4.18.2008

Price Gouging

I am in the process of re-assessing my pricing structure, and it's hard. Help! I need some feedback here.... I have been charging $40 for the medium size pendants below. But, I have recently been using more layers of colors, which means more firing in the kiln. I think a lot of people might not really know how time consuming enameling can be. You have to prepare the metal, I do 2 fires of counter enamel (the layered glass on the back), then 2 layers of the base color. Then each color of the image requires a separate firing. Granted, the piece is only in the kiln appx. 2 mins each time, but they have to gradually cool from 1500 degrees between each fire which takes a while, and not to mention waiting for the kiln to heat back up to the right temperature in between each fire. Then there is sanding, smoothing and polishing of the edges, and finally making the cord or chain.

I am not complaining, I love enameling, but I am wondering if I am not short changing myself here? The cost of copper and silver has gone up, not to mention the additional energy usage of my kiln factored in. When I initially started selling my pendants on etsy, there were only a few other artists working with enamel, so I wanted to keep my pricing competitive. $40-45 seemed to be the going rate, but now I am not so sure. A co-worker just today said I was way under charging for pieces like the one below. I have this piece listed at $50, but am thinking that's a steal! It's a larger pendant, 2" in diameter, and has layered colors. Plus I have now been offering the larger pendants on sterling chain, which is an additional cost to me. I do think I should charge more, but how much more? I have several large shows coming up this summer and I have always found my work sells better in person. So I would like to re-vamp my pricing structure before then. It's tough, because I really think a lot of artists on etsy drastically under charge themselves, but those are the ones with the huge sale totals. I want to stay competitive, but I definitely don't want to charge one price on etsy, and then another at shows. So what's a gal to do? Any thoughts??

2 comments:

Amber Leilani said...

i know you don't know me but...
i think your work is remarkable and have often wondered why you weren't charging more. the pieces obviously take a lot of time and are very intricate. i think that any one who understands the creative process and/or has a basic understanding of enamelling will know that the pieces are lovingly crafted and know what they are worth. i am having the same issue as i just opened my first etsy shop and i totally screwed up on my pricing for my woven pendants. now i can't undo it. good luck. i know you'll figure it out. your work is just lovely!

Jeni said...

I know this was posted awhile ago, but it's a topic I've seen discussed over many times.

Your pieces are fresh and airy, and are worth at least double your charge in my opinion! I think most artists struggle with pricing (i know i have), and you really do have to take into consideration all factors - time, energy costs, knowledge, education, talent, materials - everything. Don't cheat yourself!

Maybe make an easy transition by changing something (like color additions, size, embellishments), and upcharging for it. You can have different higher price levels based on the work involved, and keep the original line where it is - very affordable for anyone.