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Stephen

Going Price Of Mugs

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In another thread the price of mugs came up and I thought I would get a reading from anyone willing to share their pricing rational. I can remember 20 years ago before my partner got into pottery paying $12-$16 for a mug, The going price seemed to stall at about $20 for a really long time but seems to be on the rise for the last half dozen years.

 

We sell dipped mugs at $22 and mostly high twenties with badges and/or more elaborate decorative work such as carving, slip trailing etc. Hand painted in the low-mid 30s. 

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Guest JBaymore

Retail Prices

 

Run of the mill-ish average ones (still high standard both technically and aesthetically) $40.00. 

 

Cream of the crop: $100.  (good ones > http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/5787-mugs/ )

 

Yunomi (handle-less "mugs" ;) ) ..... about same $ for OK ones..... but top end into the $250-300 range, with wooden box.

 

(note: woodfired)

 

best,

 

.....................john

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I'm so old I can remember being happy to get 6 bucks for a mug.

 

But lately I tend to price mugs in the upper 20s, unless it's one of my favorites.  The first mug below is priced at $28.00, the second at $60.00

 

Of course, these are entirely subjective, but that's one of the good things about being your own boss.

 

 

post-65900-0-06784300-1436721364_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-38323200-1436721403_thumb.jpg

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I love the mugs, John and Ray. But what really constitutes the price? Is it the maker or collector? Is it the fact that a seasoned potter has paid the price and brought his laborist creativity to the point that is becomes obvious that this is no ordinary mug?  How and when does a budding potter realize that his pottery, mug, is worthy of said prices. I wouldn't want to compare my mug to a potter that has been doing this so many years. But hey, I need to make a living. But at 60, unemployed, I'm just happy if someone looks at my stuff and make a nice comment.  For me, making pottery is a challenge, but also so rewarding when I finish making something.  Ok, I ranting, and it might be the 6 cups of sumatra coffee, but I would be embarrassed if I show up to a show and one of you guys was sitting next to me and I had the same prices. So shouldn't we also consider experience as a gauge for price setting? Okay, I'm done, lol. :rolleyes:

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I'm so old I can remember being happy to get 6 bucks for a mug.

 

But lately I tend to price mugs in the upper 20s, unless it's one of my favorites.  The first mug below is priced at $28.00, the second at $60.00

 

Of course, these are entirely subjective, but that's one of the good things about being your own boss.

Ray;

I hate to say it, but I like the one on the left better. Colour. Placement of handle. Am I missing something. Educate me.

Tom.

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I just checked an old sales book and my mugs in the early 70's where $2.50.

One thng about price is where in this country you are located?. Ceramic prices vary by location I have found.

In the east it costs more than the Pacific Northwest as an example.

The going price of mugs is always going up or at least thats my experience.

Ray the one on the left also appeals to me better than your favorite-go figure as they say.

Mark

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I hate to say it, but I like the one on the left better. Colour. Placement of handle. Am I missing something. Educate me.

Tom.

 

 

Ray the one on the left also appeals to me better than your favorite-go figure as they say.

Mark

 

+1

 

Height and shape.

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Guest JBaymore

I just checked an old sales book and my mugs in the early 70's where $2.50.

One thng about price is where in this country you are located?. Ceramics varies by location I have found.

In the east it costs more than the Pacific Northwest as an example.

The going price of mugs is always going up or at least thats my experience.

Ray the one on the left also appeals to me better than your favorite-go figure as they say.

Mark

 

I just ran the "Dollar then / Dollar now" calculator on this pricing for the year 1970.  $2.50 in 1970 Dollars would be a mug price of only $15.50 today.  So we HAVE progressed as to the general valuation of our work compared to then.  Nice to know.

 

best,

 

...................john

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I am cheap! Everything is on sale when I buy it. That being said, I rarely see pottery in my neck of the woods that I would even turn over to see the price, just not to my taste at all. Last week  I was in a little shop that only sells the eclectic , I saw some matte pottery ( I have a real thing for matte pottery). In the mix was a beautiful matte green tea mug, light green of the sea, with 3 breaks of tan brown slashes, perfect gloss liner inside. The texture and colour and shape just gelled w my sensibilities.It helped that there wasn't any other mugs there. I bought it for $24, felt like it was a steal. I knew i was not going to keep it, it was a definite tea mug, large orifice, I drink coffee, it would have cooled my coffee too fast. I took it to a friend within the hour.  i would probably have spent $30. I feel bad because it was retail:what could the guy who made it seen? $15? I could tell it took him years to get there, the glaze was within 1mm of the bottom, had a pebbly, buttery feel. I think if you are going to price well made stuff, you have to price it to stay in business , make a profit .  Otherwise that mug will just not be there, and to me that is sad. Jolie

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Well, I did say it was entirely subjective.

 

But it's the glaze on the righthand mug I like particularly well.  I have no other examples of that glaze combination that turned out as well, with the clarity of the rose color and the veil of white crystalline glaze spilling down the side.

 

But I think I would agree that the one on the left is the better form.  The glaze is decent, too.  Maybe I should raise the price?

 

The ash glaze spilled down the sides in a particularly appealing manner.

 

 

 

post-65900-0-77833200-1436802886_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-77833200-1436802886_thumb.jpg

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Jolieo brings up an important point to consider: throwing wholesale into the mix means it's a good idea to charge a higher retail price. Essentially, when you sell something yourself, give yourself the addional profit margin a gallery or gift store would take. Asking too little tends to lower people's impression of your work.

 

That said, $20 is a sweet spot for small items, a couple dollars more really slows sales IMO. If only the mint would start producing $25 bills instead of $20s, people love paying with a single bill: makes it a lot easier to buy on impulse it would seem.

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Guest JBaymore

The $50 is the "new $20". ;)   (And that ain't far off the truth!)

 

best,

 

................john

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Prices seem all over the place in this thread. I can't imagine selling mugs for less than $25 dollars. Maybe its just me, but anything below that seems like your don't value your work very much, or the customer doesn't.

 

To me the throwing of a mug is very simple. Take a # of clay and you can make a pretty large mug. Take 1.5# and you can make a gigantic mug. But once you start trimming the foot in the mug, pulling and attaching the handle, applying wax resist, and then doing your glaze work. Just seems like anything less than $25 isn't worth the effort. I hope to start at $25 and end up in the $30's. Maybe when I have 10 years under my belt and have beautifully weighted mugs that people can't resist I will sell them for more. 

 

Who knows though, maybe I wont sell a single mug.  :blink:

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Thanks everyone!

 

Mugs are a big part of our line-up and trying to find the right mark will make a big difference. I think its great that the prices are spread out and that people that appreciate hand made pottery and support our efforts are used to seeing different prices as well as higher prices for more elaborate work.

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Guest JBaymore

I think an important point to remember here is that at $25.00 retail... that is only $12.50 wholesale. 

 

best,

 

..................john

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It's been a few years since I've done a wholesale trade show. But I recall that the going price for a medium size, professional-quality mug was $12. Which translates to $25 retail. Many potters were willing and able to sell at that price. The key is to be able to produce them very efficiently. So for some potters that price point works, and it leads to a high volume of sales.

 

I wholesale large mugs for $17 ($35 retail, though some of my galleries sell them for more). At the tradeshows I could still find buyers, but not as many. Some buyers would bluntly say "I love your mugs but I know I can't get that price."

 

These days I do not attend trade shows anymore, and only solicit orders from my existing accounts. Of the accounts I have left, most of them are in northeast metropolitan locations, where $35-$40 for a handmade mug, of any size, is normal.

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If you are going to be in a mug busiess as Gep said you need to be able to produce them VERY effeciently. No trimmers extruded handles and simple forms without a lot of details making at least 20-25 mugs an hour. If you are a slow worker and like to spend time on each mug than a higher price point will be needed.The best way to see all this is go look at a ceramic outlet and see whats out theere at what price and try to get a feel if it actually selling well.

Mark

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5 years ago I was selling mugs for $30. 3 years ago I dropped the price to $26, and I now sell a lot more mugs. I can make them pretty quickly, but I do have other forms that are much more profitable. For instance, I get $36 for oil bottles, which take only about 30 seconds longer to throw, but take 1/3 as long to trim, and a little longer to glaze. All said and done they are still faster than mugs, though, and people don't blink at $36. I sell more of them than any other form. It seems like the more functional something is, and the more they will use it, the less they are willing to pay. I can get $100 for a vase, but put a spout and handle on it for a pitcher and I can only get $70.

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Part of the oil bottle vs mug thing would also the mental comparison to mass produced retail items. With dollar stores and big boxes, an array of mugs can be had for $5 or less. Sure, a handmade mug adds to the coffee experience, but most people are too precious: they would fear chipping a $60 mug and would rather buy and cast aside a dozen junk mugs than drink from one good one. Imports ruin consumers.

 

An oil bottle isn't as common, yet it is an item most cooks would like to have. A plain ceramic cruet from a big retailer is $20-30, decorated ones are even more...and they tend to be low fire pottery that crazes, turning that pricey olive oil rancid in a hurry! I can see how a quality, handcrafted oil bottle could sell like hot cakes compared to a mug of the same price.

 

For table items, the buyer isn't looking at an item from the same angle as us: they can't measure the effort and materials, they are mentally comparing to the market in general (even if they are not doing it intentionally). People base decisions on prior experience, and low end buying behavior tends to be impulse driven.

 

The greater question is what your goal is in mug making? If you want to sell in volume, they need to be attractive yet quick to produce for a relatively low price point: production pottery. If your mugs are your art, or you are using them as a canvas to test out more complex and time consuming techniques, than you need to account for that. Both are valid, but the pricing should diverge depending on your chosen path.

 

There are only so many hours in the day and only so many inches on your shelf, fill them with what you want to be making!

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I'm so old I can remember being happy to get 6 bucks for a mug.

 

But lately I tend to price mugs in the upper 20s, unless it's one of my favorites.  The first mug below is priced at $28.00, the second at $60.00

 

Of course, these are entirely subjective, but that's one of the good things about being your own boss.

Ray;

I hate to say it, but I like the one on the left better. Colour. Placement of handle. Am I missing something. Educate me.

Tom.

 

My guess it is personal taste.  With anything artistic what is beautiful to one person may not be to someone else.  Yes there are some basic rules to make things more pleasing to the eye but the only thing they do is increase the percentage  of individuals that will like as opposed to dislike.

 

On fair price though it is a matter of supply and demand.  If there are people willing to pay the price then it is a fair price.  If no one wants to pay that for it then it is probably priced too high.  

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There is another point I would like to make: space. I have no space left to put a new mug, and hand made ones are bigger , odder shaped. A vase sits out, a cruet can sit out, it doesn't need personal space , it is decoration, fits two purposes, also can be given as a gift if in desperation. If you had nestling mugs, or mugs w their own hook, or mugs that decorated when not being used....

Handmade tend to have the handle jut out, and that might require that I throw out 2 mugs, plus be careful of it.

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This all goes back to supply and demand.  However with items that are artistic and original you have the occasional collector that eye a particular piece and is willing to pay big money for it..  With the artistic taste it is not so much on the functionality as it is there liking for the piece.  

 

However if you go to an art fair and the table next to you is selling mugs for $6.00 that were mass produced then it becomes harder to get a $30.00 price for your pieces.  The customer thinks why are yours so much more without asking.

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Yeah, if you are next to a booth selling mass produced anything you might as well just grin and bear it the rest of the show because it probably is not the right crowd for handmade pottery and you are unlikely to sell much.

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