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pricing-why so hard?(long)

updated thu 27 may 04


Michael Wendt on wed 26 may 04

Dave Finkelnburg gives good advice.
In general, charging what the market
will bear in your area is a proper
free market strategy. This is easy to
see with common, every day items
like milk or bread. People price
shop for those because they buy
them so very often. A small price
difference will affect sales dramatically.
Pottery is another matter.
Except at craft fairs, price shopping
is probably a rare thing.
Most of the time, regardless of what
others charge,customers either want it
at your price or they don't.
People consider pottery to be a
quasi luxury item now days.
Because of this, we who produce
these items face a harder task
Seeing Craig's work being done
really illustrated this principle to
My pots are simple, fast to throw,
and, I admit, rather dull shapes.
I studio foot, while he rim foots.
My glazing techniques are dipped,
very loose, layered splashes that are
fast to apply. They take practice, it's
true, but compared to Craig's
multi stage brushed, slip trailed,
sprayed, waxed and poured work, they
require 1/10 the time to produce.
Craig charges $28 for a coffee mug.
Well worth it and he gets it.
I charge $10-15 for a mug. I get it.
My charge for the mug is based
on the cost of production FIRST
because I can't afford to sell any
item below cost. If I did as much
detail work as Craig, I would have
to charge $50 a mug because my
overhead in a 10,000 square foot
studio is way higher than his overhead
in his studio-gallery-home arrangement.
We charge as much as the local market
will bear and still encounter some buyer
resistance to our pricing.
When I used to go to craft fairs, I would
see potters selling mugs 2 for $5.00.
Way too low for me. People would
come to me and point out the cost
difference. After I had a chance to
talk to them, explaining how people's
methods and costs vary, they still
bought my mugs.
Only pricing your work as others
price theirs without regard to your costs
can sometimes be a mistake.
Be sure that you are not selling below cost!
Then charge as much as the market you
are selling into will bear.
As Dave said,
If you are selling faster than you can make
items, charge more.
If you languish, lower your prices, but
accept the fact that if you sell below cost
plus a reasonable profit (your actual income),
it will put you out of business.
Michael Wendt
Wendt Pottery
2729 Clearwater Ave
Lewiston, Idaho 83501