An artist I admire recently gave me this advice, “if you love something and don’t mind keeping it then price it accordingly. Get what its worth to you. If you really want to sell it, do your homework and price it to sell.”
While all artists struggle with this, repurposing artists also have to overcome the perception that working with discarded items means you have no costs to consider.
Some people really get the cool factor and are willing to pay for it. They want beautiful handmade wool mittens that were once a sweater. They feel good about a purchase that keeps trash out of the landfill. Other people like the idea but feel that your materials are free – therefore your work should be cheap.
Consider the work it takes to reclaim/salvage “trash” into useable material. I can’t just scoop broken glass up off the floor, hand it to you and call it art or a functional product. If you consider time and supplies needed to convert trash into a usable medium you could have more money into that than any ready-made material.
The lesson: If part of what you are selling is the story – tell the story. The tags explained a little but an art fair setting is not conducive to leisurely reading. We talked a little about the materials and process but missed the magic.
I need to rethink my presentation. I wasn’t thinking someone would outfit an entire tree with these orbs. I hoped to sell them alone or in pairs as a special gift. What if I had told them the right story? Perhaps someone on their list has felt broken and is trying to rebuild their life. This ornament would have been a perfect sentiment for that.
Overall, the day was great. I noticed people looking for gifts versus buying for themselves. Let’s hope many people find a special handmade gift under the tree this year.
Update: Before I even had a chance to post this I received an order for 12 of the ornaments from someone who just really loved them!!