June 29th, 2009
What is it worth? Pricing/Valueing - my experiences
Money. It’s a difficult topic. In our world, money has become really important. Crucial for survival.
We exchange money for things. We have to give things a price. We have to value things/work/time with money. Even though money has not the same value for everyone (20CHF for me is much while for a millionaire it’s nothing). Even though things have not the same value for everyone (an organic fruit means much for me while for others it’s just another fruit). How does this system work?!
Creating products, I am very much involved in this problem. I am about to offer two new products and I am forced to put a pricetag on them. How much are they worth? What is their value? What price should I give them?
To me, of course their worth is invaluable as they are sustainably designed, handmade, artful, useful, unique. Things that are worth much should grow and grow and grow. But living in Europe, having no regular income, I can’t afford to just give my offers away - even if I would like to invade our system with them. Don’t mention the fact that I simply can’t create them in abundance.
IS VALUE MONEY IN TIME?
People say time is money. Is that true? If so, time in Switzerland is worth more than in the UK - not to mention the Philippines or China. The funny thing is, when I ask people: “How much would you pay for my offer?” Their first reaction often is. “How much time do you need to make them?” It is how people seem to value handmade things. Yet, there are so many factors for pricing a product. In the end I just need to survive. I need to find a balance between what the people I seek to address in average are willing to pay and what it’s worth it to me (concept, total time I invest in Mayari and its re*creations, money I spent on the material etc.) and sometimes I cannot see that the balance will ever be there.
IS IT WORTH THE TROUBLE?
Am I stupid to still work on Mayari and my projects because it doesn’t give me enough income yet? Would I be stupid to not work on it since it really gives me joy and happiness? I want to and will work this out. Some people say get a normal job! Some say I should have my things produced in China in order to give them a better price. All has been done before and I’m not sure yet if that is a good solution…
WHAT DO MY FRIENDS SAY?
The funny thing is that it is precisely friends who cannot give me a price for my products. Probably they don’t want to hurt me by telling me a low price because they know how much work I put into them. Maybe they also simply don’t know. They can’t value what they have in their hands. Do they feel that this is invaluable too? All I can feel is that the atmosphere between us gets awkward as soon as I ask this question. (Before, there was a positive vibe in the air when they played with them.)
“Don’t make it too expensive.” is what I hear. I know. I love to do business in my costumers interest (I’m a designer after all) - the rich and the poor - but always the responsible and clever.
“Don’t undervalue your work.” is what I hear too. I know. I see that what I create has a high inherited value. It’s art. It’s a positive statement. It’s a useful product. All valuable things. I am really confused.
SOLUTION FOR NOW
My solution is asking myself: “What would I pay for it?” “How would I value my products at this moment - starting up, addressing mainly young and mindful people?” - “At that price, how much would I have to sell to be able to pay my bills?” - “Are these numbers realistic?” - “Can I sell as much?” - “How?” So many questions. I have to make a decision and try.