Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pricing One's Work.....

When someone asks to buy one of my quilts I have a tendency to struggle with pricing it.


 Strange as it may sound I would rather give the quilt away than undervalue it. 
 A few weeks ago I took River Valley Walk .......and hung it in my guest/sewing room on the west coast.


Last week we had guests stay while we were back in Alberta and out of the blue, one of the guests asked to buy it.


I'm just not sure how to price it.


Quilt Detail

  • The quilt is approximately 60" x 80"
  • The value of the fabrics including batting is about $215
  • It's my own design....a one of a kind
  • Fairly heavily quilted
I'm thinking of asking $1800.....chances are they won't want to spend that much, but I don't think I can sell it for anything less.

Is my price fair? How much would you charge?
I would love your input.......

54 comments:

  1. Considering the quality and the work you have into it . . . I'd actually ask more than that. Your price is fair, very fair.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This article by Caryl Bryer Fallert may be of use regarding pricing: http://www.bryerpatch.com/faq/marketing.htm She has a number of quilts for sale on her site for comparison sake. I wouldn't charge under $2,500 for your work of art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robin...I will definitely check that out. Thanks for your input.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Robin. That article on the Bryerpatch was really funny. In a not joking kinda way. Cause that is the way it really is.

      Mari, I am with the others here, I wouldn't sell it for less than $2,500. I would even try to get $3.000, for it (I would be so emotionally attached to anything I put that much of myself into).

      Let us know what you finally decide.

      ps I just wanted to edit, :)

      Delete
    4. Thanks so much....as it turns out the buyer was not all that serious but everyone's comments were invaluable for any future sales.

      Delete
  3. 1800.00 is too little for that work of art...

    ReplyDelete
  4. About 12 months ago there was a blog entry about how to price quilts and a discussion about the difficulty in charging people what a quilt is actually worth in terms of time creativity and materials. The conclusion was that people would not be prepared to pay what they are actually worth. However that discussion was referring to fairly standard quilts, of reasonably common design with easily sourced fabrics. What you have here could be considered an original work of art and perhaps priced accordingly? Ill be interested to hear how you go but dont be insulted if they cant come at the price, its not a reflection on you but more on the perception of quilting as craft and not art.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Es precioso!!!!!!!!! y el amor que se pone cuando se hace no tiene precio.
    Besos.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't imagine many paintings of 60" x 80" size would go for anything less! Actually, I don't think $1,800 is enough.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That’s a tough question. I even struggle with prices for my graphic design work. When I would charge every minute like suggested in the link given by Robin, I would not have a single client. I simply can’t charge for every minute I work on an order, or quilt, painting or whatever.
    It’s up to you to decide if you would be happy to sell it anyway. If your friends wouldn’t have asked if they could buy the quilt, would you have considered to sell it? The emotional value of such a quilt is high, it’s your design, your work, so you must feel comfortable with the price you ask and not regret you sold it. Working on commission quilt orders is probabbly easier, because when you work on a commission quilt, you know it’s leaving your home and you can ask a price on forehand.
    I’m curious to hear from you what your final thoughts are!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bonjour,
    C'est toujours très difficile de fixer les prix. Mais j'utilise ce principe : si c'est une copie 250 $/m2 et si c'est une création mais un objet utilitaire 500$/m2 et si c'est pour mettre au mur 800$/m2 minimum. il est vrai que plus le quilt est petit plus le prix peu monter . Je vous souhaite une bonne journée

    Hello,
    It's always very difficult to fix prices. But I use this principle: if a copy is $ 250 / m2 and if it is a creation but a useful $ 500 / m2 and if it is to put the wall $ 800 / m 2 minimum. It is true that over the quilt is little more than the price up somewhat. Have a good day

    ReplyDelete
  9. I also think $1800 for that quilt is extremely fair and agree that original quilts of that type I have seen priced no less than $2500, and usually more.

    The thing I always think is if you price it fairly and what you really think it is worth then they know that it has great value. A few years back I was standing admiring a quilt while someone brought the artist to a quilt hung next to the one I was looking at and asked her how much it was. The artist quoted her price and the lady actually had the unmittigated gall to say "You can't be serious! It is just fabric! I could make one just like it!!"

    I almost cheered when the artist said very calmly, "Well then you don't need to buy one of my works." Another lady who had been looking at the same quilt stepped up and told the artist she would purchase the quilt after the show, then the first lady wanted to argue that she had already begun negotions to purchase it. I'm sure you can guess what ensued and who ended up purchasing the quilt. :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pricing is a vexed issue for all who create. You have to come up with something that you feel comfortable with, which it sounds like you have with the price you have identified. You might also want to consider the relationship you have with the people who want to buy it and see if that has any impact on how you think about the value of the quilt to you.

    I had a similar experience several years ago where friends of mine wanted to buy a quilt I had on exhibition. Joss had studied fine arts so I was flattered but said I wasn't ready to sell it. She asked about it a few times in the intervening years and last Christmas when I was staying with them I gave them the quilt as a gift. They have been generous having me to stay over the years so I felt happy to give it to them knowing they loved it. Part of me still feels amazed they want it on their wall knowing the quality of the art in their home. Probably sounds self depricating but there you are. For me the relationship was ultimately more important that the money.

    Your quilts are beautiful and I think the price you are thinking of is very very fair for the work that goes into them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Delete
  11. This is, as everyone before me has said, a very difficult part of crafting.
    Lots of people admire what we do, but very, very few actually realise the amount of time and expense that goes into creating something.
    Those of us who create for our own pleasure, never really consider the fabric / material costs, let alone the time we take to make our quilts, and on the other hand if we created (or manufactured) our quilts to sell the joy of our creative journey would be diminished.
    Only you can know what you feel ultimately what you'd be prepared to let the quilt go for as you put your heart and soul into it when you were working on it..... I hope you find the answer you are looking for.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with all the above and that you certainly should not under price it. Coincidentally I read a bit about pricing and who to contact regarding it on The Quilt Show recently. Here is the link; http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php/blog_id/4919
    Hope that helps. Looking forward to seeing what you learn on your journey as, like everyone, I think this is really difficult too, even for straight forward sort of quilts, leave alone a piece of art!

    ReplyDelete
  13. that's underpriced for that value....it's an art...something you designed and one of a kind. Your quilt is more suitable to be in a modern gallery of art. Keep it if you think you can't sell it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my, I think I am not asking enough for my quilts actually, at least for the hand sewn reversible ones. But I think this price is absolutely fair and you should not ask any less than that. If they know how much work and effort goes into your quilts they will pay that. I actually posted about the formula on how to price our work here http://thiscreativebliss.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/katy-wisdom.html and based on the Formula you should probably even ask more than that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your quilt is a piece of art, done with fabric instead of canvas. Any piece (painting, pottery, metal work, etc.) of this size and complexity would be priced, I think, from $2000-5000. Clearly the folks asking to buy the quilt recognize the artistic value and I think it's totally appropriate to value your work accordingly. What do you have to lose?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think it really is about perception. Too many people look at a quilt hanging on a wall as simply a blanket on a wall. Seriously. No one questions an artist working in paint medium about the price of her canvas, paint and hours it took to complete a painting when making an offer to purchase. Materials and hours of labor are not relevant when determining a purchase price for a piece of art. You didn't make a blanket. You produced an art piece. Price accordingly!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I too first thought of your quilts as modern art. You are an artist. I always wondered how people could sell the quilts they make for barely over the price of the fabric. We all know any quilt is going to take hours and hours. But your quilts... are works of art. I'd LOVE to have something that gorgeous hanging in my home. People spend $1800 on a TV setup that they will replace when the next best thing comes around.... please don't undervalue your gift!

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's very interesting to read all the above comments. I think that you have created a completely unique piece, and your guests have recognized that. If you can bear to part with it, I think the figure you named is more than fair. And yes, the comment about how people view quilting as a craft not art is accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I agree with you that I would rather give away things I've made than put a price on them. When you calculate your time in coming up with the design, searching for fabrics, deciding which fabrics to use in which element, piecing, then quilting--here's what I tell people who ask, "Would you make one for me?" "You can't afford me!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is exactly what I say when people say, "How much would you charge for something like that?"
      I respond, "You cannot afford me." and they can't.
      If I like them, they eventually get something I've made anyway. It is very difficult to put a value on your art.
      I agree it has nothing to do with the cost of materials and time, it is the marketplace value that matters, and how that is determined, I have know idea.
      Your work is beautiful and worth far more than "1,800, in my opinion.

      Delete
  20. Some other things to think about: after getting past the flattery that someone else wants to own your work, ask yourself do you really want to part with it. Then if you decide you do, how many dollars would make if feel OK that you don't own it any more. I price the ones that are hardest to part with the highest and then I can be happy with the dollars instead of the quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  21. By underpricing your work, you are skewing the market for other artists in your medium.

    If you can't charge what the piece is actually worth, then consider giving it away. When you underprice you force other artists to meet the lower market price in your area.

    Why would someone buy a 60 x 80 quilt that is properly priced when they can get one on the cheap?

    This is one of the biggest mistakes artists make. And they usually don't realize that they are making problems for other artists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said...I totally agree with you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Delete
  22. For THAT quilt? $2500.

    Don't sell it until you get that much.

    My .04 (adjusted for inflation.) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  23. If you can bear to part with it, I think $2500 would be a bargain! It is a work of art. The countless hours cutting and sewing are peanuts to the amount of time and talent it took to come up with the ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I find all the comments very interesting. I hand quilt and would love to know if the time invested in hand quilting would 'up' the price of a similar size original quilt. I'm pretty sure that most, if not all of the commenters are machine quilters.

    ReplyDelete
  25. this quilt is worth at least 2500.00 and possibly more...

    ReplyDelete
  26. A man would never ask this question. It is only we women who struggle with this. I think it is well worth 2500...If the relationship with these people is a special one. You could say that you have priced it 2500 but for them, 2000. I agree with Wanda..I would price the things I love the highest so I could either have the quilt or have the money. Or, when I was ready to part, I would give it away. You are a wonderful artist..keep that in mind...or I will keep reminding you!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree that pricing is always tough. I tell people my quilts have two prices: free, or four figures! it's partly a joke, and partly a recognition of how much work and creative energy goes into a quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is a great discussion and I'm so glad that you opened this Pandora's box! I've enjoyed reading all the comments.

    I'm getting ready to show some of my projects at a couple of galleries - and have them priced for sale.

    Thanks for the discussion -

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have always struggled with pricing too. Although, I never sold such a work of art as you have here. Most of the things I have tried to sell are small quilts or bags. Yet even when I have "garage sale" prices on them I cannot sell them. I don't understand why that is. I think maybe it's because people who see my things are all quilters and sew themselves and sometimes I will sell something for barely more than the material cost just to sell it. I give so much of my work away to friends too.

    I remember once I went to a guild guild meeting where a well known quilter was doing a trunk show. She is an artist and an art quilter and sells all her work. Someone asked how she prices her quilts and she said she charges $500.00 per finished square foot. That was over 10 years ago, so quite possibly her prices have increased as fabric, batting and thread has gone up quite a bit in price too. Of course she is well known and can charge more than someone who isn't known in the art quilt world. But that gives you an idea.

    I thought I would try pricing my quilts using her per square foot idea, although instead of her price I would charge only $25.00 per finished square foot. I thought for regular simple quilts that sounded like a fair price. I once had a woman ask me what I would charge to make a small quilt and I emailed her the price and I never heard from her again! Well she must not have had any idea the time and money involved in making even the simpliest quilt. I once had someone want a baby quilt and they were willing to pay anbout $45.00. She must not have any clue to what fabric and batting and thread costs! Even paying a long arm quilter to quilt your quilt for you costs quite a bit of money.

    Good luck with figuring out the pricing. Your quilts are beautiful and you shouldn't undercharge. Better to overcharge and see if they are willing to pay the price. Of course then you are back to the original question of how to price your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so true! People have no idea about time and cost to make these things. My grandmother made gorgeous knitted afghans, with tons of detail. Each one took at least 500 hours to make, and yet people would offer to pay for the yarn in exchange for one!

      I wish I could find someone willing to pay (even) $1800 for one of my quilts! I really need the money, but I am lucky to sell one for $200. I feel cheap!

      Delete
  30. For art quilts like yours, which aren't really intended to be used so much as hung on the wall and enjoyed, I'd go with a price similar to what you'd see a painter or other "traditional" artist charge for a comparably sized painting/piece. Your $1,800 price seems fair to me, using those standards.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think you should say it is not for sale. People don't ask you if they can buy the painting on your wall do they? You did not offer to sell it and it just irks me that someone would think it was some unimportant thing that you would just sell if asked. If you are going to consider selling it, think of the highest price you could bear to ask and then double it. We have a tendency to undervalue this kind of art because it is also craft, I agree with many of the comments already made.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It is a difficult thing, but I have been encouraged to bite the bullet concerning my pricing. I would not ask anything less than $2500---bottom price. That said, I think it is worth more than that. Best wishes and let us know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I agree. As it turns out the buyer was not all that serious but, I'll be prepared with an answer if he changes his mind or someone else comes a long.

      Delete
  33. I say go for it - for all of the reasons you listed in your blog. If they were interested enough to ask they may well be interested enough that they value the work, time and materials put into it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow, what an interesting post and series of comments. I have not sold any quilts yet, but would certainly like to know what you decide. As everyone has said, people just don't value what it takes to create a simple quilt let alone a work of art such as yours. Don't undervalue your work. I do think we women tend to do that more. And I've also heard that we tend to think in terms of what we can afford, which usually means we price too low since most of us couldn't afford our own work.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm glad to see that even established artists have trouble pricing their work. I have undervalued my work and don't want to scare off the buyer. I doubled my asking price fora commissioned piece after a buyer paid me double what I asked for. She told me that I priced myself too low and that she thought it was worth much more than I asked. If someone wants it, they'll find a way to pay for it. I know painters who make installment plans so buyers can pay over time. That's one way of getting around the pricing issue.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Undercharging eats away at your self-esteem and hurts other people who are trying NOT to eat away at their self-esteem. If you can't charge enough for yourself, think of them.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Let me start by saying I think this quilt is so beautiful, colourwise and design wise, just outstanding. Try asking your guest what he or she thinks would be a good price. I'm fairly sure it would be on the too low side, so that would finish the problem. Do let us know what the result is. I agree with lots of the above comments - men artists do not seem to have any problems with pricing their work highly and I think it is near impossible to price a quilt like yours at any sort of reasonable price per hour rate which most people would pay.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 2500.00 divided by the hours you have in this work of art and I bet it is a pittance.
    Lovely lovely quilt. Don't give it away.

    Happy Sewing

    ReplyDelete
  39. Beautiful quilt. I also think pricing in the $$3000-$4000 range is fair. I did custom needlepoint rug design (not the finished product) for years. Pricing becomes easier as time goes by and you possibly sell some more. You learn your value. One needs to get beyond thinking of a quilt as "a quilt" or a "blanket". It's a creative unique work of art. I once saw an oil painting about 60-60 inches in Carmel CA. around 1970. Artist was living at the time. The gallery had the painting priced at $10,000. A Mille Fleur theme. Your art is much more exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is a beautiful quilt, a real show-stopper. Unless you need the money or the hanging space (and I don't think you need either), ask at least double what you are thinking. You won't be sorry once you get up the nerve to state the price. I always ask myself - what could I buy with the money I got from a sale? If it isn't something I want more than I want the quilt, it isn't worth selling for that price.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is exactally why I won't sew for pay. Many people don't realize the time, effort, money, blood sweat and tears that go in to sewing.Even more people want sewing "favors". I haven't made anything as beautiful as your quilt, but if I did, I'm not sure I could part with it. I agree with everybody else. Don't take a penny less than your price, and I think it's worth even more;) And Judith has a great point! On second thought, price it at $10,000 and see what happens. Now that would be one great sale;) If you don't sell it, you still own your beautiful quilt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danielle, as it turns out my buyer wasn't all that serious, but everyone's input was extremely helpful, should there be a next time.

      Delete
  42. I'm actually new to quilting, but not to crafting, and thought that I would add something to this. Apart from dealing with the perception of quilting as art - clearly your quilt is art, one has to consider that many (at least in many industrialized countries) have lost the appreciation for the monetary value of handmade items. If one considers that 200 to 300 years ago, the majority did not buy items we take for granted like shirts, socks, curtains, etc., but made them (the cost to buy ready-made items was prohibitive for most), and that the Industrial Revolution changed all this, we can't entirely be surprised at the result. As a Canadian, I live in a world full of mass-produced goods manufactured overseas, where labour is less expensive. I participate in this economy (no, I don't make all my tea towels, bed linens, etc.) and therefore we can't really blame people who are surprised at the cost of a handmade product - particularly one made in Canada, where labour costs are high. These are probably all things to think about generally if you're planning to market your work; however if someone has actually approached you expressing interest, then I'd agree with most of the comments above as to how to price the quilt.

    At the end of the day, don't part with the quilt unless you want to (i.e. you're happy with the price offered) - not because you feel that's all you can accept for it. There will eventually be someone who 'gets it' and will offer you what it's worth.

    Finally, selling something and giving a handmade item as a gift aren't equal - at least not for me. If I were making something for a gift, I don't consider labour or time. Would I give a friend or family member a gift that would otherwise cost me $100 - $200? Quite likely. Selling something (i.e. a business transaction) is entirely a different matter - and for that, everything should be factored into the value.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this....I totally agree with you.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I try to respond to all of your wonderful comments....if you are not getting any response from me it's because you are set up as a no-reply blogger. In order to receive a response you can change your status in your blogger profile. I'm no longer accepting anonymous comments.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments
Marianne

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...