I wanted to share an interesting piece of work by calligrapher Carla Hagan. She and Clifford Hagan of Carla Hagan Designs have surveyed over 200 professional calligraphers and compiled The 2016 Trade Practices and Pricing Guidelines for Professional Calligraphers. Not only is there comprehensive lists of price ranges for products, listed by state, but also great tips on when to take a closer look at your pricing. "If 9 out of every 10 clients are booking you, it's safe to assume you are not charging enough." I find pricing my own handmade goods very difficult, and by the number of posts written on the subject, it would seem that I am part of a large group of creatives who struggle with this issue. I am reminded of what my realtor once told me: Your house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
So what is one’s time worth? Who is to tell – how do you decide. In the craft arena there is the model of your time + cost of materials multiplied by 2 for wholesale, and doubled again for retail. While this is a rough guideline I know that it is not possible for many craft sellers. As well, some crafters simply do not need to earn what is needed to pay their mortgage or buy groceries, they do it for the enjoyment. For myself, I work as a chef in the summer and I craft in the winter. My income from crafting allows me to craft. For now, I am happy with that.
This past holiday season I took a beginner’s course in calligraphy from Molly Suber Thorpe in Belfast, Maine. Since then I have practiced with 1 or 2 pages each morning before I start my day. It has become a ‘no pressure to produce’ creative outlet. While my mind has wandered to the question ‘Could I do this professionally?’ I am certainly still years, and many pages of practice, away from giving that serious consideration. I do, however, love hearing how professional creative get to where they are, the ins and outs and struggles of achieving their current professional goals.
I would like to see, and contribute to, studies & guidlelines such as this across many creative fields. When the information is shared, it would benefit us all.