Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Pricing Pottery - What price a good pot?
It's the end of another Year at Barrington Pottery
and I'm sat at the kitchen table as I do every year
looking back over the last years figures.
Number of pots produced, pots sold, which is
pretty much the same figure, average selling price,
that sort of thing.
If you just look at the bottom line figures 2013
was a good year for us with sales up 9%
on last Year.
But our average selling price is far to low.
I know being a potter is supposed to be a way of life
and not about the money, and I still think that the pots
are the main thing of course they are.
That's why I made some harsh decisions this year about
having people making pots for me, I tried it
but I just could not cope with the fact the pots didn't look
like I had made them, they weren't up to the standard
I have set myself over the past 5 Years, and I'm not having it
I'm not prepared to sell sub standard pots under my name.
Finding the balance between Potter & Business man is very difficult
I'd liken it to that of a tightrope walker, with pots on one end
of the pole and money on the other end.
I speak to my friends that have their own businesses
and they say that I should be chuffed to bits about being 9% up
and in many ways I am.
But at the end of the year we have no spare money to invest in the business
and this a concern.
I've been reading my copy of
Pioneer Pottery by Michael Cardew
a potters bible if ever there was one.
In this he talks about the
"The doctrine of the just price says that a thing's price should represent the just
reward for faithful and diligent work, sufficient to maintain the maker and his family
in what is described as "frugal comfort".
The alternative Natural price on the other hand is determined by the market and is ethically impartial: it's prices governed by the mechanism of supply and demand. these can be
disastrously lower or absurdly higher than the Just Price.
A potters output is limited in quantity and there comes a point where if he tried to force himself to increase his output the quality would suffer. It is true that good pots are made quickly.
and it should be the potters aim to make pots that are quick and not dead."
I read on and it say's
An artist has to find and create his own public. If he follows his own
convictions his public will sooner or later come to him, and he can work for them
while at the same time satisfying himself, making pots in the way they should
be made, to meet a practical need in an original way.
I feel I am doing this
( making what I want to make in the way I want to make it)
and I'm going to stick to this as this aspect of my life
allows me to sleep well at night.
it's the finances that keep me awake!
We have big challenges ahead in 2014 and no doubt
some prices will have to change, if only to cover the rent increase
the raw material increases and the electricity.
So to do this I'm going to be making some one-off pots
that are sitting inside my head and need to jump out
onto the potters wheel to make room for more,
2014 will see some bigger pots
but made the way I want to make them.
what started out as a difficult blog to write
has ended up with me being all excited about the next Year
and the pots ahead.
Thank you to everyone for supporting us this far on our journey.
Best wishes to you all 2014.
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