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should i cut my prices???: thanks for taking the time to

updated mon 23 jan 06


steve graber on sun 22 jan 06


i suffer from "analysis paralysis" and did a big spreadsheet one day of all the things i can make in clay. i wanted to know the break even price with these various products. i had columns for amount of clay used, amount of glaze, time to make each, trim, accents, waxing, % scrap likely, costs of materials, lot time spent on firing, maintenance, etc.

i had the classic learning curve included to help indicate a day's output.... i used the amount of money i wanted to make, identified the days i wouldn't want to work (2 days a week, vacation, hollidays, sick days, etc).

from one v the other i was able to identify the output per day of each product. from that the dollars per product selling price to equal what i said i wanted to make in cash a year. from THAT i compared to the likely selling price of what i make & the quality of what i make.

good info! i just don't make mugs good enough to sell for $14 each, even IF i could sell a day's output of mugs! same with small bowls. the public just doesn't see the value . and my quality isn't good enough for high dollar - small items.

point is that spreadsheet helped identify products i SHOULD sell v those i shouldn't bother selling. just because i can make it doesn't mean i should expect to sell it.

this was a useful task - filling out a giant spreadsheet of stuff. from that sheet i can see products worth bothering with - LARGE bowls, LARGE vases, and some no brainer trinket pieces i can do in my sleep.

this is a task most everyone should do in some maner once a year, once every few years, etc.

i sell faces at a local consignment shop. pottery 101 type faces. i slap them out on styrofoam wig heads & glue strings to the back of the eye balls. 3 for $20 & i get enough each year to support my clay habit. LARGE vases & LARGE bowls as well when the wife will actually part with them...

here's a new product i'm messing with: have at it!

everyone knows the basic chip & dipper bowl. and they never fit in the cabinets... the dipper portion is usually not balanced in size with the chip size - you run out of one or the other, never in unison.

BUT make a chip & dip bowl BIG so the inner "dip" bowl is large enough to be a wine cooler. ~ or that LARGE inner bowl could be filled with potatoe salad, and the "chip" bowl could hold ice. this would be a "refridgerator bowl".

make a second chip-dip BIG bowl that fits into the 1st like a weird lid. sell as a set. at least there will be TWO sold at a time & TWO weird bowls fitting in the canbinet then just one classic chip-dip that nothing seems to sit on right..... could be a $100 set! it doesn't take too long to make these 4 bowls esentually.

a friend asked me to make something like this. he & his wife wanted a wine cooler bucket, where the stupid ice doesn't interfer with the wine bottle when you're trying to put the bottle back in the bucket. i'd have ice in the big bowl, and some amount of water (which WILL get ice cold) in the inner wine cooler bucket.

there's more ideas on my list... just not much time with a regular day job...

see ya


Elizabeth Priddy wrote: I went to a big box store over the weekend and looked
around. There in the aisle, in neat rows of fifty or so,
pots with beautiful glazes and guaranteed for outdoor
use or indoor decoration. Shapes were lovely, drippy
iron red and blue colors. i turned them over and there
it was:


I know, I know, hand made is better. But to whom?
And somebody did make them by hand. I would
gladly have any of those pots. And I can imagine some
person wherever they were made with a relatively good
job, happily making pots all day, not hunkered over a
machine in a sweatshop, but working. just like I did
when I threw production. It was a bit of a grind, but I
loved doing that instead of anything else I was qualified
for at the time.

Maybe it is really just being outsourced. We just
have to come up with a better business model.



Kathy McDonald

One of the replies I recieved off line put it very well..
"I think ceramics is being outsourced" and went on to
comment that perhaps the value of handmade is not as much a part
of the culture as it was in the 70's and 80's.

Elizabeth Priddy

Beaufort, NC - USA


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