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elbanditoroso's avatar

Question for those of you who are artsy - what's your profit margin?

Asked by elbanditoroso (14767 points ) April 28th, 2014

I was at an outdoor street arts festival this weekend in Alpharetta, GA (http://www.awesomealpharetta.com/pages/ContentPage.aspx?ContentName=Alpharetta_Streetfest) – this isn’t spam… the event is over.

I bought several framed photographs and some artist made glassware, at what I considered to be a fair price.

Out of curiosity, is there a way to know how much of this was profit? How much did the artist actually make over their expenses?

(Example: I bought a beautiful glass bowl for $200. The artist had to design it, make it, fire it, transport it, rent space at the art show, etc. Is it likely she made money on my purchase, or is this break-even? )

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10 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The artist would be lucky to break even if they sold a few items.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

When my wife and I were doing 35 to 50 craft shows a year ( twenty years ago ), we were able to pay for airline tickets to Hawaii from the USA.
We stopped doing them two years ago because we were just covering expenses.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Tropical_Willie – thanks – that’s just the info I was looking for.

SweetMae's avatar

When I sell a painting, I get a good price. But I don’t sell enough right now to support my studio.

cazzie's avatar

I’ve been working in the crafting industry for several years, managing galleries for novices, hobbyists and the more professional. Everyone’s margins are very individual.

cazzie's avatar

It really depends on what you are making. I come at it from a cost accounting/ production accounting background. I still think valuing your own time is one of the hardest things to do. There are some artisan products that do have a good margin, almost automatically. BUT, if a truly gifted artist doesn’t value their own talent, it is a shame-on-them situation. If they sell out quickly, while it feels great, they aren’t putting a high enough price on their items. The truth of the matter is, if you find something you like at one of these craft fairs and the price seems like a good deal to you, BUY IT. Chances are, the artist is undervaluing their time and craftsmanship and only participating in the craft fair to subsidise or recoup some of the expenses related to their hobby.

BTW, I am in the process of opening a new gallery here in Trondheim. Norway is a great market for handcrafts and niche market products. There are three main members and we will looking for 5 or 6 guest artisans who are welcome to display for a set price per month, for a minimum of 3 months at a time. Most galleries in the area take a HUGE per month rental price plus commission and some also expect you to mind the store for a day or two a month. We are keeping our overheads low in a very beautiful, exclusive property so we don’t have to charge as much and we don’t ask anyone to work in the store, either. We will also be teaching courses on running your crafting hobby as a business, and teaching a variety crafts to children and adults. We are so excited.

johnpowell's avatar

Keep in mind that some of the people have day jobs so this is supplementary income. I have a friend that makes hemp necklaces while watching TV to sell at the Saturday Market.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@cazzie – thanks for the very complete and informative answer.

RocketGuy's avatar

My mom covers her material costs very well with what she sells. Luckily, her studio is in her home, which (amazingly) is covered by her and her husband’s social security and pension checks.

susanc's avatar

Profit margin?
Are you joking?

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