A previous tweet caused a serious resonance.
This was my thinking on how to determine the price of a job.
In my 20s, I created a work out of lacquer that was a lid made for a metalworker teacher, who was a human natural treasure.
“Make it any way you like.”
“Say a price that will make you want to do it next time too”
Then, whenever I delivered the work, I would receive more than I asked for,and he would treat me to an “unagi” (eel) meal and say “to give you vitality”.
At the time, what I thought was really important and easy to understand was that you should decide on a way of setting the price yourself so that you will want to do it next time as well.
This is a practical lesson that will allow you to be active over a long period, and I really felt the love.
When I was living in Kita-ku in Tokyo, a metalworking teacher, Professor Hoseki Okuyama, a real national treasure, had a studio nearby.
During a certain period, I got to know Professor Okuyama and was allowed to exhibit in the “Kita-ku crafts exhibition” sponsored by the Professor.
The Professor has the nature of a craftsman as well as the sense of a creator, and, above all, is a very kind man.
He would often invite me to “come out for a drink”, and would take me to eat foods that would invigorate me, such as sushi or “suppong” (Chinese soft-shelled turtle).
In terms of my work as well, he told me “I will give you solid support”,
I think that there was no pressing need, but in order to create a job for me to do, he said “For this work, I want to make a pitcher, so could you please make me a lid?”
In my 20s, I had no idea how to price jobs, and I simply considered it an honor and was delighted that this national treasure Professor had asked me to make the lid for his work.
When I went to deliver the product, I said
“I learned a lot. 15,000 yen please”, to which he replied strongly
“A job is worth more than that!”. He would not accept the delivery note that I first proffered and gave me much more than the amount that I first asked for.
In addition to that, he gave me car fees and treated me to a meal, saying “let’s go and eat unagi (eel)”.
Saying this, he gave me lots of different work.
What he would always say was
“Always say a price at which you will want to do it again next time”.
When I first started working, I found it hard to price my own work and sometimes set it too cheaply.
I felt like I was stealing somebody’s money .
However, receiving the practical advice from Professor Okuyama, I gained in confidence.
Professor Okuyama is still putting painstaking effort into his works, which you can see at traditional Japanese craft exhibitions.
His past works can be viewed here.