Posts Tagged ‘craft’

some recent correspondence made me ponder about the pricing and valuing of one’s artwork. Pricing has been something I often struggle with, when running my independent handmade business.


Is it common practice for a gallery to have a work priced high with the artist taking home just half of the selling price? I have been recently approached to conduct workshops/ sell my artworks and often, I am asked to name my price (in workshop fees or in artwork retail price). what surprises me though is the fees/price listed officially to the final participants or customers is sometimes twice the amount of what I stated. That’s with the commission thrown in and while I understand that these organisations have to make their living too, what happens when they request to take a significant commission from the sale and instead of:

1) maintaining the selling price and reducing the final take-home for the creator,

2) they increase the selling price to include their commission so that the take-home amount for the creator remains unchanged.

Which is the better solution for the creator? while it is good to be taking home as much as requested, in the long run, the new higher selling price will affect the value of the creator’s products in the eyes of the consumers. if you are a creator, would you like to be seen as charging so much and having your value of your work doubled? these are the many questions I ask with no answers to. Eventually it boils down to how much control you would like to have over the valuing of your work. since the consumers sees only the final retail price and not the breakdown in amount that goes into commission.


I consider many factors when I think about pricing and usually most of my thoughts goes into the perspective of the eventual consumers. How much are they willing to pay for the service/goods? Is the price reasonable for them? If i were the consumer, would I also be willing to pay that amount? and a lot of times, it comes back to giving the consumer a fair service/product for the amount they pay. Pricing is something inextricably linked to how we would value something; If I pay a high price for a craft workshop, I expect to get a lot more out of it as compared to if I had paid a lower price. Price set expectations. Another thing I consider when putting a price on anything, is who is it I wish to target. With my involvement in community arts, I always like to price my goods reasonably, so more people are able to own and enjoy my works. These are the many considerations that goes on in my head when a gallery asks me to ‘name my price’.


Unfortunately, there is not straightforward answers to all these questions. I am still learning about pricing even when I have been running the business for 5 years now! maybe that what sparks local sites like Haystakt with tagline “Order Creative Goods at Crowd-Determined Prices”, how would you like to have the consumer decide the price they wish to pay instead of having to go through the headache of pricing yourself?


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7 year itch

As Momshoo’s next outing to MAAD draws nearer, i get more and more pensive (on top of my usual nervous self when it comes to flea market selling)… This would be the 7th Birthday of MAAD, and every anniversary in July, I make it a point to go back and be there whether as a seller or as a volunteer in one of the years.


I started selling MAAD in the February of 2009 after a few years as a casual browser and avid admirer of the crafters, artists and designers there. It was my first flea market and my first experience selling my own handmade items… I was nervous (that hasn’t changed see.) and scared and I really didn’t know what to expect. I still remember it was quite crowded with stalls that month because it is valentines’ day aka gift-buying season. It was also the first time for Joni, the seller next to me and I was impressed by her fabric flowers and amused by how she forgot to bring a lot of things. there was a group of students from SMU under the brand Richard Jervis who hand-cut intricate cards from paper. I took a photo for a (korean?) store-holder and she gave me an unique handphone accessory as a gift… and as if the other sellers were not interesting enough, the customers with their warm responses to our products were just as interesting with every sale making an impression on me. I remember having to go home that night to sew more badges furiously because of the good sale. And my friends and family came to visit too… in short, everything was so new, so exciting.


Many things has changed about MAAD through the years, it has gotten bigger, it is now held at night, there is live music, they no longer use tables but have suitcase display boxes… but some things has not changed. the friendly atmosphere for one still sets it apart from many other big flea markets popping up in Singapore. I have met some of the most supportive friends at MAAD, crafters who started by buying our items, giving us suggestions and reviews of different events to sell at, all the way to recommending our brand to be featured on newspapers, web tv episodes. But it is the little acts that make me grateful, the ‘likes’ and comments on my FB posts that  tells me that they are following the development of Momshoo every step of the way.

Shannon, better known as MAAD Mamasan put it aptly, “For SEVEN years, MAAD is more than buying and selling, to ones who keep his/her heart open. :)”  I didn’t just join a market… I joined a family and I gained so many big sisters (and a few brothers) in the process.


Here’s to more years of MAADness!

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