Pricing Your Artwork

Of all the questions I receive from the arts and crafts producers, questions on pricing your artwork tops the list. Pricing has no simple rules that apply to every product you create — especially if you have unique or high end creations.  The simple formula of cost x 2 = wholesale price; wholesale x 2 = retail price often does not work for this group of items.  Perceived value of an unique items is more important to the pricing than cost, in most cases.

So, I am always on the lookout for featured articles on this subject of pricing to share different viewpoints that may be helpful for those who are challenged by this issue.

The Arts Business Institute, as always, has posted an article on the subject that makes some very important point when pricing your artwork:

Pricing for Profit and Perceived Value

… Are you currently retailing your work, but want to expand your business by selling wholesale? You might find that cutting your retail price in half doesn’t work – this is a common complaint. Take a close look at your costs of doing business, however, and you might find that your current retail price is too low….

Pricing your work at wholesale realistically means that you make a profit – not that you break even….

Your line must be profitable at wholesale, and have a perceived value that will allow a heCraftsmanalthy markup for your retailers.

Perceived value can be increased by a number of factors.

  • Your presentation is important here – what does your product say about the owner? …
  • Your authority as the creator also increases the perceived value….
  • Functionality also increases perceived value …
  • Packaging can add perceived value …


Another take on this article posted here

Awhile back, I was working with a jewelry maker whose mission statement (listed on her website) stated that she was creating the best work for the lowest price possible!

Bad approach, in my opinion!  Jewelry is an impulse buy (in most cases) and adding the comment about “lowest prices possible” was greatly compromising her perceived value on her handcrafted items.  She sounded like she was competing with Walmart when in reality, she should be building up her value on the beautiful items she made.

If you struggle with this concept, I suggest you take your items to an outside party and ask what they think your handcrafted items are worth!  You might be surprised by the answer!



2 comments for “Pricing Your Artwork

  1. kaytee
    July 29, 2013 at 11:28 am

    “If you struggle with this concept, I suggest you take your items to an outside party and ask what they think your handcrafted items are worth! You might be surprised by the answer!”

    Make sure the “outside party” is qualified to judge… or you may be DISMAYED, rather than “surprised”. The person should be at least somewhat familiar with the costs of materials, and the time (and skills) needed to complete the item. And what the current local rates for skilled labor and min wage are.

    Otherwise, you’re likely to get an answer like “I’d totally pay $10 for that!”… for something costing you more than that in materials and taking several hours of your time to make.

  2. July 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Yes very true Kaytee. But, on the other hand, an end consumer is not going to care what the cost of materials are, what time it takes to complete the item nor what current rates are for wages! You are going to want to know what the value of your product is to a consumer regardless of the costs!

    A honest consumer is going to tell you what their perceived value of the item is to them — which is really the end decision on any product! I would not just ask one person, but several people. Maybe a gallery or store buyers opinion would also be helpful.

    Of course, it will be helpful to talk to someone who appreciates your artwork, but your costs still will not matter to them!!

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