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consistency in pricing

updated thu 4 jan 01


vince pitelka on wed 3 jan 01

This is an interesting issue, which gets discussed periodically on Clayart.
How you price your work does of course depend on a combination of what the
market will bear, and your own personal philosophy and integrity as an
artist/craftsperson. You have to decide what your work is worth, but once
you do, you should be consistent with all retailers and major craft
fairs/shows. The fact that one retailer is in New York and another is in
Paducah is no concern of yours in terms of wholesale pricing. You decide
what your work is worth, and that is what it is worth.

If you DO sell work to galleries in major cities, you need to be careful
about the resale pricing expectations. They might try to mark your work up
higher than expected retail in order to realize a larger profit.
Technically, once they have purchased the work from you they can do whatever
they want with it. But if this bothers you, then you should get a pricing
agreement down in writing when you start selling to a particular gallery.

If you have a studio showroom, and you sell to galleries in your own area,
then you should not undercut the galleries with the pricing in your own
showroom, except as outlined below. However, many potters who do periodic
studio sales do sell their work for slightly less at these sales - sort of a
"Christmas Sale" or a "Spring Sale." Your retailers have the right to do
that whenver they want, and so do you. But if sell to a lot of retailers
in your area, and you value their business, then it would only make sense to
consider their opinions on this. If they do a lot of business for you, and
if they do not want you to undercut them on the same work they sell in their
shop, then I would respect their wishes. And if you maintain a studio
showroom throughout the year, then your normal prices should not undercut
your retailers except as outlined below, or in the event of special sales.

If you are a professional studio potter, then you most likely produce a very
high volume of work, and you need to move that work. Normally your work
evolves over time (I would hope), and you regularly have quantities of older
styles or shapes, or pieces which have cosmetic blemishes not really serious
enough to call them seconds. In that case you can sell the work for
whatever you want, but it should be advertised as what it is - left-overs
and good blemished work. That is good work to take to local craft fairs,
but should never be taken to national craft fairs or sold to your retailers.
You NEED to be able to sell that work for slightly less, just to keep from
getting buried under it. No one can begrudge you that. And personally, I
think that is a good reason to have your work constantly evolving. It gives
you a lot more flexibility as to how you sell it out of your own studio or
at smaller craft shows.
Best wishes -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Home -
Work -
615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166