Posted by Penny H on October 10, 2002 at 02:29:18:
In Reply to: pricing posted by Deeda on August 08, 2002 at 09:53:02:
I've been thinking about your question for a few days now. Of course you shouldn't work for free, or just for the cost of your materials. Where's the fun in that? But until you have streamlined your processes and start buying wholesale, it's going to be hard to figure out what to do. Really, you are making prototypes right now, and they are expensive for anyone.
My gut feeing is that everybody starts out selling their work too low. I was a graphic designer before switching to beadwork and sold my first logo for $10 and two ceramic pots. I spent about 30 hours on it. No profit there. But valuable lessons. Later I charged $600 and that was still a bargain. And when I started working with beads, I sold earrings for $9. Now they are $54. They are better made, but not that much. I just didn't know what was possible when I started out.
The point is, you have to go for it. Take some chances. Make some mistakes. Ask some friends what is the least and the most they would expect to see it priced for in a store. (Ask at least 3 friends.) And when they answer, do not tell them what you were thinking of asking. Just thank them and assure them their opinion is really valuable to you. You don't want to make them uncomfortable--and you want to pick their brains again. Eventually you will settle on a price that you think the traffic will bear and that you can live with, and you go for it. If you sell out, lucky for you. If you don't make a sale, it may not even be the price. It may be something entirely different (like selling sunglasses in a cave or hamburger to vegans).
After a few shows, you will have a better feel for how your pricing fits with others. You will know how people respond to your work. And you will know if you want to continue with this product or modify it--to reduce the price or increase the quality. When you do get around to doing pricing math, assume the labor rate is what it would cost you to hire someone of competent skills to make the piece for you. Could a minimum-wage person do this? Or do you need a college grad? That wage is what you use for labor. Your "big money" comes from the profits.