Friday, January 25, 2013
People often wonder what goes into the pricing formula for handmade jewelry. Crafters and artisans figure out this riddle on an individual basis, some even use software designed for costing and pricing jewelry. As I see it, there are 3 basic elements in pricing: cost of materials, labor, and cost of selling.
Cost of materials would seem to be self explanatory. But one element that beginners are likely to miss is inventory cost. For example, you purchase a string of beads for $35 and use half of the beads in a jewelry piece, saving the remaining beads for something in the future. That leaves $17.50 that came out of your pocket and cannot be charged out until you use the beads unless you have an inventory cost factored into your pricing. A small percentage will do, but it helps to keep your cost of maintaining a large inventory of materials bearable. Also the cost of education (classes, magazines, tutorials) should be considered.
Labor is not as easy as setting a timer to keep track of the actual minutes/hours you spend constructing a piece of jewelry. How much time do you spend sourcing materials? How much time do you spend gathering the right components before beginning to construct a piece? Again adding in a small percentage to cover this time works well because your bead shopping and gathering is usually spread out over several pieces rather than just one piece.
Cost of selling is potentially the area with the most forgotten factors. There are the up front fees for shows, listing and subscription fees for online sales. What about the cost of tents, tables, displays, travel, meals etc. if you do mostly shows? If you do online sales, then you have photography (which also requires displays, lighting, camera), packaging, shipping, fees on the sale (Etsy, PayPal, credit card). Either method of selling requires promotion in the form of business cards, mailings, blogging and other social networking. If you have a full time jewelry business and have to report your income to the IRS, that is another cost factor that should be included in pricing.
We love what we do but we should be sensible about it so we can stay in business and maybe make a profit!!
To see more of Gloria Ewings jewelry click here or here.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Get a head start on one of the biggest colors of the upcoming season. Orange is going to be everywhere this spring and summer according to the fashion gurus.
Variations of orange and red are the prominent colors of these four selections that will give you a mood lift during even the coldest days of winter! I use orange white heart trade beads in the top left necklace, along with red turquoise and yellow. On the lower right is another multi-strand necklace of bright coral seed beads. And of course both pairs of earrings feature red/orange hues as well.
In each of these photos one or more of the components are my slightly primitive hand forged copper. Some are patinated with color, some with heat, and some with a basic darkening agent. To see more of my hand forged metal work, click here or here.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Seems a good time to reflect on where I've been (as a jewelry designer) and where I hope to go.
In my "evolutionary process", there have been some distinct benchmarks. The first was a stage of stubborn independence. I was certain that I could teach myself to make jewelry without a class, a magazine or a tutorial. How hard could it be? This initial stage was marked with some successes, but also some failures that could easily have been avoided with a bit of outside instruction and a dose of humility.
The between stages leaned more toward my developing style. I still felt that taking too much instruction would limit my approach to design. If an experienced instructor were to show me a technique, I would be likely to accept it as the only way to do something instead of at least trying to create my own techniques. This is certainly not a recommendation! As I said earlier, there are definitely some pitfalls to this way of thinking. The many learning experiences have helped me to develop a recognizable style.
Now I concentrate on broadening my pool of resources. More ethnic beads are available than a few years ago when I started beading. Many talented artisans are selling their handmade components, which I like to use whenever posible because they add so much character and diversity to my pieces. I have begun to make a few of my own metal components that blend well with my more primitive tribal style designs. I hope to grow in that area during the coming year.
What the next stage may bring is anyone's guess. To see more of my tribal contemporary jewelry click here or here.