Sara Ballek | Episode 860
Sara Ballek is back on The Potters Cast. Sara’s first visit to the show was back in 2020 right before the pandemic struck. So I thought it would be great to get an update on how things have progressed and changed in her life. So this is my second conversation with Sara.
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How have your prices changed since we last spoke?
They have gone up quite a bit for several reasons. But just following more of where the market is at and valuing my time more and looking into the time that I put into my practice without burning out is a huge thing. I would rather work a sixty hour week versus an eighty hour week and the cost of covering materials and covering all the overhead and the time.
Would you say your prices have doubled?
Yes. Just about. I wouldn’t say doubled on everything but over the last two and a half years I have raised mugs incrementally to where a larger mug that I did charge fifty-five for is now a hundred and ten.
Why did you feel like it was important to raise your prices?
Because I thought about being a professional artist and not just because I have a college degree in ceramics. You can be a great artist without a degree in it. But thinking about what it took to where I was and then again covering studio rent, paying for health insurance out of pocket, the things that you don’t get in a job as an artist if you are not working for a university or something like that, you have to cover a lot of those things out of pocket versus having those benefits built in place.
How much does your other needs like health insurance factor into the price?
I would say a majority of the price of things is covering my living expenses, they have only gone up over the years. Based on inflation but other things too, I got married during the pandemic, which people tell you there’s benefits to that but that has made my health insurance more expensive. And also you deserve to give yourself a raise and not only does life get more expensive but you are dialing in on your skillsets and your work is becoming more refined and I might even put more time in my work than I did before. I don’t know that I becoming any quicker but things are becoming more refined and as the status changes of where you were versus where you are going, your prices should follow.
Does there come a point where you want to focus more on profit more than wages?
Oh, for sure. Yeah, definitely. Right now there’s a few things behind the scenes that I am trying to focus on where I am building more passive income. To where it’s not each piece I have to make equals, you know, in real time. I also want to have things going on that I don’t have to necessarily produce by hand.
One thing people fear if they raise your prices they are going to loose their customers.
That’s not true.
Tell me about that.
I think people need to squash that fear because I had people encouraging me to raise my prices and that felt weird and uncomfortable at first and then when I started to I felt more comfortable doing it and then when I started to calculate my own personal life and then encourage other friends to do the same thing for their work and being honest about it too. It’s not like I doubled the cost of my mug overnight but slowly played with it going up five to ten dollars every new sale and people continued to show up.
How often are you actually re-evaluating your pricing?
I would say every three to five months probably. Every time I have a bigger batch of work when I am doing an online sale or when I introduce a new little flair to a piece I might consider the extra time and expense that that maybe put in. Yeah, as my business has shifted to having more overhead costs too that has definitely made me think a little bit more in the last nine months that I have been in this space.