Pricing 101: Best Practices for Independent ArtistsOctober 1, 2009 - Eric Smith
Proper pricing is key in determining any independent artist’s success. The challenge is finding that combination of elements that works for you. I wish I had a one-size-fits-all approach to pricing out a piece, but the fact of the matter is, there are many business aspects to consider. It can be a tricky process, but once you know the rules of the game, you’ll be better positioned for market success.
Let’s start with the basics:
1. Put Yourself in the Consumer’s ShoesWhen displaying your art, be up front about your pricing. Artists who display their works without prices are asking consumers to pass them by. Consumers can feel intimidated (afraid or embarrassed to ask a price) or lose interest if a price is not immediately clear.
Think about the last time you went into a jewelry store. Clearly marked prices let you pass by what you can’t afford, allowing you to focus your time on pieces within your price range.
Use what I call the TAPS approach to retail pricing: Title, artist, price and size should always be clearly displayed. This encourages the consumer to ask questions like: Where did the title of this piece come from? Who is this artist? Where is he or she from? Questions like these open up the piece for discussion and allow you or your dealer to engage the consumer, encourage sales and get a feel for the type of pricing the market will support. A piece that you feel was priced on the higher end might be a no-brainer for an interested and seasoned collector. Or, perhaps you’ve out-priced yourself, given the reaction of passersby. Either way, you’ll know for next time what works best.
For example, if buyers see a piece with a retail price of $5,000 by an artist whose name they do not recognize, they’re going to wonder why. Give them a reason: Perhaps it took you a month to paint; maybe you’ve earned some notable awards or a prestigious degree. If you can’t present proper justification, reconsideration of your pricing approach is necessary.
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Pricing 101: Best Practices for Independent Artists