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pricing - again! - sort of related

updated fri 31 dec 04


Laurie Kneppel on thu 30 dec 04

This is sort of related to the pricing thread, but very important if
you ever do it.
In the past when I have shared booth space with another clay artist it
has always been a friend of mine who sculpts and does not throw. Even
my little sculptures are so totally different from hers that pricing
has never been an issue. Our pieces coexist at their different pricing
schemes just fine. Plus our buyers tend to be exclusive to either one
or the other of us.

However - recently I did a show that had a high entry fee. (doesn't
matter that it turned out to be the wrong show for handmade clay items
of any sort - that's another story!) I was invited to share the booth
and fee with two other clay artists after one of the original members
had to drop out. One artist was another potter and the other handbuilds
most of her stuff. Mostly our styles were different enough that all
three of us could coexist in he same booth without much problem.

Once again - However! - we did have some overlap as far as basic mugs
and some bowls. Similar styles and colors, different firing ranges, WAY
different price ranges! My mugs - $12 to $15 (depending on size). Her
mugs - $8 (for all sizes). We did not discuss pricing our work before
we set up the display. So it was only after we got everything set up
and were admiring one another's work that I was noticing the price
thing. She didn't want to charge any more for her mugs. I compromised
and marked mine at $10 - $12, because I didn't want to go to $8!
Especially after all the money we spent to be in the show in the first
place (even split 3 ways, plus they charged vendors for parking!)

Still, even though it turned out that it was a completely wrong show
for potters to be in (if I'd known it was also open to commercial
vendors and doll and bear vendors...I would not have done it), we still
probably lost a sale or two when people picked up the different priced
mugs and probably wondered why this mug was 2-4 dollars more or less
than that other one over there. Especially when I am sure, to the
untrained eye, they looked the same. Booth was too small to separate
all the ware by potter that made it.

Lots of valuable lessons learned from doing that show, if nothing else.
I'm sure there are other lessons that other people have learned from
similar circumstances.

1. If you share a booth with other potters with similar items for sale
- coordinate your pricing ahead of time or you are asking for trouble!
Or confusion for your buyers, at the very least.

2. Also figure out how you will handle sales where the buyer wants
items from more than one of you. Make sure you have the sales tax thing
all worked out and what to do if they want to write one check, if you
even take checks.

3. Be careful of shows with commercial vendors - ASK ahead of time what
the percentage of commercial to handmade is expected to be. In this
case it was 90% commercial to about 10% handmade. We were the ONLY

4. Don't do a show that is held in what is normally the State Fair
Livestock Pavilion, and has been for about 30 years. I kept wondering
what that "smell" was.

Sacramento, CA
Potters Council, charter member
Sacramento Potters Group, member