The pricing dilemma - Woodshop News

The pricing dilemma

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One of the hardest things about being an artisan is how to put a price on your work. Everyone who has ever tried to sell something they have made has faced this problem. There are a million ways one can calculate the value of a piece of work. You can figure out what the materials cost and how many hours it took to make it and what you want to earn per hour and then figure in your overhead and on and on.

This is a good method if you are going to be content to make wages. But it does not take into account any number of factors that might affect the actual value. Many of these factors are subjective and somewhat ephemeral. How do you figure the value of a unique piece of wood? How do you put a value on that sudden inspiration that elevates a particular piece to a higher level, maybe even pushing it into the realm of art?

In a gallery setting, prices can be pushed up because most people accept the idea that things shown in galleries are art and generally cost more than things bought at a craft fair or from someone's Internet site. But getting galleries to accept anything made of wood as art can be a challenge in itself and even if they do take your work, they are going to add a substantial markup so you may not end up with a whole lot more than if you sold direct.

This is the situation I am facing with my turnings and, as they say, "I'm workin' on it.” I'll keep you posted.

D.D.

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