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Marketing Monday: The Path to Pricing Freedom

“Before you can price for profit, you’ve got to learn the Art of Earning.” Megan Auman

The pricing process of your marketing efforts can appear to be overwhelming. But we’re here to share with you today that pricing can actually be quite easy, and even fun. With just a few helpful hints and gentle reminders, you’ll be on your way to pricing freedom!

~Pricing formula 101:
This is a very simple and easy pricing formula that is a great place to START, but certainly don’t hold yourself to this formula. It is quite possible that your product is worth WAY more than what this formula above spits out, especially if you incur very little expenses to create your product such as you wild craft or grow all of your plant material, receive your labels for free and use all recycled jars.

The basic pricing formula:

  • Cost of good x 2 = wholesale price
  • W holesale price x 2 = Retail Price

~Know thy costs: To help you determine what your ‘cost of goods’ is, you must know what your costs actually are! There are two types of costs; direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs are the expenses directly incurred to create your herbal product. By knowing this number you give yourself the first variable in your pricing formula.

  • materials and supplies such as oil, vinegar, alcohol, butters, wax, etc.
  • plant material (if purchased or grown from seed)
  • packaging (jars, labels, and tins)
  • Poppy Swap listing fees and Paypal fees.

Then there are indirect costs such as your equipment and overhead (electric, gas, phone) which don’t get applied to your ‘cost of goods’ number. So, do some math. Create an excel spreadsheet and tally up those costs. It’s REALLY empowering to know this number and is an essential component to your pricing formula.

~Set your price with confidence: How do you value yourself? Do you see yourself as productive, amazing and totally worth it? Or, do you view yourself as meek, boring, and can’t imagine what anyone would see in you? This is EXACTLY what customers are perceiving when setting the price of your herbal product. Do you know with all of your heart how powerful and beautiful this product is and how many people can benefit from it? Or, do you question its ability and usefulness in the home apothecary? Set your price with clarity and confidence. If you can’t, that is okay, too. It just means you now have a wonderful opportunity to realize if you have any old and false beliefs and update your self-image and relationship to your work.

~Let’s make money:  Here is an easy way to reconcile the reality of what you would like to make relative to the price you charge. Figure out how many herbal units you make a day. Determine the salary you need to be paid/would like to be paid to be fulfilled and sustained in your life. Calculate how many herbal units you can make in a year and then divide your desired salary by this and see what you come out with.  Most people will find they are selling themselves way too short.

An example:

Let’s say I can create 20 herbal units a day x 3 days a week = 60 herbal units/week

60 herbal units/week x 52 weeks/year = 3120 herbal units/year

Desired salary: $40,000

$40,000 divided by 3120 herbal units = $12.48/per unit

As you can see, to make my desired salary of $40,000 for the year I need to make an average of $12.48/per unit. Realistic? TOTALLY! Look around your product line, of course it is possible to MAKE MONEY~

~Don’t try to compete with mass produced goods:  There is NO WAY we as herbalists can compete with the rock-bottom pricing of mass produced goods found in chain stores, including products found in larger health food stores. And we don’t have to! Our products should be valued for what they ARE---high quality, handcrafted, spiritually infused and potent medicine intended to love and nourish the one who receives it. Trying to “measure up” or compete is unnecessary and will just make you nuts. Keep it simple: value yourself and your beautiful creativity for what it truly is. You will be rewarded immensely.

~Show your worth: Your product photography and product descriptions really convey the worth of your product. This is an area where IT IS important to look around at the market and get good clues. We are bombarded with images all day long. People only stop and look at something stunning. So make sure that your images are good! Otherwise, your store will be skipped over and people will never get to experience how wonderful your product really is.

~Considering raising your prices? Did you crunch your numbers and realize that it’s time to raise your prices because YOU are worth it?! A little reminder to be courteous and give warning to your current wholesale and retail customers.

I’d like to end this post with a powerful quote, "If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price." -Author Unknown

What does this quote mean to you? Do you have anything from your own experience that you would like to share or add with your fellow swappers? We’d LOVE to hear from YOU!



Kristie Nackord
Marketing Consultant~

Replies to this topic

Wonderful post and thank you! Just what I needed to read today.

I do have a clarification or 2:

-Under the 'Let's Make Money' section you come up with an amount $12.48 per unit. Are you saying this is in addition to your products direct cost? So if my costs are 12, I would add an additional 12.48. Or is this the labor cost?

-I have always factored labor into the direct costs as in an hourly rate, how long x product takes to make, etc. It is not part of your equation and I am wondering why. Is this where the above question comes in?

Peace, Michelle

~Learn about naturally caring for your skin with the wild flair and passion of the green Earth~

Hi Michelle~


Perhaps 'salary' was the wrong word to use! Earnings/income may have been better. The numbers of $40,000/yr or $12.48/unit are gross figures. In otherwords, from that number you would then 'deduct' any COG it required to create the product. So, no, this is not an 'in addition' to number. Although, that is another way to do it!


I did not go into the 'labor input' aspect of the formula, you are right. While I didn't specifiy this was about 'cost of goods' this is really what I was talking about here. I was trying to keep it somewhat simple! ha! And with that said, I was really looking at the cost of goods, or in other words, the cost to create  a product simply on a materials basis. I think a whole post needs to be written about 'paying ourselves'. 


Any tips you would like to offer all of us Swappers on how you 'pay yourself' and figure your cost of goods? We'd LOVE to hear it!

~ Kristie

Hey Kristie,

Sure thing. I just factor an hourly wage (it has risen over the years as my skills increased ;) x approximate time to make an item (which has lessened as expertise gained :) = labor per batch (the batch amount varies per product and is the most practical amount to make of a certain item).

Hourly wage x hours to make= labor cost per batch/ number of items in batch= labor cost per item

Theoretical example:

18 oz per batch/ 2 oz per item= 9 items

15/hr x 2 hours= $30/9 items= ~$3.30 labor cost per item

This separates making a wage from the profit of the business which is very important in order for the business to grow. I won't be able to expand my line or experiment with new items if I'm only bringing enough in to cover costs on a set number and type of items! And I won't be able to dedicate time to my livelihood if I'm not making a wage ;) Profit margin is a whole other topic that I'd like to see more on. Like what is a reasonable margin? I'm sure some high end, not natural cosmetics have 500% profit margins!!

  • DragonflyDew
  • DragonflyDew

I calculate pretty much like Violet says, except I use the Soapmaker 3 software to do almost all my calculations, keep track of my raw materials and containers, keep track of my inventory made, input my recipes so it automagically takes care of deducting amounts used, and so many other super cool things that I could go on for days about it. Originally made for soap, it is so easy to use for all other types of products, and at only $80 or so, it's a steal as far as I'm concerned. It takes a bit of time to enter all your data and recipes initially but after that it is easy to maintain. If you want to know more about it, here is the link: http://www.soapmaker.ca/

I did have a comment on pricing in general which is that you can't always assume what you'd like to price a product for is what the market will bear. In other words, if it costs you $2.00 to make a lip balm, following the X3 formula you would have to charge $6.00. Most people won't buy a lip balm for that much, since the going price for hand made, all natural lip balm is between 3 and 4 dollars. Just a data point!

For gardens and gardeners, nature lovers and earth sustainers ~ http://www.gardeningfornature.com
Dragonfly Dew at Poppy Swap ~ http://www.poppyswap.com/shop/DragonflyDew

That sounds like fabulous software! Does Quickbooks do something similar with products? I am not quite ready to buy software yet but good to know.

  • smlowry
  • smlowry

This is a very interesting topic and one that I've thought a lot about since starting to sell my products in 2011. I've got the cost of product down and doubled for wholesale. Then it's up to the stores to decide what to charge. One store marks up 1.7%, another only 1.4%, and another even less. When I sell directly from my home I usually do wholesale plus a dollar or two depending on the product and its price. I haven't even tried to figure in my labor costs though I know I'll have to start at some point. I'm just so happy to have my stuff paying for itself and then some so I can "splurge" on really good essential oils or experiment with different product ideas. Earning some $ from my herbal fun seems like an extra. But I do want to quit my day job and won't be able to unless I get more business-like about things such as this. Since I only work 2 days a week right now it won't take much to get me to that point.

This year I'm putting a sign on my home and I'm creating a flyer to put around town. I'm also starting to offer herbal workshops, so far teaching basics like teas, tinctures. I'm not a medical herbalist though I have used herbs for many years for myself and family, so I don't feel comfortable teaching what to take for this or that, rather I want to share a perspective and really encourage people to get outside and explore what's growing in their gardens, yards, woods, and listen and pay attention and get curious. In any case, I'm hoping the fees from my workshops will also supplement my income a bit.

One thing I'm wondering is about costing essential oils. I tend to add just a dollar amount per batch - from $2.00 to $5.00 or more depending on the oils used. Rose otto, absolute, German chamomile, obviously cost a lot more than tea tree or lavender and peppermint. And I like to use the best quality I can afford. Most of my oils I order from Ananda or Mountain Rose Herbs. Jeans Greens in NY also has decent quality but is generally more expensive than MRH. How do others of you figure this cost? Because really I'm just guessing.

The software mentioned sounds interesting. Do you know if there's a version for Macs?

  • DragonflyDew
  • DragonflyDew

On the software - there is no version for macs but I run in on my Macbook pro using the Parallels Desktop software, which lets me run Windows as an operating system at the same time as the mac OS. I know, geeky and techy, but I have a software engineering background so I am used to emulators.  I think you can also run in under the emulator that comes with Snow Leopard - you would have to check. You would still have to have a Windows OS license to run it though. I cost the essential oils using the Soapmaker - it's just on of the ingredients in the recipe, and it calculates it per lip balm or cream or whatever. So cool and detailed.

I have a basic conversion for drops e.o. to teaspoons and then from there up to ounces to figure the cost. I don't have it on hand though I believe I found it in books anyways. It is not the most precise because different e.o.'s have different viscosities and so a teaspoon of 1 won't equal a teaspoon of another but it's close enough. the essential oils are often the most expensive ingredient so I am sure to factor for them.

  • walterlucas
  • walterlucas

I like this idea of marketing, such s strategic one. I guess everyone that owns business they must still have idea on how to name a company before doing such procedure.

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