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Raelynne

Marbled Clay Pieces...pricing Question

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Hi all!

 

I am new to the forum...I have been lurking for quite some time but decided it was time to participate :) I searched at length for a similar thread and couldn't find anything, I hope I'm in the right place!

 

I have recently started making some marbled clay pieces, and the reaction I have gotten from my customers have been really positive so I am hoping to have a decent amount of them at my next sale in two weeks. I am struggling with the pricing of the pieces, and I haven't been able to find anything similar in my area to get an idea of what is reasonable. My initial thought was that they need to be more expensive than my other pieces as they are alot more work (the process of adding the stain into the clay, making sure not to spend too much time with it on the wheel so the colours don't meld together, etc) and because they are more of a "specialty/artsy" piece, and because I don't see many (any in my area) people doing them. Maybe I am way off and just am too invested in them and think they are worth more than they are!! That's why I am here, I wanted to hear other people's experiences and opinions. I am using a white porcelain (P300) fired to cone 6, electric.

 

So if I would regularly charge $30 for a medium sized serving bowl, what would you suggest a reasonable price increase would be (if any) for the same piece marbled? Or a $20 mug, or $50 vase?

 

While we are on the topic of pricing...I made a large bowl the other day that is bigger than I usually make and I see large bowls go for all sorts of prices... this one was made using approx. 12 pounds of clay, is around 19" inches across and 6" tall. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on pricing something like that, that is generally too big to be functional (most people tell me they use them as centerpieces or on their coffee tables) along with using a marbled clay? Here is a picture of it (sorry it's not a great picture but gives you an idea!) post-77742-0-34613500-1465175947_thumb.jpg

 

 

I have attached a couple pictures of the pieces, so you can see what they look like. Those were the first two pieces I made so I'm not quite happy with the pattern in the clay, and that it's a bit muddied in places. I've mostly worked the kinks out there, but the new pieces aren't out of the kiln yet! Thank you in advance for anyone that might be able to help me out!

 

post-77742-0-88872100-1465175282_thumb.jpgpost-77742-0-42858000-1465175290_thumb.jpgpost-77742-0-20620000-1465175294_thumb.jpg

 

 

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First of all, welcome to the forum!

 

Those are nice pieces. As for pricing them differently than the rest of your work, that depends on market forces, not time spent. In other words, spending more time on a piece does not automatically increase its value. If customers find the pots more APPEALING, then you can charge more. You say the initial reaction has been good, that's a good sign. I think it's reasonable to charge maybe 20% more for those pieces, and that you must be prepared to explain the process to your customers over and over, and why they are more special from your perspective.

 

The right pricing will be figured out over time. If the pieces are selling well, keep raising the prices. If they aren't selling, lower the prices. Eventually, you will know how much you can charge for them.

 

The official pottery term for this is agateware. When I used to teach classes at a local community center, this was done fairly commonly in our studio. If you are the only one in your area doing it, then take advantage of that. However, in general it's a fairly common technique.

 

As for the xlarge bowl, again the right price is wholly dependent on the market where you are selling. Based on your $30 price for a medium bowl, I would price the xlarge bowl at close to $100.

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First of all, welcome to the forum!

 

Those are nice pieces. As for pricing them differently than the rest of your work, that depends on market forces, not time spent. In other words, spending more time on a piece does not automatically increase its value. If customers find the pots more APPEALING, then you can charge more. You say the initial reaction has been good, that's a good sign. I think it's reasonable to charge maybe 20% more for those pieces, and that you must be prepared to explain the process to your customers over and over, and why they are more special from your perspective.

 

The right pricing will be figured out over time. If the pieces are selling well, keep raising the prices. If they aren't selling, lower the prices. Eventually, you will know how much you can charge for them.

 

The official pottery term for this is agateware. When I used to teach classes at a local community center, this was done fairly commonly in our studio. If you are the only one in your area doing it, then take advantage of that. However, in general it's a fairly common technique.

 

As for the xlarge bowl, again the right price is wholly dependent on the market where you are selling. Based on your $30 price for a medium bowl, I would price the xlarge bowl at close to $100.

 

Thanks so much for your reply! I appreciate your advice, your work is beautiful! Ah, agateware...that may be why I wasn't getting very far in my online searches, thank you! My grandma was a production potter in the 80's and she taught me everything I know about clay, sometimes my terminology is off as I have taken on her quirks and terms! Thank you for the reminder that just because more time is spent, does not automatically make it worth more...I think I get caught up sometimes in what I have invested in a piece.

 

I have seen lots of similar pieces online, and occasionally at away shows so I know it's no where near ground breaking, but there is no one in the province that regularly sells functional agateware (that I am aware of!). I'm hoping that because its unique here it will go over well. The only two pieces I brought to my last sale sold before I was even set up, someone saw the pieces on social media and came and scooped them up...I had over a dozen people ask if I had any like the ones I posted, so I figure that's a good sign! 20% is pretty much exactly where I started, and no one that I told them an estimated price batted an eye. I wasn't too concerned since I literally only had two pieces and knew I would have to fine tune pricing once I was making more of them. I'm still not sure if I will stay at the 20% increase, but I am glad someone such as yourself thinks I'm in the right ballpark!

 

I'd love to hear more opinions!

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If you're in Alberta your prices (as an average) are on the low side. $30 is the going rate for a standard coffee mug of a professional quality. Mea has good advice on testing prices. Pm me if you want some help figuring the other stuff. The markets you do will affect things as well.

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If you're in Alberta your prices (as an average) are on the low side. $30 is the going rate for a standard coffee mug of a professional quality. Mea has good advice on testing prices. Pm me if you want some help figuring the other stuff. The markets you do will affect things as well.

 

Hi Diesel! I am in Saskatchewan... I have heard from some that my prices are too low and am considering changing things up.This is my fifth year doing shows and I have always been apprehensive of charging too much. Seeing how high my expenses were last year has made me think twice about my prices for this year though. I do a few of the Signatures Shows at Christmas time, then mostly local sales in Regina. I do have pieces at the Galleria Inglewood in Calgary, I haven't looked at length at the other prices of pieces there, maybe I am even more off base on pricing for there. I may take you up on that offer, thank you...I appreciate it.

 

If you already tried 20% .... and they sold in a flash ... try 30%. Keeping nudging upwards until they stop selling. Then go back to the highest price where they still sold.

 

I am always leery of scaring customers away by raising the prices when they are selling well...I worry that someone would see the higher than usual price on a pot, not be impressed that it was raised, then remember that next time they see my booth and not even stop to look. Maybe I am overthinking it, you all have more experience than I do....I may have to try it and see what happens. I do know my prices are on the lower side anyways and could stand to come up a bit.

 

And keep records, so you can chart how many and at what price. Very nice.

 

Thank you! I do need to keep better track of those sorts of things, I have experimented with prices before but always just have an idea of what works best but don't keep hard numbers. I will make a note to do that.

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Definitely keep track of your prices, especially if you're selling outside your local area. Some galleries will get right bent about you undercutting them. (Check your contract with Galleria, for instance.)

 

With your comment about being worried about scaring people off with high prices, I think you're looking at your work like people are buying it from a big box store. You make a luxury item, you're not in competiton with Corelle. If your shoppers are fans of yours, they will buy your work because they like your style. If they're fans of pottery, they're aware of the going rates, and won't flinch if your work is in line with it. If they're complaining about price, they were never going to buy. It's just not their thing in the first place. Don't resist a rate hike if it's warranted. Living indoors in a Canadian winter isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. You have bills. From your pictures, you also have some skills to pay them with.

 

Heck, use an imminent price hike as an offer to your mailing list clients an opportunity to buy at the lower price while they still can! They will be excited to do so.

 

You have an ability that not everyone possesses. We pay the big bucks to the trades to repair our homes, fix our plumbing or our cars because they know how and we don't. Think of making pots as a trade of sorts. It was, at one point. No one else will do what you do quite the way you do it. It's ok to get paid for that.

 

 

Mea hasn't blown her own horn on this, but she has a most excellent blog post about exactly how she goes about pricing her work. Follow the link in her signature.

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A really good book for pricing and selling art with a Canadian perspective (tax implications etc) is Chris Tyrell's "Artist Survival Skills". It's geared towards 2D art but just about all his thoughts and philosophies are applicable to 3D also. He teaches professional development at Emily Carr in Vancouver BC. Super funny guy, if you ever get a chance to go to one of his speaking engagements it's well worth the time.

http://christyrell.ca/

 

Pricing out my work now for this summers markets. Canadian dollar weakness has me marking my prices up by about 5% since so much of my materials comes from the US. Anyone else in Canada marking up prices because of our dollar? 

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A really good book for pricing and selling art with a Canadian perspective (tax implications etc) is Chris Tyrell's "Artist Survival Skills". It's geared towards 2D art but just about all his thoughts and philosophies are applicable to 3D also. He teaches professional development at Emily Carr in Vancouver BC. Super funny guy, if you ever get a chance to go to one of his speaking engagements it's well worth the time.

http://christyrell.ca/

 

Pricing out my work now for this summers markets. Canadian dollar weakness has me marking my prices up by about 5% since so much of my materials comes from the US. Anyone else in Canada marking up prices because of our dollar? 

 

I will check that out for sure! I'm always looking for good info on pricing, thank you!

 

That was one of the reasons that I am rethinking my pricing...I am setting up a new studio space this summer and buying new equipment, my grandma is the clay supplier in our area and she showed me exactly how much the prices have gone up because of the dollar...on kilns, supplies etc....I just about fainted!

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What's the old saying about crafts?...."If you want to make a small fortune with arts and crafts, start with a large fortune"!!!

 

Sometimes pricing a piece of pottery is harder than making it. The first time I sold a vessel solely depended on the price of gasoline. I went to an event to show a potter some pit fired pottery I had recently made, and noticed my fuel gauge was on empty. I already knew there was 3 dollars in my pocket, so the plan was to park facing downhill and coast to the gas station at the bottom of the hill in case I couldn't get the car started when I left. My friend and I were examining the pottery when this lady and her Mom asked my friend how much was her pottery! The friend said, well today I'm a demonstrator so my pottery isn't for sale, but maybe his are!! Then the lady asked me how much this bowl she was holding, and all I could think about was the gas needle on empty, so to play it hopefully safe, I said $15.00? She was able to provide the correct change, and I was able to get enough fuel for 3 or 4 days. I'd say it was a win/win situation.

 

Marketing is the hardest part so read up on the posts about marketing and pricing, etc. I have in the past asked a gallery/gift shop owner to help me price things and that worked out very well.

 

Make a list of what you want to make, and either sketch it or find an example to look at while you're throwing it. Those will serve as your blueprints. Saturday I was explaining to a student, if you don't know what you're making, you won't know when you're finished, and you tend to mess with it until it flops. Days you sit down knowing what you plan to make are usually more successful!!!

 

Good luck!

Alabama

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