I am new artist to the ring and will be attending my first AA this January. As I am building up my inventory, I am having a difficult time trying to give everything a fair price. I do a lot of small ceramic sculptures, rather than prints I see more often, so I do not have a lot to compare myself to. Any suggestions? How do you guys determine your prices?
I remember you from the LouisiANIME panel! Welcome!
Since your art isn’t about creating once and then mass producing for sale, I highly recommend you set an hourly rate and then add in price of materials when pricing your sculptures. You may find that attendees at anime cons aren’t willing to pay for more expensive items (this has been an issue for myself and Heidi Black in the past with originals), so as you do conventions, you may find it beneficial to introduce smaller items that can be produced quickly. Those will tend to be your constant sellers, but it’s always really heartwarming and validating when someone opts to buy the more expensive, time consuming pieces. You might also want to consider opening up an online shop to sell pieces through, since it’ll have lower overhead than tabling at anime conventions, and will allow you to constantly offer your pieces to interested customers all over the country.
I’ve found that (at least for my table), $20 a piece is the most most customers are willing to spend on something that’s ready-made. Some people are willing to spend a lot more when it comes to commissions, so you may want to offer that as an option as well. Depending on your customer base, you can expect more or less. At many small cons, the vast majority of my customers are broke teenagers with $5 to spend, so my $5 sketches are a huge seller. At conventions with an older crowd, like Mechacon and Anime Weekend Atlanta, my watercolors are a big seller.
I hope that helps, and I’d love if some of the other members of the group chimed in with their experiences and advice!
howtobeaconartist already made a lot of great points!
Figuring out pricing is kind of like figuring out what would be the most profitable stuff to sell, or how many of an item to create/bring - basically, art mixed with science and a healthy dose of guessing game. In general, common themes seem to be (as howtobeaconartist has already touched on in many cases above):
- Take into consideration your own fixed (overhead, if you are looking to do this seriously versus “just” a hobby) and variable costs (time, materials etc.) as well as the profit you want to be making.
- A combination of looking at what other people are doing at similar events in your area + your own trial and error. You mentioned you don’t have much to compare to locally in terms of the same type of product, so check online as well.
- Having a variety of items (smaller and bigger, simpler/easier to make and more complex) at different price points to be able to capture interest from various audience groups (e.g., art appreciators, impulse buyers, etc.)
It also depends on where you are and what kind of event you are doing - even separate areas of the same event may be slightly different. For example, at Anime North in Canada, there are multiple venues for artists and crafters. For example, things that sell in Gallery Momiji (more of an art show setting) don’t necessarily sell in the Comic Market/Crafter’s Corner (more of the conventional artist alley), and vice versa, due to various factors (the displays/setting, the audience, etc.).
We’ve talked a bit/shared various thoughts and resources about pricing and selling and profitability in the past. Off the top of my head, here are a few posts that may be most relevant for your situation (individual handcrafted works):
How to Price Like a Pro (from the Etsy blog)
Considerations for increasing sales/profits
AAbiscuit commissions app http://aatoast.tumblr.com/post/77330628542/aatoast-is-super-duper-excited-to-release-our
Does a simple calculation with an hourly wage, your time and materials, fixed costs and markup
You can find more in our tags:
Some posts in the commissions tag may also be useful.
Good luck! :D