Thursday, 17 February 2011

The plumber vs the artist…

So your toilet blocks you try to unblock it you fail, you call the plumber he comes spends 15 mins ‘faffing’ unblocks it and then turns around and charges you £60.  No chemicals used or materials this is just his time messing around in your loo with a large plunger. You pay it, you need a working toilet but its not a glamourous bill & you don’t say to him “Hey could you unblock it for £30?” I think £60 for 15 mins work is pretty awesome amount to earn.  Lets compare an artist/ designer maker to the plumber, I make couture ceramic buttons and jewellery retail price about £12 each, this figure has been carefully calculated, this is an exciting unique designed & handmade ‘product’. And yet I sometimes get comments like ‘pricey’, really….. seriously? My work is about as far removed as you can get from one of those 10p buttons made in china that you get out of thoses tubes in a market or haberdashery and you will turn around & then buy a metre of fabric for £12.  It makes me sad that artists designer makers think they have to compete with primark & walmart & its sad that buyers expect us to try & compete too.  I see artists under pricing their work so often, seriously we need to check ourselves our value.  The plumber knows his value he is confident in his ‘product’ and what he offers. Sometimes you have tradesmen who come in & do something so simple which takes seconds & they will say ‘hey just a tenner’ well that’s decent when you were thinking it might be £150 but hell it’s a tenner for a couple of minutes work!

This arena we are in needs some attitude tweaking and its in the hands of artists to change it, we need to realise our value & worth & when that buyer asks if you can make it for less say ‘no’ because your work is worth more.

4 comments:

karen said...

we are definitely up against it. i have even had artists asking me to do it for less!!!

Cari-Jane Hakes said...

Here here! There is so much pressure to undersell. And actually Etsy is a tough market place where there are many people who don't need to be profitable - they love their work, it's their hobby and they are happy to just cover the cost of their materials. This is fine but it makes it harder for people who need to make a living wage from what they sell.

Laura said...

It does seem to be that just because we make 'handmade' that it is ok to expect low prices and yes I think that even if you sell as a hobby to respect other artists in the field you should still price work accordingly with profit!

Jenny said...

Hi Laura, just found you through fb - (your buttons are gorgeous with a capital G by the way!) and this is so so true. I recently got a comment about my embroidered buttons - 'nice but expensive' type thing, which upset me at the time because it is so maddening. As you say, after the material costs, commission charges of sites like NOTHS, postage and packing, plus the hour or so it takes to make them, £7 is NOT expensive for 2 handmade embroidered buttons! Sigh... there are so many people undercharging that it makes it so hard to compete, especially when you need to sell wholesale as well. Anyway, I think that's enough of a rant from me tonight but I have total empathy in your post! Good on you for starting a blog by the way, I've found it a great way to meet other like minded people! Jenny xxx