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comment by flac
flac  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 6, 2019

Hey, I have a very tedious issue that I would like some assistance with - if anyone has strong opinions about reasonable price points, I would love any help you've got.


So, a couple of days ago, I mentioned that I'm trying to get that Etsy cash a-rollin' by selling some 3D printed wall art:

A new one I'm pretty pleased with (I prettied up the print a little after this photo to align the tractor beam)

As of tomorrow, I'll have 50 individual units made, and by this sunday I'm hoping to have the shop opened. I've been working a little bit on logistics and packaging the past few days, and am just stuck on the question of price.

Now, I have no fucking clue how much people will buy these things for, but I am guessing that the answer is somewhere around $10, with around a $2.50 over/under. This is based solely on me asking myself "what would I pay for one of these", and a teeny tiny modicum of market research.

The cost of producing these in terms of resources is pretty negligible - the filament and energy consumed are about $.50 per unit. I have the design process pretty streamlined at this point, and a basic design takes maybe an hour to work up. They do take a decent amount of time to print, though, about 1.5 hours for each base, and 45 minutes for the art inlay. I have it set up so I print 12 hexes a day in batches of four, one when I go to work, one when I come back, one when I go to sleep. On weekends I just print the inlays all day if I'm around, and it about evens out, ending up with around 50 units, ignoring ones that turned out imperfect.

The bases connect together, though I think for the most part people will buy just one of whatever design they want and call it a day. I also think that the grouped pieces - like the lunar phases or the cow thing - will sell reasonably well, though probably not as frequently as the individual ones. I'm intending to shoot for a bit of an artsier crowd with the grouped pieces (cow one not necessarily included...), and I plan on mostly designing around a bunch of video game/pop culture themes for the individual pieces. In my mind, I imagine someone looking at my designs, finding one or two individual pieces they like, and maybe getting another one or two pieces as gifts for friends who they know to like such-and-such game/movie.

This being the case, I am thinking of pricing things as follows, which I hope will incentivize buying higher quantities.

1: $10

2: $20

3: $30

4. $37.50

5. $45

6: $52.50

7: $60

My initial pricing was just $7.50 for everything, which seemed very reasonable to me, but I also know I have a big tendency to undervalue my work, and $10 seemed nice and round for a single piece. The grouped pieces will mostly be either 4, 5, or 7 units, just because those are the most aesthetically appealing configurations of the bases for me personally. They'll be made of set colors, and will come pre-assembled, while the individual pieces can have a variety of colors and will come with the pieces to connect them together if one so desires.


TL;DR: if you were in the buying mood, what would you pay for one of these little wall art pieces? They're about 3.75" by 3.25", and really solid - I used 40% infill and a pretty low layer height to ensure that they are pretty hefty. They'll be packaged in individually made little bags, and sent in a bubble wrap mailer.

Additionally, any suggestions for video games/pop culture things that might be of interest to people? I have a dozen or so more designs that aren't pictured here, and am planning on making an Instagram and posting one new design a day once I have the Etsy shop open, and I'm definitely open to suggestions.

(Sorry I tend to go away for 6 months at a time only to come back for shameless plugs)

( Also, lil, yours is mailing Saturday :) )

goobster  ·  220 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Looks like you got some good pricing info from applewood but I want to add another cost you haven't factored in: Parts for the 3D printer.

You will need to replace nozzles and belts (or gears) and power supplies and arms and fans and all that kind of stuff if you start getting orders. Running the thing for 18 hours a day is WAY more wear and tear than running it a total of 18 hours over two weeks.

You'll get into a week or two of printing, and shit will start failing. And nothing ever fails alone, because it puts more pressure on the thing before it and after it in the chain. So those things fail quickly after you replace the first part.

Then yer gonna say "screw it!" and buy a second 3D printer, or upgrade to the more industrial one... but then little differences between the designs will start to manifest themselves, and you'll find parts made on one machine don't interlock with the parts made on the other one, and ...

... well, now you know why all* kickstarters fail: Making one is easy. Manufacturing is hard.

So add $1 to every one you sell for "future upgrades". The future is much closer than it seems...

flac  ·  219 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "Making one is easy. Manufacturing is hard."

Ain't that the truth. Really useful perspective, and definitely something I've been thinkkng about - I actually just upgraded a bunch of the replaceable parts last weekend, mostly extruder/bed/hot end stuff.

_refugee_  ·  220 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It’s very easy to change prices on listed items on Etsy. You could honestly test this live if you wanted to. I’d say start st $10 and if it’s not selling to your desires mess around with price. That being said I think a lot of success to Etsy selling is made more from people finding your stuff than having your stuff at the right price point.

applewood  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, I've looked into this kind of stuff myself recently. The take away that I've got is factor in how much you want to pay yourself per hour, divided by how many you can make in an hour. Then factor in your overhead and divide that by how many items you expect to sell in a month (sell yourself short here). Finally, factor in the cost per item to make. Once you add those up, multiply by three, and you have your asking price.

So lets for example, you want to pay yourself $20 an hour and can make two an hour. Lets say your rent, permit fees, credit payments on equipment and supplies, and all other business expenses add up to $100 a month (if it something costs you anything, include it in this part of the equation) and you think you can move ten items a month. Then lastly, lets say it costs you $1 in materials each to make these. It would cost you $21 per piece to make, so your selling price should be about $65.

Also . . .

    Additionally, any suggestions for video games/pop culture things that might be of interest to people?

You should probably avoid selling stuff involving other company's IP, to protect yourself from any nasty lawsuits. Besides, you're a creative guy. I bet you could come up with tons of cool, original stuff.

flac  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, thanks for the perspective, artist formerly known as rd95!

Going to mull that formula over for a bit...

I, uh, actually hadn't even thought of the legality of selling the video game stuff until now. I had this hazy memory saying "oh yeah, I've been to Cons before, people are selling fan art all the time. I guess this must be legal!"

Needless to say, seems I was wrong! I'll still probably sell the video game stuff through word of mouth to my nerd friends and their people.

applewood  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Glad to offer my perspective! There's a ton of conversations on this kind of stuff out there on arts and crafts forums. That said, I found this book in particular very helpful. It covers all sorts of stuff, but it's not exhaustive, so you might need to look at other sources, such as the local branch of The Small Business Administration, your local library will probably have model business plans available, and your state department of commerce will probably have resources on top of that. There's a LOT of stuff out their for entrepreneurs, and fortunately, a lot of it is easy to find.

flac  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Looks like a great read, thanks for the recommendation! There are a couple of small artist co-ops in town that I'm hoping to look into once I've been selling on etsy for a month or two, and I would wager lots of other local resources for teeny tiny business owners.

Out of curiosity you thinking of selling your drawings/sketches, or something else?

applewood  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes! Artist co-ops sound awesome! There's a few in my city, as well as various societies, guilds, and clubs. I haven't joined any, but I feel I need to just for the benefit of sharing experience and knowledge. Though, lately I've been thinking of turning to Hubski for that. There's a ton of really creative people on here, you included of course.

As for selling stuff, I've really, really fallen in love with book binding. I think I made about forty or fifty journals last year just for the joy of making something. For a while I was thinking about starting a business so I could sell them, but eventually came to the conclusion that commodifying them and trying to build a business around them would rob me of that joy. Now I just make them for the pure pleasure of it and I give them as gifts to friends and family. Funny enough, some of the people I gave my first books to I turned around and later gave them some of my more recent books, just because my first few were so flawed I honestly felt bad about them being gifts.

flac  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's awesome! Do you have any pictures of some favorites that you've made?

Re: building a business vs. the joy of doing something, I think that a major reason that this is the first of my creative ventures that I am actually attempting to properly monetize is that 3D printing is virtually zero effort, as far as production is concerned. Sure, it takes some time to make good designs, but I can just press "go" on the printer and more or less leave it be for the next 6 hours, and once I have a design I like I can just keep printing it for as long as people keep buying it. The actual labor is pretty much front-loaded. I don't have to worry about a day where I don't have the energy to make a product to sell like I would with sewing, or even music. It's just a matter of making sure the machine works.

It's funny, because with sewing or knitting I always enjoy the act of making things so much, but as soon as I have a deadline or a paying customer, it becomes torture and I wish I had a machine that could just do it all for me. And now I do (at least until it falls apart from overuse...)

applewood  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hmm. I think I might have one or two I've taken with my flip phone. This may sound weird, but the books I'm really proud of, I don't have anymore. As soon as I made one I really liked, I'd look at it and say "Oh! I bet so and so would love this." Next week though, I'll create a new imgur account and share some pictures of what I have sitting on my shelf and a few text blocks I've put together. There's a project I want to do, that I'll end up documenting to share on Hubski, and that's removing the cover of a paperback, reinforcing the spine using double fan binding with cord reinforcements, and then casing it in a hard cover. Sadly, I have to wait for warmer weather until I can do that though, because my craft room is not insulated and its too cold to work with glue at the moment.

I know I've said this before, but I really enjoy your sewing. That quasi-military style jacket you made was super sharp. I love it.