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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Tiki's Fair Market Value?
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Tiki's Fair Market Value?
Aaron's Akua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 09, 2004
Posts: 1594
From: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posted: 2006-12-08 12:41 pm   Permalink

Interesting old discussion... Personally I've always hated that "X dollars per foot" idea.
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-12-08 3:15 pm   Permalink

I think its a good dicussion aswell. I have to wonder, are MMs prices, still that low and now that TikitOny has been selling the mugs and paintings, what does he feel has changed.

I know that there is a Tikishack on the way to Fort Myers beach. Long pole all the way up with a chainsaw cut tiki face at just the top. The guy's assistant, even told me that its just a few simple cuts and that he could learn in a sec. if he wanted to pay attention for a couple of minutes. $350-450 for something like that and I know that they have been there for a couple of years.

But this discussion is good for not just the carvers but appeals to everyone who is selling something. I'm trying to think what I would sell me mug for. I don't even have anything to compare it with. But I could seriously put as much time into a tiny mug then twenty Tikishack $450 tikis.
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Matt Reese
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 1155
From: San Diego
Posted: 2006-12-08 8:15 pm   Permalink

I'm not a big fan of the per foot rule either. I do think that cost is a real struggle for almost all sellers. I sometimes would rather give my stuff away to people I know and like, but I think my marriage would end pretty fast. I almost always feel a certain amount of guilt when charging people for stuff. I just remind myself to think about the time invested and what that time is really worth. Time spent doing a craft is often time spent away from family. I also think that people who are uninformed sometimes think if it costs more it must be worth more. I have always been treated more than fair with any TCer I've bought stuff from. I just hope they are making what they need to in order to keep going (mentally as well as financially).
Cheers.


 
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Tamapoutini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2006-12-09 12:38 am   Permalink

I agree; a very interesting discussion & one relevant to anyone making & selling anything, from T-shirts to carvings to ceramics...

A 'fair' price is always something that should be aimed for - fair to both maker & buyer obviously.
(I am speaking in regards to those who create for a living, whether part or fulltime. Hobbiests or beginners can really name their price, cheap or expensive as Im assuming their income/livelihood isnt dependant on sales). Also I am talking about art/craft where there is a degree of handmade-ness/uniqueness/one-off-ness to the craft as opposed to mass production method.

When creating for a living, of course you must build into the price your own expenses: materials/tools/time being the main ones. If these arent covered, you're going to go broke!
An hourly rate is fair enough, but doesnt always reflect in a finished piece. Sometimes a very sucessful piece is made in a short time; sometimes a complete failure is produced that took forever... Obviously if priced under a ridged structure, the former is going to sell quickly/cheaply & the maker feel ripped-off; while the latter is going to sit unsold forever with a huge pricetag attached...

I have found over time that most works will fall into a price 'range' which takes into account the expences mentioned earlier, but then 'adjusted' according to overall success... A particularly successful piece will charged at a higher price than an unsuccessful one, despite which took longer or which is bigger, etc.

There is also the knotty problem of quality or skill; we all know an exceptional work when we see one, one made by the hand of a learned pro. That X-factor hasnt come overnight. The Master of his craft has become that through time and committment & sooner or later became recognised as such. This committment to learning/improving & becoming Great at what they do deserves the right to command greater prices. Often years of sacrifice or study has been the price paid.

How do you judge/quantify your skill? How 'good' are you at what you do? These are the real questions to ask if wanting to set a fair price for creative work & often the pivotal dilemma for an artist.

I have no real answer to this other than 'listen to your gut'! If a finished piece really makes you proud, then that is the one to either keep or stick a big price on. If a piece ultimately disappoints the maker then I believe it better to sell it off cheaply; (covering costs) chalk it up to experience & get on with the next piece. There is nothing worse than having unsold/overpriced 'failures' sitting around to taunt you. Give someone a break; they will be happy at getting a good price; you will be happy at selling a less-than-perfect piece & a 'fair' deal is still struck.

So my answer is: Overall 'success' & your gut-feelings. What was the question again..??

Tama


 
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Benzart
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Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2006-12-09 05:23 am   Permalink

Yes, I am the one who asked that question way back when I first joined TC and began carving again after several years of inactivity. It's a Tough question to ask and equally tough to answer. Pricing is always a cat and mouse game I think and I doubt that anyone ever gets it 100% correct. The word comes back to me that peeps herebrag about how cheep they got their "Benzart", and this from some respectable members..
My thoughts on pricing have always been to sell as low priced as possible so I have nothing laying around waiting to be sold. I don't give anything away, though sometimes the prices may seem that way. For me this is a labor of love and if I were earning a living at it then I would be doing it very differently. As it is I enjoy every piece that I do and I don't worry about selling price until after the piece is done. If it is a pre-determined price, I Still don't let that influence the quality of the piece, or at least I try not to let it. What determines the quaality of a piece? Where do I draw the line to say "I'm Done"? Well, that determination comes from the piece itself. You know there are pieces that you start and you feel really good about, that are going just right and looking tight and then there are pieces that just don't seem to come together all the way. Those last ones, I will quickly finish and let go cheap, but the "Magical" ones, I will spend however much time I feel it takes to do Everything I can to the piece to make it as perfect as possible within the constraints of the material(you Still can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear).
I Still never know how to price a piece so all this does not help a bit. You just have to go with your gut feeling and set a number You can live with. I don't care for the 100$ per foot rule either as I think it is more involved than that. We're not selling Lumber or firewood here(I Hope) Of course I seem to be the wrong person to ask about pricing. However, I am learning that and will be changing my pricing structure as soon as I can figure the structure out.
Any idea what I should sell this Moai for?
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McTiki
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Joined: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 1962
From: Sunny Florida
Posted: 2006-12-09 07:42 am   Permalink

Benzart "Any idea what I should sell this Moai for?" $500.00 per foot. cmon, we know he's loaded.

 
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GMAN
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 14, 2005
Posts: 2996
From: My Island
Posted: 2006-12-09 08:52 am   Permalink

I have been selling my carvings and paintings for over 20 years. There is no magic formula for determining price. Any set price based on size or time should be an insult to any artist. I'm sure this type of pricing is fine for "manufacturers" of a product. Original art is different. A piece of original art is worth exactly what the buyer is willing to pay for it; nothing more, nothing less. I have sold some of my worst work for top dollar because someone "had" to have it. On the flip side, I have sold some of my best work for next to nothing because someone "had" to have it. I have also sold some of my best work for top dollar and my worst for low prices. It all depends on who is interested at the time, where you are with your art or bills, and what you are willing to settle for at that time. I can sell a fish rubbing for $500 to one client and have another who can't offer more than $50 for a similar piece. I can sell a Gman chainsaw tiki for $50 or $200 depending on the day, buyer, humidity, moon phase, or if I need parts for the rail or a new knife or saw chain. Any carver who expects to get XX dollars per hour or per foot is high unless they are doing quick carvings that they make fast and sell in quantity at an inexpensive price (quick masks etc.). On these types of carvings you will generally always come out ahead. If you spend 3 months on a masterpiece carving and sell it for $500 or more, you are likely still going to lose money compared to making a less expensive product in quatity that moves fast during that same time period. I have done both for many years with all sorts of carvings and my gyotaku. Both can be rewarding or suck.

Price/money/success for an artist will change during their artistic journey depending on what they are creating, how "good" it is, and what the market for that type of art is like. It depends on what you want to do. Most artists can't afford to always create top $$ work and sit on it until the right buyer comes along. They need to work on a few masterpieces and then round out their time with "bread and butter" work that appeals to the the masses and is affordable.

Bottom line TO ME.....Yes you can put a dollar amount on size if it is common/basic bread and butter work. Gman chainsaw tikis $50 - $150 depending on size and finish - I can make and sell them all day long. That works out to around 50 bucks an hour for me. Try to apply that same hourly rate to something you work on for 2 or 3 months.... Say you realistically have 80 plus hours in a piece, is it really worth $4,000 now? Probably not. The market will likely let you get $500 to $1,000 for it, and only if it really kicks a$$. One in a thousand artists can make a living selling only their best efforts. Most "working" artists sell bread and butter work to pay the bills and make personal best work on the side.

My 2 cents,

-Gman
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Tamapoutini
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Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2006-12-10 12:12 pm   Permalink

*Funny how the more prolific/experienced amongst us agree that there is no magic formula! Even Ben says he probably isnt the man to ask & admits that he's still learning...

Ben: Pricing is one of the toughest aspects of carving for a living, eh? -Sucks when you hear of customers lauding it over a humble deal! It is the same when you see a piece sold on for a whopping profit! Damn.
I dont think people realise that when you are producing everyday, youve also got to look at selling everyday simply in order to recoup some time/money & to stop yourself from drowning under a tiki-tidalwave (or Moai mountain)... The pricing 'adjustment' at the end often falls in the favour of the buyer because no matter how long a piece takes, it can be let down by flaws in the materials or the smallest of 'mistakes'. Those cheaper pieces often take just as long or longer to produce than a perfect piece that has behaved itself throughout the process - where's the hourly rate/$per foot then??
As for pricing the Moai: Im glad Im not in your shoes; thats a toughy!! Perhaps it should go on the amount/quality of feedback/'props' given by those watching..?? Ooh, this one's gonna cost ya Gman!!!

-------

Gman: Ill give you a dollar for your 2 cents; some good points raised.
Yes, price most definately fluctuates depending on the wieght of bills that need to be paid. Its your work, they're your bills & as an artist you/we have every right to raise or lower prices as we need/want to. There's also nothing wrong with accepting a lower price from the poor-but-deserving. Im sure we've all had that experience before. I have had the odd really nice piece that has been given away; the person it ends up with being more important to me than any amount of cash from a stranger...
You're also right to point out that not many artists really get to produce their very best work on a regular basis. Most have those B&B lines to pay the bills which are 'aimed' at a buying public & only get to 'indulge' their art for rich patrons or at the expence of heat, food etc...

*I raise a glass to those who aim to be one of the 1-in-1000 who make it to Super-Stardom! *ching*

T3


 
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Aaron's Akua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 09, 2004
Posts: 1594
From: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posted: 2006-12-12 1:12 pm   Permalink

Some of us are hobbyists, others are augmenting their salaries, even a few are full time, making a living off tikis. Obviously, I'm in the former category, and can only daydream about the latter category one day when I retire.

You just can't quantify carvings on a $$/foot basis. But it's interesting to apply "The Rule" to your sales after the fact:

As an example, I recently sold TWO 16" x 9" dia. tikis to a TC'er as a set for $250 (about $96/foot) - pretty close to "The Rule".

Just prior to that I sold ONE 16" x 9" dia tiki to a stranger (not a tikiphile, just someone looking for some "tropical" art) for $250 - so, double the price ($192/foot). Double "The Rule", what a rip-off!!!.

"The Rule" just doesn't work because every carving is different, and you gotta price it based on how much you put into it and what seems reasonable to ask for it.

I guess one could say, "What's it worth? Whatever you can get.. the Marketplace will dictate." Truth be told, I'll always feel better placing a tiki with some one who really appreciates it, will put it in his/her home or tiki bar, and admire it with friends over rum drinks. That's another factor...

Hell, my wife's just thrilled the hobby pays for itself.
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kingstiedye
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Joined: Oct 05, 2005
Posts: 1305
From: sackatomato
Posted: 2006-12-12 8:26 pm   Permalink

i think the price should always be set by the artist. i've never tried to haggle for art. i've only declined buying something a couple of times because i thought the artist was asking too much, but i think it's an insult to say i'll pay you this much. the artist knows how much time, effort, and materials go into each piece. artists know if they're making great stuff and should charge accordingly. new artists know they can't get top dollar. as an artist's skill increases he can charge more. ben, to me, anything you charge is cheap, cuz your pieces are priceless in the enjoyment they bring. (i guess i'll be paying through the nose when i can score another benzart!)
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TikiLaLe
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Joined: Feb 09, 2006
Posts: 891
From: Largo, Floriduh
Posted: 2006-12-13 10:42 am   Permalink

A 'Tiki Carver' at 50:

As a son of a son of carver........


 
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capotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Posts: 122
From: capistrano beach ca
Posted: 2006-12-20 6:23 pm   Permalink

My method of pricing is based on my time and material cost.I have sold 2 foot tikis for 200 dollars and 3 foot tikis for 125 dollars.When I make tikis for market I know what I want to charge before making it.I have sold to retailers and they have a per foot mentality, I base my time to build and costs to fit into that theory.They never get my best work because they won't pay the price.For myself a 2 foot or 4 foot tiki of the same design would take the same time and command similar price.

 
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Yubaba
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 14, 2006
Posts: 41
From: Belgium
Posted: 2007-02-04 12:51 pm   Permalink

Interesting topic, I hope someone can answer a question for me...
I've only been carving a little over a year now and I've just started to carve bigger pieces. by bigger, I only mean between 1 and 3 feet max.
I'm getting people interested in my work but don't really know how to put a probable price to a piece. So somebody made me an offer, the offer was +/- 162$ total for five tiki's to sit on ("chairs", if you will) each one about 2 feet (60cm?) tall. Now, I didn't really know how to respond to such an offer, but eventhough I'm only a beginning carver I felt kinda offended.
(she would provide the wood)

Now I'm torn between accepting the offer, getting my work noticed more and in the process build a reputation for selling cheap pieces, or rejecting and sell nothing at all...

Money doesn't make friends

Hopefully someone in here can help me figure this one out




 
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Tamapoutini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2007-02-04 4:00 pm   Permalink

Yubaba: I dont know much about woodworking;ie how long they might take or what other material costs may be incurred (you say she is supplying timber), but some quick maths gives me $32 per piece!? Doesnt sound worth picking up your tools for to me... A bit of recognition is one thing; slave labour another. Your work (the little we've seen; c'mon! ) is very clean & well concieved & it is obvious that you put some time into all stages.

Give yourself a break; either turn her down or renegotiate. Drastically if necessary! It can be done nicely but be firm about it - this job could lead to other jobs, friends of hers wanting similar deals. Start as you intend to continue; 'getting known' will occur naturally as pieces are put into the world anyway.
-I wouldnt be saying this if I didnt thin your work up to par.

As previous posts on this thread attest: finding your price & market/niche are some of the hardest aspects of creating to sell. You'll get there. I believe like every other aspect of what we do, it is a matter of self-discovery/trail & error. Learning to 'say No' & learning to 'let go' (of good work/bad work, good deals/bad deals...) are vital!

---

Good luck! Tama


 
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GMAN
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 14, 2005
Posts: 2996
From: My Island
Posted: 2007-02-04 4:14 pm   Permalink

For those of you selling....remember to pay all your business liscence fees, 2nd social security, state sales tax, and all the other fun stuff us registered businessed have to do. Especially if you market products online (forums/ebay).

-Gman
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