How do you price???

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Sheila H wrote
on Nov 23, 2008 2:31 PM

 I think this is where the difference in technique is so much a part of it.

I do simple stringing so I understand the idea of looking at a piece and it being $80 for a necklace that they have maybe $10 worth of material and simply strung it took about 30 minutes to do. There is a pair of ladies that use only Swarovski crystals and charge about $80 a necklace. If you use 15 crystals and some other beads, there is not that much in cost. For me with simple stringing, I sell to a few loyal customers and they are simple designs, so I usually charge them 2-3 times the materials for the piece. I usually do the same for the craft shows.

Having said that, I also understand Sue's point of the bead weaving taking so much longer. I do not have the patience to do peyote or other stitches try as I might. So for something like that to take 8 hours to complete, I understand completely the price per hour. It would be ridiculous not to.

I think this is that area where technique really is a determining factor, and also the quality of the materials being used. But I also as a customer can in my mind think that a piece is way over priced and walk away. I would never tell the artist that I thought it was too much. But I might think it. I also don't like the people that try to negotiate on the prices, but I am not one to try to negotiate prices on things. I either like it and pay the price or I don't pay the price. I am not talking about someone who buys several pieces and asking if there is a discount for mutiply pieces. I am talking about the person that picks out a $10 bracelet and asks if I will take a lower price. I am one of those that I price it for what I want out of it.

Just my thoughts...


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Mrs.Bead4479 wrote
on Nov 23, 2008 8:47 PM

I never understood the 2-3 times the parts charge. As a beader and artist, what's worth money is my design and time. I can make one bracelet in 15mins that is $3 in parts just as I can with $30 in parts. So why should the (both taking 15mins):

$3 = $9 ($3 in parts X 3) and the

$30 = $90 ($30 in parts X 3)?

They took the same time, so why the $81 diffrence?! So I charge an hourly rate. You want to make it fair and to the degree of your craft. I've been beading 17 years so I charge $20 an hour. So 15 mins would coast parts + $5 ($5 per 15mins) of time. so it would be:

$3 + $5 = $8

$30 + $5 = $35

I know others charge crazy ways but to me this makes the most sence. So when I explain how I get to the coast of something to a client they understand it much more than 3X the parts. Plus it makes it know that's it's about your talent/time!

good luck!

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Sheila H wrote
on Nov 24, 2008 4:21 AM

Mrs. Bead - That does make sense. For me I am usually interrupted enough that I cannot accurately estimate that it took me 15 minutes. That 15 minutes usually equates into about an hour real time. 

I get all my beads out and usually am doing laundry, cooking, letting the dog in or out, phone calls, etc. So for me the 2-3 times works best. Using your material cost of $3 then 2 or 3 times would be $6 or $9. So we are in the ball park. I have never used $30 in material on a bracelet for simple strung bracelets, but in that case your calculation does make sense. 

I appreciate this as I may try to better track my time and use that. It is easier to explain however, I have never had a customer ask me how I determine the prices. 


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RedCreations wrote
on Dec 2, 2008 9:48 PM

 Wow! What a long thread! :-) Here comes another long post - I can already tell...!!

Here are my thoughts...

Firstly, I'm not just a jewelry hobbyist. This is my LIFE. And I'm lucky to be making a living doing something I L-O-V-E. Right now Jewelry making is THE hobby to have... it seems like everyone and their mother, cousin, and sister-in-law is doing it...

Something that sets me apart is that: 1. I've been doing this for almost 15 years. I'm not some newbie to the scene. 2. I actually have a design/JEWELRY degree to back up my profession. (A Bachelors of Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metals from Umass Dartmouth...this was an intense 4 year jewelry program) 3. I'm a published artist.

Ok, so with all that being said - and I promise it IS going's MY thoughts on pricing, and why it's important that people follow some kind of proper pricing structure...

For example, this is what I do:

Lets say I made a bracelet. All of the materials (beads, clasp, crimps, wire) COST me $20. That price gets trippled to $60. Then I add labor (this can vary depending on the piece... what I might not add as much in for a bracelet or necklace, I can make up for in earrings) I tend to go about $15/hour. Say the bracelet took me a half hour to design and string. There's $7.50 of labor. But we'll just round it to $8. So now we're up to $68 dollars. Then I will add is some cost for we'll bump that up to $75 just to make this math easier. Ok, now it could end there. But for ME, it doesn't. This is because I also sell to retail stores. Which means I need a retail price...and a wholesale price.. The $75 is my wholesale price. Which is what I might charge friends or family, but more importantly - it is what I would charge a store who is buying from me. My RETAIL price would be double my wholesale. So the retail cost of the bracelet is $150. This is approx. what the store would be charging. I would sell to my general public for the $150 as well. Because MY selling price to the public has to roughly match the STORE's selling price to the public. The store would have a BIG issue knowing that they are selling the bracelet for $150, and I'm selling it directly to their potential customers for half the cost...

Now, I can understand you all just "doing this for fun" there's not always a need to get this technical for you...but here's where THAT becomes an issue for ME...

Lets say I'm doing a gift show or artisan festival. I'm selling my bracelet at my retail cost of $150. (and lets even say that because I buy my beads from wholesalers who I can get quantity discounts from, $150 is even a reasonable price for what's in the bracelet... we'll say freshwater pearls, faceted briolettes of green amethyst, and 14k Gold-filled findings to give you a visual....ooh, sounds nice, ehh? LOL) Let's say Jane of Jane's beaded creations went to the same bead show as I did, visisted the same booth, and got some of the same strand of beads that I did...and has strung them up into a bracelet and is a few booths down selling something cooincedentally similar to me. Only she's selling it for $45. She doesn't care that she's not making HUGE bucks and tons of proft and it was so nice and easy not have to follow some crazy formula....... She's just "does this for fun" and just likes to earn back some of the money to buy some more beads...This isn't her fulltime job, she works as a bank teller 9-5pm.... This is just something she does on the side...

That's fine for her. But it actually really screws over people like me who are doing this to survive - who are taking their PASSION and making it their life. I'm a published beader who went to school for 4 years to learn all I could about jewelry and metalsmithing, who worked for 5 years for a nationally famous goldsmith...who's been over-all working in jewelry for almost 15 years...who LIVES and BREATHES this. And I can't sell a $150 bracelet....not because the economy is bad or because it's grossely over-priced, but becuase Jane "just does this for fun" and my potentional customers can't see buying something from me for $150 that they can get for $45. Do I blame them? Not at all - everyone wants to get a deal. Do I think Jane, in her naivety, grossely underpriced her work and unfairly undercut ME? Yes, I do. Competition is great - but only when the competition is FAIR.

Hobby's are great - but there is a place for a hobby. People who are selling their work beside me are not doing this as a hobby anymore..or if they are, they are treading a thin line. And even with just straddling that thin line comes a responsibility to price fairly - not only for the benefit of YOURSELF (you should have the confidence to know your work is WORTH IT) but also so you don't unfairly undercut people who are really IN THIS....<-- if that makes sense.  :-)

If you don't wanna mess around with a proper pricing structure, that's your business and that's totally FINE. There is a flexibility that comes with doing something as a hobby...kind of a make your own rules kinda thang :-) BUT... if  you don't wanna mess around with a proper pricing structure, I don't wanna see you at the booth next to me next time I do a gift show.

Ok, hope that didn't come out to mad sounding :-) LOL I'm really not that bitter of a person, haha... just wanted to make it real for people who just "don't get it."



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JennyP@12 wrote
on Dec 2, 2008 10:40 PM



thanks for the input, you have some very good points! I was just wandering why you triple the materials cost? I have seen so many different "formulas" that it gets confusing. But I so far have enjoyed Eni Okens price calculater. Ok I am tired and am starting to ramble, anyway thanks for the post and your opinions they are helpful.


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Jim Juris wrote
on Dec 2, 2008 11:18 PM

Hi Leah,

I agree with you 110%.

Just like a doctor or an attorney, you have education and experience and your work should command a high price.

I don't think that people that underprice their work realize that they are not only hurting themselves but other jewelry artists.

They probably don't realize that it is just as bad to underprice your work as overprice. 

The people that sell jewelry for a low price also probably don't realize that it is the perceived value that counts.  A low priced piece of jewelry doesn't have much of a perceived value as a higher priced piece of jewelry.

It is important that people like you get the word out to as many jewelry artists as possible so that they can price their work fairly.  This would not only benefit them, but also people like you who are making jewelry for a living.

The fact that there are 5 million people (my own number that I picked out of the air) making and selling the jewelry that they make does not make it easy to educate all of the people that make and sell their jewelry.

I am doing my part by trying to educate people on a jewelry making forum that I belong to.

Jim Juris

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on Dec 3, 2008 8:53 AM


As was said somewhere on this site, "price according to the event" -- not a very good quote, butthat's the gist of it.  At the sale in your example, $45 looked cheap as well as inexpensive, some might buy, but most would doubt the quality; bnut might also think yours was overpriced.

I agree completely that the example price was way too low, but for the event, not in comparison to your price.  If you felt your price was reasonable there, then the other person was badly underselling the worthy of the wares; but the argument of "fairness'" doesn't work -- 'Fair is part of fairness and fairy tale, and neither exists in the real world'.

Elsewhere I've explained, in detail,why I will NOT charge $20 or even $10 an hour for my work, but it takes me a least twice as long as most people to make an object.  Thus, I would need to sell the item for at least twice the price others would charge, if I used the same hourly rate AND FORMULA.  That rather destroys the usefulness of the 'formulas and hourly rate' for me.

BTW, if you were to sell at the type of markets I visit, you would not sell much at those prices -- simple earrings and bracelets for less than $10, and that is at a relatively expensive art museum and theatre. 

Stan B.

Stan B.

Lakeland, MN


Ignorance is curable; Stupidity has neither cure nor excuse.

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Sheila H wrote
on Dec 3, 2008 10:08 AM

Stan - I agree with you. I was going to post it but feel that I have beat this dead horse so to speak. The craft shows that I go to are people who do the shows for hobby and a little extra cash. A piece as described would never sell at the shows. I would consider that piece to be more high end. 

I also respect the fact that you won't charge someone according to a formula when you know that it would be fair to that person either. 

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RedCreations wrote
on Dec 3, 2008 10:46 AM

Hi Jenny :-)  My reason for trippling my material cost it just what I have found works for me. I, personally, don't feel that doubling is enough. (Do you think that Target or Old Navy is just doubling the cost of that $25.00 tshirt they're selling? I highly doubt it... For me - 1 part goes towards paying for the materials that went into the item so I can make it again. the 2nd part would go into the bank for longterm saving. As far as that 3rd part... I'm 26 years old and trying to make it in the jewelry world. I spent 4 years in an intense jewelry making BFA program that had me in the studio from 9am to sometimes midnight. I can remember missing most of an Easter Sunday with my family once because I had a project due the next day. I ate dinner, hugged my grandma, and then drove 45 miutes to be at the studio til 11 at night to finish sanding and polishing a peice just right... I guess that 3rd part is to pat myself on the back for a job well done and for putting in all the time, blood, and sweat to get my jewelrymaking knowledge and abilities where they're at.

Hi Jim - thanks for much for the support. It's appreciated :-)

Hi Stan - thanks for your thoughts, it's always interesting to hear other people's points of view and individual stories... Regarding the "relatively expensive art museum and theatre" ...If I were just a woman attending some kind of event at one of these venues...a random woman who doens't make jewelry - doesn't know a thing about it... and if I were to see earrings or bracelets priced for under $10...I really wouldn't think much of them. I might still buy them, however -  as little stocking stuffers or something...or to cheer up a friend who broke up with her boyfriend or something...I mean - whatever - it was only a little thing under $10, right?

However I certainly wouldn't look at it as a piece to treasure for many years to come. It was only this inexpensive little thing... Some grandmother might buy a little pair of $6-$7 earrings for her 10 year old granddaughter - so what if she'll lose them in a week - look how cheap they were.. (not quality-wise mind you, price-wise...)

I want people to realize that my work is worth investing in. My work is something that they needed because they saw it and it just spoke to them...whether it was the play of the colors or the way it fit them so comfortably - like it was made for them... It was a $150 bracelet, but it's something that they'll treasure always and take great care in wearing....

Also, these earring/bracelets you're selling for under $10...I don't know what you're making them out of so I can't say how off or on I would think your pricing would be...

Regarding the materials I, personally, work with... I guess you could say I have a taste for the higher-end side of things... I'm charging $150 for it, but you better believe it's nothing but the best  - I have very high standards for my jewelry and for my name that my jewelry is carrying.

And maybe my $150 bracelet wouldn't sell at that venue you mentioned - oh well. It's all a learning experience. And there's definitly a touch of luck that comes with it...

I applied to be in a juried show once. I'm thinking - this is gonna be great - it's gonna be among quality crafts by quality vendors...It was being held in a function room at a trendy high-end restaurant...  Well, apparently the person doing the jurying didn't do a very good job because here I am - jewelry made with nothing less then precious metals and real pearls and high-end stones...with a display that looks festive for the holidays yet classy at the same time... and who's right next to me... some chick who took 1 jewelry class at a beadstore, thought - hey, I can do this and make some money!!! and what was she selling? $2 earrings and $5 bracelets. displayed on black spraypainted cardboard.

I made quite a bit of money that day. My earrings may have been $20-$30 comparted to her $2 - but people looked at her prices/displays and in turn didn't think very highly of the jewelry. They didn't want to spend $2 or $5 if it was still a unit of money going to crappy product that was a waste... They would rather have spent more money on something that was going to be made well and last longer...something that was just...nicer. Something that they could be proud to give their loved one. That made them feel good about giving such a nice present. And who knows how well or not well her jewelry was made - it could have been put together just fine and lasted for years...but in the end - PERCEPTION IS REALITY.   ....I wasn't complaining...I sold enough jewelry to pay 2 months rent at that show :-)


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on Jan 5, 2009 8:51 AM


Thank You - I completely agree with you!!!  I don't have the jewelry BFA that you do, but I did transition to jewelry design from a BFA in Interior Design and 13 years of commercial design experience.  I started a jewelry business and I try very hard to treat it that way, but I find it very dissapointing when I attend a show and other people are hobbiest, so my jewelry seems very expensive.  Even more frustrating when the person next to you is not supposed to be a jewelry vendor, but they put out some beaded jewelry they made along with their other stuff.  So I decided that I was at the wrong king of show and have applied to some juried art shows and I hope they will be a much better venue for my stuff.  I am just nervous that I will get in - that self doubt thing....  I use Jewelry Design Manager to help me manage my inventory and price my jewelry.  Where I have the most difficulty figuring pricing is on my PMC pieces, since I spend the time to design them, fabricate them, and then design and make the jewelry piece that I use them in.  If I strictly use the "formulas" then I think my prices would be above what the market would bear.  Any advice would be welcome!




on Jan 6, 2009 1:18 AM

I think there are a few instances where you have to go with your gut instinct on how things should be priced.  I have a few items that I know should really be priced higher than they are for the amount of time I put into them, but I don't think people would actually pay for them at the higher price.  However, they sell and I love to make them, so I am willing to put a slightly lower price tag on them.  



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Sheila H wrote
on Jan 6, 2009 7:58 AM

I am not sure that when "craft shows" are discussed, that the term is universal. The "craft shows" in my area are almost ALL hobbyists that are trying to make some extra money for Christmas OR just enough money to keep their "hobby" going. Make no mistake, I do NOT consider myself a professional when it comes to jewelry. I always state that I do simple stringing however, I do design the pattern that I string those beads on the wire. 

I sometimes feel that the professionals idea of a "craft show" is more of the juried show or a boutique type of setting. I have never attended a juried show so I cannot honestly say that, that is strictly my thought. 

I do understand that using better/best quality supplies does make a better/best end result which is going to mean a higher price. I don't think that anyone on this forum would argue that point. But this is also about knowing your specific area - especially in the economic world of today - as much as knowing your own product. 

I feel that I am banging my head on the computer screen every time that someone brings up pricing. While I have stated my position on this several times, and some of those at great length, I feel at times that some are not trying to even understand the other side, that of the "hobbyist". 

While I understand the point that those of you who are doing this as a profession are making, I understand that this is your living and livelihood, however, I sometimes feel that some of the professionals would like those of us who are doing it as a "hobby" butt out. It gives me the impression that some feel that "hobbyists" are bringing the "profession" down somehow because we don't charge as much. I would also say that some "hobbyists" could be "professionals" if they chose. They just prefer to do it as a "hobby".

I look at it in this manner...a cardiologist gets paid more than a general practice doctor as they are specialists. So the "professionals" are just the specialists in this field, at least in my mind. 

This is a pretty big world and I would like to think that there is room and markets for both professional and hobbyists. 

So...having said my peace, please understand that I will choose not to post about pricing as my head cannot take the banging anymore...( maybe I just found the cause of all my headaches...)

I realize that this may not be the intent and I maybe "reading" too much between the lines, but this is how I feel...




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on Jan 6, 2009 12:11 PM

I did some careful recounting -- in last five years, I have sold six (6) items. 

All drastically underpriced by these guidlines.  I  will NOT change my pricing -- you don't sell where those very few people are, and they wanted my pieces when they saw them as I was working on them. 

I know where to look, if I ever decide to go 'semi-pro', but being an 'unrepentant sinner' I will continue to only recoup what I paid for the components -- every time I make something from that same [already paid for] tube of beads, or I won't sell.

I do NOT need the money for my hobby -- my wife conned be into make 27 specialty bracelets, all the same [except names]; I did, at no charge, [being a very intelligent man, ] and she gave them to members of her committee.  [They were individualized - each had that person's name on it.]  So she doesn't object to my bead-buying.

I don't follow her pricing guidelines either -- I just want to get back what I paid for the beads.  If I weren't beading, I'd be doing something else, which probably wouldn't help support itself.

I do not plan to invade your markets, so cannot undercut you, and I won't pay for advertising - I spend it on beads - BUT, if I ever change my mind, you better believe I will follow those guidelines, AND enter your market.  And  slightly underprice most of you -- smart marketing, you know!

Cheer up, Sheila H. -- keep doing your thing, we are true amateurs, beading for the pleasure of it, we love it!  [and that's a cheap cure for those headaches, too.]

Stan B.

Stan B.

Lakeland, MN


Ignorance is curable; Stupidity has neither cure nor excuse.

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on Jan 7, 2009 11:17 PM

 Well, this certainly was a steamy and interesting conversation, to say the least.  My two cents:

 When I go to a "craft fair", I'm expecting to see "hobbyists" who LOVE what they do as a sideline to their day job or for retirement supplement or part time between raising the children, whatever (NOTE: I respect them all no matter what the circumstance).  I enjoy seeing the love on their faces when they talk about their work, I enjoy hearing the stories about what went into each piece.  Being a life-long hobbyist of 47 years of age, having never taken more than a home economics class in high school (and boy wasn't that an easy A+), I expect to see items made from the heart with lots of love, for the pure enjoyment of the craft.  And although I am proudly a MERE hobbyist and could never compete with someone who hangs a design degree on her wall, I (like most other hobbyists I know) DO have a discerning eye for good quality and will not buy any piece unless I'm confident in the craftsmanship and materials that went into the piece.  I do NOT expect to see a professional who is all hot and bothered and stressed out at not making any sales because he/she is in the wrong market for what they want to sell for a LIVING and pay their bills.  And quite honestly, if I walk up to your booth and sense those feelings of resentment coming from you, I will walk away possibly without even looking, period -- I've done it before.  If the hobbyist gal/guy a few booths down from your professional booth is making very similar items in both design and quality, listing those items at a lower price than yours and is making the sales where you may not be, then maybe, just maybe, you're in the WRONG market and should just not return.  It IS afterall, a CRAFT fair, not a professional fair.

 Similarly, when I go to a boutique or museum (which I love and do quite frequently living here right near Laguna Beach and not far from the Getty Museum and others in Los Angeles, and anytime that I'm visiting other places with museums!), I do NOT expect to see the same folks I just saw last weekend at my local craft fair.  I DO expect to see your professional wares with the professional prices (whether I buy at that price for something that I can make for myself at a much lower cost than I would pay you is another matter).

 As Sheila and Stan have already said, there is a market for each of us and if we don't like how we are treated or how bad our creations might sell in the other's market, then we should learn the lesson presented and simply move on.  It must simply be accepted that the so-called hobbyists will quite often have the same design ideas as you professionals might try to claim as your own.  It must also be accepted that we will price accordingly for what we believe is FAIR for the market in which we chose to sell.  That's one of the many things that makes these United States of America so great -- it's a free market, and I have the right to list my creations for whatever price I want.  You'd be hard pressed to find a hobbyist who goes up to a museum store manager and moans and complains about the exorbitant prices that the professional wares are selling for - we understand and accept the fact that it IS a professional market, not our local craft fair.

 Those of you who "know" me, have seen me many times around here, know that I usually mind my p's and q's and try not to p*ss anyone off, not knowingly, and when I do and you tell me, I apologize to you.  However, you now see the side of me that says what I honestly think, sometimes brutally so.  And you're also getting a glimpse of the side of me which will not sit by and let a so-called professional march in and start belittling my fellow "hobbyists".  I don't care what the reason or excuse is, it won't happen on my watch without that I speak up.

 For those of you who don't know me and who I've managed to upset, there is such a thing as reality.  And sometimes she's a real b*tch.

 Done now.  **Handing over the soap box**

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SCB1 wrote
on Jan 8, 2009 6:11 AM

HIGH FIVE!!!! Yes It wasn't long ago that I was belittled for having different price pionts for different venues. I just shut up, but I didn't change my way of thinking and now you have said what so many of us have wanted to say. CHEERS!!!!  Beer Well said.

Beading Daily forum is 94,000+ members strong and not all of use want to make a huge name for themselves, but of those that do, I salute you, and I will not stand in your way, and please respect my right to be small time if that is what I want. Not everyone here wants to compete for you spot in the limelight, and for that you should be thankful that spot could get very crowded.

Okay off my soapbox.Big Smile

Happy Beading!!


Small-town USA. 




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