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overthinking value

I may hit a nerve with this blog post but I'm willing to risk it. After five years of owning Small Potatoes, I have gotten pretty savvy with pricing artwork for the shop. I have found a price point and style that best suits the customers that I want to attract and keep. Many people have said "If you were in Mystic, you could charge a ton more!" True. But I'd also pay a TON more in overhead expenses. I take great pride in curating the items for the shop by searching for new makers on Etsy, local art shows and fairs, other gift shops and elsewhere. It's hard work but it's fun! But enough about how great I am at this, let's get to the topic at hand...

How do you know what to price your work at?

As the title of the blog states...don't overthink it. On a regular basis, artists will ask me what they should price something at. That's not for me to say. What I CAN tell you is what I think it would sell for here at Small Potatoes. That's where my experience lies. When bringing your work to a shop, you should already have a price in mind if not set for your pieces. If not, you risk being disappointed when the shop owner doesn't tell you what you want to hear. If that happens, think wisely about what you do next.

Many people have used formulas to price their work that include time, materials, experience and even education. In some worlds, that's the norm: art galleries for example. Here, in a gift shop like mine, there are many times you won't get your time back. The fact that you purchased materials at a high price and want to get that money back may not be feasible. Learn to buy things wholesale or at a minimum, shop around for your components and supplies. Sometimes it took you longer than expected to make something - well, get quicker! This advice may seem harsh but it's realistic. You have to decide if you want to sell the item and have a quick return or risk having it sit unsold because it's out of range in the budget of most shoppers.

Think about how you feel when you go to a store that has GREAT things but you can't afford them. Generally, you leave with a heavy heart. I don't ever want that to happen here at Small Potatoes. I want everyone to be able to find something in their budget, no matter the amount.

So, moral of the story's not that you're not worth more, just think about why you do what you do. Is it for the money or for the joy of creating for others to enjoy?


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