Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh, the problems of pricing artistic creations!

Did you ever have someone ask you why something you made cost so much? Did you ever have someone want you to drop your price? Give them a special deal? Include free shipping or a discount?

Did it frustrate you after all of the hours you spent creating, photographing, listing, packaging, traveling to a show, etc., etc., etc… And that doesn't even take into consideration the sleepless nights you had while creative ideas danced through your head at 2 AM in the morning!

Did you ever wonder how you could politely tell someone that you really have placed a fair price on your item? After all, you really do want to sell this and you do want your buyer to know that they have made a wise investment.

Well, here are some things that just might help you to have some high flying sales this Fall, no matter what you are creating and no matter where you are selling it!

• Take the time to write a detailed description of any special materials that you used and keep it with your creation. If you have used especially high quality materials, let people know! This can be a tag on clothing, or a card on the back of framed artwork that goes to the customer with their purchase.

• Give a few details of any special techniques that you used. Things like Iris Folding, felting, and printmaking are not always familiar terms to the general public.

• List any education, classes, workshops, etc., that you took to learn the skills necessary to make your creation. If you are a master soap maker, tell people why! If you teach your craft, tell people where =)

• If your artistic endeavors require a lot of time to create, tell people how many hours, days, etc. your process takes. Sometimes things look very simple, but the process is very complex. People will view wire wrapping much differently, when they know the amount of time it takes to create an intricate piece of jewelry.

• When you are listing items for sale online, make sure that your photographs are clear and excellent. Show as many different views and images as you possibly can so that the buyer, who has never seen this item, will have a good idea of what it really looks like from all angles.

• Include information about the care of your creation. This simple addition lets people know that your creation is a treasure with value and worthy of special treatment.

• Be sure that you adequately describe your creation. Each creation will require special attention here, but some basic things to consider are size, color, weight - basically anything that gives the buyer an idea of its value.

• Think ahead. Do you want to offer a discount if your buyer wants to purchase more than one item? Be prepared to let them know what you will or will not do.

• Write down all of this information even if you will be selling your items in person. You may have to step away from your booth for a moment or you may forget an important point to share in the middle of a conversation. If you have everything written down, it is easier to get the information to your buyer - especially if the information is on your item.

• Above all, think of how you would answer these questions if your dearest friend ask them. You never know, your next buyer might just become one of your best friends so start out by treating them that way no matter what they ask!

How about you? What special tips do you have for helping to let your buyers know more about the price of your creation? Let me know what you say to them in the comments!



  1. Kathy these are all great tips and some I have never thought about. I will be more careful in my descriptions in the future. Thank you.

  2. Good tips! The one comment you forgot to mention, especially when selling at a "craft fair" that allows vendors with "imported" items is that person who proceeds to inform you that they just saw a quilt (or whatever) at the table a couple of rows over for less than half the cost of yours. Of course, it was made in (you pick the country) and perhaps made out of lesser quality goods, but it is difficult to point this out without sounding harsh. So it is imperative to make sure your description is detailed and includes the quality of materials, care instructions, etc. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  3. Great ideas! Awesome and thorough! Thanks! I especially like descriptions on labels. I have a knitting needle carrier that looks like nothing, without the needles in it! So I made a tag with a picture of of one filled with needles (since I don't own needles-not a knitter!) It explains it all and I get less questions!

  4. These are some great pointers, some I never thought of...pricing has always been tough for me. Right now I hope they are reasonable for what you are getting. Thank goodness I have a full time job because I would be a starving artist if this is all I had, lol!

  5. Those are all great tips! I have a hard time with pricing but you gave me lots to think about. Thanks for sharing!

  6. These are all wonderful tips. I used to have cards that I put out at craft/art fairs when I sold my jewelry. One was called "The Care and Feeding of Silver." It was all the ways to prevent sterling silver from tarnishing. And I always let buyers know that all my silver was sterling. Some people use plated silver, which is incredibly cheaper, but they don't say so. The other card I had, a panel really, was a description of the metaphysical meanings of semi-precious stones. People really liked that one.

  7. I like to keep track of the hours I spend on an item, because that is usually something that can get lost over time. I like Linda's panel of semi-precious stones. People who like jewelry, like to look at pretty stones! {:-D

  8. Wonderful!
    Thanks for compiling this list and sharing. It's an emotional experience just putting your work out there. When a buyer is asking for deals or discounts, I have a difficult time delivering a calm response.

  9. Great point to let people know how long it really takes to make an item and the process that goes into it. I may stress that all of my albums are handcut in some of my listings.
    Thanks :)

  10. great tips! I need to do a rewrite on my listings too....I don't think I point out that I use my own patterns & often only make a handful before moving on to a new pattern :P

  11. Thanks, everyone! Glad you enjoyed the tips =)

  12. Wow, Kathy! Not only did you have some fabulous tips in your post, which I Will use, but you got a bunch more from other people. Thanks for a very valuable post.

    When I'm talking to people at shows, I sometimes mention what a big chunk of the price goes to the venue. You'd be amazed how many people think you don't have to pay to be in a show! Once they know that, your prices can get real reasonable real fast, lol. In fact, I've seen people get a little outraged about it, lol.

  13. Good idea, Anitra! And very true, especially with the larger shows that lease buildings and do a great deal of promotional advertising. The expense of entering one of these shows can run into the thousands. Amazing how people also think that it is free to be in a juried show when that is quite often not the case. Good points and a great suggestion!

    Thanks, Carole =)

  14. This is really a heart touching lines. As most of the artists only ask for the fair price. So we should not argue with them and we should give that price.

  15. Thank you for your kind comment, Ron!

  16. I question pricing of my items all the time. Love your is well worth the prices you ask for.

  17. Thanks, Very Verdant! I think it is normal to question the prices of our creations. Reviewing the time and material costs in each item, gives us a chance to remember how much is involved in the finished product. This can help us to adjust the price or remind us that we have the correct price on our items based on our materials, time and expertise!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Related Posts with Thumbnails