What I Learned About Money from Selling Honey
Way back last May, I took jars of honey I’d harvested to a local craft fair where I and some friends had purchased tables for our wares. I’d harvested that honey from one of our hives earlier in that week, done the work to scrape the honey-laden comb from the frames in the heat of the garage and crush it in my hands, draining off and filtering the honey. I jarred it, labelled it, got my adorable little wooden display together and off I went.
And when I got there, same as usual dilemma: what to charge? How much for this honey that I’d taken from our bees, that I’d processed with my own hands?
So I set the price: $8 a jar.
These were not tiny jars or huge jars. They were just regular jam-size jars. But even so, I was unsure. Was $8 too much?
Now I know full-well, having seen honey at the Farmer’s Market especially, that that was a crazy cheap price. I’m not going to get rich on honey, I know that. Still I thought: I’m just an amateur. What do I know? I’ll just put the price down here. Way down here.
Honey is honey.
The first customer approached, excited about the honey, wanting to hear all about it. And bought two jars.
Hmm, I thought. Maybe that price is too low.
The next two jars I sold for $10. Same size jars, bigger price.
The next three for $12, then $15, and finally $20. I sold the last jars for 2 1/2 times the price I’d started with. Truth: I could have started at $20 and sold them all. The people who’d come to this craft fair came for local goods. They came to spend money. But most of all, these people could see clearly was what was in front of them: jars of delicious local organic liquid GOLD.
All I could see was me.
And when I say “me,” I mean my own limited view of “me,” not the capital-M Me that I really am. I let my own sense of my own worth get in the way of the worth of what I was really selling, which was GOLD. GOLD that I sold as if it were dirt. Honey that I devalued because I had been the one doing the labor, as if that in any way diminished the product itself. If anything, to the people at this fair, that elevated it.
In that moment, I understood everything I had been doing wrong in pricing my other work. I was blocking my own self with the limitation I was imposing on my own value, letting that drive price.
Instead what I needed to remember was honey. Honey is honey to the client. it isn’t sort-of honey because I did it. Its honey-ness is unchanged.
instead what I needed was to see my part in the process as a value-add, not a diminishment. This honey is even MORE special, this gold shines even brighter, because I am the one who did the work to bring it to you. These hands produced this, every part of this, from the display, to the jars, to the labels, to the goofy bee-stickers — the whole experience.
I sold out of honey super-fast that day — another lesson: price too low — and spent the rest of the afternoon selling my handcrafted salves and balms and talking to people about bees, all the while turning over this realization in my mind. See the honey for what is is to the person buying it, not through your filter. Sell people what they want at the appropriate price, turn honey to money, trade gold for gold.
What you sell is about you. It IS you, in the best possible way. If you let it. If you get out of your own way and sell honey, people will buy that honey. You will sell out.