Craft Scotland Conference 2013 – Day 2

Today was the second day, and the day of workshops, at the Craft Scotland Conference 2013.

It kicked off with much appreciated tea and shortbread!

(image via @CraftScotland)





The morning workshop for me was led by Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust and titled Pricing = PersonalWhich was marketed as a “Workshop of valuing your work and your skills and how to price your objects.” and it very much delivered!

I wont reiterate all Patricia’s work as you can find loads of great information on The Design Trust website , but i would like to give a basic summary of the key aspects i have learned and will take away from today.

Patricia started off by asking us why pricing your work is so hard?

The discussion that followed was basically formed around one central point: our work is personal and pricing it is so much like putting a price onto ourselves. Makers find it difficult to attach a value to their work because it means attaching a value to themselves. We’re scared of being judged, and ultimately of being rejected. It’s difficult to get into your customer’s mindset and find out what they are willing to pay, and what value they attach to your work. And last but not least creative people seem to suck at math!

So it looks like we, as makers, need to start valuing ourselves better! as Patricia put it “if you undervalue yourself, and your products, it’s not a business it’s and expensive hobby.

(image via Ignition Group)

So what are the key aspects to consider when pricing your work?

– Calculate your costs: this step is easy. Pick a formula and stick to it. The Design Trust has various you can choose from, or simply research the best method for you and stick to it. For some reason creative people (myself very much included) seem to suck at math… that doesn’t give us an excuse, we just have to get over it and ask for help!

– Do your market research: this step is also quite easy, but time consuming and labour intensive. The Design Trust also has lots of tips and tricks for helping your out with this. But the best way is to just google people you like, visit fairs and exhibition and get an idea for the competitors that you are closest too and from there you have a basis for your own pricing. Doing this will also help you establish who your clients are… which is always changing  (especially if you are creative enough to create variations on products and expand your markets) and hard to pin down but is very important to always bear in mind when creating and pricing. Create not just a product but a whole experience and story that your customers will want to buy into. Market research will also help you figure it where to sell your work and how, ie. online, craft fairs, retail shops, galleries, etc. and how best to reach and attract your client base through advertising.

– Build your confidence: this last one is definitely the hardest and so important to get right, but by doing the calculating and the research you are half way there. Knowing your facts is a great way to boost confidence, especially when you are questioned about your value (because unfortunately not everyone is going to like you or your work).


Thank you Patricia, i’ve picked up on lots of information and tips that i will hopefully weave into my business plan and apply to my current set up as well… but for now everything is just a work in progress… i am a student afterall!






The afternoon workshop for me was also led by Patricia van den Akker and titled More Than Money. Which was marketed as “Making an income from all your skills – hot to make the most of your own unique experience, the digital world and other tools to run a successful microenterprise.”

(image via Angus Credit Union)

Again i wont reiterate all Patricia’s work as you can find loads of great information on The Design Trust website , but i would like to give a basic summary of the key aspects i have learned and will take away from today.

The idea of having multiple income streams is appealing to most artists/designers/makers because it can be very difficult to make a living from just one creative profession. Purely selling your work online might make you enough to pay for your rent every month, but you also need that money from that book you wrote to pay for your groceries, and that money from those teaching jobs you did to pay for a hot shower. Creative people have a reputation for being poor (which most of us would (quite rightly) suggest it is because we are horrifically underpaid for our skills) which very often isn’t the case because we are creative! we can adapt ourselves, our skills, our products, etc. to various environments so we can gain multiple incomes.

Most of us don’t like to think about money. I don’t. I just want to make art. But you have to have money to make art. I’m not overly financially driven, don’t get me wrong if you offered me millions i wouldn’t say no, but as long as i make enough to be able to make art then i will be quite happy… and i believe that is the same of most creatives.

I wont go into detail about all the different types of creative income steams as you can find them on The Design Trust website.

It’s important that you pick the right ones. Make sure you really think about what you want to do and what you want your business to look like. And most importantly just do it! you wont know what suits you bet until you try it out.

Thanks again Patricia, i wasn’t aware of the options available for making an income out of my creativity and you have certainly provided me with lots of avenues to consider!



Yesterday i forgot to mention the exhibition that accompanied this conference that was set up in the foyer. If you managed to catch it you will have seen how brilliant a job Beth Lamont did on curating the exhibition We Make Dundee. It was a beautiful example of some of the craft works that Scotland has to offer, and it was spread across a great variety of disciplines and was beautifully displayed.

(image via @Beth_Lamont)



(image via @jobletcher)



(image via Craft Scotland)


Thanks to everyone involved for an enlightening couple of days.

Chloe out.


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