Monday, July 18, 2011

Business 101- better clients

I recently had a friend ask me: "I'm getting feedback that my items are now "too expensive", even though the quality is better than it used to be. I know I probably won't  "convince" them that the quality is worth it, so where do I find the fans that DO want higher quality?"

That brought me back to when I first opened my shop Miss Ruby Sue in 2008 when everything was so new to me, and the thought of pricing all these hairpieces had me really nervous. I had some homework to do! Questions like " What is the going rate for something that looks like this? Is this a fair price? If I price it too high, people won't by it, and if it's too low, will they think my work is too cheap?"
A great place to start it to Read Etsy's  ART OF PRICING series. That really helped me understand how to do it from the Dollars point of view, but what about MY point of view?

Since you're here, I'll tell you my point of view. 
I didn't know what the heck I was doing back then. But I learned something about the stuff I made. When I introduced my Bib Necklaces, I charged 35.00 dollars per necklace because heck- they looked wierd and I wasn't sure if anybody would like them. I sold one, and another, and another, and ANOTHER, but they took forever to make with all the beading, details, etc. and I HATED  making them. Guess what I did? I upped the price. I upped it 4 times until I felt they were worth my time to make. ( $99.00 if you wanted to know.) Now I EnJoy making them because I could make it worth my time. And I was being payed what I felt my time was worth. Now please understand that the demand was there-- if there was NO demand, the price would have stayed right there. But I was selling several a day and was able to still get what I wanted.

Now back to the question about " where do I find the fans that DO want higher quality?"
Before you jump to that, Ask yourself these simple questions.
* Do I offer something unique to the market?
In other words, Is what I'm selling, what everyone else is selling?
does it look just like my competitors?
* Is my work my very own? 
Do I use someone elses work to base my own work off of?

* Do I enjoy working? is it worth my time?

* Will I be focusing on little sales, or bigger ones?  My mentor Sherry, from BABYPOP  taught me this and I've NEVEr forgotten that simple little advice that brought bigger $$$ to the studio, because I chose to go bigger and be different.

* If you offer something unique to the market, you can charge for that.  Future clients are looking for something that is different and catches their eye-  they want to buy something that they have never seen before. Why make something they can do themselves?????
I can't stress this enough- Why spend money on something that everybody else has?

*If your work is your own, charge accordingly. If it's copied, you aren't worth it. But if someone inspires you to add a little something different, or try a new skill and apply it to your work, then charge accordingly.Don't copy, it makes you fat simply because you aren't using your brain, or your hands, or your legs.

*Do You enjoy making your work, or is it a pain in the butt? Maybe you are not charging enough? Maybe you should reread the story  above.

So a little review:

Name your price and stick to your guns.
Don't lower them except for a sale.
Get better pictures to make yourself look worth every penny.
If you stick to your guns, you will sift thru the cheap clients, and attract the ones who will pay. 
Stretch yourself as an artist and create beauty and THEY will come.

Remember: this is my experience. If you have something that works better, Share it!

Photo credits: Tasha Price @ Reflections


Becca said...


I am loving all this free advice !I share it with my readers and on behalf of all us business owners, we thank you!

Nike@ChooseToThrive said...

So well said! (And yeah ... Miss Ruby Sue items are totally worth it!)

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The website style is perfect, the articles is really nice

Janelle said...

I am struggling with this right now & this post of yours really helped me to keep going & stay motivated. I have read the "Art Pricing" article on Etsy as well, which also helped me. I've just started selling my art (Little Ladies by Janelle) about 7 months ago & I get WONDERFUL response. A lot of people tell me I'm not charging enough, lots of people don't tell me but I can see in their eyes they think I'm charging to much, my husband thinks I make "like- 50 cents an hour". I know my art is unique...there is similar mixed media artwork out there...but so far nothing like mine. Anyway- thanks so much for your "words of wisdom" :)

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