I had a potential customer send me a message to discuss my pricing. She felt that my items were priced too high for a non-established brand. "I can get a [designer]* bag for just a little bit more than what you charge for one of yours." That statement at the end of her message cut me the deepest.
I needed to take some time to get my emotions under control before I responded.
"I am dismayed that you don't agree with my pricing; I try my best to make my prices agreeable. But please keep in mind that while a [designer]* bag is close in price to what I sell, I don't have employees or large-scale factories to do the work for me. The only machine I have to help me is my sewing machine, which is domestic and not industrial. If the bag has leather parts, that leather is usually hand-sewn and the edges are hand-burnished by me. Depending on the size of the piece, the burnishing itself takes at least an hour for a smaller purse. When I am working, I am spending time away from my family, so I place great value on my time. I am sorry that you are unhappy with my pricing but I hope you can understand why my pricing is the way it is."
Unfortunately, she did not understand and never returned to my shop. Her thoughts, though, are something that I commonly hear from other artists when they share similar stories of how so many are unwilling to pay them for their hard work. Nobody wants to work for free and, for me personally, I know that I won't undervalue myself or my work.