'The Rainbow Painter' watercolour and ink illustration
I wanted to write about how to price your work today; it's one of those subjects that can be quite mind boggling if you're just starting out on your creative selling venture, but also an icky one for those who are already selling their wares and don't feel as if they're getting the right price for their lovely stuff.
Moolah is a funny subject, and most people feel a bit self concious talking about it - luckily I'm not one of those people and I'm happy to share my thoughts and some little bits of wisdom on the subject of selling online with you here. I have learnt many lessons along the way, and I hope what I'm going to share with you will be useful.
First off, there's a story.
Once upon a time there was an artist who used to paint bright and colourful pictures. She wasn't confident about selling her work so she would give it away for free. If someone in her family, or a friend said they liked a painting, she would give it to them and this went on for some time. However, an emptiness and a slight feeling of annoyance was growing. The artist knew that alot of effort had gone into her paintings, and she was thrilled that other people liked them, but the balance of the energy exchange was all out of kilter.
For 100's of years, people have used money as a tool of exchange - in the olden days, people used to trade in 2 piglets for a cow, that kind of thing...but nowadays we tend to use cash. Whichever way you look at it, it's still an exchange which keeps the balance happy. What's the balance? it's this: You and your customer both receive value from your product ~ you get some well deserved moolah for creating something marvellous, and your customer gets to become the new owner of your marvellous creation. Balanced energy exchange ~ all happy ~ Hurrah!!
So anyways, back to the story: The artist here who had been giving away her work and getting nothing given back in return, was starting to feel pretty lousy...and she realised that in order to feel better, and for the beneficiarys of her pictures to feel better too, then she had to start charging a price for her work.
So how do you work out what the right price is?
This can seem like the hardest thing in the world to work out, but it's actually pretty easy.
First off, you need to work out your costs and come up with a total. When I say costs, I mean things like materials and sundries such as box canvases, paints, mounts for prints, paper, printing inks, shipping materials, postage costs etc...Time is also a factor that you might want to consider. Many artists find that they earn below the minimum wage per hour when they divide up the price of their painting by the number of hours it took to create it! Write everything down in a notebook; you might be surprised by how much you are spending (both materials and time) when you see it all written down in front of you.
Now, you need to figure out your profit. No point spending all that precious time and energy creating something hot, just to charge the recipient for the materials it's cost you - you're not going to feel too great unless you're earning something for your effort.
If you're still unsure what to charge...
HOT TIP: Have a look online at other artists or craftspeople who's work is of a similar nature and level to your own. You can easily find these people by visiting Folksy or Etsy. See what they are charging for their products, find the average and use these prices as a guideline when pricing up your own work. It doesn't hurt to do a bit of homework and see what the competition is up to.
Next question you want to ask yourself is: "Does this price feel right to me?"
Does it make you feel good? Does it feel uncomfortable, like it's a bit too much? Does it feel like it's not enough? Only you can be the judge of this; only you know what went into the item you're pricing, so listen to your gut on this one.
The right price will feel good, and that you're getting what the product is truly worth to you. When you get that feeling, that's your price - but feel free to tweak it accordingly.
I often revisit my own gallery pages and investigate the online marketplaces to compare how my stuff sits in relation to others. I don't want to price myself out of the market by charging too much, and I don't want to underprice myself just for the sake of saying I got a sale (a sale under those circumstances is a bitter sweet affair I can tell you!). Whilst in Cornwall recently I made a point of noticing what galleries were charging for prints and originals - the recession is showing and generally the prices of original art is down a tad and I like to make a habit of keeping an eye on the market. I sometimes have to change my prices if the cost of my materials, or shipping goes up. It all has to be reflective or I'm making a loss and that tips the Balance into the negative for me.
I hope that this post has been of help to some of you who have been struggling with making the first steps at selling your work - listen to your instinct and don't be afraid to ask for what you're worth.
BIG PS: Thank you SO MUCH for all your gorgeous and kind comments about the magazine feature, it made my day to discover and read them all! Have a happy weekend, see you soon.