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Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

In this US economy, have you adjusted your prices down or are you holding the line?  I am curious to know and would like some really honest answers.  I've been wrestling with this question as I try to figure out how to price my bears for the upcoming Teddies Worldwide Holiday Bear Show. 

I was told awhile ago that once you drop your prices you can't ever go back to the prices they were.  With all the costs the same (if not more) how do you justify dropping the price?  Is it all about the sale?  I would imagine so if it's your sole source of income.   

Collectors, if you are reading this, how does it make you feel when an artist you've followed for awhile drops their prices?  Giddy with delight or are you disappointed?

I realize this is a tough issue to talk about for most artists and I appreciate any feedback you'd like to share.

Warmest bear hugs, :hug:
Aleta

KJ Lyons KJ Lyons Design
Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,413
Website

Aleta,
This is such a complicated question. Yes, my work is my sole income. Yes, I will not drop my prices. BUt more than any time in the past I feel it is very important to evaluate what you are doing as an artist, and where you want to go with your art? My collectors are, currently, very selective about what they are willing to purchase. They want to know what are my newest designs? And they will critique them. I am able to keep and even raise my prices but I find I have to always push myself to create new designs and to promote and show them. Not easy times! But times such as these will keep us on our toes  bear_happy
Karen
KJ Lyons Design

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Karen,  bear_flower
Thank you for your honesty.  I applaud and admire you and your work.  You are lucky that you get the feedback via critique.  To be quite frank, with the twists and turns that life has taken in the past year for my family it has left a big void where bears are concerned.  I feel as if I am starting all over on so many levels.  I don't know where to begin.  What I do know is that I'm producing some of the very best work ever in spite of my circumstance.  Only time will tell which direction I go.  Thank you ever so much, again.

Warmest bear hugs, :hug:
Aleta

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234

I think that this issue, is very much an individuals choice and its a tough one.

It does depend on your circumstances and dare I say your standing in the bear world and what you produce. If like me you are some where in the middle the issue is not so complex and having "specials" is often a way around this.

I know that some of you will disagree with me but is it not better to have a sale for the want of a £5 reduction? Please don't miss read me, I am not suggesting every one slashes their prices BUT it is a tough world out there and many bear makers are just like me, in the middle, so it really does depend on your individual circumstances
:hug:

huggleybear C.W. Huggley Bears
Statham, GA
Posts: 281

I have had an absence of over 5+ years and am just getting back into it...starting from scratch so to speak.  So I am a newbie to collectors and have to prove myself again.  I am okay with that.  I too was hoping for extra $$ from doing something I love.  But, as I have read, times are slow.  When I sold previously, Ebay was the way to go. You could put a minimum price and let the bidding begin.  That was easy.  Now, to my surprise, Ebay has become bear artist non-friendly as even well established artists are not getting the prices they deserve for the quality bears they offer.

Adjusting prices could be done as a 'special' sale at times, depending on your situation and not done on a permanent basis??? Just a suggestion. 


I also think individual circumstances dictate how to handle your pricing.  Do what makes you comfortable and price them so that you are comfortable with selling your bears at that price, knowing you offer quality artistry work and after the sale, you are happy with your decision and have no regrets. 

Cindy

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Thank you for your input Sue and Cindy!  I appreciate your thoughtful posts.  You're right Sue, it is a tough world out there.  And, like Cindy, I have been around eBay to know that it is not the place it used to be for selling bears.

I am excited and hopeful for Daphne's online bear show in November.  Perhaps after the US elections we will turn a corner in the economy and all start to feel better about spending again.

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

Bears are not my sole source of income in this house.  Over the past years the prices have been increasing.  I am usually an ebay seller, so ebay pretty much set the prices.  Lately they are flat.  I will not lower them. I will leave them where they are.  I may have a bear stay with me a bit longer.  But for me this gives me the opportunity to maybe have enough inventory to go to shows and meet collectors. Or even do an online show like Teddies Worldwide.

I had someone contact me from Bear Pile about a month ago.  They asked me to lower my price $100.00 on a bear.  I just nicely told them I couldn't.  She wrote back and told me she hoped she didn't insult me which she didn't.  But I just won't do it.

Joanne

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,638

Hi Aleta,
     You've raised a very good topic for discussion. I feel fortunate not to have had to lower my prices but the economy has definitely made me "rethink" some things.  I network more than ever and although it is very time consuming, it has paid off in the long run.  I am not a "group" person by nature - I've always been more of a loner, but these days networking is helping my sales.  Now I belong to so many groups, my head spins when I have a bear for sale, as I have to list it in so many places, but it's paying off.  My last five sales have been to brand new customers, through Facebook and even Ebay.  I know Ebay is not a great place anymore, but it keeps my bears out there.  I just put it at a price I want and if it sells, that's great, but if not, then that many more people worldwide have seen my bear.  The listing fees are dirt cheap now, so I consider it advertising.  I am really looking forward to Daphne's online show.  The exposure worldwide will be wonderful for everyone. 
     Your bears are wonderful, Aleta, you have just been out of the market for a little while, since you have had such a crazy year.  Lots of my old collectors have vanished and I suspect some of yours have as well.  So, think "new beginning" and get out there and market, because I know you can make it happen  bear_original   Your blog is such a valuable tool and you had tons of followers.  You have a knack for writing interesting posts -it's a place to start.  I still check at least once a week, to see if you have posted anything.    PS.  Nice to see you at the Hive!

                                                          hugs,

                                                          Brenda

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,847

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Wow, Aleta, such a thought-provoking thread.  I've been in limbo for awhile now, and wondering where I should go with bearmaking.  Due to the economy and other reasons, I've not attended a bear show for 3 years and that's where most of my sales have been.  I still have an active website, but can't update it anymore because I lost the (very) old software I was using when I had to replace my computer.  No sales from there in over a year and trying to sell from my blog has been unsuccessful.  So - I need to make some decisions.  Knocking very loudly on the door of being 70 years old certainly influences what choices I make, also.  Recent developments have steered me in a definitive direction, however, so my calling at this stage in my life may be pretty much taken care of.  Many of you know about Lily and Hope, the wild black bears that are phenomenal celebrities on Facebook and all over the internet.  The whole world watched Lily give birth to Hope in January via a dencam and I've been hooked on following the daily lives of wild black bears ever since.  That has motivated me to take a renewed interest in an animal sanctuary located about 30 miles from me.  The organization is International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS) that takes in abused, orphaned, abandoned, etc., big cats and bears.  Long story short, I am working in association with their gift shop, creating/providing items that focus on their animals rather than having a store full of only manufactured stuff.  They have a pair of black bear cubs (adorable Scooter and Greta) that we'll be concentrating on promoting.  I'm making plush replicas of the darlings and, hopefully, a series of children's books following their lives will be a possibility.  If you're still reading this post, then you have my admiration . . . didn't intend to write a term paper.  Long story turned out to be not-so-short.  It has helped clarify and focus my attention on the issues to write it all down, so I needed to do it. 

Well - I didn't address your question, Aleta, after all that verbiage I just threw out.  No, I won't lower the prices on what's left in my bear inventory.  If they don't ever sell, then I'll give them to friends and family.  Good luck with your quandary.   :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,638

SueAnn, it was impossible not to get hooked on LIly and Hope and I still check in once a day to see the updates.  I guess when you think about it, you're using stuffed teddies to help the real teddies bear_original  Can't think of a nicer direction to go!

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

This economy and my age has made me rethink the whole bear market.  I have been making child safe bears for 30 years and they have always sold well until this last year.  I am almost flat now in sales and so I am no longer making bears.  Will I lower the prices.....I don't think so at this time.  I still have shows to do this year and after the first of the year, I will look again to what I have left and decide then what I want to do.  I may just give what ever is left to the nursing homes and crisis center in our community. 

I love making teddy bears and it is sad what is happening right now but I don't have the time to wait for the teddy bear market to turn around again.  I have seen it go up and down so many times and with lots of hope, after the elections it may turn again.

I have been making soft dolls for years too and they are still selling well so that I will continue to do.  In the last few months I have added vintage and other dolls to my inventory.  I buy the dolls, clean them up and make new clothes for them and I am finding this is where most of my sales have been lately.    I never thought in a million years that I would be doing this but if this is what the people are looking for and I enjoy doing it then that is what I will do.  Having been reitred for the last few years and living on a fixed income, the money is always tight and making things keeps me active and busy plus brings a little extra into the household every month.   I am loving my new adventure.

I know I am rambling on and so I will stop.  My love of teddy bears will never stop and I will continue to come to this site and check out all the new and wonderful bears and friends that all of you are making.  So even though you will not see any new bears from me, I may just put my two cents in once in a while.

Happy Bear Making.

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

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I did not lower my prices on my existing patterns, but came up with a simpler pattern that I could sell at a lower price as it takes less time.

Dawn J Hugs Unlimited
West Yorkshire
Posts: 310
Website

It's a tough one and no mistake. Judging by the number of people that are writing to me just now, things are not easy out there. My take on it is that it is OK to reduce the price of a bear, providing you are still keeping the value of the bear. In other words, there is a world of difference between selling a bear for a hundred pounds, and selling a 2 hundred pound bear for a hundred pounds.

In the second case, the buyer knows that they are getting a quality bear that is worth X for Y. In the first case, it looks like you are devaluing your work.  Personally what I do, is I offer the discounts to my valued collectors first. That way, the people that have been loyal to me and kept me in business over the years get something back. I would much rather it that way then someone I don't know, grabbing a bear on Ebay just because the bidding didn't go very high.

2catkiss LALand Bears
Oregon
Posts: 448

I didn't lower my prices but I am creating slightly different bears now, using less costly materials.
I've decided to do a show in a couple months also.  Perhaps this is where the folks are who are still actively collecting?
I agree - ebay sales have gone a bit flat this past year.

Thank you for asking the question. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's reply.

Take Care
Lee Ann

sandlalouer Luxembourg
Posts: 144

As a collector, even if period is quite difficult, I would not expect to see the price of bears lowered. Hope it goes better soon!  bear_wub

New Avenue Crew New Avenue Crew by Debora Hoffmann
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 1,954

I'm glad you asked this question, Aleta. It has been good to think about this and to see others' responses, too. I just started making bears again this spring after a period of hibernation and sold all but one bear very quickly, for which I'm very thankful! And now I'm working toward Daphne's online Teddies Worldwide show, too, and am so excited to participate. I know I'll have to think about pricing soon, so this has been food for thought. What I noticed when I started making bears again was that the mohair I like to use was at least $100 more per yard than it had been...so the prices of my bears will be affected.

Sandrine, thank you for answering Aleta's question from a collector's point of view! Your thoughts are very helpful.  bear_smile

Hugs to you all!
Debora

peterbear Boechout, Antwerp
Posts: 4,755

Hi Aleta,

I have been reading all the replies with much interest.  It's not just the US economy, but most European countries are affected too, although not all in the same degree.

As a collector I can understand that some artists lower their prices, especially if a substantial part of their income depends on bear selling.
I gather that you are implying that it would be unfair to pay a lower price now for the same type of bear for which you paid a higher price, say two years ago.
On the contrary, as Dawn suggested, I feel it is a fair deal for the collector if he/she can get a small discount on a teddy; sometimes it is just what is needed to persuade a buyer.  (guilty as charged  bear_laugh )

I also understand the position of Joanne : if the buyer asks a discount which is too high, you are right to refuse it.  I still believe that most artists price their work based on the cost of material and the hours they have worked on the bear (from designing to finishing).  It is up to the collector to decide if he/she is willing to spend that amount of money on a particular bear. 

And let's face it : if you are collector hoping to get rich quickly by buying artist bears, I am afraid you have made the wrong investment.  bear_whistle
I also thoroughly hope that things will get better soon, because admittedly, I have had to cut down on teddy adoptions as well.  But judging by the Draconian measures to cut down expenses taken by some governments, I am rather pessimistic.  bear_noexpression

Hugs,  :hug:

Peter & the bears

Dawn J Hugs Unlimited
West Yorkshire
Posts: 310
Website
peterbear wrote:

And let's face it : if you are collector hoping to get rich quickly by buying artist bears, I am afraid you have made the wrong investment.  bear_whistle
I also thoroughly hope that things will get better soon, because admittedly, I have had to cut down on teddy adoptions as well.  But judging by the Draconian measures to cut down expenses taken by some governments, I am rather pessimistic.  bear_noexpression

Hugs,  :hug:

Peter & the bears

Oh Dear, if you are feeling pessimistic what hope is there for the rest of us! The sad thing is, that with a few exceptions, once artists take a direction away from bears they rarely come back to it. Maybe we need a universal advertising campaign, something like:

'Worried about the economy? Worried about your job? Affected by government cuts? Never mind, help is here in the form of a beautiful new fluffy teddy bear - he may not solve your problems, but you will never be alone, and the more bears you have the better you will feel!'

Just a thought............
:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

peterbear Boechout, Antwerp
Posts: 4,755
Dawn J wrote:

'Worried about the economy? Worried about your job? Affected by government cuts? Never mind, help is here in the form of a beautiful new fluffy teddy bear - he may not solve your problems, but you will never be alone, and the more bears you have the better you will feel!'
Just a thought............
:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

A wonderful idea !!  :dance:  :dance:  :dance:

New Avenue Crew New Avenue Crew by Debora Hoffmann
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 1,954
Dawn J wrote:

Oh Dear, if you are feeling pessimistic what hope is there for the rest of us! The sad thing is, that with a few exceptions, once artists take a direction away from bears they rarely come back to it. Maybe we need a universal advertising campaign, something like:

'Worried about the economy? Worried about your job? Affected by government cuts? Never mind, help is here in the form of a beautiful new fluffy teddy bear - he may not solve your problems, but you will never be alone, and the more bears you have the better you will feel!'

Just a thought............
:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

Actually, Dawn, I think you are onto something. This is exactly what is needed. What do children know that we adults don't? They know that teddies are necessary! I think everyone has need of a teddy bear...so why not many of them? This campaign needs to get rolling soon. I'm so glad you're going to start it for us.  bear_thumb  bear_happy

~Debora

rowarrior The Littlest Thistle
Glasgow
Posts: 6,212

Well the UK is already buying up lots of furry yellow bears right now for Children in Need, we just need some other country to jump on the bandwagon with artist bears rather than ones made in the far east for pennies lol

susiray Bear-Hands
Algarve, Portugal
Posts: 482

Hi everyone, been a few months that i haven't been on here, anyway i just wanted to add to the discussion.
i have been making bears and for a few years but i have kept my prices low making sure i cover the cost on the material and then a little something for me, certainly not the full amount of hours of work that i have put in. anyhow i belong to a craft group here in portugal and we all make different things and we all have one problem before we even start making our craft..... importing, we have to import everthing in as you cannot get anything here and if you are luckly enough to find what you need the prices are about 4 times what you would normally pay. So back to the question i would love to charge more but i have to be realastic and make my bears with the enjoyment that i get from doing it and i have to say that in the last 3 months i have sold 8 and have just finished a commission, the sales are from doing craft fairs and getting my name out with visitors here on holiday so promoting and promoting. I am surprized at how many i have sold recently and really pleased and i will continue to keep my prices the same for a good while yet and hope more of my little creations go to new homes.

hope i haven't babbled to much and i think all our work should be valued, and i think all our situations are different especially if this is your main job.... lets wish for a better 2011

bear hugs Susan x

Sherroy Sarchie
Tasmania
Posts: 192
Laura Lynn wrote:

I did not lower my prices on my existing patterns, but came up with a simpler pattern that I could sell at a lower price as it takes less time.

I agree Laura. Maybe make a lesser expensive bear during these hard times, a simpler design.
You can still offer the deluxe at the same price but maybe making a couple of simpler designs will get the people who sell bears as their sole income through until things pick up?

I know this is easier said then done, but is it such a bad idea?

teeeej Brisbane
Posts: 623
Sherroy wrote:
Laura Lynn wrote:

I did not lower my prices on my existing patterns, but came up with a simpler pattern that I could sell at a lower price as it takes less time.

I agree Laura. Maybe make a lesser expensive bear during these hard times, a simpler design.
You can still offer the deluxe at the same price but maybe making a couple of simpler designs will get the people who sell bears as their sole income through until things pick up?

I know this is easier said then done, but is it such a bad idea?

A range of less complex or less expensive bears seems to be a good idea. This will allow collectors who have a limited budget to be able to purchase an artist bear in their price range.

FenBeary Folk FenBeary Folk
Pointon Fen, Lincolnshire, UK
Posts: 2,234
susiray wrote:

Hi everyone, been a few months that i haven't been on here, anyway i just wanted to add to the discussion.
i have been making bears and for a few years but i have kept my prices low making sure i cover the cost on the material and then a little something for me, certainly not the full amount of hours of work that i have put in. anyhow i belong to a craft group here in portugal and we all make different things and we all have one problem before we even start making our craft..... importing, we have to import everthing in as you cannot get anything here and if you are luckly enough to find what you need the prices are about 4 times what you would normally pay. So back to the question i would love to charge more but i have to be realastic and make my bears with the enjoyment that i get from doing it and i have to say that in the last 3 months i have sold 8 and have just finished a commission, the sales are from doing craft fairs and getting my name out with visitors here on holiday so promoting and promoting. I am surprized at how many i have sold recently and really pleased and i will continue to keep my prices the same for a good while yet and hope more of my little creations go to new homes.

hope i haven't babbled to much and i think all our work should be valued, and i think all our situations are different especially if this is your main job.... lets wish for a better 2011

bear hugs Susan x

We must be in the same boat, as I am selling more now than ever before.

Dawn...................love the idea of a campaign, its true whenever I look at my collection I just smile and it lifts my day, no matter how sad I am  bear_thumb

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