Indie Design

The Numbers Game


Recently, I wrote a series of blog posts about why I’ve just about had it with the craft fair scene. You can read all about it here. Here’s another comment I received that deserves exploration:

“Thank you so much for articulating the problem so well… as a ceramicist with large overheads and 20 years of experience on top of an honours degree, I have just put my prices up to something close to what they realistically should be and not what would compete in this completely muddied market.

It’s taken a long time to pluck up the courage to break free of it but why compete any more with the ‘assemblers’ market, which is as far-removed from the designer-maker end as a chippendale chair is from a flat pack table?

There’s a perfectly reasonable cross-over (most of us have a mix) but you would never find them in the same place, sales/promotion-wise. Time to widen the net and admit it isn’t working. Thank you for saying it out loud.” Ceri White.

Pricing is a funny thing. From personal experience, I’ve found that I’ve sold more when I’ve raised my prices to where they are now, than when I was underselling myself back when I was a novice at this lark.Not just a few pieces more, but, percentage-wise, in the hundreds of percent more. Why would this be?

The public, consciously or not, use price as an indicator of quality. If I am selling at cost (or below it) to a customer, they can see I don’t value my work or my effort. So why should they?

If I set a price that covers my costs and pays me for my time, then I am valuing what I do and therefore expecting others to do the same. Which they will. I am more professional and polished and have upped my game to match the price tag. And that’s why, in a nutshell, I won’t waste my time with amateur events anymore. Harsh but true.

Pricing is something that everyone struggles with. I hear indie designers talk about it all the time, and it’s always been and probably always will be, a hot potato. I could drone on about it for hours, but thankfully for me, and for you, dear reader, people far more eloquent than I have already written cracking posts about it:

Kim from Finest Imaginary wrote the Rockstar’s Guide To Product Pricing which is a great start point if you are really floundering with this thorny issue.

And if you’re moving on up to the next stage, selling your work to retailers, then Clare Yuill, from the awesome Indie Retail Academy, has a great article about pricing your work for the wholesale market.

Even if you’re all sorted, pricing-wise, they’re worth a read, you may find an angle you haven’t thought of before, or learn something new. I know I did. Now, go get your price gun, tiger.


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