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Starting Out.... Again

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#1 JustaWhittle



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:21 PM

Hi All, I am going to try to tap the wealth of knowledge here for another pricing question.  So I previously sold my pottery on a very small scale as I am a hobby potter but after my marriage broke up and I moved into a new house it has been about 2.5 years since I have had my own studio.  So I potted where and when I could (took courses and workshops and occasionally threw on my wheel for fun but couldn't fire those pots).


Anyhow finally just got my studio set back up because I used my annual bonus from my fulltime job to get the electrical service increased at my house!  (Yay)  Now I am faced with starting over on finding venues to sell my work and since I will be doing it very part time to start with I don't know if I want to do the co-op gallery type space I did before, plus I need to remix some more glazes and work on getting some sort of a production line going again since what I have made so far has been just what I wanted to do!


So the question when starting out is do I price my work for the friends and people I know that are already asking me to buy stuff at what I want to make or what I will eventually have to charge if and when I get into somewhere retail?  For example I make these little mini bakers which are shown on the far right of the picture below (sorry its a bad picture but was just sharing some firing results with family and friends and I am not at home to take another picture).  I want to make minimum $10 a piece off of selling them however I know when I get my production going better they have sold for $18 each when I was selling before.  I don't know if I should be charging full price when I am getting my feet wet again or price to friends what I want to make.  I don't want to start by charging too little and then people being upset when I raise my prices.  Right now I am just talking about friends and acquaintances who have contacted me now they know I am getting my studio set back up.


Also do you have friends and family pricing events like studio open houses??  I don't know if I will be ready to get in to anything by the fall but I would like to host a bit of an open house/sale in November for friends, family and friends of friends.


I found that last time I was selling my friends and family were my biggest supporters to get me going so I want to give back to them :)


#2 JustaWhittle



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:22 PM

Let's try this picture again!

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#3 oldlady


    single firing an electric kiln to cone 6

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:16 PM

your friends and relations will never appreciate your skill.  you are too familiar to become a professional in their minds.


do not offer special pricing to ANYONE. if it is out of their price range, so is a Rolls Royce. they will adjust. 


is your dentist your friend and do you get a special price on a root canal?  the photo shows skills that took a long time to learn.  you are going to be a PROFESSIONAL now.  price like one.


sounds like i should add "THAT'S AN ORDER!!!"


never knew i was so fierce.

"putting you down does not raise me up."

#4 Diane Puckett

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:35 PM

I know a lot of artists swap pieces, but they don't expect a discount when buying something. Discounting your prices now would set a precedent and expectation you would probably regret in the future. I suggest charging your professional price and maybe making some other small item as a thank you gift for friends who have been supportive.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#5 Chris Campbell

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:47 PM

I agree ... And the answer to 'why are your prices going up?" Is " Yes, my pots are a great investment aren't they?"
Chris Campbell Pottery
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain


" If a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal "

Fredrick Bachman

#6 JustaWhittle



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Posted 16 July 2013 - 04:22 PM

Thanks for the feed back ladies :)

#7 GEP


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Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:34 PM

I agree with all the above answers. And I'd like to add, there are lots of ways you can show gratitude to your supportive friends and family, without discounting the prices of your work. Chances are they don't expect you to do that!

Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery

#8 ECC



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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:33 PM

Just refresh their memory on what most art pottery cost 100 years ago, and what the same early 20th century pottery it is worth today.  The same story might apply to your pots in 2113.

#9 TJR


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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:58 PM

My prices are the same for my friends as they are for my enemies.If a person is being wishy-washy about buying 4 mugs or 5, I may make a limited time offer of buy 4 now and get the fifth one free. Some potters give away a small item like a spoon rest if you buy a lot. If you buy a car, they usually fill the tank with gas.

My prices are the same at galleries, and in my home studio. I do not charge sales tax from my home studio. Galleries do.


Don't sell yourself short.


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