search  current discussion  categories  business - pricing 

pricing-- an amateur's veiw point

updated tue 28 mar 00


Charles and Tamara Schulz on mon 27 mar 00

Hi all,

I have been following this thread with interest.
I am an amateur potter living on Okinawa, Japan.
While I am not earning a living as a potter, I am trying to cover the cost
of my clay and equipment.

Okinawa has a long history of spectacular pottery. We have two thriving
pottery centers here which between them share four noborigamas (the largest
has 13 chambers and is built on an 18% grade!)
Okinawan pottery is truly unique and beautiful and is made lovingly with
much attention to detail,
and this is reflected in the prices.
Westerners who admire the pottery rarely buy due to the cost.

> >The most common scenario was the resentment generated among fulltime
> > potters for part-time potters who made and sold mugs at shows for
> > well
> > under $10. The writers seemed to feel that these potters were
> > taking bread
> > from the mouths of the fulltime potters' children.
> >

So, what's an amateur to do?
As a part-time potter who is just beginning to sell, it is certainly not my
intention to under price or "undercut" the full-time time potters. However,
my work is obviously not of the same quality produced on the local market.
As my skills increase, so will my prices.
But for now, to price my work comparable to the local pottery would be
ludicrous and unfair to my customers.
As an American, my customers are mostly American as well. I frequently hear
complaints about the Okinawan prices and questions as to why it is "so
People are always surprised to hear that I "buy that stuff when I can just
make my own."
HAH! maybe in ten years!

I try to help them to appreciate and understand the value and unique nature
of the local craft....I've even given local "pottery tours" and talks at
various functions.
Sometimes this works. But there's always the one who makes a purchase based
solely on price.

I can see both sides of this coin. I wouldn't want to be a full-time potter
trying to make a living with the guy in next booth selling at half my
prices. On the other side though, While the professionals may resent my low
prices, I have to ask again....
What's an amateur to do?

Having morning tea from my favorite Okinawan cup---a steal at $20.