Now that you’re making only the things you love and that make you happy, how do you put a price on it?
I’ve researched and read a lot of advice about how to price artwork. There are formulas you can use to get you started. An excerpt from the Etsy blog gives this simplified formula:
Cost Price (Labor + Materials Cost) x 2 = Your Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price
I made some earrings that I loved out of copper and aluminum. I cut and hammered and polished and fired and twisted and a whole lot more. They take time and skill to make. I decided to sell all earrings for $12 a pair. Then I got to the market and my fellow artists saw my prices and said, “Whoa! You can’t sell those for that! You’re way, way too low! I’d buy those for $65 and I don’t even have money.”
I caved to the pressure (I was brand new at selling anything and they’d been at it for a while) and I upped my prices to somewhere in the upper 20′s and low 30′s. Nothing sold.
Another week at the market. Nothing sold.
I stomped around that night after the market and said to myself, “This is my stuff. I made it. I can sell it for whatever I want!” So I took off those tags and put my prices back to $12/pair. That week I sold a several pair of earrings! Ever since, I’ve been to the markets and I sell my earring for $12. People get so excited and I get to move some inventory so that I can continue hammering away in my studio.
That said, there are a couple of caveats here. One is that if your prices are too low, people think your work is not quality or that you don’t value your work. My dad once tried to sell a boat, motor, and trailer in the paper. He priced it at $300 and no one called. A month later he put the same boat, motor, and trailer in the paper for $800. He got lots of calls and “settled” on $500 with the buyer. When he listed it at $300 people thought it was junk.
The second caveat is to be respectful of your fellow market sellers. I wouldn’t price anything I’m selling that is similar to another artist’s work at a far lower or higher price. (The key word here is “similar”. Your work may not be anything like what other artists make – then you can do whatever you want as long as you remember my dad’s boat story.)
By the way, the earrings that my friend said she’d buy for $65 – I removed the earrings from my sales table and one day when she didn’t expect it, I gave them to her! She loves them and wears them a lot. It makes me happy that she loves them.
Note: I did raise my earring prices to $14 per pair as you’ll see in my Etsy shop!