It seems that there is one common thread among all potters… how to price our work. This is something that always comes up in conversations with my potter friends. I have been thinking about a way to address it at one of our Asparagus Valley Potters Guild meetings.
Last night the Guild meeting was at my home/studio. Earlier in the week I sent out an email to all the potters asking them to bring one pot for a group photo shoot, and to talk about pricing of that piece. When Tiffany Hilton came to the meeting she had a great idea to add. She said how about we play a little pottery pricing game, we cut up tiny pieces of paper and anonymously price each other’s pots. Great idea! We all put our pots on my glazing table, and each of us scribbled our prices out, and put it inside each pot. We then lined up each little tag from low to high in front of each piece. Taking our turn, we read aloud the price range, and what we actually have it priced at. WOW, what an eye opener for many of us. For the most part the average prices were in-line for what we would price it at, but some were way too low. It was a lesson on perception. How does one perceive the amount of work that goes into a piece, (even other potters didn’t realize the amount of work that went into some of the potters pieces). What type of audience is buying this piece. Is the potter a full-time potter, and how does that affect their pricing. Does that potter value their work? OMG… it opened up a whole can of worms! A couple of potters said they were going home to take some uppers, because we didn’t guess nearly high enough prices. One potter didn’t think her work was worthy of the higher price we all gave it. Most of us realized we could maybe ask for a little more on the piece.
One member, a ceramic/mixed media sculptor, had a totally different perception on pricing than the potters. This was a great eye opener for me. Her work was a large (2 ft. high) figurative piece. The prices ranged from $90 – $1600. She was saddened by the low ball $90 price, (no one fessed up to that price). I personally priced it at $450, the average was around $600. Her actual price was $1400. When she talked about the amount of work that went into it, I was enlightened, and embarrassed at what I estimated. When she priced our pots, every one of them was over-priced! It’s all about perception… she had no idea what we put into each piece, and we had no idea what she put into her piece!
Look for part 2 in a few days!