Pricing Your Baskets


Williamsburg300.jpgPricing Your Baskets (from

Pricing your baskets is a complicated process and people do it different ways. The information provided here is meant to serve as a basic guideline to remind you of general pricing factors. 

First is the cost of materials. The reed or splint, the handle, anything you add to the basket (tie-on's, labels, other decorations or trims) and stain or finishing supplies. Before you weave the basket, be sure to weigh your handle separately so that you know the weight of, for example, a 10x12 D handle. Record it in a notebook so that you don't have to keep re-weighing the same size.

Then weigh the finished basket while it's dry. Subtract the weight of the handle. The remaining weight needs to be multiplied by the cost of the reed. 1/2 pound basket times $10.95 for reed equals $5.475 for the reed. Add the cost of the handle and other items, plus the cost of staining the basket. (Divide the cost of a can of stain by the number of baskets that you stain with one can.)

Next, add your labor cost. Multiply your number of hours worked by a reasonable hourly wage. What's reasonable? 
This depends on where you live and whether your market area has other basket competition. 
Beginning weavers should charge at least a couple of dollars per hour above minimum wage. Experienced weavers (5-10 years+) should charge more of a "craftsman's" hourly wage- similar to cabinet makers and other fine crafts. We hesitate to name dollar amounts in any case because of the tremendous variation from state to state and country to country. You need to determine your hourly wage based on what the market will bear in your area. Some areas have more respect for basketry as a truly distinctive craft. Experienced weavers will eventually create a name for themselves and establish their personal style of weaving- a special style of dyeing, a special technique like unique market baskets or antler baskets or natural fiber baskets. These factors add value and distinction to the basket.

Once you have a record of sales, be sure that you're writing down the basket type, size and price sold. You'll quickly see a pattern that establishes which baskets are moving faster than others. 

Finally, there are the costs of doing business. Booth rental, table rental, vehicle expenses (Gas!), advertising, etc. 

A suggestion for Beginners:

Gift baskets continue to be a popular gift item. If I were new at selling baskets at fairs or a similar kind of venue, I might consider filling and cellophane wrapping my baskets to add additional "perceived value". I'm NOT saying that plain, empty baskets aren't good enough to sell on their own! It's just that there's so much flash in today's market place that it makes baskets very very difficult to sell on their own. Especially small, simple baskets. But small, simple baskets with contents- that's another story.

We already know that gift baskets are definitely not a passing fad. So why not use that fact to our advantage? 
You'll need to emphasize in your sales space and/or sales pitch, that you have HAND-WOVEN the baskets, so that potential buyers won't consider them just "filled containers" but "artful, one-of-a-kind containers with contents". 

The colored cellophane bags that you shrink wrap around your basket with a hair dryer are available in different sizes at all the large craft stores. Be sure to buy your contents items at a wholesale price. Non-perishable contents are best, and stay away from food unless you're ready to go the whole Health Department rules, regulations and inspections route. 

Don't think you have to have baskets that are chuck full. Simple elegance has its place.

AGAIN: I'm not saying that Baskets are not good enough to sell on their own! But maybe having a couple of baskets with contents at your basket craft booth might draw a bit of attention.

TIPS for Getting Customers at a Craft Show:

1. Have an email sign-up list so that those who like your baskets can receive an email from you with the dates of other shows. Important: Be sure to Blind Copy these emails. No one likes to see their name in the "to" section of an email with a list of other people.

2. Consider giving away a basket at a craft show with a drawing at a certain time on the last day. Have booth visitors put their name and phone number on a slip of paper to put in the basket to be given away. Post the time of drawing so that there were be viewers of the drawing. 

Good luck with your basket marketing!








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