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Cross commission


Pancho07

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Last week I posted in the critique section a cross that I made for a cousins wedding. Today my dad showed the picture to the ladies in the office at our steel supplier, one of them asked if I would do one for her son who is getting married in 2 weeks. 

The time isn't an issue, myou biggest concern is would it be good enough to sell? I've got nothing but compliments from it but that was mostly family, and gifts for family is completely different from a virtual stranger requesting it. My worry is disappointing the possible customer, I'm not locked into anything yet though so that is a plus. Based on the poor cell phone picture what would you all advise? If I do do it any things I should change to make it better?

Posting it again so no one has to track it down.

20150922_194250.jpg

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Question comes down to what they are looking for. In many cases I've found people who seem to love my "mistakes" better than the "perfect" ones I've made of things like split crosses, key chains etc. I think a big part of that is that they don't look like machine made items and it's very clear these were hand made with all their imperfections.

 

I've found occasionally someone at a demo will pick up a previously forged item and ask if I can make a small change to it. " Can you straighten out the top of the cross?", "Can you add a hole here so I can hang this?" "Can you make this bigger, curvier, straighter, add more texture or make it smoother, or what ever...?" I'll often leave the items unfinished for this reason and only coat them after the person is happy with the item, or if I'm going to store it away for a later show.  Leave yourself time to make changes, do test samples or what ever so you know what they want and how they want it to look. Some like to do sketches, but I work best in 3D myself so I prefer to do prototypes or samples of small items.

 

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DSW, while the wedding is in two weeks, time for this wouldn't be an issue really, she said it wouldn't bother her to make it a Christmas present instead.

Mr Stevens, I wasn't goin to stop doing this by any means.

I'm just kind of shocked that someone else liked it enough to "order" one. Thanks for the go ahead though. I'll have to get in touch with her to get some particulars from her tomorrow.

How would i want to price something like this? I know you need figure what your time is worth and add that to your materials but I don't know what is reasonable.

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My only suggestion would be playing with the ribbon color, red comes to mind immediately, but gold would also look nice.  I paint some of my railroad spike split crosses with Gilders Paste, they look terrific with it and sell easily.  

There's nothing in the photo to give scale, how big is the cross?   I make a lot of different types of crosses, split crosses all the way up to one I built recently for a church, prices range from $20 to $300 - depends on size, complexity, other materials involved, etc.  Without anything for scale it'd be hard to say on yours and as Charles pointed out markets vary from place to place. 

I sold one to a co-worker recently and was almost afraid to tell her the price - I thought it a bit high and the price would scare her off - she didn't bat a single eyelash and was thrilled to buy it from me.  I think overall I tend to price my items too low - I consider myself a rank amateur and so probably think accordingly when pricing things.  But I also am REALLY not in this for the money - I just enjoy making things people like and want. 

Edited by SpankySmith
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I have no idea what it's worth when l read this post then saw the second pic on the anvil I immediately said oh that's worth $100 (I'm thinking in Australian dollars) that don't mean it is worth that, or worth only that, it is just what came to mind.

but I actually was going to write just get her to price it. If you have not invested much in it but time and scrap steel, just say here it is what would you pay for it.

do that for the first 5 items you sell and you will have more idea what people will pay.

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Mr Spanky, the ribbon that curls around the back at the top i welded at the top of the ribbon and used a chisel to bulge out the edge below the weld, simple and easy. Leveled the rest with clear rubber bumpers.

Andy, I think I will take your advice and just ask what she is willing to pay and take what I can get. Your first thought at $100 Austrailian is about $70 US, which i think would be fair but if she is willing to pay more I won't turn it down.

Thanks all for the advice

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I'm pretty sure Spanky will let you slide this time, she tolerates me. :blink:

It's really common for folk new to the craft to seriously under value their work. I've been quietly harping on it with Spanky for a while now.

With just a little cleaning up I'd be charging 3 digit$ for crosses like your ribbon cross. What your work is worth isn't what you ask for it, it's what people are willing to pay. Never question it if someone WANTS to give you money for your work take the order!

There is really no higher compliment than people wanting to pay you for your talent and skill.

Part of what we sell in our hand made product is bragging rights. Nobody brags about a bargain basement piece of art. They want to show the neighbors, friends, etc. the REALLY expensive ART they hang on their walls, open the door with, etc.

Below is an example. This is my take on a doffer used for prying wool from a drum carder without damaging it. The Doxy finial is a request, I have other finials. I made on for my wife and she entered it in the state fair. Iron work being really scarce in displays I won. Neato but spinners started asking me what I charged. The simple leaf finial and cable twist handles take about 20 minutes using the power hammer so I offered them for $50.00. "Oh, nice." No takers. When I made the Doxy doffer it took considerably longer and I charged the lady $80.00. I can't make them fast enough at $80.00 each for the plain Jane ones, customs can run a couple hundred depending. After all, they're HAND FORGED, finished with lanolin finish and a superior tool!! Bragging rights.

Seeing as you're a beginner who came up with a very marketable design idea that are just going to get better, WAY better as your skills improve I think in the $75 range is fair. It won't be long and they'll be going for a couple few hundred to eager recipients.

No joking, that is a SWEET design, most of us dream about coming up with such a marketable product.

Frosty The Lucky.

Doxie_Lt_02.thumb.jpg.d1f9b1684aae6bb5f7

Doxie_Lt_012.thumb.jpg.749fdf67d84838237

Edited by Frosty
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Here is the second one, there are things I like better about it and things i dont, but it came out alot quicker than the first. I asked her if she thought $85 was fair and immediately thought I should have asked for more.14440101521721636024431.thumb.jpg.e10ddfAlso realised that the customer isn't always right. 

20151002_105656.jpg

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Do yourself a favor and get a note book and keep notes on what you made, what it cost, what you charged, and if you think that was appropriate. That way if you get asked to do another one later, you can reference your notes and decide if that's what you want to ask again. A year or two down the road, you may not remember. Picts along with your notes will help greatly.

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In what way was she not right? the customer isn't always right but coming right after her thinking $85. wasn't enough you really have me thinking.

I think it's a fair price. You're still developing the product AND your skills so you're going to spend more time than you should making things. Normal, we've all been there. When I still had the eye hand to be good at the anvil I could knock out coat hooks that sold like hotcakes at $19.95 ea. in about 7 minutes while maintaining demo patter, answering questions, etc. At .$10.00 they built up on my table.

If I were to make leaf coat hooks for sale right now I'd be doing well to make one in 20 minutes without distractions but $19.95 is about all they'll bring.

Our profitability increases with our skills, a 20 minute wall hook is okay as a request and would be in the break even range where they used to make a day at the demo a black ink affair.

Your crosses will get better, you'll get faster and make fewer mistakes to clean up and they'll become a nice profit item. There are a lot of ways you could really dress them up making them an even more valuable a commodity.

Frosty The Lucky

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I've been off line a few days, missed the whole Mr/Miss thing!  No worries there.  I've been in Icd-10 conversion hell for a few days, any of you in the medical field can relate.  Grrrrrr

 

i really like this design, I also think $75 range is about right.  I still would love to see some with color banners if you ever get a chance.

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It's really common for folk new to the craft to seriously under value their work. I've been quietly harping on it with Spanky for a while now.

 

 

Sorry, this does not compute..... Frosty and "quietly harping"?   Those two concepts don't line up, at all.  When was the last time you quietly did ANYTHING, Frosty?!  LOL!!!  :D

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Frosty, she said she wanted it one way and then wanted it another then another.  She wanted it to be polished like the one in the picture, I did. Sent her an updated picture and she said the same thing, "I wanted it polished like the first one", I'll admit lighting changed the way it looked. It was just frustrating. Made me think I had over sold my abilities at some point. Delivery is today so hopefully she likes it, if not then I guess my wife will get a new wall hanger

Edited by Pancho07
Clarification
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Okay, that makes sense. Folk have something in their mind's eye and it's almost never what the finished product actually looks like.

Photographing steel isn't something you can just grab a camera and snap a good picture. I'm pretty sure some of the guys are getting tired of reading photography tips from me but here they are again.

You need diffuse light or highlights will dominate the pictures. Outdoors on a cloudy day are perfect, we evolved to see in natural sunlight direct or diffuse. People don't need practice to accurately see colors under natural sunlight.

To get a natural looking photo under artificial light used to (Wet photography) require filters, jells, a well practiced eye and tinkering in the dark room to get them looking right.

A flash is often your worst enemy shooting polished steel, tape a single sheet of tissue over the flash to diffuse the light. It'll soften the highlights significantly, not pro level but WAY better than a bare strobe reflecting directly back into the lens.

A diffusion box is a good alternative if you have room and lights, especially if you're going to be photographing jewelry.

Frosty The Lucky.

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No, they don't Ian. :P

Spanky: How many times did I tell you you were WAY undercharging for your beautiful crucifix pendents? I didn't say it in all caps or bolded so I was quiet about it.

Maybe I wasn't actually "harping." I don't think I've touched a harp since getting yelled at as a kid for strumming the strings of one. I can run a Lute though but I don't think Deb would approve of me saying I Luted you about anything.

Frosty The Lucky.

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