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Monday, September 17, 2012

Is it worth it?

 These little houses are so damn cute I can hardly stand it! I think I might use twine for the hangy thingy, I tried ribbon and it was too fussy for the rustic look of these. They are like three inches tall and took me forever, bisque fired them, then glazed them, then breathed in nasty toxic fumes and I am still coughing from that. I usually wear a mask, but this was just a quick and dirty test firing so I neglected my health, paying for that of course. So, with all considered, I should be charging about $100 for these, ha! And if I put $30 on them it will still be too much for the folks that want a $5 handmade craft item. How much would you pay for one of these?...... Is it even worth making them? I can get two made in about 50 minutes, that's after I roll out slabs and cut out the templates. I do a 12 hour bisque and a raku cyle takes about two hours from start to finish, then scrubbing, then the whole selling thing.....
 but they are so damn cute!
 Love the box, hated making it, no more of these..... looks like a burial chamber, doesn't it?
 Little pink house, anyone? I love that the mason stain I used was called lobster :)

 test tile, plate cracked in the bisque so I swished some nickel oxide that I mixed in my raku base of gerstley borate and neph sy. This has potential, I think it would be really nice on some small houses....
and just for fun, I tried out my turquoise glaze on a house, interesting...... but probably not going to do more of these. I like the white raku and I like the white terra sig. Can't figure out why I like color so much until I use it myself. Then I don't like it anymore. I like white on my work.
The little houses are great and I will continue to make more I think. I just have to figure out how to make them more efficiently if they are going to sell. No way is anybody going to pay me for the time that is invested in them...... maybe I should make a mold.....

20 comments:

jffollies said...

Maybe a mold and just the front view-like a tile? If you really,really want something for a lower price.

Sleeping Village Pottery said...

Hi Tracey... the little Raku ornament houses are awesome, and easily a $15 piece. Those are special, and I don't think anyone with any kind of sense about what it takes to make things like that, would ever expect them to be priced as low as $5.00. And the burial vault box; that is way cool. But then, I'm getting geared up for Halloween (ha)

Anna M. Branner said...

Yea I'd pay $30 for one of the little houses no problem. And what Jffollies said...a front view house tile? You could even put a tiny charm size found piece in the front....

Lori Buff said...

The little houses are very cute, you should try to find a way to make them quicker so you can price them where you'll get that market. I've noticed with a lot of my customers, they may buy an inexpensive item first (like a mug) but then later buy a more expensive item. I think it's a trust thing for them, they want to be certain the mug will go in the dishwasher. Anyway, next to your full price house $30 is really cheap, can you live with $45 or $50?
I like the white also, it's just the look you've created.

sheapottery said...

Do you have an extruder or access to one? You could extrude the bodies of the houses and that would save you a lot of assembly time. If you only have access to a friend's extruder, pour a little plaster in a plastic shoebox-type box and after it's set turn it into a damp box by adding a little water. That way you can extrude a bunch at a time and then make them as you need to.

Also, are the $5 customers really the ones you want to court?

Selling those for $30 doesn't seem at all unreasonable.

Think of it this way. If you sell one of these at $30, you're paying yourself about $30 per hour (I'm simplifying: 25 minutes to make, firing time, selling time, etc). If you sold them at $5, you'd be making $5/hour.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend 1 hour on these and make $30 than spend 6 hours to make the same amount. It's true that at $5, you'll sell more of them, but you'd be that much more behind because you wouldn't even be paying yourself minimum wage! You'll make more money if you sell a few at $30 and spend the extra hours making other work to sell.

Also, if you can simplify the making process, don't cut your prices.

People aren't paying you for your time, they're paying for your talent, vision and skill. Finding something that you like to make and sells well for less effort is essential because it allows you to work on some pieces that might have too much effort in them to be cost effective, but often, they're the ones that satisfy your soul and lead to other ideas.

Michèle Hastings said...

The house ornaments are adorable and I people will pay decent money for a nice, handmade ornament. The League of NH Craftsmen has an annual ornament. Members submit a proposal and prototype and they are sold for $24.50. They sell a TON of them every year. So the artist has to be able to create a large quantity. Here is a link to this years ornament and from there you can see past ornaments.
http://nhcrafts.org/retail_galleries/ornament.html
You could create a different house each year you would probably have a good following of collectors... I think $30 isn't too much at all.

ConnieN said...

Tracey, I love the turquoise beach house on stilts. Maybe white raku house with the turquoise roofs, although I know that adds time. $45 to $50 sounds reasonable to me!

Sleeping Village Pottery said...

In your post, you wrap things up by saying: "no way is anybody going to pay me for the time that is invested in them..." Very true. And even more to the point, there is no way you could possibly price those beautiful little Raku houses to properly reflect the talent, vision and skill that went into making them. Beyond the mechanical formulas that exist to help artists price their wares, it does come down to what the average buyer is willing to pay. You don't want to under price yourself, because that not only devalues your work, but tends to depress the entire local market in the long term. But as I'm sure you know, markets vary. Where ConnieN lives, $45 to $50 for a small Raku ornament may be more than reasonable. But where I live, frankly, I believe most people would politely sit it back down on the table and walk away. It's not a commentary on the talent, vision and skill of the maker, it's just the reality of how many dollars they have to spend in their pocketbook.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

You are a gallery artist. The work is wonderful. Alot of people understand that small doesn't mean less expensive. Get your time out of them.
I like the idea of twine, or leather for the hanging houses. When I make ornaments I hand twist wire, it takes a few minutes, but my customers really like it.
Love that lobster glaze

Hollis Engley said...

I think $15 is way too low for them. I'd got somewhere between $30 and $40. If people don't understand what goes into them, let them buy their ornaments somewhere else. You can't give these things away.

Tracey Broome said...

Thank you guys so much for your insightful comments!!! Very helpful indeed, lots to think about, but these are all great great thoughts!!!
I especially like the idea of making a different house each year, limit the quantity, get em while you can thing. Oh the pondering :)
I think about what I am willing to spend and if it's an ornament I love I will spend $30 on it, but that is probably as high as I could go. So $24-$30 is probably where these need to be. I was selling the stars for $24 when I first started making them, then I got the production worked out, could make them faster, thinner, and I brought them down to $18, but I sell out faster than I can make them. There is that saying, raise the price if you can't make them fast enough....

JUDI TAVILL said...

I TOTALLY know what you mean about color. ME TOO! I love them... I think the idea of a flat front of house ornament will get the price to a more"ornament" place and then small full houses, villages could rock... just my 2 cents...

Amy said...

that last one with the turquoise glaze looks like exactly the same turquoise raku glaze they use at clayworks in charlotte. REALLY like the raku houses. don't know about a good price cause I don't know how big they are and even then, i'm not good at all that. Can't imagine they'd look the same made from a mold. Like them just as they are.

Mr. Young said...

I love that tile/plate you made there! Those colors are great! (both the plate and the houses!)

Christine Covert said...

You might consider making a flat stamp mold for a totally bottom of the line ornament/item. Aside from that, I agree that a limited edition that you could always be sure would sell out--and they would become collector's items-- might provide the incentive to make the small ones.

Susan Wells said...

Dudette! They are so cute. I see your pricing quandary though because of the time time time. With hand made objects it seems like the big picture has to be taken into account since the little things can take about as much time as bigger things to make. People are going to gobble these up.

smartcat said...

Those houses are dear. It's interesting that as an ornament your top price is perhaps $30.00, but if you were making (theoretically) little house earring you could probably charge $100.00 with no problem.
You could go two ways with the houses. Make a mold that is just the front of the house. If you get $18.00 for your stars you should be able to get $25.00 for the houses. You could also make high end, limited editions houses like the originals and charge a much higher price for them.
You also need to consider where you sell them. I think we've all had the experience of work sitting in one shop/gallery and flying off the shelves in another.
I hope you don't give up on them because they are wonderful, but I also really hope that you won't under rate yourself by setting your prices too low.

Tracey Broome said...

hello all, yeah I have tried the flat house profile ornament in the past, didn't really rock my world so much, and they didn't really sell that quickly, even at $10. I am liking this limited edition, collectible idea though, you guys are so smart!

handstories said...

i'd buy one for 30,knowing it was worth more. that little one on legs is still whispering to me...so sweet.

cindy shake said...

Sorry to be a spoiler but I don't think people pay a lot for an "ornament." BUT if you sign and number each one -and call it a "collectable" or anything ARTISAN -then you have some satisfying sales. I quite calling my "Copper Pea Pods" ornaments for this very reason and now they are "Garden Charms" -year round hanging things! For me, making an ornament has always been for fun or for the passion of working small. The Artful Home also has an annual ornament collection that you could sumbit to http://www.artfulhome.com/...