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wendy rosen (price fixing)

updated sun 18 jul 99


Morgan Britt on sat 17 jul 99

Well said, John.

I am extremely impressed that someone in Wendy's position takes the time to pay
attention to the ideas and concerns expressed on Clayart.

In my opinion, her connection with the artists creating the work she promotes
is what gives her objective insight. It's quite apparent her interest is in
combining what she learns with what she knows in order to facilitate a win-win
situation for all parties involved. If you take a look at what she has
created, she's done a hell of a job.

- and I'll bet all the flack from this "price fixing" misunderstanding has not
fazed her a bit.

Thank you Wendy!

Morgan Britt

John Baymore wrote:

> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> ------------------
> "Price fixing"........ goodness, Wendy! Not a great choice of
> words.... but a real attention getter . Seemed to work .
> I too think that part of Wendy Rosen's "plea" might have been a bit
> misunderstood.
> What I think she is saying is that, looked at in the big picture....on the
> average........, claywork in the US is severly underpriced in general.
> That as a group, we would do ourselves a favor if we all looked more
> realistically at our profit margins and our own hourly pay rates. I think
> she feels that the traffic WILL bear a little higher prices...... and that
> the overall pottery market would BENEFIT from some higher pricing. She is
> in a pretty good position to judge the general pottery market....with what
> she does for a living.
> I think that is absoulutely true....we should, as a group, be charging
> more. With minimum wage over $5.00 per hour, MacDonalds (around here)
> paying $6.50 an hour for unskilled burger flippers, car mechanics getting
> $45 per hour, plumbers getting $70 per hour, a 15 minute doctor's office
> visit costing about a hundred, and so on........... I think we tend to sell
> ourselves a bit short on the money game. I know I tend to....but have
> been actively fighting it of late. As Tom Peters says, ........perception
> is the only reality for a customer. If there is percieved value, then
> there is real value. Price is one definite indicator of "value".
> If we don't think we're worth it, and that our work has intrinsic value,
> why would the public?
> Yes.... ultimately the success of this STILL comes back a bit to the public
> aesthetic education and preception business...... but we can still creep
> things up a tad, I would think. I'm currently working on creeping .
> Creep. Creep.
> As to Warren MacKenzie and his "school" depressing US prices...... I gotta
> agree with the comment that 99.99999999999 percent of Americans would say,
> "Warren Who?". His adherence to some of the concepts of the mingei
> philosophy may be (said "may"....I don't know this for sure) depressing
> prices right in his local neighborhood..... but not too much farther
> afield. I happen to think Mac's work is killer..... and if he makes a
> conscious decision to sell at lower prices and can afford to..... I guess
> "more power to him". I am not one for anyone "DICTATING" pricing to
> anyone.
> The general "perceived value" placed on functional ceramics by the public
> in the US is low. While in Japan, I was fortunate to visit with
> Shimaoka-sensei, and became well aquainted with his prices there. (Through
> the roof!) About three weeks after I left Mashiko, sensei was coming to
> Boston to the Pucker gallery to have an exhibition. I, of course, went to
> see sensei and his show. The prices he set on the exhibition were quite a
> bit lower than his "Japan" prices. Still WAY higher than the top US
> functional potters would even THINK to charge for totally functional pieces
> of a particular scale. Of course we are talking Living National Treasure
> . But the point is that even HE felt he had to lower his prices here.
> I understand that some Japanese collectors flew over from Japan to purchase
> pieces at the cheaper price. Even with airfare and lodging..... it was a
> bargain.
> If you want to see Shimaoka's work to get an idea of what it looks like
> .........I think the Pucker has his stuff up on their web
> Quick example of his pricing at the Pucker in Boston:
> Yunomi (the standard day-to-day tea cup) $800.00 to $1200.00
> Chawan (tea ceremony teabowl) $4800.00
> Ash Tray $850.00
> 54 cm dia. Bowl $30000.00 (This was an absolute STEAL!) Yes, the
> zeros are correct .
> 20cm tall Pitcher $3200.00
> Set of six 18 cm plates $2000.00
> US Dinner-sized plates $2400.00
> Vases run sort of $10000 to $17000.00
> It is important to note that even at these prices, many Americans were
> purchasing pots. It was a very "hopping" opening. You might say that
> Shimaoka-sensei would be at the "top of the heap" on the functional pricing
> structure. But still, wouldn't you think that if he can lower his prices
> from Japan and still command $2400.00 in the US for a dinner plate.... that
> the lesser known of us might, on the average, be able to charge a little
> more than $25.00 for one?
> How much work can you, as a single person, make in a year? How much per
> year do you yourself need to "take home"? These days, you don't have to be
> employed as a rocket scientist to make about a $50,000.00 a year salary.
> If you are REALLY skilled at what you do.... that is certainly a reasonable
> payback for your efforts. So I'll use, between hourly rate and
> profit,....... $50,000.00 a year as a target. Divide by the number of
> saleable pots you can actually produce in a year into that salary and you
> get your average pot price........not including overhead, cost of mateials,
> and so on. Do a little juggling to adjust the average for the nature of
> teh pots .....mugs to giant vases or bowls or whatever....... and you get
> an idea of some hourly wage and proifit figures. Then add production
> costs. Bet if you figure it out something based on that kind of scenario,
> most of us are underpricing.
> A very false way to look at pricing is to time yourself making something
> and discover you can throw them at a rate of 2 dozen per hour, wax and
> glaze them about the same, and than add materials cost and a tad for
> overhead costs like heat, lights, office supplies and the like. If ALL
> you did was that........ you were your employee and you got paid to do that
> 8 hours a day and ONLY 'd probably be OK on the price you
> came up with. But it is the overall production per year that is important.
> You do LOTS of stuff related to pottery that isn't actual making. You
> gotta' get paid for that time too.
> Anyway...... sincerly hoping that US pottery prices will eventually rise,
> and doing what I can .
> BEst,
> ....................john
> John Baymore
> River Bend Pottery
> 22 Riverbend Way
> Wilton, NH 03086 USA
> 603-654-2752
> John.Baymore@GSD-CO.COM
> "Earth, Water, and Fire climbing kiln firing workshop Aug. 20-29,1999
> -one space available"

Morgan Britt