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phill

How Much Do You Sell Your Mugs For?

  

55 members have voted

  1. 1. How much do you sell your mugs for?

  2. 2. How much do you sell a 16" platter/bowl for



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Yes...attitudes and perspectives are funny things. Ceramics Monthly is a great example.

 

I read a comment in the Letters section of the March issue (At what Price?) that illustrates well how differently folks see all of this. Like some posts here, the dichotomy between what some feel is worthy and what they see as total crap is infinite. This writer complained that the Feb issue was more like a "Crafts" magazine rather than a "ceramics" offering...and had general disdain for the publication and the way they seemingly (in their eyes) >sold out< to a lesser style/ability/intent (Crafts) and ignored the beauty of "Art". (my reading of the peice anyway)

 

What was funny was WE....as noobs..really liked that Feb issue with Molly Hatch's work and the vases that were slightly erotic. What we saw was Functional vs. someones Fart called "Art". Stuff you can use rather than dust or have to explain it's intent. Etc..etc..etc. La ti da....

 

When we perused the March issue...gasp.....total opposite! Without picking out any specific "work"....we had to laugh and say "well..the writer >should< be happy this month!" Egads...... some of those peices are such a waste of clay and space and the energy it took to make/fire them it isn't even funny...

Page after page it was like ..um..."WTF???" (my wife made the comment "don't eat the brown acid")

 

so yeah....funny things...those perspectives and opinions.... and those magazines too

 

teardrop

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Yes...attitudes and perspectives are funny things. Ceramics Monthly is a great example.

What was funny was WE....as noobs..really liked that Feb issue with Molly Hatch's work and the vases that were slightly erotic. What we saw was Functional vs. someones Fart called "Art". Stuff you can use rather than dust or have to explain it's intent. Etc..etc..etc. La ti da....

 

so yeah....funny things...those perspectives and opinions.... and those magazines too

 

 

Ceramics has such a rich history in both functional and sculptural realms. I agree with you and also enjoy seeing the functional pots displayed in the magazines. I wish they did more functional parts, as most of the magazines seem to mainly show sculptural works.

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I've had this argument before, years ago. A woman, fellow potter, came to my booth and said my work was underpriced. I asked her how many mugs she could throw in and hr. I was able to tell her that I was throwing 5 more than her per hr. I asked how long that she figured it took her to trim and handle that hr of work. I was able to do mine in 3/4 the time. Then I asked how long it took to wax and glaze the work for firing, again less time for me. My final question was am I underprice-she just sputtered. Now, I find that I am taking more time to complete the mugs as back then, I take a little more care in shaping as my forms have become a little more complex, I also take a little more time in finishing the bottoms and signing, I also take a little more time with the glazing as I don't allow the heavy drips as in old, and I take a little more time in cleaning the bottoms in the fired ware. I charge more than 10 years ago, but most of that is probably eaten up by inflation-something we all need to take into account as time goes on, and another reason for a mathematical approach.

 

 

interesting comment pres. i find that the most important factor in pricing comes down to my eye for meaningful work. i just saw a Svend Bayer video last night and couldn't agree more with him when he said that making nice pots has nothing to do with the technique and craftsmanship. have you considered this aspect?

 

respectfully,

phill

 

teardrop-- thanks for standing up for me. smile.gif i enjoy forums when there are a lot of differences being openly expressed.

 

 

Quite often in fact. I have often wondered about the piece that stands hand and shoulders above all of the others. It is basically the same form, the same colors, same decoration and handles as the others, but for some reason it stands out as being superior. The problem is, do I price it higher because I believe it to be better-as if it were a One-in-a-Thousand Winchester rifle, or do I price it like all of the rest? Or even sell it at all. In the end I sell it at the same price as all of the others because it is my sense of aesthetic being pleased, not the purchaser. Do the sell faster than their brothers-No, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you are selling your pottery for a price you require and you are satisfied with it then by all means do so. Myself, as I am always insecure in my pricing choose to use some formulae to help me arrive at a solution that works for me-at least minimally, and if I need to add a little more for my own ego, I do so.

 

 

I would say that the one that stands out as superior – is a gift from the kiln gods. If it stands out to you, it is also going to stand out to the customer who has a heightened sense of appreciation and who is willing to pay more for superior work. So by all means - price it higher, give it to someone you care about or keep it at home. Long time ago, my wife started picking the special gifts from the kiln gods and our house has many of the best pots I ever made because she has more sense than I do.

 

 

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I started out as a potter in the 70’s and did serious production pottery for 8 years. I did all the big shows back in the day – Ann Arbor, Gold Coast, Ashville, Nashville and the biggies in Florida in the winter. Then for family reasons I quit and eventually ended up in the high end software business selling six and seven figure deals to Fortune 500 companies. Now 25 years later, I am in the process of building a new studio in Sedona, AZ.

 

I share this background as I just read thru the whole pricing thread and felt it would be important to provide a view from a totally different angle. Everyone is sensitive about pricing – pricing is an emotional issue! Even in corporate America when it is not a product you designed and built yourself – people and teams struggle over how to price their product. Sales people when asked directly about their price usually take a big gulp and try to evade the question because it is a sensitive subject and they fear rejection.

 

If I learned anything it is this – make a great product, believe in what you make, price it for what you believe it is really worth and have the courage to look the customer in the eye when asked about the price.

 

Mike

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I started out as a potter in the 70’s and did serious production pottery for 8 years. I did all the big shows back in the day – Ann Arbor, Gold Coast, Ashville, Nashville and the biggies in Florida in the winter. Then for family reasons I quit and eventually ended up in the high end software business selling six and seven figure deals to Fortune 500 companies. Now 25 years later, I am in the process of building a new studio in Sedona, AZ.

 

I share this background as I just read thru the whole pricing thread and felt it would be important to provide a view from a totally different angle. Everyone is sensitive about pricing – pricing is an emotional issue! Even in corporate America when it is not a product you designed and built yourself – people and teams struggle over how to price their product. Sales people when asked directly about their price usually take a big gulp and try to evade the question because it is a sensitive subject and they fear rejection.

 

If I learned anything it is this – make a great product, believe in what you make, price it for what you believe it is really worth and have the courage to look the customer in the eye when asked about the price.

 

Mike

 

 

 

Mike, I read your post, and was moved to comment because of

how insightful it was.

 

Good advice in general, not just for pottery!

 

Warmly,

 

-Lily

 

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I started out as a potter in the 70’s and did serious production pottery for 8 years. I did all the big shows back in the day – Ann Arbor, Gold Coast, Ashville, Nashville and the biggies in Florida in the winter. Then for family reasons I quit and eventually ended up in the high end software business selling six and seven figure deals to Fortune 500 companies. Now 25 years later, I am in the process of building a new studio in Sedona, AZ.

 

I share this background as I just read thru the whole pricing thread and felt it would be important to provide a view from a totally different angle. Everyone is sensitive about pricing – pricing is an emotional issue! Even in corporate America when it is not a product you designed and built yourself – people and teams struggle over how to price their product. Sales people when asked directly about their price usually take a big gulp and try to evade the question because it is a sensitive subject and they fear rejection.

 

If I learned anything it is this – make a great product, believe in what you make, price it for what you believe it is really worth and have the courage to look the customer in the eye when asked about the price.

 

Mike

 

 

 

Mike, I read your post, and was moved to comment because of

how insightful it was.

 

Good advice in general, not just for pottery!

 

Warmly,

 

-Lily

 

 

 

Thanks, Lily. The net is once we get good at this, we shouldn't be afraid to price our work so that we can make an excellent living. There are not many people who can do this and do it well.

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would love to hear numbers of sales on $20+ mugs by folks making a living at pottery. At $22 our mugs sold at a moderate pace of 20-30 a show, at $20 a little faster. At our last show another booth (30 year potter with double booth and very nice pots) had lines of people buying his very nice $16 mugs. I'm beginning to wonder if the standard $20 mug is being replaced with $15-16 since the downturn. People seem to be more price consious and really $15 is an ok return for a prodution mug that takes most of us 20 minutes or less to make.

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I don't think it makes sense to discuss specific price points without considering location as a context. The right price in one area doesn't apply to other areas. Also, you have to consider the potter's equity, how much equity do they have with their customer base? The long line of customers in that potter's booth was probably due to his track record of quality, not his prices.

 

Here in the mid-atlantic and northeast, I charge $35 for a large 20oz mug. When I look around at shows, mine are the cheapest. I have no incentive to charge less.

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What I accidentally found out when selling my mugs was how they are displayed seems to matter more than what they are priced at. I used to display my mugs on shelves then I went to a couple fairly large vertical mug racks and my sales went way up. I don’t know what it is about having the mugs hanging by their handles on a rack but far more people stop and pick them up. The mugs somehow seem more inviting to be picked up and held. (and bought) My largest mug is my best seller when someone is buying just 1 or 2 at a time but my midsize mug is the one that sells the most when someone is buying 6 or more mugs at once.


SydneyGee likes this

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My display racks each have a 6 foot hanging rack with pegs as well as a shelve for mugs.

This peg rack and sales I have known about since the 80's Having a few hanging will always make for more sales.

Some customers will not take them off hooks some will but both groups will grab them from a shelve. The hanging mug shows them a mug in the best visual connection.

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Thanks for the tip, Min and Mark! I am currently brainstorming ideas for updating my display at the end of this year. "Hanging mugs" is on my list now.

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I agree with Mea so. Very. Much. About the selling situation being very subjective.

In my area, certain aesthetics and quality are both big factors as well as an artist's client base. Certain people are looking for a cheap mug, and others don't even bat an eye at the price, as long as it has the look or feel they want.

 

As an example, I was at a show earlier this fall that is known for a rather broad customer base, with a lot of varied tastes coming through the door. I was placed in very close proximity to a production potter that I'd met a couple of times before. Her price point is a bit lower than mine, but I've been doing a lot more decorative work lately, and I've been charging accordingly. Because we were so close together and we knew each other, we agreed to split the difference on our mug prices as an experiment. I lowered my price 3 dollars, and she raised hers so they were the same for a comparably sized mug. We sold about the same number of mugs, but what I noticed is that the people that bought my work didn't even check the price tag first. They'd check the handle for a good feel, and pass it to me to be wrapped up. If they weren't so excited about my artistic choices, they would use whatever smoke bomb statement to get out of my booth and move on, but no one once brought up my price point.

 

Another potting couple that I'm closer with has a price point that is $5 more than mine, and 90% of what they sell is mugs. They're all hand painted with all kinds of unique, usually trendy images (owls, robots, monsters, foxes, sloths, etc.), and they have been in business for 6 years now. They don't have to actively sell anything. It runs out of their booth at a rather alarming rate. They have their product dialled in very tightly, they know who their customers are and where to find them, and they make good profit because of that. Their work is more time consuming than production pottery, but it's what they like to make.

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Thanks for the tip, Min and Mark! I am currently brainstorming ideas for updating my display at the end of this year. "Hanging mugs" is on my list now.

I show more on the top shelve below the hanging ones than are hanging. A few hanging ones I find really help -thats why if you look at my display in all the booth shots I have posted you will see almost every rack has the horizontal pegs for mugs at top.A few potters including myself around here learned this in the 70's about hanging mugs.I guess there are still a lot of things I never think about after learning-this one fell threw my cranks -thank Min for bring it up.

The funny thing is all my outlets do not hang my mugs as they like to keep the traditional flat displays.

I will add that my rack are made to display certain forms on certain levels and that could be another subject altogether.

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I think from what little I have seen and heard is, the older generation will gripe about the cost a lot quicker, but still ultimately buy, unlike the than the younger. The younger agrees the price is fair, but cannot afford it. It also depends on you appreciation of art and craftsmanship. You are not just buying a mug to hold your coffee, you are purchasing someone's talent and care for their product. Something to appreciate and enjoy using, not just out of necessity. Same with clothing, we could all just wear white t-shirts and blue jeans from a department store, but many choose designer and quality clothing to make a statement and enjoy their style and quality.

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I love doing shows, its the B Part of the process. Tons of nice people complimenting and buying the work is what keeps me focused in my studio and constantly trying to improve my work and add forms. Of the shows I've done I have yet to encounter another artist that wasn't friendly and respectful. Thats out of a couple dozen one day and maybe approaching a dozen 2-3 day shows.

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