[Clayart] Costs & Business

KATHI LESUEUR kathi at lesueurclaywork.com
Thu Jul 27 17:56:02 EDT 2017

On Jul 27, 2017, at 10:50 AM, Deborah Thuman wrote:

Snail brings up a good point - people who under charge for their work hurt all of us. This summer, I’m trying an experiment. There’s a Farmers & Craft Market every Saturday morning where I live. The cost to set up is reasonable, and an incredible number of people visit the market each Saturday. I’m selling pots, jewelry and photographs. The going rate at the market for a mug is $15. I charge $15. If I charge more, I get to lug the mugs back home.>>

When I lived in Texas I saw a great example of this concerning Christmas tree sales. The local nurseries all sold Christmas trees. But, every few years some churches, the Boy Scouts, and other organizations would decide to sell trees for a fundraiser. Since they didn't have overhead other than the cost of trees, they sold them cheap. they didn't know how to care for the trees in the hot south Texas sun, so before Christmas all of those trees would be dropping their needles and people wanted their money back or a new, healthy tree. The nurseries would be stuck with lots of trees. The next year only the nurseries would be selling trees and things were fine until a few years later when the same thing would happen again. Someone always screwing up the market thinking they can make money when haven't a clue what they are doing or their real costs.

>  If I charge less, I hurt every other potter at the market. There’s a vendor who sells earrings. If that vendor is making $1 per pair of earrings over the cost of materials, I’d be shocked. I can’t sell my earrings for that price unless I want to lose money on the cost of materials. And I’m stuck trying to explain why earrings made with expensive crystals cost more than the earrings of the vendor who’s losing money on each pair  sold. And….I’m selling earrings for roughly the same price someone would pay in a nice department store for a decent pair of earrings that is mass produced.
> Art is not my sole source of income. I’m drawing a decent pension and Jim is still working for the local university. I had always planned on letting the art income pay for extra stuff - nice vacation, dinner at a fancy restaurant, that sort of thing. Art also has to pay for my art supplies, propane for the kiln, the costs involved in setting up at the local Farmers & Craft Market, the cost of my web site and my domain name. I also have to cover the costs for using Paypal and Square.  
> Deb Thuman
> debthuman at zianet.com
> www.debthumanart.com
> Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. 
> Scott Adams
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