Pricing Your Work - More Variables that Count but Don't Include Math
The Value of Your Work is NOT the Price of Your Work

Pricing Your Work - The Ultimate Variable in SELLING YOUR WORK has no numbers! What the Market Will Bear

This is the last post (at least for now) about variables in pricing your work.  In previous posts, we discussed how to calculate your expenses and a profitable price based on concrete facts. Find this information in the left-hand column on ASK Harriete. Look for the category titled: Pricing Your Work.

The last two posts discussed Reputation, and  Perceived Value/ Media Bias. This final post about pricing will discuss "What the Market Will Bear."

Multi-colored April Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman
Multi-colored April Flower Brooch ©2010
recycled tin cans, sterling silver,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: emiko oye

What the Market Will Bear is an old refrain but is interconnected to Perceived Value, Media Bias, and Reputation. If you are selling your work in a high-end, exclusive store where the clients are expecting to pay higher prices for prestige, exclusivity, superior service, etc, then this clientele will support a higher price. Yet the same items in a lower-end store would be perceived as overpriced or inflated due to customer expectations.

Many times I've heard artists and makers complain that their local small-town gallery or store will not support the higher prices they need to charge for their work.  That may be true, so perhaps you shouldn't be selling at that location. The other option is to work with local clients so they understand why your work costs so much. (A topic for another time so ASK Harriete.)

Tiffany is a familiar example of an established market. Tiffany the famous jewelry store, sells very expensive jewelry. They have developed a reputation that is so exclusive that the hallmark, the identity of the manufactured (not even handmade) jewelry, is marked on the exterior (instead of inside) as on the bracelets (below). People buy the exclusive brand identified with Tiffany's little blue box.
Tiffany bracelets with the Tiffany hallmark on the exterior.Every artist and maker regardless of their medium has something to learn here - the value of the maker's signature or hallmark in selling your work. This means signing all your work, every time, and placing your work in the appropriate marketplace. Establishing a reputation takes years. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Keep in mind that all work should be sold at the same price all over the United States. Artists and makers need to find a location, gallery, store, or online marketplace that sells work in the price range they need to charge and keep that same price all over the United States.  This is one of the strongest factors in supporting your prices.

The Q & A podcast during the Professional Development Seminar Houston SNAG Conference touched on these issues.

What do you think? Your comments are most appreciated...I will try to respond to all the pricing comments in one post soon.


This post was updated on January 18, 2022.
I hallmark all my work. You can see this on the back of this pin very clearly. Your hallmark or signature assures the collector that they bought your work, not an impostor, look-alike, or copy. Learn why I use a hallmark that looks like a domestic iron on my web site.April Flower by Harriete Estel Berman
April Flower by Harriete Estel Berman