Not a week goes by without an artist asking me about their pricing strategy. And with those questions, I almost always detect a feeling of uneasiness and self-doubt.
Why is that? Why the lack of confidence when it comes to pricing and selling art?
I’ve seen many artists get discouraged because no one will buy their art. They are frustrated because people don’t seem to see the value they do. Some artists think that the answer to that problem is to lower their prices – in short, to make their art cheaper.
Unfortunately, that line of thinking generally leads artists to start offering prices so low that they’ll never be capable of making a decent living selling their work.
So today I wanted to share with you, not the reasons why you shouldn’t lower your prices, but rather 4 reasons why you should INCREASE your prices.
I always prefer to take a positive spin on things :-)
I can hear you already! “What? Increase my prices? How can you possibly be thinking I should increase my prices if I’m not even selling at the prices I have now?”
NOTE: Please hear my very own little disclaimer: This advice is only valid if you are a professional visual artist with a solid body of work to back you up.
Reason 1. Buyers will take you more seriously
First, forget about your family and friends as potential buyers. If they haven’t bought your art by now, they’ll never buy it (and you shouldn’t be pricing your art for them, anyway).
Instead, go out and start building a fan base and collector base that will truly appreciate your work and your style. Once you get in front of those people you need to look professional and present a solid body of work. Art buyers expect to pay a certain premium for good quality art. If you have that, then your pricing won’t be a deterrent.
Just focus on providing good value—if you do that, they’ll be interested, and a higher price will simply reinforce the value you offer.
Reason 2. Galleries will show more interest in your art
Remember that art galleries are businesses like any other. They have rent, employees, and marketing expenses to take care of.
If you present work at a price point that is too low, there’s just no way they can make a profit with you. In addition, their clientele is used to certain types of standards, so if you don’t fit into those standards, then they’ll just pass on to the next available artist.
Reason 3. Collectors are buying an experience
Remember the last time you splurged on something you REALLY, REALLY wanted? Well, that’s what art is, a big splurge.
Let’s be realistic, art is not a necessity like food, shelter and clothing, it’s a luxury item. So you have to treat it as such. Don’t get me wrong, I have many art works in my house and I feel like they are part of the family, but when I buy art, I’m buying something that I want, not that I need, and price is only one part of the equation.
Work on creating a credible and enticing brand for you and your art, promote it consistently, make it absolutely irresistible to buy and don’t worry too much about the price.
Reason 4. Art can become your sole source of income
Have you calculated how many pieces you’d have to create and sell, at your current prices, to make your art a full time gig? Is that number realistic?
If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, you have to take yourself seriously. Consider the amount of time and money you’ve put into learning your skills and techniques and developing your own unique style. Think about what the big picture looks like for your business and career, and only then will you’ll be able to price your work in alignment with your value and your goals.
Of course, all of this advice only applies if you do your homework!
Go out, see shows, meet other artists, spend time browsing on the web, and upgrade your skills. Your prices reflect you, and you need to be capable of explaining them.
And one more thing: think about your role as an artist, and therefore as an ambassador of the arts. Is it time you stop selling yourself short?
Then raise your prices. . . your art, and you, are worth it!
Catherine Orer is a Business + PR Strategist for visual artists and a contemporary art aficionado. Visit her website, TheArtistEntrepreneur.co, to learn how to get more visibility for your work by developing your own marketing and PR strategy.
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