Saturday, 4 August 2012

19. The Price is Right.

Hello Potters and Friends,

Well, I said I'd discuss the pricing of my pots, so here I go.
It's a really difficult subject but I think it's important for us all to share our points of view on the subject. So this is how I try to tackle it.

Firstly, I think we all would agree that we shouldn't over-price, nor under-price our work but aim for a fair price.
I make, mainly, functional pots, i.e. mugs, bowls, jugs....what Simon Leach calls "repeat ware".
I also make pots that are individual  - the one-offs.  So I have two different types, two different pricings.

I make the 'repeat ware', as the name suggests, in batches and can throw them on the wheel fairly quickly.
People tend to buy mugs and such-like tableware in sets, so it makes sense to bear this in mind when setting a price. The acid test, as with all pricing - is, would I pay this amount for these cups?

I sell small coffee cups at £7 or £7.50 each.  The spoon rests (front of the table) £5 each. So a set of 4 cups is £28 or £30. To my mind, that is about right. If I raise the price people might go away with one or two at most. Or even worse, go to their local store and buy mass produced crockery.
Price is also important in another way too. People want to feel comfortable as they wander around your studio or showroom. We want them to think that they've made a very good choice. This is the right place for them.  Have you ever found yourself in an expensive shop, quickly realising that there is absolutely nothing you could afford? But once in, you feel trapped. It can make you go a little cold sometimes, and getting out of the door is all you can think about.
But a simple solution is to visit lots of other pottery shows and check out their prices.

Some people have tried to encourage me to put up my prices on my functional ware. But I've seen the results of over-pricing. There has been a drop off of sales and a build-up of unsold work, which inevitably leads to a stagnation in the workshop - not to mention a dip in reputation.

But the one-off individual pots are different.  I don't make 20 an hour. As everyone is a new product, there is more experiment and creative thought involved, as well as labour. Inevitably, the price of these pots reflects this.

But the important thing is to keep potting, keep learning and keep up the enthusiasm.

But now, back to this week. Mugs are still very much high on my agenda, and it's been a dozen handles in particular.

I had a bad start working with clay that was far too soft. I couldn't get the handle to retain its shape, it flopped about, it split and finally I had to scrape it off the cup and start again. 
I took some fresh clay and wedged it up good and proper! I rolled out my handle and left it on newspaper while I had a cup of tea. Catching the clay at the right moment is crucial but my advice is keep testing it and don't be tempted to roll out too thin. Firstly it will look like you've been mean with the clay, and secondly, it's more liable to show cracking as you bend it. 

Before fixing this one on a coffee cup, I was able to decorate it with a toothed tool.

But it hasn't been all work and no play. And I even got Alan away from the Olympics on TV.

Here we are with the flamingos at Peter Scott's Wildlife Park, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

They know how to show off to the visitors!

Rosie, with her flamingo red hair. I love it!

Bye, for now 
Happy Potting Folks

No comments:

Post a Comment