Pricing Your Work

Whether you sell your work at multiple shows each year, or merely enjoy the occasional sale to a friend or fellow club member, one often comes up against the question of what to charge. Do you price according to its worth for the time and materials you’ve invested, or according to what you think someone will pay? For those that are able to make a living in miniatures, they’ve found the sweet spot-they can work to a standard that satisfies them and the prices they ask are commensurate with the work involved while still remaining affordable to collectors.

Easel and artist's box by Carol Hardy, IGMA Fellow member; painting by Johannes Landman, IGMA Artisan member.

Easel and artist’s box by Carol Hardy, IGMA Fellow member; painting by Johannes Landman, IGMA Artisan member.

My area of interest and expertise is needlework. The average person has very little idea of how much time it takes to complete even a tiny piece of needlepoint. A friend and fellow needlework artist determines her prices by calculating out how long it takes to work a square inch, assigns a value to that time, then uses those numbers to arrive at a price. She then adjusts it upward, or far more often downward, to what she feels the market will bear. If we are truly honest with ourselves, what we earn from our skill with a needle is more often in the range of babysitting wages. Are we guilty of being politically incorrect by not assigning a true value to what is often termed ‘women’s work’? Perhaps, but it often comes down to selling or not selling.

If at all possible, do some research when you are trying to price your work. Attend a show and see what artists/dealers charge for similar items; take into account the reputation of the maker and the quality of the work involved and so on. In the end, you must decide what its worth to you to let go of it, and, should the prospective buyer not agree with your valuation, are you willing to negotiate? It is my experience as a dealer, that eventually each piece finds its proper place. If its too expensive for one person, another will not feel the same way.

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