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Old 07-15-2017, 12:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
Rifleman1776's Avatar
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This is an impossible subject on which to give a defiitive answer.
Part of the equation must include ones personal objectives.
I prefer to make quality pens that will last for many years. Accordingly, my kits, woods, finishes and time add up to higher price points.
OTOH, I have a friend who sells many more pens than I do and he makes more money in the process. But, his pens are about 90% low end slimlines with platings that wear off quickly. He uses Mylands wipe on finish that wears of quickly. He sells cheap.
The best profit-wise success I have had was when I displayed at an art store (in a locked display case). Most of my pens were in the $55.00 to $85.00 range. My highest price pen was a Gentleman fountain made with a faux ivory (not the material usually sold for pens). I made it to add some class to the display. It sold for $300.00.
My area is unique. We have a lot of retirees who can afford anything they want. But you would think we are asking for blood if a pen is offered for more than $2.00. I don't sell too many locally.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." from Animal Farm by George Orwell
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Learn your market

Originally Posted by Rifleman1776 View Post
This is an impossible subject on which to give a defiitive answer.

I can't believe I'm going to say this but I agree with Frank 100% in the statement that I highlighted above. One thing you need to do is to LEARN your market. Look around and get a feel for what others are getting for their pens and what their quality is like. When I first started selling pens I sold them cheap and I was not getting many sales at the craft fairs and markets that I was selling at. I spoke to a couple of other guys who were more successful than me and they thought that I was not asking enough for the quality of my work and suggested that on the next show that I go up on prices 50-100%. Their philosophy was that many customers think that cheap prices equals inferior quality. They also said that people love a bargain and if they show interest in a particular item I could always say "If you really want it I will knock off 10%". I was surprised at how often that worked. At the next show I doubled all of my prices and gave some folks 10-15% off. My sales tripled and my customers seemed much happier. If you want to sell a cheap pen Take a blank and drill it for a bic pen insert, throw some wipe on finish on it and put them out for $5.00 or so. I found that people who want a hand made pen but don't want to spend more than a few bucks really go for them and I've sold hundreds of them.

Unfortunately, due to medical issues I have not been able to turn much in the last 4 years but I did manage to sell off almost my entire inventory of pens and I hope that I will be able to begin turning again in the near future.

P.S. I don't know if it has already been done but I'll bet that Ed4copies could put on one heck of a course about sales and marketing because he is a master of it. If there was a doctorate degree in sales and marketing I would bet that he has two of them. He is undoubtedly the best salesperson that I have ever spoken to and I'm not just saying that because it's his birthday.
Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez~

In order to keep a true perspective of one's own importance, everyone should have a cat that will ignore them.

Last edited by Gin N' Tonic; 07-15-2017 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Clarify
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Artisan iron designs View Post
This is a tough one to answer. I'll just say don't forget to add the cost of your overhead into the mix. ie. electric, gas, consumables. AND NEVER forget profit is not a dirty word
Just to make sure...Is Jim Beam and overhead item?? My inventory just skyrocketed in value!
The greatest oxymoron of all time...Common Sense.
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Old 07-15-2017, 03:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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To me, pen turning is a hobby, not a business. I sell pens because I can't afford to give them all away, nor can I keep them all. My goal is to break even. My pricing is very simple. Cost of materials plus $X. I'm not going to say what $X is, but it is the exact same amount for each and every pen. If it is a $35 slimline or a $200 Imperial, I am just adding my fixed amount to the cost of materials. I don't worry about putting a value on my time because I'd be turning pens anyway. It's what I like to do. I'm very content leaving all of the elaborate formulas and spreadsheets to others. I'm not trying to support myself through pen sales, I'm just trying to support pen turning through pen sales. I've found this works well for me. YMMV.
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