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Bill Hudson

So you want me to lower my price for you?

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Bill Hudson

How do others on this forum feel about people trying to haggle a price? "I really love your work and would give any thing to own one but I can not afford the price."  "...well would it be cheaper if you leave this part or that part… off?"  or "..it's more than I can afford, suppose you could give me break?"  Or  "do you have any rejects… "  Etc., etc….. . 

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ElgaKoster

This was circulated on FaceBook just recently and I think this applies for all forms of art or crafts ncluding miniatures.

**** A lady wanted to purchase a beautiful hand crocheted dress and spotted a crafter who did absolutely amazing work, but she charged a good price too.

The lady thought that her price was way too high so she approached the crocheter and in quite a brisk fashion stated "I want to buy a dress from you, but I think you charge too much." The crafter was a little taken aback but replied "Ok, how much do you think i should charge?" The lady replied “I think you should charge “X” much, because the yarn will cost this much, and ribbons this much, and buttons this much. I even factored in the price of scissors."

The final price the lady had calculated was a lot cheaper than the crafters original price, but she said "Ok, deal. You will get your dress in a week".The customer is very pleased with herself and can’t resist telling all her friends what a fabulous deal she has negotiated and how smart she is, and that in a week she will have her gorgeous crocheted dress.

A week later her parcel arrives in a lovely packaged box. She opens it and inside is yarn, ribbons, buttons and even scissors.

Angrily she contacts the crafter asking “How could you do this to me? I asked you for a dress and you sent me a box of yarn, ribbon, buttons and scissors?!"

The crafter quietly replies "My dear, you got exactly what you paid for, if you think there is something missing, you need to pay for it.

"Moral of the story, when you buy handmade you are not just buying the materials you are buying the crafters, time, effort, love and dedication that goes into making your items....

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Wm. R. Robertson

As an artist I feel your price should be your price. If your work is expensive it is for a reason and most likely that is because the work is good! When it come to buying something, few of us have a unlimited wallet. This means it is simply a matter of making choices, we can't have everything so we make choices every day, buying miniatures should be no different. We might want Champagne or steak but can only afford beer or hamburger. If we have to have the steak, we do without something else to "earn" it.

What drives me nuts is sometimes guys comment on the expense of my antique tool collection, as in how can I afford this stuff. They may have driven up in a fancy pickup truck costing 40k, I drive a older Toyota, that is a choice I made and it gives me a lot of "extra" spending power for other interests.

Another way to think about this is what skills are needed. Take Bill's tin work for example, in this day and age there not really are many tin smiths left. About the closest thing is a sheet metal worker like the guy that makes duct work for your heating and air conditioning. Now think what those folks charge per hour? I think my HVAC guys charges a rate at $85 an hour. Now compare the skill and the time Bill has into his tin wear, trust me there is no way he is making anywhere even close to that. So by comparison his work is a super value to just about anyone you hire for anything.

As to selling rejects, this is almost insulting. What makes his work so good and desirable is he has high standards and doesn't let "rejects" get out. Why would anyone want to make him lessen his work.

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WeekendMiniaturist

It's sad when women devalue other women's needlework.    I hope Elga's example was an allegory.

 

Our miniature artisans can only produce x product; I've always been a believer that you get what you pay for; so if you want an inexpensive sprinkling can, purchase one from Hobby Builder Supply - but it want a sprinkling can that was made by an Artist, get one from Bill Hudson. (I am thrilled with mine!)

 

I don't think either of these two options are terrible.

 

Too options come easily to my mind this evening.... If you can't afford to pay an Artisan for their work, then learn to make it yourself...and then you will understand why it costs so much... Exquisite Miniatures require a lot of time... even at the wannabee artistic level where I reside, I can't believe how long it takes to just hand quilt a quilt that is less the 12" square. 

 

The next option is to spend all of your time improving your wage and then you can afford to pay an artisan.

 

I'm glad that I don't have a taste for expensive champagne... I made my choice a long time ago, and spend my champagne money on minis although  I'm not willing to give up my steak, fibers or fabric...

 

Tamra

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Bill Hudson

Thank you all for the replies.  Yes I agree with Bill, asking to buy rejects or things I would not otherwise sell is an insult.  Any thing I reject gets destroyed. Why would I want my rejects to be out in the public.  They would serve as an example of my work? I also do not discount my work for reasons mentioned above.  First of all I have a hard time coming up with a price that is both fair to me and to the customer. Secondly it would not be fair to my other customers who paid out their good money for my pieces at the asked price.  I do not even discount to dealers and over the years those who have bought from me did not have any problems getting their add on to the price.  I do not mass produce my work.  If I do make more than on piece of the same I limit them to ten and most of the ten are not exactly the same and I rarely make it to ten before I become bored making the same basic thing. 

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Bill Hudson

 

….Too options come easily to my mind this evening.... If you can't afford to pay an Artisan for their work, then learn to make it yourself...and then you will understand why it costs so much... Exquisite Miniatures require a lot of time... even at the wannabee artistic level where I reside, I can't believe how long it takes to just hand quilt a quilt that is less the 12" square. ...

 

 

Tamra

 

Tamra, this is one of my favorite sayings I hear at shows, "I like that, I think I'll go home and make myself one."  Or "Oh!" speaking to her husband, "can you make that for me?"  I have to laugh, No one can make something like me or Bill Robertson and many other artisans; they don't have our brain, ability and sense of design or experience regardless of how talented they are.  

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ElgaKoster

I guess in the end the best is just to laugh at it, shake your head and move on, I think the best or worst one I ever had was when somebody asked me if I would just either send her a kit or a plan for the caskets I build...where no two of them came out exactly the same and each of the nine little drawers and other components needed to be fitted individually. And I never counted but there must be close to around a 100 pieces of wood in there.

And fortunately these people are in the minority, on the other side of the coin are all the wonderful people who buy your work at the quoted price and really treasure them, they are the ones that with time becomes good friends and buy from you again.

And when I went through a few very difficult months in my personal life just over a year ago and was way too stressed to work and be creative...what I received from people who was waiting for orders to be completed and delivered was only understanding and compassion for my situation and a willingness to wait until I could reach a place where I could work again.

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Bill Hudson

I really enjoyed doing the show scene. Met and got to know a lot of very nice and fun people and also made money and got more orders. There were lots of funny incidents and some not so funny incidents such as irate customers. I had this guy who kept interrupting me while I was taking care of another customer.  I asked him to wait until I finished but that was not what he wanted so her sat up on my table and reached around to the inside of my display case and grabbed the piece he wanted to look at. When I told him the price he just flipped it on to the table with a lot of profanity and walked away, leaving much of my display knocked over.  I got contacted the show director and she asked him to leave and he gave her trouble. Finally Security got him out. That was about the worse show event in all my years of shows.

 

Mostly customers were very nice and gave lots of compliments.  Over the years I developed a following and generally they were first at my table when the doors opened.

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miraclechicken

Way back before the internet I used to say (when people would scream $$$ FOR THAT???? because it was tiny) was Go to Kmart! Oh how tired I am of this nonsense. I've heard it all, the haggling, the cajoling etc...go to Kmart....I suppose nowadays I'd have to change it to the dreaded W word.....and my rejects go over my shoulder (into the trash). This is a good thread except now my head is exploding...hahaha

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Wm. R. Robertson

The best story about price I have ever heard, and I think I told this before on the forum but can't remember, is from Ursula. She was at a show, maybe in Holland, and the husband of a collector who was obviously dragged to the show kept circling her table. He was fascinated by her brass bird cages but couldn't believe the prices for just a bunch of wire simply soldered together. He looked at them over and over and kept saying he could that and she was just trying to rip people off with such prices. She just blew it off as we all do, just another crazy person you meet at a show. The next year he was back and came right up to her with kind of a deadpan expression on his face, he then pulled a little box from his pocket to show her filled with bent wire all covered with solder and said that her cages were worth at least twice what she charges. What a guy! How many would have the guts to say that?

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WeekendMiniaturist

Good Grief! 

 

At least I'm not guilty of ever making that statement to my husband... He tells me to make my own miniatures, but at least I can buy cool tools... I've come to the realization that some items are better purchased.  I have made investments in the educational process of making my own miniatures....I think that Guild School has created some excellent results from our student population, and with the additional resources of internet teaching, you just never know when your own miniature skills kick into that sweet spot of producing fine miniatures.  I had that experience at the beginning of the year, when I was wigging dolls, and they turned out just as I intended... now the question is, were my planets in figurative alignment? Can I duplicate the results?  I wigged 6 dolls at the beginning of this year...poor dolls hanging out in my china cabinet without hair... all (semi) dressed and no hair to go out with.

 

The last place I want my husband at is at a miniature show; unless he is buying me gifts! 
He recently told me he doesn't miss me as much when I'm traveling to mini events if when I call home, I'm having fun... so all of your artisans that are selling at Chicago, please bring us cool things to buy!

 

I like the symbiotic balance created by the guild... Artist / Collector, Instructor /student, and I hope it continues to thrive.

 

 

Tamra

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karincorbin

Bill, I remember being in Chicago and marveling at Ursulas perfect solder joints on bird cage saying I could never do it tha good. Your reply to me was.."you could if you did it everyday".

That of course is not a 100% true result as there are some limiting factors such as lack of depth perception and other visual issues or issue of hand tremors. But if we pay our dues by doing practice, practice, practice there is hope for many of us to be much better than we would have ever thought possible.

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miniarquitect

Unfortunately it is a lost war!.

If you have a serious brain disease and a private doctor (fortunately, here in Spain, the best professionals usually work in the Public Health System!... till now...) ask you 50$ for surgery and another 5000$, you will choose the second. In which kind of School the first one will have been studied!!, is he a doctor or a veterinary!!.

If you are charge of a major crime, again you will choose that one which will give you the best guarantees, and unfortunately is expensive.

In both cases your health and safety is not negotiable

Between a Louis Vuitton original and a copy, well, problems begin. But when you are walking around the street, So many people can see you that a big effort to buy it can compensate.

But a very small piece that will be in my house inside another house which nobody will see deserves so much money?. When somebody can buy a miniature chair in a cheap store, which is "exactly" the same of those I make (If we look them at  2 m. of distance, a detail that sometimes this buyer "forgets"), in this case, there is nothing to do.

When in a Sotheby's or Christie's auction, these works can be something more than a private pleasure but a profitable investment, maybe then we will be able to "survive" as a miniaturist artisans or artists! (only survive, to much optimism could be harmful)

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