Ned Ludd on sat 22 jun 02
Earl Brunner wrote
> If your pricing is figured
> honestly, covering the cost of ALL expenses and a fair wage for
> yourself, then there shouldn't be an issue. But everything should be
> figured into the cost, how much would that studio in the garage cost if
> you had to rent it somewhere else? In other words, factor in that
> portion of your rent or house payment of that percentage of your living
> space that is used by your pottery as an expense, as part of what it
> costs you to make the pottery. If you are not factoring in that portion
> of your rent or house payment, or any other costs, then you are not
> being fair to yourself, or others.
Sounds good as far as it goes. I have one issue: What IS honest pricing?
I'd argue that it is a figment of wishful thinking not found in
reality. We bandy the term about as if it meant something solid but
it's no more than a convenient fiction. Why? Because we are not
paying for our air, we are not paying for our soil and our earth's
fecundity which feeds us, we are not paying in any real sense for our
water, we are not paying for an uncountable number of things that our
economy ignores or considers 'free'.
An honest pricing system would factor in _each and every_ resource we
are using based on the cost of replenishing and maintaining it. And
that would not even be limited to material resources, by the way.
Hank's resounding post says it so well
I'm requoting excerpts here:
> The preacher was the dean of Durham. he referred
> to " the prevailing view that only the economic
> basis of society is real, and that everything else, the things of mind
> and of the spirit, personal values and sacramental experiences depend on
> that. In fact, it is the other way round".
> "........Profit-making industry and free markets are only possible
> because they are sustained and subsidized by a societal infra-structure
> produced by unpaid, uncompetitive and unproductive devotions: especially
> the freely given love and service of parents, spouses (partners) and
> friends. Thus, business is parasitic upon a real community that it does
> not and cannot create. A full education should be as much concerned with
> sustaining this undergirding reality as it is with being realistic about
> the market forces that are built upon its foundations".
If our entire global economy is based on what in simple truth is
dishonest accounting, then figuring your calculable costs, and
deriving your prices from them, is just a way of cranking out the
numbers you need to look good on paper, keep your operation running,
touch wood, and impress your accountant. Please don't take offense:
nothing I write here is in any sense a personal criticism. It's
crazy, but this is the way we're ALL supposed to operate.
As for my own pricing system, it's simple: I go out and see what pots
are on sale where I want to sell, for how much and how good they are.
If I think mine are better than most, I price accordingly. If I think
not, I price accordingly. It's a starting point: I watch how people
respond to that. Am I getting customers or not? I leave "fair" out of
it: if I wanted to tie my brain up in knots I'd try to define 'fair
Ned, 'fessing up that he's subsidised.. couldn't have come this far
without his better half, bless her!
Earl Brunner on sat 22 jun 02
Sounds good as far as it goes.....(couldn't resist that) :)
Still, if you are not covering your costs then your business will reflect it. It
shouldn't be some kind of shot in the dark. We should have some idea of how much
it costs us to make something and how much we need to charge to make decent wage
(and we are the only ones that can decide how much our time is worth to us.) Why
is it that some of us apparently are perfectly happy to pay ourselves minimum wage
or less, but wouldn't work for someone else for the same wage? If there is a range
of pricing that fits in that "make a wage range," then where within that range we
choose to sell our work is up to us. If we are not within that range however, we
are going to have cash flow problems. It is entirely possible that once the
analysis of the cost is done and the analysis of what the market can or will bear
is done, that the two are not compatible. We may not be able to sell things for
what we need to sell them for in order make a decent return. Knowing where that
line is, is critical.
Ned Ludd wrote:
> As for my own pricing system, it's simple: I go out and see what pots
> are on sale where I want to sell, for how much and how good they are.
> If I think mine are better than most, I price accordingly. If I think
> not, I price accordingly. It's a starting point: I watch how people
> respond to that. Am I getting customers or not? I leave "fair" out of
> it: if I wanted to tie my brain up in knots I'd try to define 'fair
> Ned, 'fessing up that he's subsidised.. couldn't have come this far
> without his better half, bless her!
Roger Bourland on sun 23 jun 02
A couple of years back, I put some stuff in an Art Fair and to compete =
with other potters kept my prices very low. Like $4.00 for mugs, $10 for =
bottles, etc., etc. I made a total of $44.00 while some of my colleagues =
who featured bright, shiny colors and tourist blues made 10 times that =
much. I was devastated.=20
Few weeks later I cut the prices (!) to get rid of some of the stuff at a =
neighborhood garage sale and grossed $4.00. Damn!
Six months later I put on an invitational, mel-style exhibition/sale in my =
home featuring pots that weren't terribly different, but priced =
dramatically higher and arranged by Jo Ann and myself. Made $1,300.00 in 3 =
I believe that, regardless of price and given good pots and a good =
reputation, the context of the sale and the personal nature of a buyer's =
owning some of your pots far transcends just making pots available at a =
low price. At least it works for me.