Pricing Your Work and the Reasons for the Price

At the risk of sounding like a bitch, but hey I don't care today so here goes: This is my response to someone who was pricing a product, which was custom made for a customer.

1 What are you worth?

2 How much longer do you "need to be needing money"?

3 How many TV shows did it take that'll tell you the time it took to put together (if you were watching TV while making the doll/quilt/altered book etc...

4 How long did it take you to learn to bead? What classes did it take to learn beading? What was the costs, time to get there, cost of the class, any hotels and food involved?

5 What was the cost of those beads? They can be quite spendy even if they are tiny. Don't forget the costs of getting them home, and the thread you used to stitch them down.

6 How much did the fabric cost? What kind of fabric did you use? Did you dye and paint the fabric yourself? Did you take any classes to learn how to dye and paint fabrics? Again this is factored into the costs.

7 Was the pattern your own creation? If so you need to copyright that and that costs money. Unless of course you don't care that 75 little ole ladies are going to copy it and sell it at the church bazaar, probably for more than $50.00 each.

8. Are you going to take pictures and slides of the doll? If so that costs money as well, even a digital camera is still costing you money to operate. You need to amortize (spelling?) the costs over time here.

9. There are a couple of art doll chat lists on yahoo where professional art doll makers live, they can be of great service, one is called Wild Art Dolls, it is not exclusive to dolls.

10. Did you stuff the doll with anything? How much did you use and what did it cost?

11. Did you use your sewing machine? Again this costs you money, the machine itself, amortize it over time, the needles, thread, the electricity, the sewing table and chair. Oh and your scissors this all costs you money as well.

12. If your running a charity go ahead and sell it for $50.00. But I suspect that you have way too much wrapped up in time and materials to do so. You should at LEAST figure up your costs and then double the amount so you can have money ahead for the next doll. Every time the price of gas goes up everything else follows accordingly. So just because it cost you $50.00 to make the doll today means it'll cost X% more to make that doll tomorrow. Your prices should follow accordingly.

13. Oh yeah and do you have a website? They cost money to maintain, even Webshots which is free, you had to take the time to upload your pics there, take the pics, and everything else, you need to be getting paid for this somehow.

14. Are you entering shows? If so how are you paying for them?

15. Are you planning to enter the dolls into shows? If so how do you plan to pay for this. Now that you discovered you love making them how do you plan to pay for future dolls?

16. If you enter the doll into a magazine such as QA and it's "free" it's not really free you had to pay to get it there and then there's the cost of it being gone and out of circulation. That means it has a lesser likelihood of being sold or shown while it's waiting for it's photography debut.

17. I just paid for a funeral, let me tell you those boys didn't let one little thing go past w/o a charge attached to it, why should I or any other artist be any different? Oh and they were not the least bit apologetic about the costs either, take it or leave it was pretty much the attitude. Then there were the emergency room and ICU bills for my mother, right prior to her unexpected death. They had every little thing documented and a price/cost assigned to that thing. Again why shouldn't you do so as well. Trust me if you end up in the hospital this afternoon, and God willing you don't, they will be charging you up the nose for that visit. Will your $50.00 sale be able to even make a dent?

18. Again I have to ask what are you worth? Financially, emotionally, artistically, and spiritually. And we all have a worth but it's up to us to determine this worth for ourselves. If you start out selling yourself short from the get go people will always expect this from you.

19. Last but not least if all else fails in my rantings and ravings go to EBAY and see what the art dolls are selling there for. There are virtual unknowns out there selling them for upwards of $300.00.

20. Which leads me to the very last, I know I said 19 was the last one. Are you published? Have you shown your work anywhere? How much time, money and effort did it take to get to this place? This also needs to be factored in. Only you can determine what your dream is worth, and only you can dream your dream, so don't let others guilt you into a lower price.

Oh and if she tells you the "I can make that" line then let her. Trust me on this one you'll be glad you did, and five bucks it won't be nearly as beautiful as your doll either.