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Kristen

Pricing Your Work

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Good question Kristen,

I am new too. I have been looking online at other similar pieces from other potters and have gone from there with what I am comfortable with. You know the quality of your pieces and can take this as a starting point.

Just a suggestion...

Good luck!

Jackiew

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Hi Kristen,

In my experience, people who buy pottery at Farmer's Markets are looking for really cheap stuff, and for me, it has never been a very profitable venue, as the only way I was able to sell pots was to practically give them away. Fortunately, I didn't do it for long.;)

 

On the other hand, selling them either in a venue where other potters are selling or have sold wares may fetch you better prices, and you can set according to the prices others are selling theirs for.

 

My BEST venue has been online, where I set prices that I am comfortable with. In my case, where my pottery is historical reproduction, I see what originals sell for on different online auctions, and price my pieces for 1/3 to half of what an original in excellent condition would sell for. I also check out other historical reproduction houses, and sometimes use them as a guide, but I have found that it is really important to be comfortable with what you're charging, because believe it or not, you'll sell the items that FEEL the best to you.:)

 

Good luck!

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When pricing work, the point really is to be making money, ie profit. Even if you are just potting for a hobby, making a profit will allow you to continue with your hobby. So, when setting prices, it is not good enough to just look around to see what others are selling their work for (although this is naturally still a factor - higher than everyone else means more difficult to sell, lower than everyone else means ripping yourself off and customers thinking to themselves "must be something wrong with this stuff"). The really important thing is to WORK OUT WHAT IT COST YOU TO PRODUCE. Take into consideration your workshop rent, cost of electricity, heating, water, cost of materials - clays and glaze ingredients, kiln firing costs, insurance, market stall costs, and DO NOT FORGET - COST OF YOUR TIME - do you want to work for $10 an hour? $20 an hour? $2 an hour? Make a list of all these things and work out the cost PER ITEM, then add in what profit you need/want to make. This will give you a realistic price for your work. If you then find that all the other potters where you are selling are much cheaper then this, you need to reconsider your selling venue, or reconsider your production expenditure.

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I'm a fairly new potter and I'll just begin to sell my work at Farmers' markets this summer. Any tips on pricing my work? I feel like any price I assign will be completely arbitrary.

 

 

Hi Kristen:

 

I have been selling several kinds of my artwork (including ceramics) for several years, at different galleries, and at small art shows. I'm in that grey area between serious/skilled hobbyist and professional. I love to sell my work-- I like the ego trip of having complete strangers pay money for something I made.

 

Here are some general guidelines I've picked up along the way:

 

1. If you're going to give your work away, give it as a gift. If you have old work you need to get rid of because you're running out of space, donate it to charity & take the tax write-off, or give it away as gifts for birthdays, etc. I recently sent a box of mugs that had minor flaws to my husband's office labelled "free handmade mugs." His co-workers loved them. Don't devalue your work by selling it super-cheap -- unless you're a hobbyist who never plans to make money off your work, and you're just trying to find "homes" for your pieces.

 

2. Everything else equal, bigger is more valuable. If you make 2 sizes of red-glazed porcelain bowl, the big bowls should be priced higher than the small ones.

 

3. In general, if people are buying a "lot" of one kind of work (for example, one lot of 125 spoon rests) they expect a volume discount.

 

4. Don't sell your work for less than materials cost. Keep track of what you spend on materials, so you know what that is. Don't forget to pay yourself an hourly rate if you're trying to do more than just support your hobby.

 

5. Spend some time looking at prices in places that sell work that is similar to yours. Ebay or ETSY are web-based sales venues where you can search for handmade items for sale that are similar to what you make. Also look at galleries in your area. If handmade mugs in your area are generally going for between $10 and $15 each, price your work about the same.

 

6. Keep your "to the customer" price constant. If you're selling mugs for $10 through a gallery, and they're taking a 50% cut, don't sell the same mugs at a sidewalk sale for $5 each -- your price at the sidewalk sale should be $10. Some galleries have "price parity" clauses that require that, and they'll kick you out if they catch you cheating. Also, most galleries will only keep artists whose work sells-- galleries that keep every artist go out of business. You need to make sure you're not undercutting your gallery sales by giving discounts to people who buy directly through you, if you decide to sell through galleries.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.

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Guest JBaymore

If you have old work you need to get rid of because you're running out of space, donate it to charity & take the tax write-off, ........

 

If you are filing a Schedule C as a ceramic business (which you will need to do it you are selling your work)......you have already deducted the allowable cost of the work in the "Cost of Goods" section of that form. You cannot get a deduction for the market value of any contribution to a charity.........artists themselves are constrained to deducting ONLY the cost basis of the work......and that is already done on the Schedule C.

 

A collector of your work can purchase the work and then donate it to charity...and get the full retail value of the purchase. But the artist cannot do this. (Contact your congress people to CHANGE this inequity.)

 

best,

 

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

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I'm a fairly new potter, too, and just started selling my work last year through two local shops on consignment, and also at a few small, local craft shows. So far it has supplemented my income but isn't enough to allow me to quit my day job.

 

The advice in this forum has been really helpful! Some things I already do, and some I will give a try. I just wanted to add that you also need to think about who your target customer is. I make my work for people who are basically like me, and maybe a little better off financially. After I go through steps that others mentioned to find a price (like considering material costs, overhead, and my time), I then ask myself, "Would I buy this? Would my sister buy this? My colleagues? If I saw this in a gallery or at a show for that price, would I consider buying it?" Sometimes that makes me lower or raise my prices, and sometimes I feel that it's spot-on. This has allowed my higher profits on some pieces, but also very little profit on others. I would recommend asking yourself the same questions! Good luck!

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I'm a fairly new potter, too, and just started selling my work last year through two local shops on consignment, and also at a few small, local craft shows. So far it has supplemented my income but isn't enough to allow me to quit my day job.

 

The advice in this forum has been really helpful! Some things I already do, and some I will give a try. I just wanted to add that you also need to think about who your target customer is. I make my work for people who are basically like me, and maybe a little better off financially. After I go through steps that others mentioned to find a price (like considering material costs, overhead, and my time), I then ask myself, "Would I buy this? Would my sister buy this? My colleagues? If I saw this in a gallery or at a show for that price, would I consider buying it?" Sometimes that makes me lower or raise my prices, and sometimes I feel that it's spot-on. This has allowed my higher profits on some pieces, but also very little profit on others. I would recommend asking yourself the same questions! Good luck!

 

 

My studio has always been at home. I've sold pottery at gallery stores, garden centers, and fairs.

The best way for me to sell has been a studio sale. I post signs around my neighborhood say "Handmade Pottery For Sale" with the name of my business and arrows. When I was really working I made sandwich board signs nicely painted pointing to my house.

I set the pots up on display shelves. It is important for it to look somewhat professional and not like a garage sale.

I make many monies doing this and don't have to share your hard earned cash with anyone!

In East Portland where there are a lot of potters, individual potters and groups have an advertised planned sale over a weekend. They are really amazing and people drive up and down the streets and buy pots!

In this economy you have to be inventive!

 

MM

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I am a new potter as well (haven't even got an inventory yet because I can't get the glazes to cooperate, but that's a whole different story).

I was wondering if anyone who has actually sat down and done all the math on your expenditures (not including your time), would be willing to share their calculated cost per pot?

How about how much time it takes to make your pottery?

My process includes a lot of detail and many inefficiencies at the moment (will hopefully streamline this more as I get more experience) - but it can take me up to 3 hours for a single mug/plate/bowl etc. including throwing, trimming, adding texture/detail and glazing. Is this normal??

Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks.

- S.K.

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You have just pointed out one of the main reasons time does not always factor into the price you can get for a pot.

 

An experienced potter can crank out 100 dishes in the time it would take you to do 3.

If they price theirs at $30 each ... and they are well made and the glaze fits properly ... then you can't get

any more for yours especially if your glazes don't fit yet. Your time is not worth the same amount of money as theirs.

 

Right now you are operating at a loss ... but that is totally OK ... you are learning and your learning should not

be hampered by thoughts of not getting enough money to cover your costs. Keep the day job until you can support

yourself with good pottery.

 

It is more important for you to learn to make fine pots that are food safe and durable than it is for you to sell them.

You should be focusing on refining your designs, making them pleasant to use, smoothing the rough edges out of your

production process and the rest will come. You should be using your work around your home to see how they

function on a daily basis. This is the time to try experiments and learn from mistakes.

 

Too often new potters think they have to sell in order to be successful ... there are a lot of exterior pressures from friends

and family who ask well meaning questions about how much $$$ you get for your pots ... how much you make doing it.

This is because most people have no other yardstick with which to measure progress or success.

You should try to measure your success by how your pottery skills are progressing, not by whether or not your work sells yet.

 

Easy to say though ... hard to do.

 

chris

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It is more important for you to learn to make fine pots that are food safe and durable than it is for you to sell them.

You should be focusing on refining your designs, making them pleasant to use, smoothing the rough edges out of your

production process and the rest will come. You should be using your work around your home to see how they

function on a daily basis. This is the time to try experiments and learn from mistakes.

 

Too often new potters think they have to sell in order to be successful ... there are a lot of exterior pressures from friends

and family who ask well meaning questions about how much $$$ you get for your pots ... how much you make doing it.

This is because most people have no other yardstick with which to measure progress or success.

You should try to measure your success by how your pottery skills are progressing, not by whether or not your work sells yet.

 

 

 

Chris,

 

Thanks for keeping things in perspective for me. I've been so focused on where I want to be that I am forgetting to enjoy the process!

 

- S.K.

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I am always surprised when people start a business but don't consider creating a business plan. If you don't have a business plan how do you know when you succeed???? In reality a business plan is a road map for your business. Everything yo do should be included and costs included for each activity as well as expected profits. Initially you can just set an arbitrary amount and then plug in an actual amount as you earn it and that will give you an idea if you mad money or lost money. A business plan should be a living, breathing, viable creature and you need to re-visit it on a regular business and adjust it as you make changes. Business plan samples are available on the internet and also from the SBA, their SCORE program will actually help you put one together. When yo embark on a road trip you get a map when you start a business you need a business plan.

 

Regards,

Charles

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Hi Kristen,

In my experience, people who buy pottery at Farmer's Markets are looking for really cheap stuff, and for me, it has never been a very profitable venue, as the only way I was able to sell pots was to practically give them away. Fortunately, I didn't do it for long.wink.gif

 

On the other hand, selling them either in a venue where other potters are selling or have sold wares may fetch you better prices, and you can set according to the prices others are selling theirs for.

 

My BEST venue has been online, where I set prices that I am comfortable with. In my case, where my pottery is historical reproduction, I see what originals sell for on different online auctions, and price my pieces for 1/3 to half of what an original in excellent condition would sell for. I also check out other historical reproduction houses, and sometimes use them as a guide, but I have found that it is really important to be comfortable with what you're charging, because believe it or not, you'll sell the items that FEEL the best to you.smile.gif

 

Good luck!

 

 

Hi venetiancat,

Question for you about selling your work online. I have signed up under etsy.com. Where are there other places that you can sell online, or do you primarily sell from your website (and if the later, how do you get exposure?) I am new to selling my stuff online, as doing artshows was a drag and everyone is looking for something super cheap, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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I'm a fairly new potter and I'll just begin to sell my work at Farmers' markets this summer. Any tips on pricing my work? I feel like any price I assign will be completely arbitrary.

 

 

There is actually nothing wrong with assigning your prices arbitrarily, I suspect most are. In this business unlike many others you can not just sit down figure you r materials costs, your direct costs and your labor and come up with a price. You can most easily check what others are selling that is similar to yours in a similar venue. it doesn't matter if you are new or not if you work is of similar quality you should get similar prices unless the other artist is a recognized artist with a following that is particularly collecting that artist. one thing that I find most new artists don't do is test the price. In marketing there are various prices and one of the most interesting to me is the ostensible price. I've seen excellent artist who price low and buyers don't value this artist's work much. Most business courses suggest that you price at different points and sometimes a much higher price sometimes sell best because it imputes value. Try different price points at different times and see how your sales go.

 

 

Best regards,

Charles

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