I was going to write a piece on how to price your hand made items. There are a few formulas floating around;
Materials + hours worked x 2.
This made me wonder about what someone charges per hour. In Australia minimum wage is AU$16.87 per hour- I was surprised, as I assumed it would be closer to $20. In the USA minimum wage is US$7.25 per hour. The U.K is 6.70 (pounds)
At the time of me writing, US$7.25 is AU$9.07 and UK6.70 is AU$12.79
(If you would like to compare your currency, or get an up to date rate: http://www.xe.com/)
Now, I'm not here to debate the minimum wage, or the cost of living. But its something to think about when pricing your pieces. Do you earn a minimum wage when pricing? Do you believe your skills are worth more than just the minimum?
I've read arguments on both sides, saying it unrealistic to price items at what they are worth, and others saying not to bother getting out of bed for less.
At the end of the day, I believe you need to price for yourself, but also for your target market. There is a market for high end luxury items. There are people who have a budget for $500-$1000 throw cushions. There are also people who may want to only spend $50 on an Afghan or blanket. Ultimately, you as the artist need to work out if you can cater to them, if you are intended to make a wage, or just break even. Where do you live and are you selling to people in the same socio-economic group as you?
Are you happy with what you are being paid for an item? Is $20 worth having one of your creations being worn and loved rather than being in the bottom of a cupboard, or as a former sculpture teacher once told me: 'Id rather have it on display, than in my room with my underwear hanging off it.'
Handmade goods are now luxury items, even if you make them yourself, for your own consumption. It's not saving money, unless you are directly comparing luxury brands, but you may be able to spend the money on a better quality product. It may be worth discussing the price of materials with a potential customer, if they don't craft at all, they may just be unaware. Handmade as luxury is a relatively new reality.
So after my ramblings, I have no answer for you. Start with a formula, but you still need to know how much your time is worth, and the skills you possess are indeed valuable. Materials ARE expensive, but we also live in a time where hobbies are possible, and if we are able to make a living, or part of one, from our hobby, then we are indeed fortunate.