An interesting comment was made to me the other day so I though t I would throw it out to see what the bear community thinks. The comment was that if your bears are to cheap ( to me an $85 - $150 bear is not cheap!) but anyway, if they are selling at what is considered to be cheap then collectors wont buy them cause they think they arnt getting something special even if its an OOAk or hand dyed or has its own special mark it just doesnt matter. And I have to say I have had this experience where at one show I had some bears at a lower price and decided at the next show to put it up about an extra $50 cause i felt I really was ripping myself off and if it didnt sell then - oh well - and then I sold it! So what do others think about this. Should you put your bears at higher prices to attract bigger collectors or try to keep your bears at a resonable price so that the average Joe could maybe fall in love and buy it?'
Hi Anne Marie,
This subject comes up frequently so
, :crackup: while we discuss the topic, because it is an important topic.
If you were to put a bear up at B4B ior ebay and it sold for $ 500.00 then you know the buying public will spend that!
If you pay attention to the overall economy and you see inflation and you see recession starting, and your bear doesn't sell for even the cost of materials, let alone time, then you know something else is happening.
When TT first started I was admonished that I was selling too cheap. So I gently raised my reserve, based on what i honestly felt the golly was worth.
Now they are going for alot more than when I started, but I factor in the improvements, the innovative style that I have with the ballet gollies, and the extra time this all takes, and quess what?
Its a wash- they are going for about the same as when I started.
but they are going.
And in today's market I think thats pretty good. I know a lot of bears and gollies are not selling, so I feel lucky and blessed.
Yes, I would love to sell a gollie for $500 but that day hasn't arrived yet.
So lets see what others have to say.....
Thank you Anne Marie
I've tried playing with my prices as Dilu has (but I don't really count because I don't rely on my bear sales for income). I found the same, despite sinking more time and effort into some of my bears, I wasn't able to get more money from them. The only time I'm able to sell a bear for a higher price, is if I'm working with a more expensive fur....and then it isn't my abilities, its the price of the fur that sells it.
I have heard about what happened to you at the show (raising the prices higher), only it was in the jewelry market. Basically the if you were selling your jewelry too cheaply, then people did not give it the inherent value in their minds, and did not want it.
From what you've said, tack on the extra $50 to your bears for the next show and see what happens. You can always go down in price if you like, and people always like to 'get a steal'.
To my mind I think that the market will eventually dictate what price your bears will command. If enough people want to buy them then that will make it easier to get a good price for the bear. I would not make my bears if i did not get a decent price...not because I am greedy or conceited..but because there would be no point. No matter how much I love them it's the same as what Jenn says in a way, if I can't make a reasonable living from itthen it makes no business sense to me to give away my ideas, efforts and experience for nothing more than a pittance. I would feel robbed and would not want to do it.
Is that mean..? I don't think so...it's the fact that I can do this wonderful thing..and make a living from it that keeps me excited, inspired and enthused..and that is double payment in fact. To work and enjoy every minute is fantastic..and a privilege in a world where many people hate the jobs that they drag themselves out of bed every day to get to...and I look forward to each day ..that's a gift.
So I do believe that you should earn a decent amount from each piece..if that item is valued at an amount at which it will sell will depend on the appeal of the bear, the quality of work, the design, the customer..and the market in which you sell it. It's a hard fact but if they don't sell at a price that keeps the maker happy then maybe all those things have to be reassessed.
I don't think reductions work particularly...I think if someone loves your bear they will buy it.
This is a tricky subject isn't it....? I do think on balance good prices come from much emphasis on design, quality and reputation...
I agree with Jenny on this one.I think if people like your bears they sell ,if lots of people like your bears they sell for more!!Its that simple.The beauty of ebay is that they find their own price.I start mine at the minimum I would accept for them and luckily they usually go for a lot more.Its my only income so thats how I have to play it.If I didnt get that amount I would have to stop and do another job.I really dont think tactics come into play at all.I see some artist get whopping big prices and I am happy for them.I get a good price and a price that makes it possible for me to do it fulltime so I am very grateful for that.
There are about 5 bears on this board I would love to purchase. The are all priced differently and most are well over $150+. While I cannot afford one right now, that does not sway me from wanting to buy one. I have to keep saving. I have never looked at the prices and thought, "Ew that's too much." I know the work that goes into these bears. These bears are artwork and each one has a different appeal. If somebody likes your bear, they will pay the price. For every 10 bears I love, there are 10 bears that don't have the tug on my inner soul, but are equally as beautiful and well-made and well-deserved of their price. I HAVE come across bears and thought, "Oh, they need to raise their prices." But then secretly I say to myself, "If I tell them, they will raise them and I will have to save MORE money!" lol
I'm jumping in and also agree with Diane and Jenny. Artists have to receive an amount that is worth while for them to continue making bears but in reality, the customer sets the price. Lots of things dictate what a customer can spend on a bear, and that amount has a lot of variables - bills, holidays, Christmas etc. If you have a large repeat customer base, it really helps, as one of those customers is usually willing to adopt a special bear. I have a very loyal customer base and almost all of my bears go to those buyers, with very few exceptions.
I know there are mixed feelings about Ebay, but it has allowed me to continue to make and sell all the bears I can create, after I was no longer able to attend shows. Without it, I don't know if I would still be making bears. I'm very happy with my prices for the most part, and I also am delighted to be doing a job that I really enjoy and that counts for a lot.
I do keep track of how long I spend on a bear and set my prices accordingly. I think there should be a definite correlation between time spent and price. Just my two cents worth.
I find pricing bears one of the most difficult things. Ebay selling makes it easier to an extent as the marketplace sets the price but I have found recently that I have had to start putting on reserves as my bears were going too cheaply - and generally with one person putting in several bids right at the end to make sure they got it but then no one else bidding against them to push the price up so the bears were going for the opening bid even though the buyer was willing to pay more. I can kind of see what Brenda means about keeping track of time put in but that doesn't always work for me as some bears I might really struggle with and therefore put in a lot more time than I should have trying to get them to look "right" and others just seem to make themselves and turn out great with minimum effort and end up looking cuter and being more desirable and you just know that people would be willing to pay more for that bear even though it didn't take you as much time! It can also make quite a difference in time spent if you are working on a totally new and different pattern and it needs a lot of tweaking to get the right results - then if you use that same pattern again (even with minor changes) it won't take you nearly as long to make a similar bear.
I don't think there is an easy answer to pricing and it just mystifies me the wide range of pricing that we see on ebay.
I found pricing to be difficult too, Edie. It was hard not to get emotionally invested in that aspect. I've since used the basics for pricing that Paula's typed out here a few time...materials, labor, % of profit. There's really zero second guessing when worked like this. It's just adding up what's fact in materials and what you've preset your working labor/profit at. Which brings up that emotional part. Since that recent thread about "how long does it take to make a bear" was posted I've timed the acutely working hours/minutes on a few bears. Just jotted down the hour or minutes from when I started and stopped..no big whoop. I'm SO glad I've done it!! It takes the guess work out and really puts it into real time rather than thinking "jeez I spent a week...or 2 days....or 4 days.... on that bear". After doing it a few times I can guesstimate what each bear of similar size and style would take if I don't remember to track exactly. (tracking and trending as the old "real job" would have called it!!)
I don't think that ebay/buyers should be "setting" prices and I think it's where a lot of newcomers get lost and then disappointed. Artists need to set their prices and if it goes over AWESOME, but it shouldn't close at less than what you wanted to see for that bear/item either. Over the past few weeks I've been to at least 4-5 websites from crafts to kitchens that have a "Bargain shopping" or "Bargain Basement" button that when clicked.... links directly to eBay. It's still a place where people in general hope to find a deal or steal..shouldn't let your "value" suffer due to that.
Do all of the things you can to get your name and product out there from magazines, to advertising opportunities, to web sites, to participating in charity auctions, etc to get noticed and in turn...bring in sales. I wouldn't advise lowering your prices just to make a sale ....nor would I advise overpricing to try to lure buyers. I don't think a new or even seasoned seller could survive longterm with that business plan. (??)
Goodness. Pricing is one of the most difficult issues I think we have to deal with and I also think it is a personal issue where we have to make our own decisions about how much we are happy to receive.
When I started selling I was starting my bears (on ebay) at only $39.99 (just enough to cover materials etc) but I wasn't selling any....when I bought this topic up I was told by quite a few people to put my prices up...which I did and sure enough they started selling, but only for the minimum bid ($50.00) I keep listing hoping for higher prices and in recent times I have put the price up again....a factor of the Australian dollar meaning I was getting less for the bears..but now I am not selling as many...so I think there is a fine line between what people are prepared to risk on an 'unknown'.
This said I also think there are other factors in play here,such as my location and also I am still working on getting my name known and recognised.... I am hoping that if I keep listing and also approaching magazines etc and 'publisicing myself any time I have the opportunity then I will slowly get better prices. I do think there is a big difference between what an established bear artist will receive and what a bear artist in the early stages of their 'career' will get.
The bottom line is that price is often dependant on many factors only one of which is the bear....there is so much choice out there for buyers at the moment....IMHO anyway... :redface:
I must admit that I like Dilu feel blessed that my bears are actually selling at the moment!!!
I'm always one for not under selling your bears. I spend way too much time on a bear to 'give' it away.
But that being said I find myself at an interesting cross-roads. I'm getting my bears together for the Calgary Bear Show and I will be adding some older bears, before I developed my own style. I want to price these bears cheaper then my newest bears simply because they aren't as good as my other bears in comparison.
I'm finding it very tough to achieve that perfect balance. What if everyone likes my older style better?? I can't imagine but you just never know.
Keep the talk coming, I could use all the help I can get! LOL
Hi as a new bear maker I have adored this topic, thanks all for sharing your thoughts, I will be checking the library.
At the moment I have priced my bear at the cost of all the materials involved without time taken, I know this means that they are underpriced. I have done this for a few reasons. Firstly I am an apprentice -alun sugar eat your heart out :crackup: I felt that as my name is not known and I am learning it would be unfair to charge for my time, this is my gift to the kind people who hopefully will buy my bears at this stage. I am a perfectionist and plan each bear in my head and each new technique is thought out very carefully and researched prior to execution, so I do not consider them inferior to ones that I will make in the future, its just that you would not pay a skilled brick layers pay to a general labourer, even if that labourer is just as good. I do agree with Jenny and Diane that at the end of the day we are running businesses and a profit should be made. The difficultly for me is when to factor in my time, I suppose I hopefully will know when that is the right time to do so, as I do feel that my low starter could be helping to keep prices down.
With regard to ebay, I think that some low prices are possibly down to new people who think that they could make money this way only to discover that it is like all craft/artist medias, it takes a lot of commitment, dedication and talent, these will I am sure fall by the wayside to leave those that love it for the bears themselves, so I guess there will always be a divide of pricing on ebay between the chancers and the lifers
Cheers from an apprentice lifer :crackup:
thanks to everyone who expressed thier thoughts on this matter. I do factor in my time though probably a little under and materials cost to come up with the prices I ask and I feel I should keep them within a price that is average for others. And i too agree with some of the posts that I am early in my "bear career" and should not expect ( and do not expect) to get the prices that experienced bear makers have worked their butts off to get to that stage. I use a database to work out my pricing which factors in many of things suggested in other posts in the library maybe not as much per hour though. So thanks again to everyones thoughts.