Monday, 14 October 2019

Been a long "Month". . . ;-) The Perrennial Sticky Subject - Pricing - Greed, Guilt and Overthinking

Well, I signed off my last post with the words, 'See you in a month' or something along those lines. Yeah right. . .  ;-)

I kind of lost a bit of enthusiasm and motivation for writing about what I have been doing. I just settled in to making stuff and selling it on Facebook, and repeat. . Things I could have talked about but never felt the urge to do so. I still posted on Instagram, and kept my Etsy shop ticking over but my blog was sidelined.

So, six months later, I am making the effort to post again.

Why? Well. . .

I am overthinking myself into a semi-catatonic state about pricing and the seeming necessity to justify same. And I need to work out what is bothering me and why. . . And I need to bore you with it too.

The trouble is that when I make one of my larger, assemblage style pieces, and feel that said piece is extra pretty damn special I want the price to reflect that, but don't feel I can get away with charging the price I feel like charging. Often I end up not putting the piece up for sale to avoid having to worry about how much to charge etc. . . Then it just sits there looking at me. . . ;-)

It feels like I am literally asking too much of my buyers. It doesn't feel 'right'. That it's somehow mercenary and demeaning to link financial value to my subjective opinion of a piece. I'm an artist, I should be above that worldly commercial stuff ;-)
But then again that is a pretty silly, naive, and unrealistic angle to take on what is a commercial decision. It betrays contradictory emotions about money and creativity. I make stuff in order to sell it, or at least with that possibility very much under consideration, I enjoy the process of selling and get a kick out of making, not huge, but certainly useful amounts of money every week, so why do I feel it is somehow wrong to want to ask for more when I deem it appropriate?

Is it lack of confidence? Because I might be wrong, and the piece in question is actually a load of rubbish and not special at all.
In which case nobody will buy it of course. .

Who do I think I am? Do I have an over inflated idea of what my creative efforts are worth?
Same answer as above.

Not wanting to appear greedy is definitely one reason. But then who is judging?
If something is considered too expensive nobody will buy it. Duh. . .

Another reason is that I seem to closely identify with the commercial consideration of the buyer. After all, they have to sell whatever they make using my work, at a profit, and I worry that they will be left with an expensive piece of jewellery that nobody will buy due to the price they have to charge, which will be all my fault! ;-)
In which event, of course, they will curse my name forever and never buy from me again.

So I feel somehow responsible for other people's actions and decisions, which is also silly, naive and unrealistic. . . though possibly faintly endearing, or just annoying. It annoys me!

So where are we? In a tangled mess, that's where. .

As you will no doubt have worked out ages ago, the obvious course of action this hand wringing and overthinking is pointing to is to shut the heck up, get over myself, charge whatever I feel is right and take the consequences.

Sorted. . .

Thank you for indulging my tortuous mental processes, it's been useful for me anyways ;-)

See you next time, could be sooner than you think. . Less than six months anyway.

Jon x


  1. Oh Jon, we all deal with these tortuous mental gymnastics! I am always thinking things along these lines and it has stopped me listing a lot especially in the last 3 years while I've been ill. Bodily woes exacerbate this line of thinking, for me at least: it's quite corrosive and self-destructive, particularly when you consider that we are supposed to be doing something we love.

    I would turn it around for you and suggest that some of your customers may feel at times that they are taking advantage of you! You know your worth, and believe me, so do they! If art work is novel, adventurous, and unusual it is worth the investment.

    I get your concerns about the larger work. Don't underprice it though, remember your worth. There will be those who will still invest, but maybe you have to analyse your motives for making these larger works and incorporate them into your own jewelry. Or perhaps they just become wall pieces (I see groupings) and it will be easier to price them after reframing their purpose.

    ALso remember that if you underprice your work people wonder why, and they sometimes (unconsiously) devalue it in their minds because of that.

    Hah, I can dish it out but am certainly not taking my own advice. Any of it! But in my defense, am a bit of a wreck these days, lol!

  2. Thanks a lot Claire, I didn't realise you had been ill long term. I hope you are recovering, and recovering your art mojo, your work is inspirational ;-) Take your own advice! ;-)
    I do have a lot of freedom in what I do, partly because it isn't essential as a way of earning a living (it sure helps tho) and my audience does seem to be prepared to come along with me on my creative journey and supports most new initiatives I come up with. Also I have enough varieties of output (types of beads/things) that I can keep making without feeling I am repeating myself too much. So I am still doing what I love and won't let my mental meanderings taint it all too much. .
    Thanks for the suggestions re larger work. (Re)framing as wall art is a good idea and might lead me towards using a wider choice of materials, as robustness would be less of an issue, hmmm. . As for my own jewellery, I am not quite there yet technically, and am not sure I want to venture into that somewhat uncertain world yet.
    I think I am gaining the confidence to try for higher prices and see what transpires.
    I really appreciate your support,
    Best, Jon

  3. Well Jon - A couple of things from me.

    First off - I'm SO GLAD to see you blogging again! I have really missed your little thought forays. I always enjoy them and can relate to a lot of your angst and find every pic you post inspirational.

    Now - that brings me to your question. I believe you've come to the point in your artistic journey where you realize that yes - your stuff is GOOD! - and that's got you thinking that YES you SHOULD CHARGE MORE!

    All of us struggle with pricing. So many people talk about it - worry about it - write about it.

    However - you have something so unique with what you do that you should be charging a lot more for it.

    On the other end - people adjust. They might substitute chain for beads to compensate - or to make it more affordable - but there are ways you probably haven't thought about to bring down costs - so don't worry about it.

    Some times a finished necklace just screams a higher price. And when they do - and some one buys it - they cherish it even more because they PAID big time for it! And for some people - something unique and something expensive is exactly what they want.

    There are so many avenues a single piece can go. But creating that piece and saying YES! This is worth it! That's going to become a good feeling for you Jon. You have to remember that people cherish what you make. They buy from you because your work is incredible. They want to use those people to make their customers gasp and drool. It's a good feeling!

    Making money at your venture is nothing to be ashamed of. You deserve to.

    And if you think you are asking too much take a look at some lampworking artists and see what they charge for one single bead. Or just search for jewelry components and see what other people charge - even the big companies - and stop feeling guilty.

    You are an artist. And you are an artist whose products people buy. It's not the price point they are buying Jon. It's the piece.

    One other thing you can do is put the price on it that you want for it - the jacked up correct price the piece should be - and see what happens. If it sits on the shelf for a couple of months - you can always have a sale and lower the price. It's a good way to test what others perceive the value to be. It gets the piece out there - not sitting on a shelf.

    Don't second guess yourself Jon. When you look at a piece and a price comes to mind - put it on it and walk away. It's done.

    I raised my prices last year after much hemming and hawing. Things sell better now that the prices have been raised then before. Like Claire says - when things are priced too low people don't see the value in them and often walk away. But raise your prices and suddenly it makes people stop and think seriously about what they are looking at. You do it yourself.

    K big guy. Missed you. Hope to see you sooner then later.

  4. Thanks for the wise words, I appreciate your input ;-) I shall put it all into effect and monitor the results. I know what you mean re what people charge for lampwork beads, they have established their price point very effectively. I'm glad your price raising exercise worked, I have heard others say the same thing, that it gives your work more value in other's eyes. Like a lot of artists, I still feel slightly amazed that anyone is willing to part with hard cash for the things I make. But at the same time I know that I am good at what I do. . . Being rewarded for being good at something is not a given in the creative world however so I shall mix gratitude with confidence and see where it gets me.. Nice to be blogging again and nice to hear from you.

  5. Oh my you've got Donna reading you too! You've come a long way baby!

    1. Crikey! ;-) As we used to say in the UK, or at least it's what people said in children's comics in the 60s. . .

  6. Thanks ;-) I shall have to post more often now. . .