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TTC Presents: PRICING! The Experts Viewpoint!

Over the few years that The Toy Chronicle has been in existence, we often hear the biggest question on artist’s lips: “How do I price my work?!” We hear it more in the run-up to conventions – whether that’s ToyConUK, DCon, Five Points, as a lot of newer artists who are working out of their bedrooms are starting to venture into the big, wider world of Designer Toys for the first time and are looking for guidance. Some artists get it right, some horribly wrong. The question still remains. So at TTC, we tried to get to the bottom of it. A beacon for all those out there looking for assurances, some place that we can direct artists (new & old) when they ponder this question over & over in their minds. We wanted expert knowledge to share with the world. Knowledge built up over years of doing business in the Designer Toy world, so we dropped a message to some of our favourite artists and companies to get their thoughts & insights on how they go about the pricing dilemma. So thanks to JPK, Miranda @ Clutter, Benny @ Tenacious Toys and Huck Gee we bring you: PRICING! The Experts Viewpoint!

jpk-painting

When pricing your work you have to balance a few things up; materials costs, the time and effort taken to do the work and pricing it to sell. Materials costs tend to even out after you’ve worked on a few figures as you have your paints and tools all set up. Consider the price of the figure, to begin with, shipping (if the figure isn’t for a convention) and any perishable materials you’ll use.

Next, figure out an hourly rate, and work out roughly how many hours a particular size of figure takes. This can vary massively, so after a few take an average to work out how many hours it takes. Add these prices together and then you can compare to what other artists you feel are on a similar skill and profile level to yourself to clarify whether your costs are in the vicinity of a realistic buying price.JPK

miranda-clutter

Pricing is one of the most difficult areas, especially for new artists. It can seem arbitrary what is worth $50, and what is worth $500 when both pieces are the same size, quality edition etc. Breaking it down into hours spent on a piece x hour rate really doesn’t work – you will end up pricing your piece way too high. If you don’t already have a precedent for pricing  (how much you have sold for in the past), take a look at what other artists charge, and position yourself where you feel comfortable. Artists who can charge the big $$ tend to have been honing their craft for many years, and it’s that education you pay for, retrospectively.

When we approach a group show, we usually aim for a range of prices in order to meet the needs of all of our collectors. We will look at the body of work, the quality of the pieces and make sure that prices for works of equivalent quality are priced similarly. We find newer artists can under-price their pieces, in fear that they won’t sell.  The other thing to remember is that just because a gallery will take a cut of your sales, don’t over inflate your prices! You will gain that money back later in commissions and new fans from the promotion of the show.Miranda @ Clutter Magazine

Benny_and_Steph_Tenacious_Toys_large

CUSTOMS
I think a good way to do it, for customs, is to figure out how much you want to be paid an hour, keep track of hours spent on the item, add in the cost of materials, and that’s your total. $25/hour wage x 10 hours of work = $250. Spend $50 on materials and the sale price should be $300. That works for an 8″ dunny, for instance.RESINS
For self-produced resin figures, one mould, with simple paint or no paint, the general rule of thumb I go by is USD$10 per inch. Add money for added complexity.2.5″ resin figure sells for $25BOOTLEGS
For carded bootleg style action figures, they tend to be $40 on the low end and $75 on the high end right now. $40 for complete noobs, $75 to $100 for Suckadelic or Killer Bootlegs.Prices for self-produced items vary widely but I think the idea of calculating what your reasonable hourly wage would be as if you were working a job for a company, is a good way to think about the pricing. Otherwise, you end up getting paid $2/hour and no one can live off of that. >Indy artists should establish a company in some official way, and claim the costs of materials as deductions at tax time.Benny @ Tenacious Toys
huckgee
Price = materials + hourly worth x hours invested x current market rate % – eBay / distance to trash can x zero + guessHuck Gee

So what can we take away from those expert views? Even the best have completely different ways of pricing their own work, or the work of artists taking part in their shows. Pricing isn’t a one size fits all. Ask 100 people, and you’ll likely get 95 of the same answers. Take note of what Huck, JPK, Miranda & Benny have to say, see how you can apply it to your own work. Take a bit from each or take none from any. It isn’t an easy subject matter, that is fo sho, but hopefully, we’ve given you some food for thought when you’re next pricing up your work! Let us know what you think about pricing in the comments/Facebook. We’d like to know what you think too. Do artists get it right? If you’re an artist, do you think you price work correctly? How much time do you spend pricing your own work?

Thanks to Benny, JPK, Huck & Miranda for their time in submitting their thoughts. Always appreciated.

#cough x

Category: Ask TTC

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One comment

  1. Interesting to hear the different viewpoints. I can see that we all view this concept through our own prisms: me as an online shop running what is essentially a numbers game, Miranda as a gallery owner who has to deal with the logistics of lots of shows, and Huck and Jon as working artists. It’s definitely a balance between pricing low enough to sell the pieces, and high enough to put food on the table. My best advice is: don’t quit your day job. Look at every month as a whole and make sure you have more money coming in than going out.

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Article by: Gary

Beard Wearer. Vinyl Addict. Pub Poker Fish. Beer Drinker. Movie Watcher. Photo Grapher. A man of many talents, master of none.