On Feb 28, 1:22 am, (Arch) wrote:
I'd like to revisit an old dilemma that sometimes comes up when
woodturners gather, that is if you believe it is a dilemma at all. It
may be just another 'OTOH' subject we argue about. Anyway, what is your
take re under pricing, and implied under valuing or grossly overpricing
of turned pieces by competent but average hobbyists who are occasional
sellers. Please consider _only competent, but little known turners and
omit both well known and well below average turners. Choose any selling
site or event you wish, but stick with one venue.
Very timely discussion. (I'll get to that at the end of this post)
First, I do believe that the market dictates. Period. And sometimes
the market influence includes who the turner is. Someone trying to
make a living off it will set higher prices (to pay the mortgage) and
market it as-such, while a hobbyist selling some stuff will probably
have a lower price (to buy more wood and tool)
The pro has to price his/her work for the market, but also consider
that they won't be turning all day. There is time required to sell -
that's unproductive time. So, it may take 1 hour to make something,
but they spend 3 hours marketing, selling, doing administration, etc.
So, the 1 hour turning takes 4 hours total before he gets a return.
Hence the high prices on artisan products from pro's. You do have to
make the assumption that it's a higher quality, too, but not always!
Why is it timely? Well, this weekend in the Toronto Star, there was an
article about a chocolate company. The couple set their prices so
high, that they got lots of attention from the uber rich. They
positioned the product in very high-end packaging (probably worth more
than the chocolate) so it became 'the' gift for rich and famous folks
to give. Result: extravegant pricing for chocolate, small number of
sales, but at a very high profit. Needless to say, they are doing
well. They mentioned that the Gov of California did the same thing
when he came to America - had a hard time finding work (as a stone
mason, I think) so on a recommendation from a friend, raised his
prices and billed himself as a European Mason. Result, more work. Go
So, the high priced work, as long as it's quality, that is well
marketed and positioned, will sell to the market that doesn't mind
paying the price. Most of the rest will be bought based on what the
buyer thinks it's worth. And, if you think hobby turners are
undercutting prices, take a look at Walmart and the like - They
probably sell wooden salad bowls for dirt cheap.
I used to sell wood products at craft fairs. Did ok, but couldn't live
on it - it really just fuelled the hobby. Also sold at some retail
outfits, which is another consideration on price. If they paid me $50,
they sold it for $100. I did better at a small Artists consignment
store, where you set the price and they took a modest commission.