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Thread: How do people demand so much for the work?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN

    How do people demand so much for the work?

    I was reading Mike Henderson's posts about the Marquetry Course with Paul Schurch that he attended, and it got me thinking. In my opinion many of the members here are outstanding woodworkers. Mike's veneer/marquetry, Glenn's Greene and Greene, and Vaughn's turnings just to name a few that are outstanding! The quality of work that is displayed is as good or better than many of the big named woodworkers, yet I'm sure the price they demand is far below what the Maloof's of the world get. My question is what lets the "big dogs" ask and get the crazy prices that they do? Is it marketing, reputation, or just luck?
    Last edited by John Daugherty; 11-16-2011 at 12:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    ...Is it marketing, reputation, or just luck?
    Yes. Or at least that's my impression of how it works.

    I saw the same thing in the music business. There are unknown players and singers out there who could knock your socks off, if only they could be heard. But for some reason, the fickle finger of fate points to a select few, who, regardless of talent, seem to make it to the top.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Marketing marketing and marketing. But they also have one other thing. They believe that what they are selling is worth that price. There is a great deal comes down to your own outlook in my view. If you dont think you worth or you dont think the piece is worth what you want you will undermine good marketing too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Vaughn can probably relate to this example; why are there some musical groups or musicians that become super stars while some equally or even more talented folks end up playing the local club circuit for life? Luck occurs when opportunity stumbles into the prepared. A schoolmate of mine was doing the above and below the waterline ocean paintings for years when the guys who became so popular for it "suddenly" appeared. He makes a good living at it but, he's not a household name. Timing, public taste or chance encounter with the right 'someone' can make things happen. One of my favorites; why do people pay $350 for a pair of Oakley sunglasses that are worth about $5.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-16-2011 at 07:20 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    I used to be a marketing exec before moving to where I am now. I agree with a lot of what has been said.
    1. marketing
    2. luck
    3. talent

    Choose 2 out of 3. I think it's also a matter of selling something that's "different" and having a niche. I think Vaughn's stuff is more like art--which has to be the hardest thing to become known for. LOML suggested Vaughn should hire the Shamwow guy to do an infomercial for him.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Another common misconception (at least in regards to artists) is that the ones who get high prices for their work are making a good living. The other day my boss was talking about a friend of his who is a well known and highly regarded abstract painter selling his paintings for tens of thousands of dollars. (and in some cases over $100K.) He still lives a meager existence in a loft studio in downtown LA, and has been like that for the 20 years or so Perry has known him. (Perry had a loft in the same building...he was also selling abstract paintings in the same price range. He got into the art installation business for something more steady.)

    Rob, you and I went through the exercise a couple of years ago to see what it'd take to make a middle-class living as a woodturner. To gross $75K per year, one would have to sell over $1400 worth of product per week. And that's retail. The wholesale price would be considerably less. Plus, even if you had a reliable sales outlet that could generate that kind of sales volume, you'd still have to be able to produce $1400 worth of product per week. I can't make four $350 bowls or hollow forms every week of the year. Or on the other end of the scale, how many pens would need to be made and sold (wholesale) per week to maintain that kind of income? I'm guessing 10 to 20 per day, depending on material costs and markup.

    I get the impression that the handful of woodturners who are indeed making a middle-class income are getting most of their money from demonstrations, books, and videos. There are guys like Mike Mahoney who are high-volume production bowl turners, but in his case, I'll still bet most of his income is from turning-related sales instead of from the turnings themselves. I also suspect many of these guys have wives who are also employed, and they can get things like medical insurance through them.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    I agree, marketing, marketing. And it's just not woodworkers either. It effects all areas of life. I guess it really is true that reputation (be it good or bad) is everything.
    Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes!

    The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Salem, OR
    One of the things I can't understand is there are people sell turned pen on for $5.00, I can't buy the blank and kit for that price. People really need to price their work at a reasonable price and not undercut everyone else. Just my thoughts.
    "Have no fear of perfection--you'll never reach it."
    ---Salvador Dali

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    My son has always said that pricing is an implied or perceived value... I think he means that if you can make buyers think your work is better, greater, more attractive or what ever criteria you use, then you can command higher pricing...

    A few years back I had a bowl from a piece of big leaf maple burl... it was an earlier attempt and in my opinion not one of my better pieces, but it was a beautiful piece of wood. The bowl was about 8" diameter x 4 or 5 inches deep... I had a price of $65 on it and was thinking it was a little high... the first customer in my booth that morning grabbed the bowl, and clutched it as she shopped around.... when she paid, her comment was: "You artists never price your pieces at what they should be.".... I took it to mean I had under priced the bowl....?? I try to keep that in mind now when I price my turnings.
    Tellico Plains, TN
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I have long wondered that also. I believe part of the equation is location. You have to be where the money is. A big part of it is simply public perception that something is better just because a well known artist made it. I see pics of things made by Nakashima, especially his benches and tables. To me they look like items seen in most barnyards. But he gets huge bucks for them. OTOH, I can't sell a pen or duck call in my hometown for $5.00. Elsewhere they bring $35.00 to $300.00. Go figger.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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