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what to say about "underpricing" comments

updated mon 22 nov 04


Janet Kaiser on sun 21 nov 04

>My great temptation was to ask "Then
>why isn't everything just flying off the shelves?"

Oh, be joyfull!! That is precisely the point that needed to be
made!! Hand-crafted, made in dot-dot-dot (insert rich western
country of choice) is going to be "under priced", if not always,
then at least 9 times out of ten. The thinking buyer will
recognise that... Or the one who has been educated to realise
that potters/artists have to earn enough from their work to live
a decent life in their home economy. A potter has to make and
sell and awful lot of pots to get up to the economic level of
someone like a school janitor or a bus driver i.e. the minimum

So the pots are selling for less than they should be priced to
insure a minimum income? Someone noticed?! Did the maths? It was
not a potter with higher prices who was miffed by the under
pricing by newbies? A real customer? Pretty amazing!

Most hand-made pots/sculptures should probably cost more if they
are to keep the maker on a economically viable and even keel, but
having said that, the marketplace as a whole will only support a
certain price for anything being sold and now that a majority of
artisans/craftspeople are all apparently living to the "cheapest
is best" motto too (as recently revealed in the "WalMart"
thread), their collective days living on meagre profit margins
will be even more numbered!

Like many other rich countries, we have a fair trade movement in
the UK which has not only focused minds on third world issues,
but also the pressures on own homegrown producers such as potters
and others (NOT farmers, who get massive subsidies). Mel regards
these as "left and right" issues or stances, but books like
Jeremy Seabrook's "CONSUMING CULTURES - Globalisation and Local
Lives" ISBN 1-904456-08-1, "The Good Shopping Guide" and "Do the
right thing -- A practical guide to ethical living" ISBN
1-904456-17-0 really put these things into perspective from a
"personal" point of view for anyone living by the toil of their
own hands in a fully automated world and global economy where
large companies (and the people behind them) actually have more
power than many governments -- democratically elected or not!

Everything from "slow food" to environmentally sound resource
management is the good company potters should actually be
keeping, so that they support others within their own community
in a give-and-take economy and NOT supporting the share holders
of giant corporations which are able to and do destroy local
communities. No, I do not advocate we all return to being hippy
flower children, but we are going to have to start acting more
responsibly... The old "Think Globally -- Act Locally" motto
could not be more necessary IMO.

It saddens me to see the "I'm all right Jack" attitude on
Clayart, but I guess that is why the status quo has been upheld
at the recent US election. An awful lot of people must also agree
that an Orwellian future is just fine and dandy.

In the meantime, anyone who is told by an onlooker that "Your
wares are under priced", can smile and thank them for the
compliment. The hard economic reality is that until the three
consecutive months arrive when you see that sales continually
outstrip production levels, your pots are priced about right!


Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art : Capel Celfyddyd
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : Wales : UK
Home of The International Potters' Path
Tel: ++44 (01766) 523570

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