Pricing Your Art

Nora Creeach 2005

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There are a number of ways to establish the price you charge for your art. A hobbyist may double the cost of supplies and think this is a good price. It is not a fair price. It is not fair to the artist nor is it fair to those who must earn a living by their art. By selling at bargain prices you undercut other artists and makes it more difficult for everyone to get a fair price for their art. Realize it is art and although you may not be willing to pay the price (after all you can make it yourself) it is the buyer that can't make it that should determines the price.

The popular formula for establishing a fair price for your work begins by adding the cost of your materials (every charm, piece of ribbon etc.) and doubling it. This covers your overhead (supplies, postage and shopping for supplies etc).

The next step is to decide how much you want to make per hour for your time. This amount will vary with your location and the acceptable pay per hour for skilled work in your local. Count your actual working time. Multiply the per hour wage by the length of time you take to complete the item.

Add these two figures together and you will have the price to charge for the finished item.

The next figure to consider is the perceived value. What are similar items selling for in your area? This figure can cause the final price you charge to fluctuate up or down from your final calculated price. It is the figure that is most affected by those who sell as a hobby or to make a little extra spending money.

If you feel your work is not worth the calculated price then it is not worth selling. Improve your skills and then sell your art. If someone asks to buy some of your work it is because they think it is worth purchasing so charge a fair price. There is a marketing tip that says if an item is not selling, raise the price don't lower it. This speaks to perceived value. If the customer thinks the price is too low they will question the quality of the item.

Do not cut prices, your time and skill are worth the price. Don't undervalue your work. Get someone else to value it for you, someone who does not do the same type of artwork. Show it to a local boutique owner/buyer and ask what they would sell it for in their store.

Give a little extra such as a small sachet made from scraps you've used to practice new stitches.
If there is a dressmaker (bridal/evening gowns) in your area you may be able to get scraps cheap or for nothing.
Take advantage of sales and coupons when you purchase supplies.
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