Pricing / Product / Marketing Q? What Do You Do/Think? - WarmGlass.com

Pricing / Product / Marketing Q? What Do You Do/Think?

The forum for discussion on business aspects of working with glass.

Moderator: Brad Walker

Post Reply
Cynthia

Pricing / Product / Marketing Q? What Do You Do/Think?

Postby Cynthia » Thu May 29, 2003 3:27 pm

A friend sent me these links and after viewing them I had some questions about retail pricing, quality, craftsmanship, artistry...In particular, it raised questions about pricing, and marketing.

I wondered if the retail price asked was ballpark, reasonable, good, bad or ugly for the work offered? I wondered how this pricing compared to what others are asking for their work (thinking retail here).

Pricing is such an enigma. Often it can seem completely arbitrary, and perhaps it is, but does over or underpricing work help or hurt kiln worked glass as a whole? How does the venue determine pricing?...such as...do you charge more in Sedona than you do in Boise, the SanFrancisco Gift show over the Utah Arts Festival?

What do you think of this work, and what do you think of the prices for the minimum bid? I don't want a bashing session, just some perspectives on the quality of the craftsmanship, how it's presented (the image quality and how it's presented in terms of description and process) and where the pricing should fall. Is it a $50.00 piece or a $500.00 piece, and why?

I want to do this to see where your opinions lie on how we place a monitary value on the work. Is it about what the market should or could bear? What do you think about how others price their pieces and how you price your own?

To let you in on how I view this work and the question in general is that I find the work interesting from a design perspective. I like organic lines and I like that the edges are not crisp and hard edge. Her aesthetic appeals to me. I do think that the edges look a bit scary and sharp and should have been softened for safety as well as visual concerns. The craftsmanship seems too loose, and I think you can get loose design and still have fine craftsmanship. I don't believe that craftsmanship lies within crisp ground edges, but in the attention to detail. The design isn't outrageously sophistocated, and could be stronger (does concern for artistry matter? Is my opinion relevent?). I wonder, since it is single thickness, if it is stable or sturdy, or is her description of the process flawed? I also think the description of the work and her process is lackluster and could be made more inviting and interesting as well as informative. I don't say these things to be harsh, just critical in a formal way in trying to process some of my own issues about pricing, market, craftsmanship and artistry. What kinds of factors should come into play when determining our pricing?

Lots of questions and I hope that this will be a discussion about marketing, pricing, artstry and craftsmanship in a general sense (with these links being a reference point) and how we go about doing business.

I decided to eliminate the links to eliminate the flame potential. Hopefully the discussion can continue though regarding all the concerns I brought up...if you are still interested anyway.
Last edited by Cynthia on Fri May 30, 2003 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Brock
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:32 pm
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Postby Brock » Thu May 29, 2003 3:44 pm

Clunky overpriced shit. We've had beginner students display greater design sense and fabrication skills. Cynthia, are you serious? Brock
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Thu May 29, 2003 3:56 pm

Brock wrote:Clunky overpriced shit. We've had beginner students display greater design sense and fabrication skills. Cynthia, are you serious? Brock


Yep. I'm serious, but there were so many questions in my post, I'm not sure if you are asking about the entire topic, or just that I felt the design had potential? And where should the measuring stick lie for pricing and what factors are in play?

Do you think that this work and the prices being asked impact kilnformed work as a whole? I've had an experience where I couldn't even approach a gallery rep once they learned the work was kiln formed (sight unseen) with the comment "I've seen kiln formed glass, and I'm not impressed."

Jerry Cave
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Zig Zag Oregon

Postby Jerry Cave » Thu May 29, 2003 3:59 pm

Brock beat me to it. Personally, I could not offer that stuff for sale.

Brock
Posts: 1519
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:32 pm
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Postby Brock » Thu May 29, 2003 3:59 pm

I think quality work can be recognized in any medium. Brock
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Thu May 29, 2003 4:12 pm

That's why this intrigues me. I've seen amazingly highly and finely crafted quality work that was totally inept or void in terms of artistry and design. You can see how finely the technical details were attended to, but is that where the value lies? I personally would like to invest in and create art work, not technical wonders, but without the technical skills and craftsmanship, there can't be artistry...but you can have the craftsmanship devoid of artistry.

In the work posted, her technical skills appear to be poor, but her design has potential to be strong formally. I'm not defending, just hoping that there will be some answers as to how we price our work, using these pieces as a jumping off place. Something to reference in respect to the issues I was asking about...how do we price our work, what are the considerations, does bad work hurt the overall perception of kilnformed work...or is it like bad painting...with buyers for schlock as well as buyers for fine work?

Strega

damn this stuff is ugly but...

Postby Strega » Thu May 29, 2003 4:17 pm

to each his own, I guess...I looked at our member list and there is no listing for anything similar to Colleen Cotton.
I think this stuff is way way overpriced but then Ebay is a bidding system. And that market is an unusual class of people that may not be familiar with glass. I kinda think of them as the same people that buy stuff on The Shopping channel, but then my daughter buys used stuff on ebay, so I don't know. I know a guy that does really aweful stuff that brags that he sells on ebay. He sold a necklace that looked like a three layer coaster on paperclips for $5. Took him 8 hours to make.... ANYWAY...
I think that beyond the design and color, which as I said is personal, the workmanship is poor. I would have cold worked it a little at least. The sharp edges and the single thing layer are a really bad idea for a food platter, involving sticky stuff, heat, and utensils! You might get away with it for an art piece but I think it will shatter first use....
Hmm... gives me hope...my stuff is so much better and I have been thinking about pricing....

Patricia O'Neill
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 8:24 pm
Location: Arizona

Postby Patricia O'Neill » Thu May 29, 2003 4:19 pm

Art is only worth what people will pay to own it (those words are from Jack White).

When doing pricing, I believe the perceived value is what has to be considered. More than adding supply costs, labor, overhead, etc...
If it costs you $100 in supplies to make a product with a perceived value of $10.... I guess you must rethink your work.
On another hand, some people would sell $5000 a piece that costs $100 to make.

In this case, my perceived value is nulle. Which means that, even it those pieces were given to me, I would not want them. I am not saying they are bad, just that they look bad to me.
If someone find them terrific, maybe he'll pay $450. Although, I would not hold my breath.... especially on ebay which is rock bottom.

Patricia

Rob Morey
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:33 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Postby Rob Morey » Thu May 29, 2003 4:34 pm

I think that you have asked THE question, but you have chosen a poor example. If she can get those prices, then I guess she will have to live with her conscious. I not so sure that I really mind if others are doped into believing that this is good work because it makes my work look all that much better. Today, craftsmanship is what is most important in the arts, especially when it comes to glass. Let’s face it, she is just throwing a bunch of glass in a kiln and firing it. It doesn’t even look like she can cut glass. I personally think that the design qualities in her pieces stink as well. But whether or not I like the design is solely personal taste. Craftsmanship is another matter. One of my professors in college taught me that a strong piece of art could be made of anything. It is how you make it that will define its relevance as art. And sure you can intellectually justify anything. But to display a piece of crap as something beautiful…. Well that is just a lie. Design is important, no doubt. If a piece lacks good design and is crafted well, then it is nothing more that a well-crafted blob, (sorry Brock.) The two are hand in hand and when one doesn’t work it can be painfully and pitifully obvious.

Rob

Jerry Cave
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Zig Zag Oregon

Postby Jerry Cave » Thu May 29, 2003 4:50 pm

Personally, I believe this "lacking" work reflects on all of us as artists. If that’s true, then yes, it absolutely does impact kiln formed work overall.


Maybe I simply hate the ticky tacky crap that all too many people seem to create? :?


Additionally, I see little if any artistry in such work. True artists are seldom satisfied with their quality, always wanting to make it better. Where's the quality with these examples?

Jerry Cave
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Zig Zag Oregon

Postby Jerry Cave » Thu May 29, 2003 4:50 pm

Hit return key twice. Second post deleted.

Sara
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 9:56 pm
Location: Magdalena, New Mexico, USA

Postby Sara » Thu May 29, 2003 5:23 pm

Shame on you all. Why rake this woman, her work and pricing structure across the board? Creative expression is individual, as is perceived value. She doesn't need to live with her conscious . . you do !

Sara

Brad Walker
Site Admin
Posts: 1346
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: Pricing / Product / Marketing Q? What Do You Do/Think?

Postby Brad Walker » Thu May 29, 2003 5:24 pm

Cynthia Oliver wrote:I wondered if the retail price asked was ballpark, reasonable, good, bad or ugly for the work offered? I wondered how this pricing compared to what others are asking for their work (thinking retail here).


For these pieces, my estimate of the wholesale (not retail) price would be based on a formula that says that there are three major components to determining price. Each of these three are roughly equal in size:

FIRST THIRD: Materials and labor -- let's assume $25 materials plus $25 labor (two 1/2 hours @ $10?), for a total of $50 -- I suspect I could make similar pieces in less time and lower material cost, but my labor costs are higher.
SECOND THIRD: Overhead and sales expenses -- in our example, another $50. This covers such items as firing time, kiln wash, insurance, etc. and is roughly equal to the total of materials and labor.
FINAL THIRD: Profit -- another $50. If you don't have this slice in the pie, you'd better have another source of income.

This is a total of $150 wholesale, or (simply doubling), $300 retail. That would suggest that a retail price of $450 is too high. (But it could be justified if your materials and labor costs were $75 total, rather than the $50 I used.)

Note that this is simply a suggested formula for pricing. It has nothing to do with whether or not the market will PAY for the work in question -- that has more to do with design, local market, and competitive prices. In my view, it's unlikely that this artist can consistently get $450 for pieces like the ones shown on Ebay. But I can't say for sure -- photos can be deceiving, and what people will pay for art is hard to guess.

The issue of whether or not the work impacts other artists is a different one. I too have dealt with galleries that don't want to have anything to do with kiln-formed work, but have found that good quality work can win them over. This is an educational process; if the gallery owner is already so turned off by kiln-forming work they don't even want to look at your work, then we have to try somewhere else. (And probably try back later -- kiln-formed work is more acceptable today than it was five years ago, so time is on our side.)

Amy on Salt Spring
Posts: 270
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 5:43 pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Thu May 29, 2003 5:39 pm

Sara wrote:Shame on you all. Why rake this woman, her work and pricing structure across the board? Creative expression is individual, as is perceived value. She doesn't need to live with her conscious . . you do !

Sara


While I agree that creative expression is individual I think its this kind of anything goes attitude that has created the "emperor's new clothes" syndrome in the art world. If you have no standards of quality then people who work long and hard to be good at what they do might as well just give up. The idea is to take your creative expression, whatever that may be, and back it up by learning your craft and executing it well. I didn't notice anyone raking this woman personally--and I think everyone who said they didn't like the design said it was personal taste. As for commenting on the workmanship--for heavens sake you have to have some standards!
Amy

Barbara Muth
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC Metropolitan Area
Contact:

Postby Barbara Muth » Thu May 29, 2003 6:14 pm

I have checked out this work on ebay. Interestingly enough the vendor, Buyartisans has only been on ebay for a few months. Not one of the fused glass pieces posted has ever sold. The same pieces have been posted more than once at the same price. They do seem to be overpriced, particularly given the workmanship.

But, they haven't sold so consumers are not getting fooled. Fused glass is selling so low (granted it's often poor workmanship) that if someone wanted to sell fused glass at a reasonable price on Ebay, they would be hard pressed to do so.

While these two pieces are somewhat interesting from a design perspective she has a few others out there that held no interest for me. The sharp unfinished edges concern me. If it isn't good craftsmanship then it isn't good craft. But is it art? The pieces are marketed as functional ware.

The lack of craftsmanship in the edges would make me wonder if the work is well annealed.

What fascinates me is that I would assume Buyartisans participated in the pricing decision to a certain extent.

When I take my work to the gallery that sells it, I have a conversation with the manager about prices. I know what I think the piece is worth, and I know what I have to sell it for to recoup my costs. She tells me if my proposed price is too high or too low for what her market can bear. Sometimes she raises my price sometimes she lowers it. The advantage of working with a vendor that knows her market is that price setting isn't a guessing game.

I was surprised that the vendor didn't try to sell the pieces at a different price when re-listing them.

To respond to another of your questions Cynthia, while I do think that anyone selling overpriced crap on ebay will eventually hurt my chance to sell appropriately priced work on ebay (that I hope isn't crap), I think that selling in galleries and through other venues is very different and not likely to be too affected by ebay sales. The vendors and buyers are different. And I don't really want to sell my work on ebay. I have watched several sellers try to sell large fused works on ebay. They come and they go. I think eventually they learn that selling high priced fused glass (or not selling it) on ebay is just not a profitable venture.

To a large extent I think it is about what the market will bear. If her work sells for those prices, more power to her. I wish I could do as well.

Barbara
Barbara
Check out the glass manufacturer's recommended firing schedules...
LATEST GLASS

Rob Morey
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:33 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Postby Rob Morey » Thu May 29, 2003 6:29 pm

Amy wrote
I didn't notice anyone raking this woman personally--and I think everyone who said they didn't like the design said it was personal taste. As for commenting on the workmanship--for heavens sake you have to have some standards!


Thanks Amy.
Hey, there are a lot individual works that are produced by members of this board whose work I do not find particularly appealing. That is, I wouldn't want to have it in my house, living with me. That doesn't mean it's not good. I don't like vanilla ice cream or opera either, so big deal. I like B&J's Chubby Hubby and jazz and some of you don't like my work as well, again BiG DeAL! But, I work hard at making the best work that I can and it matters to me that anyone viewing my work can say that the craftsmanship is good and the designs are strong. I am my own worst critic and that is good because I will always try to hold myself to a higher standard. If we don't do that with ourselves, then we all need to go back to our regular jobs and quit calling ourselves artists or even craftsman because it would be a waste of our time to continue. I make no apologies for holding someone in the arts accountable who should be told that their work stinks when indeed it does. We all need that.

For the record, I have never told anyone on this board that their work stinks.

Rob


[/b]

Jackie Beckman
Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 5:01 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Postby Jackie Beckman » Thu May 29, 2003 7:13 pm

I can also see potential from a design standpoint Cynthia. Do I think the pieces are worth the minimum bid amount? No. (Apparently I'm not alone in that thought, as I don't see any bids.) However, I still think there is far more design potential here than in some perfectly executed, albeit horribly boring pieces I've seen.

In example, one "artist" I see showing regularly does absolutely technically perfect platters, bowls, plates, etc that are stensiled with powder chili peppers, roosters, and such, and when I say they are perfectly done - I mean it. About flawless (technically) in every way. But they are nothing - zero - boring. I wouldn't look twice if I didn't do glass myself.

On the other hand, I recently had the pleasure of purchasing several pieces from an artist I've never seen before out of New Mexico. His work is rough, boy is it rough! But there is such personality in it and the pieces are so happy! Each and every one had it's own little wit and sense of humor. They really were pleasing to me. And I'm a total glass snob, I should add; I walk through shows mentally saying, "seen it, boring, cliche, overdone, yuck, . . ." but this work stopped me and I instead thought, "love it!" I wasn't alone there either. I had to wait in line 20 minutes to pay. People were waiting to see what the person in front might put down so that they could pick it up. He was having to unpack extra inventory. (Barefoot all the while I might add) But the point is, this work would be technically unacceptable to every one of us. I know it would.

I've never believed that the value of a piece is entirely in its craftsmanship, but rather in its overall asthetic, the feeling it gives out.

I also received these examples in an email last night and I thought, "they are never going to sell at that price - not in a million years." But that doesn't mean this person doesn't have the potential to do some really interesting design work. I like the fact that she breaks the plane of the square with her long lines on the square tray. I like that she opts for "natural" edges in some of the pieces (there are others on ebay besides these two) but she doesn't quite seem to know where its a good thing, and where its not . . . yet. The long oval platter would be beautiful if she would send it off to Marty or Doug or Phil Hoppes and let them clean it up . :wink: In my opinion, she's still in the "happy accident" stage where if something turns out pleasing, it probably wasn't planned.

So, is there potential for good design here? I think so. Is the work worth what she's asking at this point? No - not in my opinion, but she'll get better and better at the technical stuff, and at least she's got some potential in the design department. In my opinion, its a lot easier to learn the "technical" stuff.

My work was a technical nightmare two or three years ago and looking back I'd be ashamed to have anyone know it was mine, yet it sold like crazy. (I still can't come close technically to many, many people on this board.) Its all in the design - the feeling - the character (and the colors :wink: ).

I think its a good post, Cynthia, and I hope you get answers to more of your questions. It should be interesting.

Ron Coleman
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 3:20 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Postby Ron Coleman » Thu May 29, 2003 7:36 pm

I went to Ebay and looked at the pieces and my wife had to leave the room, she was laughing so hard. These things are a waste of glass and electricity, about all you could do with them is a high-fire.

While I was at Ebay I looked at the other fused glass for sale. Right above the pieces of junk was this little gem, at a really good price.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... ategory=15

Time will tell if anyone is fooled into thinking floor sweepings can be sold as fused glass. Any buyer with half a brain should be able to see there really is a difference.

I guess what you can't sell at the flea market you put on Ebay. It does come with a money back guarentee. :shock:

Ron

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Thu May 29, 2003 7:39 pm

Thanks to many of you for taking this in the direction I intended. I didn't intend for this person's work to be flamed. I wanted a different kind of discussion.

Brad's point about kiln formed work not being well received by some because of a perception that it is low quality or poor artistry is one I am really concerned about. I agree that we have time on our side and more and more people are educated about kiln formed work and what can be achieved with it. The pricing formula is especially appreciated.

Where the percieved value and what the market will bear was touched on by Barbara Muth. She makes a great point about the difference in venues. E-bay isn't a gallery, and what E-bay markets and what a gallery will market will be different things and probably of different qualities. I too depended on my gallery reps to help determine pricing and what can or can't be done price wise within their price point and market. I noticed that there were no bids too, and wonder if the market will include or weed out what is marketable and what isn't of it's own accord. If this is the case, and I suspect it is, most of my questions are moot. But since I am making new relationships with galleries and having to price my work to be profitable and workable for us both, these questions are newly relevant to me again.

Design and artistry do have very formal considerations and aren't matters of opinion. You can hate a particular work, but it may be very strong in formal design issues. The other side of that coin is that you can be very comfortable and like a particular work that is a failure design wise. A person's personal taste is something all together different from design issues. Opinion falls in the realm of what you like or don't, but not in design relationships. I don't really want to discuss the design issues unless you want me to give a formal skinny on why her design in two of the 4 works available are pretty good (the other two are problematic though, and this too would be a different topic). Maybe she understands some formal design issues, or she is intuiting and has hits and misses. Regardless, blasting her work isn't what I intended.

When I originally received these links, I didn't percieve the intent as one who was trying to tear someone down, just that they wanted an opinion and to express an opinion about all of the technical as well as visual aspects of the work...especially relating to the base bid price. I thought it offered an opportunity to discuss how we price our work, and what the market will bear as well as taking into consideration craftsmanship and artistry and where those considerations come into play.

Those are the issues I would like to cover, if that's possible without being prejoritive. I'm talking business. But when it comes to creative works, I am thinking perhaps that's more difficult to do than I had hoped. :(

Jerry Cave
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Zig Zag Oregon

Postby Jerry Cave » Thu May 29, 2003 8:32 pm

Sorry to side track your question. I do understand your point. That work is very difficult not to comment about in a derogatory manner.


Post Reply

Return to “Business Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests

Warm Glass

2575 Old Glory Road, Suite 700
Suite 700
Clemmons, NC 27012
Phone: (336) 712 8003
Email: wg@warmglass.com