Handmade Jewelry Pricing

 

Jewelry Art as a Business

 

Back when I was still contemplating a college major, I knew that to be passionate about getting a degree, for me it would have to be in art. I did not come from a wealthy family, and a college education would be my financial responsibility, so I decided to take a year or so off to save money and to figure out how an art degree would prepare me for a career. Back then my interest was painting. I had no inclination to become a teacher, or a museum curator, or an Indiana Jones type who recovers ancient relics. And lacking the kind of ingratiating personality necessary to woo a patron, as painters had done in centuries past, what else was left?

Then life happened, and my college education turned into a class here and there, as I had the time and the resources. It's safe to say I'm not the only person who ever jumped around from job to job. Some jobs more interesting than others certainly, but nothing that was truly gratifying. So when I was finally in a position to squeeze by without an outside job, I decided it was a little late in the game to pick up painting and went instead into jewelry making. But designing and making jewelry wasn't going to be a hobby, because I still needed to supplement my income. Obviously, there is a learning curve involved in making jewelry, and in figuring out how to sell it, but I was determined.

 

 

So once an artist feels comfortable with their level of skill, and has developed their personal style, then one must explore different venues for selling. I did shows for a number of years, and then made the decision to start establishing a brand and an online presence. Whichever way you decide to sell your original art, specifically jewelry, there are certain constants to consider when pricing your work. The following is my standard formula for pricing, roughly in thirds, keeping in mind that sometimes a little variation may be required.


Cost of Materials & Overhead

 

The #1 portion of the formula includes the cost of jewelry components, or art materials. I also the time spent in sourcing my materials. Because I sell online, it includes the cost of keeping my computer and other office equipment up to date. The first portion of the formula also includes the amount of inventory you must maintain to have variety in your work, and your studio or work space with inventory storage . These, of course, are figured as a percentage that is spread out over the course of a given year of production. For me, it includes the time and equipment it takes to do photography for internet listing and other promotion. 

 

Design and Work Time

 

The #2 portion of the formula is basicly your time in creating your work. It's up to you how much you pay yourself, but without this portion of the formula your art is still just a hobby. It can be difficult to charge for all the time involved in coming up with new ideas, but you have a fairly good idea of your actual working time on any given piece of work.

 

Cost of Selling

 

The #3 portion of the formula is the one that is most often neglected. This is the cost of selling your artwork. For me, that is the cost of website subscriptions, listing or selling fees, gift wrapping, shipping materials, as well as the time spent in listing and promoting my work online in social media. Jewelry artists who do shows have entry fees, time spent during shows, displays, travel and meals etc. Painters probably incur costs in finding galleries to show their paintings, or perhaps do the same kind of art shows as do the jewelry designers?

 

The point being, all of this costs time and money! As I mentioned earlier, sometimes we do have to make adjustments in figuring our costs. We are somewhat at the mercy of the economy, art definitely being a discretionary expense. So we have to adjust to what the market will bear. But if you are not considering all of the above factors in determining your prices, you do yourself a disservice. If you're having difficulty, it may be that you have to further define your market? Or you still haven't found your personal niche? Promotion plays a large part, and must look professional. Remember, every artist has to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

 

 

 

Gloria

 

 

 

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