As part of my daily ritual yesterday, while I was reading to my son , I came across a simple and common but a meaningful story. I could immediately relate to it. The story goes like this..
Once a young man in the market area was talking about Sufi saints to a group which caught the attention of an old man standing nearby. The young man was saying, “I don’t believe in Sufi saints, they are mystic, they talk in riddles and try to befool common man by confusing them”.
Since the old man was paying attention, the young man asked, “Do you believe in Sufi saints”. The old man came to the young man and gave him a ring. He said, “Please sell this ring for me”.
The young man said I understand you want to rumor me but I shall still do it. He went to the nearby shop owner and asked, “How much will you pay for this ring?” The shop owner took the ring in his hands and said one silver coin at max.
The young man thought that he should have given the ring a price tag ”. He went to the next shop now. There he asked ,”100 gold coins for this ring, do you want to own this special ring” The shop owner said ,” You are a cheat or a bluff”.
This way the young man went to many shop stalls to sell the ring but in vain. As he turned towards the old man to give the ring back, he started again, “How is the ring related to Sufis ?” The old man said,” let’s go and sell this to a jeweler now”. Both of them went to a jeweler and showed the ring. The jeweler said, “ 1000 gold coins for this and I myself want to buy this.”
Young man was shocked. The old man said, “Son, become a jeweler first”.The same goes for valuations of Art/Craft.
Remember when there is a dearth of enough jewelers in the field of Art/Craft, people die the death of Van gogh.
Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
The art for sure comes somewhere between esteem needs and self actualization. The one who creates it and the one who adores it need to be beyond the basics though as a matter of fact, the physiological needs keep pulling the person present at the level of self actualization & creativity down to the bottom where making ends meet become more important.
As the societies progress and civilization become more advanced and developed, the appreciation for Art/craft becomes more evident. Having said that beauty and creativity pleases everyone and its time that we start to recognize Art as an important need and appreciate and respect people with creative intelligence. The way an engineer is paid for his work, a doctor for the treatment he gives, similarly an artist or a craftsman needs to be competitively rewarded too for their unique creations. If everyone gets into machines and computers to make a living, there will not be enough people creating art/craft to spread beauty around. And ofcourse Art is not just meant for beauty ,it is in many cases the reason behind great ideas, inventions, philosophies, social/political changes and architectural evolutions. Art/crafts deserve their due by the buyers.
On the other hand, as far as the pricing and valuations are concerned , an artist needs to be practical and realistic in order to make art/craft as a constant source of income.
I remember meeting a businessman in Jaipur who said , “ Artists are very moody , they make one piece and then don’t work for many days. “We have literally bought them to make things just for us but we find it so difficult to get work done from them”.
Masterpieces are made after many ‘not so perfect’ creations made by an artist. The journey towards Art is a journey of constant efforts and ongoing trials to achieve one’s best.
Besides pricing and valuations too need to be looked at from a business perspective vs emotional attachments.
Tips on Pricing
- Please do not price your work of art based on your emotional attachment towards it. If you are really that attached to a piece of your work, then might as well keep it :-) This may happen often in the beginning of your career but remember it will only be a hindrance in the way to your commercial success in the long term.
- Be open to assessing where you are in your art/craft career. Just beginning? Been selling some? Successfully selling for years? Please get really clear about your level of recognition, achievement, reputation and experience. Be rest assured that this is not a value judgment – it just doesn’t mean your work could be inferior , it simply means you may need to create a track record to set higher prices.
- Where do you stand vis-à-vis other artists in the market? All artists are competing for buyers. Am sure you don’t want to let overpricing be the reason someone does not buy your art/craft and under pricing may result in the same outcome.
- Research the pricing of those with similar experience levels, accomplishments and quality of work .Study those who work with your medium but also look at the overall market. Buyers are smarter than they ever were – they compare, they read the tons of information that is readily available to them and they are not always attached to a particular medium.
- Start reasonably and build upward vs. starting too high and then feeling like you need to drop your prices. Your pricing gets to change over time but leave some room to grow – it is always much better to raise your prices than to lower them. Some artists overprice their work in order to impress buyers in hopes that it will make their work look more valuable. Knowledgeable collectors/buyers are not that naive.
- Most importantly, write the story, story of your personal journey, the story behind your particular creation. Let the buyer relate to your idea, let the buyer know why he should buy your Art/craft at that price.
For more tips on pricing please click on Pricing strategy
Happy Buying & Selling Art Online!!
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