Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anna Davern

Anna Davern has just published 2 interesting posts on her blog.
Interesting for a number of reasons.
Firstly, for images of her exciting new studio:

a place where I want to be.

Secondly for the issues she raises in regards to private commissions:

Very occasionally I have a private client. Generally this is either a friend or family or a friend of a friend or family. So, I give them a discount on the retail price. I think that this is a decent thing to do as I am not paying the high street rents that are factored into retail prices. Plus, they’re either my friend or have been recommended by a friend.

But, recently I received a phone call from someone who said “I saw your work at xxxx and got your number from your website and I would like to commission you to make my wedding ring”. As they had mentioned the name of the gallery/shop I very politely told them about the respect I have for that gallery/shop and how the staff there would do a great job of looking after them and that I would prefer that the commission came through said gallery.
But what would I have done if they hadn’t mentioned the gallery by name and just said I’ve seen your work on the internet? I would probably take the job as I can only believe this to be true. Would I charge full retail price? I don’t think so as I’d feel like I was robbing them.
However, I probably should charge the full retail price, I may not pay high street rental but I do pay rent, I pay my website hosting fee, I spend quite a lot of time doing my own promotion, I have to pay for photography for the website/blog, and I would probably have to spend at least 2 hours in meetings with the client. (after writing this as a draft, I’ve been asking some of my colleagues about this and the responses have been mixed but the ones who run successful commission practices advise to charge retail. One of the best analogies I got was of my accountant who works from her home but charges me the same standard accounting fees as the franchise accountant on the high street.)

I too have great respect for the galleries that I sell my work through, and these relationships are very important to me.
Increasingly I find that people expect a discount if they buy something directly from you.
It often makes me a little sad that handmade (directly from the maker)seems to equal something that should have a lower price attached to it; that handmade also demands a discount.
Even though this handmade item may have more than 10 years of study behind it, and the client may earn double or triple what you earn.

this handmade life just keeps getting more interesting