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underselling other artists because you can--was payment for

updated sat 22 jun 02


sandra byrne on fri 21 jun 02


An intresting topic. so , shall we invite the " Gentle knocks " police
in ?? HOW please tell me , is one person - artist - craftsperson - to
judge another's pricing standards? I worked with wood for years before
turning to pottery and discovering my true love. DANG ! What a profit
margin compared to wood. So , shall I take the pots I make , charge
whatever the market will bare ( I do ) add a little ( I do ) then figure
in my time and overhead ? ( If I say I do , I lie ) Compared to what ?
Wood ? Stone? Glass? My point here is that we all are trying to make a
living , if we are paying all the bills or part of the bills. If we are
supporting one person , or many. Oh my God - I hear the gentle knocks
coppers beating down my door : "You charge to much ! You charge to little
!"----- Original Message -----
From: "Lois Ruben Aronow"
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2002 5:31 PM
Subject: Re: Underselling other artists because you can--was payment for

> This is a very provocative topic for me for several reasons. I did my
> I did my first crafts show this past weekend. It was a big one - the
> Lincoln Center Crafts Show - here in NYC. 6 or 7 booths down from me
> was this lovely japanese man who was selling his beautiful pots for
> very very little. I mean like $12 for a shino plate. $10 tea bowls.
> $8 little cups. You get the picture. He and his wife told me it was
> his first show and they didn't know how to price. Well, I did hear
> people in my booth comparing prices, even though the work was vastly
> different. And it was MY first show too! Bottom line was that he
> really raked it in on quantity. Did better than any other potter
> there, and better than most potters I know in recent years who have
> done the show. I did poorly on the first day. Lowered my prices the
> second and did much better.
> My studio mate and I have been having the pricing debate for a while,
> as she thinks I underprice my work. My personal feeling is that I
> compete with K-Mart and Pottery Barn as well as other potters. I
> have also gone around to many of the design stores in NY who carry
> pottery (yes, handmade) to see what they charge. I try and set my
> prices at what I think people will pay. IMHO, The market sets the
> price; I just go along with it. A look around this particular crafts
> show tells me my prices are right in the middle. Not high, not low.
> I'm keeping them where *I* feel comfortable. I'd rather sell 5 vases
> at $65 that 2 at $80. Maybe I'll raise them at some point, but right
> now this works for me.
> But here's what angers me - I am one of those "subsidized" potters. I
> REALLY resent that phrase. I am not "subsidized". I am starting a
> new business, like any other. Yes, I am fortunate we can live on my
> husbands income alone. This means he is a supportive spouse, not a
> "subsidiser". My being a potter allows me to pick my son up at
> school, be around for the kids, be around for my husband (who commutes
> 3 1/2 hours a day) and generally run the house. All this while trying
> to makes pots and be profitable at it. I find it hard to believe that
> anyone who goes through all the work of selling their wares
> (especially the work of doing it at a crafts fair) does it for the fun
> of it, which is basically what's being implied. I'm not setting my
> prices higher to help other potters, as I have been told I should do.
> I just want to sell pots, and lots of 'em.
> Does one potter really owe the others a living? Everyone's work is
> different, some requiring more work than others. Everyone's lifestyle
> is different. Everyone's economic situation is different. I love
> making pots almost as much as I love my children, and I can't imagine
> doing anything else. I also think my chances of getting rich doing it
> (or even "comfortable") are about as good as if I played the lottery.
> Which reminds me, the mega-millions is up to $50M this week.
> --------------------------------------------
> Lois Ruben Aronow
> Fine Craft Porcelain
> - Newly updated!
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