Tips and ideas for selling seed bead kits?

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MigotoChou wrote
on Dec 15, 2013 1:01 AM

So I have been making and selling seed bead patterns for a while now, and I think I would like to start offering kits to go along with those patterns.


I am not really sure where to start with this however.  How should I put them together - bags, flip top boxes... Something else?  What should I print the pattern on?  Nice printer paper, cardstock?  Should I laminate the patterns?  Or should I just continue to offer a digital download of the patter with the kits?  What all should I include - just the seed beads, supplies to make a jewelry piece?  A lot of my patterns could be used for different things (especially the brick stitch patterns) so I was thinking just the beads and then the designer could chose what to do with the finished beadwork.


Also, how should I go about pricing a kit?  What elements should I consider?


Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!



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tcwhit wrote
on Dec 15, 2013 11:44 AM

I believe a kit should be all inclusive. Most beginners start out with kits. It's of no use to them if they don't know how, or have the items, to finish it. I'm not saying ONLY beginners buy them, nor am I saying ALL beginners buy them. But even as much beading as I do, if I'm gong to buy a kit, I don't want to have to worry if am I buying the correct items to finish it, or if I can find a 2 dollar item and not have to pay 5 dollars shipping for it. KWIM? If I bought a pendant kit, and it's complete, that's how it should be. Now if I decide half way through I'd prefer it as a brooch, then it's all on me to hunt down what I need to finish it, and I can't blame any of it on the seller. This is only my opinion, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks that feel differently. You're going to have to do what you feel most comfortable with.

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D.M.Z wrote
on Dec 15, 2013 3:39 PM

Amanda, I am in agreement with TC on this. I have been beading steadily since 2005 and if I see a pattern that uses beads that I do not own, I always consider buying the kit. I mostly work in delicas, so if a pattern calls for seed beads or some of those new novelty beads I'm not going to go out and buy a gazillion bucks worth of beads and pay shipping for them, it is much easier and faster to buy a kit. I'm not left with dribs and drabs of something that it turns out I may not like working with. Easy peasy solution is to go with a kit.

The kits I buy usually have everything in them, sometimes even the needle. Usually the thread and beads and any findings. Part of that design that I admired is the overall appearance of the finished product and like TC if I have to do HOURS of searching on the net to find stuff I am not going to do the item. 

Patterns are fine on just plain white paper. Especially if you are limiting the purchaser to one item. Cardstock or laminate is fine if you expect them to make dozens......... I have purchased patterns from one well known west coast artist, she includes everything and one of those plastic folders like reports come in, clear front, stuff the pages in it and it looks pretty nice. Inside pages are just printed off her printer, good quality print, decent paper. Her bead selection is top end (and always, always more than you need to finish the pattern), great colors and her kits are priced between $50 and closing in on $100 for necklaces which are bigger and more complex. She teaches nationally and so has a following to justify her prices.

Little zip lock bags are fine, labeled as to what they are. I have bought kits where the beads came in wee flippies........(I was IM-pressed with that one, but again it was the better part of $100 and from a well known person). The smaller kits have come in those fancy pouches with drawstrings, the wee flippies all came in a larger plastic box along with the instructions folded neatly and displayed so that the picture is on top (nice touch). Some have come in 5x8 plastic zip locks with the instructions folded in half inside with the materials.

No digital downloads for me, often the site is overwhelmed and the download has to be done over and over to get one complete download.......ugh. Print the pattern and send it with the kit.  For your brick patterns if you can do more than one thing with them, print separate patterns and sell separate kits, don't go messing with what you are clear. 

If you have bought any quantity of kits (you have, haven't you?) you can get an idea of what is in them for the price. The seed beads are the least of the expense. Pricing should reflect the "Cost of Goods Sold" and includes your labor (to begin, I'd start with half of min. wage), electricity, purchase price of the items in the kit (including a share of the postage paid)...............just like anything else you'd sell. Look up a decent business plan outline and do fill it out for your kits. Doing that will bring a lot of thoughts to your mind, I did one for dog biscuits that I made and even though I worked in the economic development biz, I still had several light bulbs go off as I did the drill of filling one out. There is no sense in selling something where you are losing your shirt. No sense at all. Take a loss if you want in order to build your reputation and then get serious about your pricing. Remember the IRS.............  Do you have permission to do Disney stuff? Wow, probably TMI, but hope it all helps. Donna

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MigotoChou wrote
on Dec 15, 2013 10:58 PM

Thank you both so much!  This is excellent information!


You both brought up points that I hand't though of!  I may start out with a couple of earring patterns, and go from there.  Findings for those are pretty standard, and that would give me a chance to see how things go!



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