Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thankful Thursday #4

The Mentor: Susan Kasson Sloan, jewelry artist and teacher.

The Lesson Learned: Ask for guidance from someone who knows.

In 2003 I took a two week workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts with epoxy resin artist extraordinaire Susan Kasson Sloan. Not only was the workshop life changing in terms of my work and the introduction and development of the epoxy techniques I employ in my work to this day, but also because it was my first real experience with something crucial to my business… establishing my prices.

It was the last day of the workshop and there was a school wide "exhibition" held throughout each craft department, exemplifying the fruits of our labor - two weeks worth of uninterrupted, focused devotion to our various crafts. During the exhibition, I was approached by a woman interested in purchasing (GASP!) one of the bracelets I had made (the very first of the eye bracelets, Eyes in Line)…

I was caught off guard for a couple reasons. One: I was dumbfounded that I had an opportunity to actually make money at a workshop I had barely scraped together enough money to take, and two: because I had absolutely NO IDEA what to charge her!

…Susan to the rescue! Susan was/is amazing, as an artist and a teacher. She keeps it real and is so confident, and accessible and easy to talk to. She taught me more in those two weeks than most of my college professors did in four years. When I told her someone was interested in one of my pieces and asked her what I should charge, she was very frank and did not hesitate at all with what she thought the bracelet was worth. Ultimately, I have no idea how she came up with that number but I suspect like most of us, she used a completely arbitrary pricing system and chose the number roughly based on my level of experience, the originality of the design and, well, other completely random factors. Regardless, it was a starting point for me. I quoted the woman the price Susan suggested and without hesitation she wrote me a check. From then on, I had my price point. I knew the approximate amount I should charge for a bracelet based on the advice of someone who knew the field. And thus my pricing structure began.

It's changed quite a bit since then, but if I hadn't asked someone who has had more experience with pricing jewelry art I would've been clueless as to where to begin and I might have been all over the place, either charging too much or too little. Pricing can be one of the most difficult tasks, but once you get to a place where you know the general range for which your work will sell it starts to feel a little less daunting. Art is worth what someone will pay for it after all. So thank you Susan, for your help in getting me started, in more ways than one.

(Susan came to my first big exhibition opening in 2004 at Julie Artisan's Gallery in NYC and brought me a Barbie doll as a gift - too sweet!)

1 comment:

pal said...

Can't wait for the Etsy shop!