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pricing-a ball of wax

updated thu 31 oct 96


Sue Lily on fri 25 oct 96

Hello, you busy potters! It's that gift-making time of year, time to set
up with each other and see who and what sells. I have been setting up at a
Potter's show for 15 years. Pricing has always been thorny.

Pots support me - my only job. Many of the potters I show with teach school
and are displaying an entire years work, done in the evenings, for fun.
The pots are great, the prices are low and folks snap em up. Many of the
potters I show with are homemakers and are also showing pots they lovingly,
carefully made over the year - priced low, folks snap em up. It is
frustrating to be underpriced by folks who don't really need the money.

Lets face it - that's what trade protection is all about - I never set up
where there are imports - who can compete with the Chinese? There are
differences about who can sell at shows if they have employees. Where does
cottage industry stop, and manufacturing begin?

Trying to get agreements about pricing means endless discussions about the
various steps that go into the pieces - uncomparable, really. I decorate
too much, but don't have an expensive kiln...blah, blah... One rule of
thumb I use, though, is if someone wanted two dozen, would I be willing to
make them for that price?

And for the oddball request: cheese knife? Let the customer decide if
they are willling to pay for the designing time - I will do that if the
project takes me in a direction I want to go - actually one of the most
useful growth techniques I've found.

When you work for yourself, there are many aspects besides throwing - we
are our buyer, designer, manufacturer, salesperson, shipper, accountant and
homemaker - all of that teeters on top of throwing - if you don't make it,
it won't sell...I try to make $100 per hour throwing, to cover all those
other bases. Commission takes a third, breakage takes a tenth, rent and
materials takes a fifth, then there's gas and auto insurance - fuel, etc.
Et voila! A need for higher math! :>)

I heard a good way to sell pots is to rub a bit of mayonaise on the edges...

PS Questions get answered so beautifully - almost before we ask - does
anyone know where my glasses are? :>)


Ms. Lilypots
Ashland OR