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darlenea@8 wrote
on May 26, 2008 11:00 AM

 I am new to this site and anxious to hear from folks sharing my dilemma.  I have been beading, wire working and now metal working for about 7 years. My problem, I have so many wonderful peices but just can't bring myself to get them iinto a shop because of my doubts about pricing. I still pay retail for my components and put many hours into my pieces. How do you set pricing?  My pieces seem to be so much more expensive than others with only a small profit. How does consignment work and at what percentage? I sell pieces at work but not enough to support my ever-growing passion. Can someone give me some guidance?

Thanks, Darlene

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Sheila H wrote
on May 26, 2008 11:52 AM

I have trouble pricing my stuff as well. For me, I usually track what I spent on the beads, findings, etc. ( I will figure out how much for each bead or finding ). For example, if I spent $5 for all the items and it took me a few hours to do a necklace, I would probably price it at $20-$30 depending on the length, how many pricier larger beads vs small seed beeds or spacers etc. Then I also think would I pay that price for that item? If not then I lower my price.

I purchase all of my items for my jewelry from craft shops etc so I pay retail as well. I also think where you are makes the difference as well. I am in a smaller community in Indiana which I know does not bring as much money as a larger market, or at least that is what I think.  

I don't know if this helps or not. This is simply my thoughts and I basically string the beads together so I don't have the time involved that you do with wire or metal working. I haven't tried wire or metal working, although I have thought about it. I would like to make my own rings.

Do you make rings as well? If so any helpful thoughts for me. I would like to start but would like to keep it cost effective.

Thanks! Sheila H.


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Alioopbc wrote
on May 26, 2008 1:01 PM

 Hi Darlene,

I think the first thing you need do if you want to sell your stuff at prices that you can accept and customers can accept is to stop shopping retail. You need to find a wholesale supplier. This may mean you have to get a tax number or a business licence depending on where you are located. The general rule for markup is 3 times the cost of making it, this would be for basic stringing, not something that demands considerable time, like lampwork beads. You are on the right track with knowing what you pay to make the items. Don't forget to pay yourself for your time. Depending on how much time you spend making an item may determin where you sell, try galleries, or high end salons. Hope this helps a little.




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TinaA@6 wrote
on May 26, 2008 10:34 PM

 I am also new to the blogging part of the website. I have been selling my work for about a year now- some are to friends that know I make jewelry, I have a few pieces on consignment in 2 shops and a gallery, plus at one of the shops where I have a few pieces on consignment, the owner purchased 15 of my lower priced bracelets that are stretchies & range from $12-20 ( he then adds what he wants and says that his customers will buy something in that price range $19.99-28.00 without much thought).

For consignment, the gallery takes 40% which is really alot- then  I mark the selling price up to allow for their deduction, which seems okay at this shop since they have customers that will pay more for handcrafted pieces. For example, if I have the piece priced at $80.,that will be the gallery's retail price. If sold, they will keep $32. and I will receive $48.

The other shops take 30% of the selling price. When you approach a shop or gallery it's helpful to go there first if possible, introduce yourself and ask who is in charge of bringing new items into the shop- also that you would love to show them some of your pieces when they have the time. I don't usually take the jewelry in with me as it may be a very busy time which can turn them off. When you show the pieces take a nice selection especially if you have several styles- they may love the items you think aren't the one's you thought they would choose. One shop owner says she likes the shop to have a specific color scheme for different seasons- this is a home decorating & gift shop. I was very surprised at the pieces she chose. Really know the amount you want for the jewelry. If they are unique I suppose you will have alot of different prices. I had a few pieces that were more than $100. The other items were all bracelets and I narrowed them down to Price A, B, or C (which hung from a tag). The A=$55; B=$65;and, C=$85 (this was the place that kept 40%). It was very easy for the buyer who said she wanted something from each price range. Another shop asked me how much did I need  for the items- I told him I would need to get $45 for the same $55. bracelet in the first place. He adds the amount he wants and may have charged $60 to get $15. in his pocket. I found that the private owned shops are happy to do consignment to increase their inventory without paying up front. The gallery likes to have a lot of the local people showing their crafts but doesn't do enough advertising to sell everything.

You need to be prepared to ask questions regarding how long the consignment period may be and how often they write you a check. Make sure you get a written contract or paper saying what you will get and what you leave there. Also, if the shop is not moving your items don't feel bad to say you are doing a trunk show and trying to get all your work together. I also do home parties- not a ton of them but try to do one each month. If you have quite a few pieces at one place you may want to be able to pick them up for a "trunk show" and then return them afterwards with some replacements for any that are sold. I have that arrangement at the gallery.

Pricing is tricky. I have a friend that makes gorgeous jewelry and lots of it- she must be up all night. She totals her components  and adds a little more and sells to friends and her daughter is a mother of young children and she is always asking her Mom to give her more things that her friends want. She was wearing a silver bracelet that had Bali beads and a toggle clasp with Swarovski crystals and some lampwork style beads (from Michael's). She said it had cost her $18. ( the silver items and findings are wholesale). She said she would sell it for $30-35. She has a great way of labelling her items with a number code- If her cost is $18.00, she will have the inventory number 41810. She or her daughter can look at the 2 numbers after 4 and that what it cost to make-if a customer is asking for a better price than what she has down (for example $35.), or if they are buying two or three pieces, they can lower the price.

I can sell the same style bracelet for $45-65. depending on if it is at the gallery (40%), the stores (30%), or on my own. I feel she is too cheap in her pricing and is really working for free.

My way of pricing my pieces is to total the components, add $1.00 for wire & crimps- double that- and add  $20/hr for labor. If the piece is like the one above, I would add $10 for 1/2 hr. labor- really something like that shouldn't take more than half an hour. Then I have some bracelets that I join with wire loops and wrap all the beads with silver, finish with a lobster claw clasp. The components add up to $8-12., my time is about 45 minutes. According to my pricing scheme I should price it at $39. [$12 X 2=24 +$15 (45 min labor)=$39.] I feel these bracelets are unique and not something that are sold everywhere and I sell them for about $60-80. depending if I add alot of dangles to them.

I have a special piece I call the "Santorini necklace", it has silver components but mostly multi-gemstones throughout the whole piece. It can cost $30-50. to make in components but takes a couple of hours to get the right mix of gems. The first one was a gift for my sister-in-law, the second sold for $75. to a friend of hers who thought it was very beautiful and way too underpriced. The next time I gave one to my niece at her party as a gift for having the party. Her friend saw it and wanted one which I sold for $120. At one of the shops where I do the consignment , the owner said $120 is too low and changed the price to $150 and sold it! I sell them between $120 and $150 depending on the gemstones in the piece(citrine, garnets, blue topaz, prehnite, etc.)- some are beautiful faceted briolettes that are $5-6 each. I have stretchie bracelets that I make from inexpensive components- czech beads, glass pearls, wood, and vintage beads from old garage sale jewelry- I can make quite a few at one sitting. I was pricing them for sale at $15 and then raised them to $18 so I can offer Buy one for $18./two for $30 & 3 for $42. I usually have a small basket of ones that are reduced at the home parties. My Mom taught me the fine art of beading and she loves to make the stretchies (as we call them). I had a party recently where there were alot of people dropping in- this group of ladies felt they only like "real gold" jewelry and were not buying. My friend said she was sorry that there weren't too many purchases- I told her that some people had gifts to buy and they bought stretchies and more than one. I had over $400. from one $55. bracelet and the rest were from the stretchies. Don't get me wrong when I say they are inexpensive- to make and in price- they  are very pretty, some elegant and some fun. Hope this all helps- I need to venture to some more stores in different areas. -Tina

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murphette wrote
on May 27, 2008 7:06 AM

Interesting topic and very informative.  I too struggle with pricing, as I am fairly new to beading, however have lots of people interested in buying items I've made/designed.  I tend to price on the lower side, although I know I could probably ask more.  I hope to eventually sell my jewelry on consignment, and therefore find this to be a great topic.  I hope more people pipe in with their views regarding "pricing".

Happy Beading to all!



Murphette - Maryland 

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AmberA@6 wrote
on Jun 6, 2008 5:06 AM

 I just wanted to say a big THANKS to TinaA for such a wealth of information on pricing. 

I think that's a big thing that holds me back from selling my goodies, especially if it's to someone I know.  I find that a set formula is not always the way to go, because sometimes the components are too pricey, so there'll be less profit in order to keep it at a saleable price.  On the other hand, sometimes the components will be from a great deal I got, and would be grossly underpriced if I used a formula.  That's what throws me off.  I want to stay under the shop prices when I sell directly, as that's half the reason I started doing this, because I thought many shops were too inflated.  I'm constantly surveying my friends as to what they think is a fair price.

I love the trunk show idea too, and the pricing code that your friend uses.  Do you inventory your stuff?

Thanks again, this is my first post, but I can already tell, I'll be glued to this site.

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