navbar

29 March 2014

Raising Prices

Photo Nov 02, 3 38 23 PMLast week I attended a terrific SAQA-CT Regional Meeting at the Guilford Art Center and participated in a panel discussion on Pricing Artwork.  I enjoyed sharing my own experiences with the group, but I learned so much more by listening to panelists Mickey Lawler and Jane Davila and other SAQA members.

I left with a realization: A lot of artists find it easier to discuss the deeply personal, emotional stories behind their artwork than explain the logical, professional reasons behind the PRICE of that work.  As if pricing our work is more scary and revealing than the whole creative process.  But since I am serious about having a career in art, I must get over that squeamishness.

So Here's the Honest Scoop About My Pricing

It's important to me to have a simple pricing plan, so I can A.) remove the emotion from it and B.) answer potential buyers' questions and quote a price without a lot of hemming and hawing (confession: I'm familiar with hemming but have no idea what hawing is.)

Themel_MuscleMemory_fullI don't like the idea of pricing artwork based on the amount of time it took to make.  I'm not a lawyer or psychiatrist; I don't charge by the hour.  Besides, there are too many variables (when does the timer start…when I think of the idea or when I draw the pattern…?  Do I include all the time I spend choosing fabrics and staring at a piece wondering what to do next??) Plus I don't want to punch a time clock when I enter my studio, parsing hours and minutes into categories.  That would just distract me and put my brain into business mode vs. creative mode. 

What matters to me is the finished piece, not the amount of time it took to create.  A piece is finished when I love it and I say it's finished.  Sometimes that happens quickly, other times the thing seems to drag on forever.

I decided to use a price-per-square-inch system because it is consistent, justifiable and transparent. And I don't have to think about it until the piece is DONE.

Photo Nov 02, 3 33 17 PM

After the SAQA-CT meeting, I went back and looked at all my available artwork.  The prices seemed to be all over the place regarding size-to-price ratio.  Over the years I increased the price on NEW work but I rarely went back to increase the price on older work to keep up.

May 1, 2014 is "Price Change Day"

My next step will be to adjust the prices on ALL my work to be at least $2.30/sq.in if it's not there already*.

Crunching Numbers: The Not-So-Secret Formula

How did I come up with the $2.30/sq.in figure?  In a nutshell, I let the "market" decide.  I used the size dimensions and sale prices of all the work I've SOLD in the past 3 years to calculate the average price per square inch, and used that as the new baseline.

*NOTE: Some pieces are valued higher because they have been juried into major shows, published in a book or magazine, won awards, or simply because I love them too much to let go of them very easily. Okay, so there is SOME emotion involved in pricing.  But I am trying to keep it to a minimum.

Now is a Good Time to Buy

If you have been on the fence looking at your favorite Kate Themel artwork, you have until May 1, 2014 to buy it at the current price.  After that, most of the pieces will be more expensive.  A few of the older ones will nearly double in price, since they haven't been updated in years.  Good news for collector's who already bought one!  

My Commitment to Offering Pieces of Various Sizes and Prices

Some people fill their homes with beautiful, inspiring artwork that speaks to them in a personal way.  Other people buy art as an investment, because they believe the artist is going to continue to produce quality artwork that will increase in value.

I realize for most people, buying art is a luxury.  I understand some of my pieces may be priced outside the typical household budget.  So I plan to create smaller pieces that will be beautiful and of the same high quality as my larger pieces, but available for a lower price.

1 comment:

  1. Thank-you for this discussion...I am currently trying to settle on my pricing method to use in pricing my artwork also. It helps to hear what other art quilters consider in this decision-making process. My Best...

    ReplyDelete

Comments are reviewed by the administrator of this blog, so please keep the language civil and relevant to the article. Comments containing advertisements, profanity or hate speech will be removed.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas!