Amateur pricing - On valuing ourselves

 Our biggest problem as budding new artists is in >   
undervaluing ourselves, especially as women (psychological). 

All right, I confess – I, too, have a hard time putting an
appropriate value on my work. In my case, it’s not a product like
jewelry, but the time and expertise I bring to writing. I’ve had a
couple potential jobs fail to come to fruition, in part, I suspect,
because the potential employer wasn’t expecting to spend quite so
much on “writing something up.” And in my experience, writers are
just as prone to undercharging as jewelry artists!

I think part of my problem is that I feel so lucky to be doing what
I love. Truth is, if no one would pay me I’d probably do it for free!
(Don’t tell any of my editors that!) Since for me it’s not about
the money, sometimes it’s hard to ask for what I know my time and
expertise are worth. I’m getting better at it – being too busy to
take on extra work helps! – but I still look at that bottom number
on a proposal and wonder, “should I reduce my fee?” Sound familiar?

So how do you guys pump yourselves up? What do you do to remind
yourself that you’re worth every penny? And how do you cushion the
blow of sales not made because your prices were “too high”?

I can hardly wait to hear what kinds of pep talks you give

Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255

 I can hardly wait to hear what kinds of pep talks you give


I set my prices partly in response to what I see as comparable
quality work (very much a judgment call) and partly according to
what it’s worth to me to part with it, along with time and
materials. Of course, I am constantly second-guessing. If it didn’t
sell, was it too high-- or too low? Or just crap, and I’m deluding
myself? But mostly, my “pep talk” consists of believing that the
work and the price are fine-- I just haven’t managed to find/get
into the right market. The occasional collector or connoisseur who
walks up and buys a relatively expensive piece or two without even
checking the price is what keeps my spirits up.


Hi Suzanne

My biggest pep talk to pricing myself proper is my husband. He is
the one that keeps asking me if I am charging enough. He also tells
me his perspective from before he knew me and that in most cases he
would have expected to pay as much as double what I am now charging
for my work. Hey, and that is about 10x what I used to charge.

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady) K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.


   So how do you guys pump yourselves up? What do you do to remind
yourself that you're worth every penny? And how do you cushion the
blow of sales not made because your prices were "too high"? 

I remind myself that much of my work is too tedious and difficult
for anyone else, so I deserve compensation for putting up with it.

I do lose sales because of prices, I guess. People look at my work
and then after they ask how much for this or that, they stop reaching
for their money. I have had interesting results from keeping a
catalog on hand which shows superficially similar work by other
artists with prices that are in line with what I charge. I don’t
sell any more, that I know of, but at least I don’t get quite the
same disbelieving looks. ::sigh::

A show that I wanted to get into was just held this month. The
reason that I didn’t get accepted for it, they told me, was that my
prices were too high. This, from folks who are displaying paintings
and sculptures with five figure price tags, and jewelry with four
figure tags. My prices range from $50 to $40,000, so I figure they
just didn’t want me in – so it goes.

I try to be philosophical about it. Like you, I’d be doing this
anyway, and a lot of my current inventory is “pet projects” that
nobody’s asked for and that may never sell. The customers who do
know my work and want it come looking for me so they can buy my
jewelry, and the only reason they ask how much it is is so they can
put the correct figure on the check. That cushions the blow, a lot!


Hi All,

You need to believe yourself that you worth every penny of it. You
produce quality product and service and for that you have the status
of quality, you can command the price that you ask for. Of course,
there are other cheaper one around you, but it is you who make the
difference and you make it happen. I operate a gem testing lab in
Singapore and I charge the highest in town. Why? Because I provide
quality service to my client that is backup with knowledge, many
years of experience, accreditated lab by Singapore Accreditation
Council and some time require high tech goes into gem testing. People
can complain about the price, that is besides the point, but when
people need quality service and you can deliver that service. You
make the difference. Be confidence and be what you are!!


I am re-chiming in on this one. Why not keep it as simple as
possible? If you make something in silver then most gold buyers won’t
be looking for you. The same for the platinum fans who never bought
anything else but platinum. This idea spread into pricing. Where
would you most likely find a $2500 Yurman piece, Wal-Mart or Niemans?

Price according to your market. If you make a 25 ctw platinum piece
your market is going to be much smaller and will take longer to sell
it. However the same design in silver with cz’s you’d have to make
say 100’s to 1000’s more to earn what you would off of the 1.

Now put those 2 things together and define your market and price
accordingly. If most of your customers buy silver and 14k gold
between $50 to $500 then expect a hard time selling platinum at
$3000. Embrace the rejections to strengthen your belief in your
ability and works. I get calls all the time for pieces and I happily
figure out the costs and give the quote. When I did most of my work
in silver I received calls and many bought. When I jumped to gold I
got more calls and fewer buyers but never lowered my prices.

So when you hear “I can it get it cheaper from this place” tell them
politely by all means get it from that place. If you make one of a
kind pieces you can let them know they can only get your design from
you. The value of the piece starts at the artist, who defines what it
will look like and be made of.

The pep talk “If Donald Trump walked in my shop…” :smiley:

Good luck and make your vision.

Guy Payton…


I understand what you are saying about being squeamish about
charging what is necessary to make a profit. When we really charge
what is necessary to cover our investments in knowledge, tools,
materials, property, overhead, and time, the charge can seem
intimidating. However, I have found that those that want something
unique will pay what is necessary within reason. When someone
questions my fees I look them square in the eye and start mentally
tallying up all of my expenses to run a business. This helps me to
have the resolve to help them understand what a great deal they are
really getting.

If someone doesn’t want to pay for me to do a project profitably, I
move on to the next client. You cannot pay the bills working for
people that cannot afford your services. So in essence you are not
doing anyone any favors by putting yourself out of business. It is
way too expensive to run a business these days and subsidize it with
your own funds.

Kenneth Gastineau
Gastineau Studio
Berea, Kentucky