Saturday, July 4, 2009

all I can do

I like doing custom work-- really I do. I'm careful about the commissions I take on. If something isn't me, I suggest another artist that I think might be a better fit. Usually though people come to me because they already like my work-- they may even have some of it-- and they want something specific made the way I'd make it. Their idea, interpreted by thebeadedlily. It stretches me just a bit, but pleasantly! And sometimes I end up with an addition to my line!

There is a problem sometimes though. When someone asks me to do something, and I research it and find out that yes, I could do it, but it's going to cost more than everything similar on the market, I feel funny. Granted, what they want is either not on the market, or it's so rare that it's hard to find-- but the market has *similar* items for much less. I want to charge fair prices-- fair for me and my customers.

Sometimes, I look at the prices on the market I'm just not sure how anyone's making a profit on what they're charging. At other times, I think that the similar pieces on the market are made in a different way than I'd go about making the item in question. A quicker, easier way, with much less in the way of materials involved?

What I know is that when someone wants something created just for them-- something that isn't even on the market they can pretty much expect to pay for the privilege. I would. But what if they don't? What if the fair price is twice as much as they were expecting? Three times as much?

It makes me nervous, but in the end, all I can really say is "I'll do it for $x," and leave it with them. Part of me wants to defend myself from any feared questionmarks by being totally transparent. As in, 'The best price I could find for materials is $x, but I really want to do this, so I'm only going to charge you $x times 2 and the labor will basically be free and I know it sounds like a ridiculous amount of money but I'm offering you an insane deal.' But I don't. I can't. I'm scared to.

What if they think I'm trying to guilt them into saying yes? What if they think I'm bragging/blustering about the insane deal (look at me, look at me, aren't I nice?). (It's really a much more selfish, as in 'This is a crazy interesting idea so I'm willing to skip being paid if you'll foot expenses and a bit more for the business.') What if they think I'm lying and trying to rip them off? Or incompetent for not being able to match what's on the market?

It all makes me nervous. So I sweat about it for hours and then I write, "I'll do it for $x," and leave it with them.

1 comment:

  1. Leave it with them, if they really want a piece of work from you and they are interested in why the price is what it is, then you can tell them. The way I see it, what we do is art, always one of a kind. The whole reason I got started beadweaving was because I wanted a peyote stitched cuff, but wasn't able to pay $50 for one, but I did have time, so....1 spool of nymo ($1.50) and two tubes of beads ($5.00) later and I'm forever hooked. Don't sweat it.