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Thread: Pricing bowls

  1. #1
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    Pricing bowls

    I am considering making bowls for sale at craft shows this year. I have shown my best work to some people who spend money at craft shows, and been told I could ask $100 for them. I find that a little hard to believe, partly because I wouldn't pay $100 for one of my bowls, but then, I'm a cheap illegitimate son. (That other word would probably violate the COC ) Anyway, if I make my very best 7" x 2" bowl, how much can I reasonably ask for it? Or how much would you price it at, if you made it?

    I do plan to go to some craft shows while I am building my inventory, and see what people are asking, but I'd like to know what any of you who sell at craft shows charge.

    Thanks, eh?
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
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    My observation has been that it's highly regional so if those folks are local I'd take thier advice.

    The other observation is that you might do better selling at a higher price point because you're avoiding the comparison with cheap Walmart bowls and positioning yourself against "art" pieces (whatever that means). That may mean adding some blah blah artistic statements to a card to accompany the bowls describing your vision and the wood. If you want some help on that part give me a PM, I've written lots of bs for various things

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    My observation has been that it's highly regional so if those folks are local I'd take thier advice.
    Yes, this. I get a pretty significant sum for a dresser that takes me months to make and I feel it is fair for the market where I live and what others are offering. If I moved to a factory town with a population of 2500 I would not see these prices. The worst thing you can do to your fellow craftsmen is sell beautiful work for pennies. Online selling has changed the market but, a local craft fair is local; price accordingly.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  4. #4
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    At the prices that has been thrown around for band saw boxes on the internet your asking to little for a wooden bowl................120.00 for this one is just one example of what prices are.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails il_570xN.883983159_bwnz.jpg  

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    My observation has been that it's highly regional so if those folks are local I'd take thier advice.

    The other observation is that you might do better selling at a higher price point because you're avoiding the comparison with cheap Walmart bowls and positioning yourself against "art" pieces (whatever that means). That may mean adding some blah blah artistic statements to a card to accompany the bowls describing your vision and the wood. If you want some help on that part give me a PM, I've written lots of bs for various things
    Having sold at quite a few higher-end art shows, I completely agree with Ryan. Your price will be dictated by what your local crowd will pay. Going to shows and seeing what comparable pieces are selling for is a good first step. I did a lot of that before I started doing shows. I was selling bowls in the $40 to $200+ range, and hollow forms for $80 to 300+, but I actively sought out "art" shows (as opposed to "craft" shows) in places like Malibu and Brentwood (next door to Beverly Hills). Those same bowls and hollow forms might be in the $20 to $100 range in other towns and at other venues. But in any market, a $100 bowl had better be pretty much flawless. No tearout or sanding scratches, and good finish, and a pleasing form. And as Glenn mentioned, it's not good to underprice your work, because you not only make your own art seem cheap, you drive down the prices for other artists.

    And I wouldn't recommend using online prices as a firm guide. Those are the asking prices, but not necessarily what customers are willing to pay.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  6. #6
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    Roger,
    I routinely sell bowls, pepper mills and wood stemmed wine glasses at a local Farmer's Market in Knoxville... Not a big money town and I'll get people that look and make faces at the prices, or I'll get people who grab up a bowl and think nothing about the price... the first time I did the market about 10 years ago, I had an 8" diameter x 4" high bowl out of a big leaf maple burl... a lady walked in, grabbed it up and held on to it as she continued to look around, then said "You artists never charge enough for your work"... I had $65 on the bowl and really thought I was high on it... most of my bowls range from about 6" diameter up to about 12" diameter and prices range from about $25 up to $100. Some of my bowls aren't perfect, they may have some wood defects, a chip or crack or maybe a small tear out... some of the spalted woods will have a roughness in the bottom where the wood was punky and I didn't get it smooth.... when I point it out, customers tell me that's what they like about the wood bowls, the rustic look of them.

    My bowls get priced on my spreadsheet at about $6.50 per inch of diameter plus wood cost + a percentage for shop expenses, then rounded up to the nearest multiple of $5... I have an 8 3/4" diameter bowl from Sycamore, the wood cost me nothing, that calculates out at $65.

    As said, learn your market place... sometimes a bowl will sell high at one market and lower at another, depending on the venue.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Claerhout View Post
    At the prices that has been thrown around for band saw boxes on the internet your asking to little for a wooden bowl................120.00 for this one is just one example of what prices are.
    120 dollars for this box? delusional.
    Human Test Dummy

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    120 dollars for this box? delusional.
    Yes but you get the wheat and pine cone with it. Which makes it art.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  9. #9
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    Thanks, guys. You've given me a lot to think about, and some good advice. The person who said i could get $100 for one of my bowls was somebody who would attend high-end craft shows, so I'll have a look at the local fairs before I get into selling.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
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    people who attend high end craft shows are not just going to throw 120 dollars at a bandsaw box.
    you can fish at a crafts fair, odds are you will not get one hooked. Or you can price reasonable, not expect to make a living from it, and sell a few.
    I think previous posters here posting results from fairs in all parts of USA, makes it pretty clear people aren't shelling out big bucks for wooden boards or bowls, or other assorted wood crafts.
    Human Test Dummy

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