Sunday, March 6, 2011

Too Expensive? I Think Not!

It's funny how some individuals have no clue about the work and effort that goes into handmade items. I was selling my altered art pieces at a show this past week, and among my things I had a few bottle cap magnets and pendants. I was taken by complete surprise when an older woman remarked to me "You're selling these for $3? You get the bottle caps for free!" I quickly responded that: The caps are not free. I have to purchase them new and it takes time and hard work to create a piece of art! Maybe it was her age, maybe she didn't like my work, or maybe she just thought I was taking advantage of people. She said nothing and left.

That started me thinking about just how much time and effort go into any handmade item. I've broken the creative process down into four categories: Development, Implementation, Assessment and Marketing.

Development: the planning stage.

  • What am I going to do? Is there a theme? What is the design?
  • What supplies do I need? Where can I buy them? How much will they cost?
  • What will I do with the finished product? Do I keep it, sell it, or give it away?
  • How long will it take me to complete?

Implementation: getting to work

  • Purchase all necessary supplies.
  • Gather together the specific items needed.
  • Experiment with various techniques to find the right one for your project.
  • Assemble your creation.
  • Re-assemble your creation when the first one isn't to your liking!
  • Fine tune and clean up your finished piece.
  • and sometimes - Start all over again because it's all wrong!!

Assessment: analyzing your handiwork

  • Did your work come out as expected?
  • Did it take too long?
  • Are you happy with it? Would you make it again?
  • Is it good enough to sell or give away? If yes, then proceed to Marketing. If no, keep it for yourself!

Marketing: selling your handiwork

  • Will I sell online, in a store, or at a show?
  • How much can I sell it for? How much would I pay for a similar item?
  • When calculating pricing, don't forget the cost of supplies, cost of marketing, and payment for your time.

Okay - back to my bottle cap artwork. Now that I've thought about this whole thing, I think I better raise my prices! $3.00 seems like a bargain to me!


Anonymous said...

$3.00 is a bargain. That's the first thing that came to my head when I read the first few words of your post. Most people have no idea what goes into making art and trying to explain it probably won't help but those that do know won't even blink at the price. Just keep on keepin on and don't let it worry you. Btw, I saw inferior bottle cap magnets at Books-a Million the other day for $3.99, they were stickers and bubble dots and they were all the same designs and some were crooked and some were part way out of the cap (if you know what I mean). So yeah, raise the price. Hugs :) Connie

Julie Clark said...

Great article! Thanks for linking to it from ArtFire.

Rachael said...

It's soul destroying isn't it when people just don't appreciate what goes into anything handmade. The time, the materials, the design, the thought, the care, attention to detail, the personal attention...the list goes on. I wrote a similar blog post here if you're interested;

Michelle said...

I had a similar experience at a craft show. A woman was looking aty one of my miniature house sculpture (which took over a week to complete and was incredibly detailed). She wanted to know why it was so expensive: $40.00. Actually, that's quite a bargain for something that I put so much work into. I tried to explain a bit of what went into the piece, but she wasn't listening. Many people just have no idea how much any artist or crafter puts into their work. I think many of us set our prices too low, really. Handmade is special ;-)
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

luvncrafts said...

Good things to think about. Thank you for sharing the post in the artfire card makers guild.

Anonymous said...

Pat, you are so right about pricing. There is NO way an artist can get repaid for the creativity, material and time that goes into a project.

Years ago I had a part-time home-based business making silk florals and wreaths. I'd set up at a show and women would nearly pick things apart, declaring, "I could make this at home." And I'd think, "Then why DON'T you?!"

Crafting is about generosity of spirit and about passion for what one creates. Most of us would never be able to support ourselves making craft items, but to those who are able, I give my heartiest applause.

Don't let those with little creativity or ambition get you down!!!


Robin Priest said...

Yes, most non-crafter people have no clue how much time it takes to make stuff.
I made a purse in a college fiber arts class, it took over 60 hours and had about a dozen different techniques used on it. Most people I show it to are amazed.
I showed it to one lady (the former girlfriend of my bf's father), I said how it had been lots of work and she said she though I would sell it for $40 dollars, ticked me off to no end since if was coming from a woman who charges $50 to cut a man's hair and $75+ for women's. Almost gaged when she said that and had to bite my tongue to not say something rude. If I charged her rates my prices would quintuple.