avoid competing with big-chain mass-produced animal plushes. I’m still under the spell of the kingfisher: when was the last time you saw a kingfisher in a store ? Now, that’s something worth buying.

    • Psst, hey, I’ve got a kingfisher that I can sell ya! ;-)

      • Loora said

        Thanks Judy, I haven’t lost all hope to crochet it myself yet ! I’m two (huge) projects away from buying the pattern (husband insist on my finishing projects before buying supplies for the next, I hate it when he’s right).

  11. Hi June,

    Thank you for that blog post. I just raised the price of all of the items in my shop. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while now!

    I figure into the price of my amis if they are crocheted all in one color, or if there are multiple color changes. I also count how many separate appendages I needed to crochet and sew on. I charge more for items I crocheted with fuzzy yarn.

  12. SusanD1408 said

    I have given you an award:
    http://crochetaddictcfs.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-award_07.html

  13. I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award
    http://macscrochet.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-award.html

    Ali x

  14. Lluna said

    Hi June!

    I’m Lluna from MoonSC. I’m newbie as blogger and handmade seller. Your tips may help me so much to pricing my items in my next shop-opening.

    First of all, thanks a lot for this post, and for all your efforts and works, for your shares and advices. I really appreciate them.

    But, after read the post, and all the useful comments of your readers, I want to add one more important tip that anyone consider before. Is the fact that when you design and create a new pattern, not only crochet an ami for a pattern that you bought or find on internet, you may to raise this value on your ami and/or creation. You had spend so much time developing it, testing it, doing and redoing it, writting the pattern, amount of yarn that you use in the process… All of this work, that you did before to begin the production time for sell the final item, you need to raise the final price according to this efforts and costs. First of all, because is an original creation, not only a copy produced item. And second, really value up your sell items, because you’re the only one that can sell these. How to do it? I find a simple formula:

    Add a fee over 3$ and 15$ (deppend on your efforts to developing it and the easyful way to copy it by anyone having phisically the item). How much difficult are to copy the item, much you need to raise. And why this raise and not other amounts range? Because there are the range of prices, between cheapest and expensive, of the PDF patterns that anyone can buy, on Etsy, on crochet magazines, etc.

    I think that it’s very important for any craft developer that are creating, and not only producing items to sell. The final price need to refflect this efforts, in comparison with the only produced items. I don’t want offend anyone, but I think that consider this work about an additional add to final price, is the right by any creator/developer/artist.

    In the other hand, when you develop a pattern (as I’m doing on my blog and ravelry), and share it for free (anywhere), and you sell the final items too, you don’t may charge these items with this fee. This can be the way to offer two type of prices for your items, when you’re developing them originally.

    I hope this tip can help someones, as me, that put some efforts to be original on all our creations.

    Thanks to read, and excuse me by my bad English, I’m Spanish girl and I’m not using translator to write. It’s and adventure for me, and the perfect way to improve my English skills.

    Sweet kisses to all!

  15. TracyKM said

    I’m not a seller/designer, and have bought only a few things from etsy.com and ebay.com. I was really shocked by one purchase when the shop owner (on etsy) did NOT include any of the etsy/paypal fees in the item price. It was added after purchase, and included in the shipping and “handling”. There had been a shipping cost given, but this was on top of that. I was surprised and asked them about it–they said it was “standard” to add the etsy fees on top. I’ve only had that happen that one time. We don’t go to a store and expect to pay extra over the sticker price.
    What’s your opinion/experience with this?
    I’d love to sell on etsy, but all the fees, the time, the issues…..too much headache for me!

    • June said

      Tracy, I’ve never seen or heard of that before! It’s certainly not “standard”, and it’s very poor business practice for a seller to include hidden costs like that. My business is built on repeat customers and word of mouth from satisfied customers; I can’t imagine that seller will have many of either! I hope you left negative feedback to warn future potential customers against falling into her trap…

  16. Lyssa said

    I absolutely love this post. I sell things through my school but people either love or hate my prices, people who love them say they’re too low and people who hate them say they’re too high. How can I think of a fair price when people who appreciate it, say raise it; and people who don’t, say lower it? I’ve tried to find a “nearly-perfect-price” formula, but I can’t come up with anything bullet-proof. What would you specifically take under consideration (aside from the basics)?

    I’ve tried nailing that formula, but so far all I have is this.

    Number of individual pieces crocheted (arms & legs, everything that’s not embroidered) x Number of skeins/colors used (minus the embroidering as well, it’s such a small amount anyway) + $1-2 for safety eyes and/or noses.

    I’ve tooled that out myself a little but what’s your opinion?

  17. Lisa said

    Hi June! Thank you for all this info! It’s very informative. Do you have any suggestions on packaging Amis?

    • June said

      I don’t sell finished amigurumi, so I can’t help personally, but I suggest you ask in the PlanetJune Crochet Designs group on Ravelry – lots of my customers do sell the amis they make from my patterns, and I’m sure they’d be happy to offer packaging tips!

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    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!
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