I had a question today from an artist who has doing my UnEarth your Creative Nature eCourse and is now in my #creativebeings group. I'm especially proud of this particular 'student' as I know she's bravely overcome a lot of blocks to put her work in the public domain!
The question was about pricing artwork.
This is a tricky one. I have my own views on this, which I will now divulge. These views have been formed through selling my own work, running and gallery & craft shop and through being somebody who loves to buy handmade things.
Some art we see for sale at The Art House is gorgeous, but priced so high that nobody will buy it - at least not here.
On the other hand, some artists price their painting, jewellery and other handmade items so low, in a desperate bid to sell quickly or from a lack of confidence, that they're literally giving away potential earnings.
Indeed, may of us have ACTUALLY given away work because of our many money blocks, I know I have!
So, how DO you price your work?
Brace yourselves, possums, for this hippy is also an experienced entrepreneur running a £100K+ nonprofit, and we're going to get business-y for a moment (disclaimer - I'm not giving professional biz advice here so don't sue me if my ideas don't work for you, m'kay?!).
You are the best and only good judge of your prices.
Ultimately, you need to value your work so that you are rewarded for your time, skills, materials and the time spent marketing it. If you want to earn a living from your art, you're going to need to approach this with a clear head and be willing to get the calculator out.
Setting a price is a fine art, so first of all give yourself permission to learn as you go, and change your pricing as you need to. Don't set anything in stone - keep all offers, sales agreements and so on short term so that you are free to tweak them.
The steps I describe later may seem intimidating, so for somebody starting out trying to sell just a few pieces, I'm going to offer a shortcut. In truth, I think the shortcut is the best way, in many respects.
Imagine, or do it for real if you like, putting your work for sale on a 'pay what you can' basis, or putting it up for auction. If you CAN do this for real, it's worth it, in my opinion, to get clear in your mind what you're happy to sell you work for. See it as an investment!
So, either put a piece up for sale on a 'pay what you can' or auction basis to your followers, or imagine yourself doing this. You can use ebay for this, or just post on Facebook if you have a Facebook page (if you don't, go do that now and read this later - trying to sell work without social media on your side is going to be tiring and I won't help you do it, hunny bunny!).
Now, imagine (or look at the actual prices, if you do it for real) what people choose to pay.
What feels too little? You'll spot this feeling very quickly, as your response to the price will be either horror, sadness, anger or indignation.
What feels too much? Why does it feel to much? What sort of feeling is 'too much' giving you - guilt? Pressure to perform? Fear? Or do you genuinely, honestly feel that the person wouldn't be getting their money's worth?
If the answer to 'why' it feels to much feels at all like you're under rating your work, re-examine (clue, it usually is!).
This should give you a good figure to be starting off with! In fact, it's my belief that you can sell for years using this method alone, trusting your inner wisdom to guide you to a price that is a 'sweet spot' for you.
Here's a more complicated version, which you don't have to do all at once and can implement as you go.
Firstly, inform yourself about your market. Take a look what others who do similar work are charging, just for research purposes. This is NOT so that you can undercut them, or price the same, but just so that you can position your own work in relation to what else is out there, and learn from what else is around.
Never, ever let your prices be dictated by what others are charging or what you think your customers will pay.
Yes, you read that right.
YOU decide your prices. Once you know what you are happy to be paid, the rest is down to communication.
If you take the time to identify what your work is really, truly worth, all you need to do is convince your customer to believe the same thing you do. Tell them honestly what they are getting for their money. Share your process, your ideas and your unique identity as a person with your customers.
Make a connection.
Evaluate your work in terms of it's strengths. How unique is it? Where and how would it be used? What sort of person will like it? What is special about it? What would owning it feel good? Why? How would somebody's life be improved by this art?
In short, WHY is it worth the amount you've chosen?
Look at the practical stuff, too. Work for sale should be durable, professionally presented and you'll need to look at packaging and delivering it properly, too. Unless you are using a site like Red Bubble o print and package for you, you will need to make sure you have a good quantity of bubble wrap, padded envelopes and stiff card to protect work in transit.
Your service should be professional and you should make your customer feel excited and special to be owning your work. Think about decorating the envelope, including a handwritten note, sprinkling glitter, wrapping with something interesting.... let your customer be delighted by the package when it arrives.
This personal touch is why handmade is better than mass produced. Many mass produced items look very similar to handmade, so you need to make sure yours has something special, to justify the bigger price tag.
Think about why people buy handmade art. Communicate this to your customer. Tell them why your work is different, special and worth the price.
How do you price your work? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.