Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yes, You Need To Raise your Prices


Okay maybe not every single one of you,but I'm guessing that 90% of you are undervaluing your art.I am often amazed when I hear all of the wild formulas artist use to value their art, and I'm here to tell you that it's not about the math my friend. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be charging more for your art.

1.  Skill -- Most likely you have spent years honing your craft.  Many of you probably have as much learning time in as any surgeon, accountant or lawyer.  You have most likely spent thousands of hours painting, drawing, going to classes, practicing and improving your art.  Really think about it.  I dare you. Sit down and ask yourself,  "How many hours of time have I spent learning, practicing, and creating my art over the years?"  Now tell me. Do you really think you deserve $10/$20 an hour for the time it took you to create a piece of art?  What about your imagination, your talent, your skill as an artist?  Are you really going to put an hourly wage on that?  What about all of the hours you need to put in marketing your art? I bet you haven't accounted for that in your material + labor costs.  If you are truly stuck on the idea that you should be charging for your art by the hour, then at least pay yourself as a master at your craft. Charge surgeon rates, master electrician rates, accountant rates....you get where I'm going here!

2. Perceived Value -- If you are going to price your art at garage sale or Wal-Mart prices, then that will be reflected in how the consumer views and values your art.  In the words of my friend, the very intelligent art marketer Naomi Novella, "Do you want your art hung in the living room as a show piece or stuck in the back guest bedroom?" and I'll add.... or worse yet, sold for pennies at the next garage sale or stuck in a closet?

I can't emphasize enough that your clients will see the value in your art by the price tag you put on it.  "What?," you ask, "What about my talent; the art itself?"  Yes, the client is attracted to your art because it appeals to them on a visceral level, but when they look at a piece of art and think, "Oh My God I love it," and then see the small price tag, they question their ability to judge good art.  They believe good art is always expensive because in our society that is the perception and the likelihood.   If you don't value your art why should the consumer?

3. Increased Sales -- You will be surprised that in most cases when you raise prices, thereby changing the perceived value of your art, your sales will increase not decrease.  Every time I've raised prices I've had more orders, not less.  The other thing to realize is that you might sell fewer pieces but make substantially more money.  Unless you are addicted to the high of the sell and need to have that feeling frequently, without much financial gain, then raise your prices and make more money for less work.  

4. Lack of Sales -- If you are not making sales it is not because of your prices, it is because you are not appealing to a large enough audience.  It is about your marketing efforts, not the value of your art.  If you are not making enough sales it's time to get busy and gain audience.  The more eyes on your art, the more opportunities to sell it, and to find that person that is touched by what you've created.

5. Audience -- The first thing you need to understand is that you are not your client.  Your friends and family are not your client.  Stop pricing your art for your and their budgets!  I can't afford my own art, and most of my friends and family can't afford my art either. Yet I'm booked out a year ahead on commissions because there are lots of wonderful people out there that love what I do, who can afford my art.  They are my audience. The collector, the art lover and in my case the animal lover that has the discretionary income to purchase something that takes me a month to create in my studio. Something that I have spent years learning how to create, and thousands of hours of perfecting.  Something they can't make, but can appreciate and are happy to pay me to create for them.  They are my audience. They are my client.  Stop selling to yourself and your friends! Sell to the client that is moved by your art and can afford it.

6. Comparison -- Don't price and sell your art by comparison, because then you will start price competing with the lowest priced artist out there who creates something similar to what you do. That person is probably making the same confidence mistakes you yourself are making right now, of under valuing their art.  If you insist upon price comparing your art then at least find the highest paid artist that does something similar to what you do, but understand that your art is unique to you.  It should defy comparison because your art is your art, your heart and soul, your imagination poured out on to canvas or paper.  

7. Confidence -- If you lack confidence in your art, then it's time to find a supportive group that you trust to give you feedback. The first questions you should be asking yourself are, am I providing a quality piece of art for sale?  Have I used artist grade materials?  Have I sealed and protected and finished my piece?  Don't qualify the price of your piece by how much you like it because guess what? You aren't buying it!!  In the words of Andy Warhol

"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
--Andy Warhol

8. Critics -- Everyone is a critic in America these days.  We've cultivated a culture where everyone has an opinion and is typically negative.  Don't get caught up in asking everyone what they think of your art.  One person is going to buy that piece of art, and to that one person it will be a treasured piece.  Yes, we want everyone to love our art and long for it. It’s great when that happens, but understand that doesn't happen all the time.  When it does, that is your opportunity to merchandise; prints, greeting cards, coffee mugs. Yes! Take advantage of your most popular pieces, but don't get caught up in thinking that 100's of people have to love every piece you create.

9. Motivation -- Charging higher prices will motivate you to create more professional pieces.  When you know that a piece is going to garner $1000 you will look at it differently, you will be checking to see that, that piece is finished cleanly and beautifully.  You will value the piece more and make sure you didn't let a little something sloppy slip by because you aren't being paid pennies for your efforts.  The cause and effect of charging higher prices is that you will produce better art!  Just watch and see.

10. Status -- When your art is priced higher, you are seen as an expert in your craft.  You must be, if you can charge those kinds of prices.  It creates comfort and confidence in your clients, and as you start selling your pieces it will also create comfort and status for you too. Your confidence will quietly step up to the task.  If you need a confidence boost then start looking at high priced art.  Get out there.  Browse the museums and the galleries.  Start really looking at the expensive art and ask yourself, is this art so much better than mine?  I suspect it's not, but if you are consistently answering “Yes, it is way better than mine,”  then maybe before you sell your art, you need to hone your craft and increase your skills.  I suspect that this is not the case.  I suspect if you've begun selling your art, it's because you create art wonderful enough to be sold and people are telling you they want to own your art.

Just remember, if you are not selling your art the reason is more likely about your art marketing than your art.  So stop by often and learn to market your art more effectively!

Please subscribe to receive 10 tips to begin selling your art right now, it's time to get the ball rolling.

Now get out there and double your prices or quadruple them if you have the nerve, you can do it!! You have been low- balling everything you sell.  Find your confidence and get busy marketing your art. A larger viewing audience means more eyes on your art which will equal art sales! Get busy increasing your audience!
Larger Viewing Audience = Sales 
Remember this formula and live by it.

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Please take a moment to check out my hand torn paper pet portraits, they are truly unique and anyone that has a love for the pet in their lives deserves a forever memento of there time in your life! There are tabs at the top of this page that will take you into my galleries/portfolios. Please stop by my Facebook Studio Page and "like" to see my current works in progress.

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  1. what a brilliant post, Robin. I'm guilty of pretty much everything you've been saying. I have different styles of animal portrait depending on which medium I use and I have continually reduced my pricing on Etsy when I see others doing similar work for peanuts and they're selling lots of them I think that there's no way someone will pay twice what she's charging for one of my pieces but I know you're right - the artist has to value herself and her work if we want anyone else to value it. I think I'm going to go and increase those prices on Etsy right now!

  2. I think every artist needs to see this article! You are spot on


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