Things to consider

Pricing can be a sticky issue, especially if you’re selling work you’ve made with your own fair hands. With Christmas coming upon us faster than a speeding bullet, many of you will be thinking about selling your work whether on a small scale, to friends and family, or on a larger scale, at fairs and markets.

So how do you do it? Take the material costs and multiply that by three? Plan it out in a pricing spreadsheet or stick your finger in the air and pull a figure out of your head? There also the emotional ‘stuff’ that goes along with making and selling your work and you’ve probably said at least one of the following statements to yourself at one time or another;

  • ·         I only want to cover the cost of the materials
  • ·         Who’s going to buy a piece of my work?
  • ·         I don’t do this professionally, it’s only a hobby
  • ·         I can’t charge THAT!
  • ·         I don’t charge for my time
  • ·         How much??

Mindset of charging for your work

One thing’s for sure, if you’re in that kind of mindset then you are probably not charging enough! Very often hobbyists and small businesses undervalue the amount of time, effort and expense that goes into making and selling a piece of jewellery. They do not take into account the large number of hidden costs that are generally incurred in a finished piece of jewellery. When pricing your work I am sure you think about the cost of the materials, like the Precious Metal Clay, but in my experience that’s usually a small percentage of the actual cost of making a piece. You probably consider;

  • ·        The other findings that are used, e.g. earring backs, chains, clasps etc
  • ·         Other costs e.g. hallmarking
  • ·         Packaging costs e.g. box, ribbon, card, paper
  • ·         Your per hourly fee

But do you consider?

  • ·         The power you use to make, i.e. lighting, heating, firing, tumbling
  • ·         Wear and tear on tools
  • ·         Consumables e.g. sandpaper, embeddable items like stones and settings, enamel
  • ·         Other costs e.g. marketing, cost of sales
  • ·         Your PROFIT

Do you think about profit?

The second list details the ‘hidden’ costs, the costs that you may not account for when totalling up what the item costs you to make. But they are there and should definitely be considered, especially the last one. It is one thing to charge for your time, quite another to build in a little bit of profit. However I strongly urge you do it. Your profit margin is your ‘buffer’, you charge for your time when considering your hourly fee but your profit is there to ensure that if the prices of your materials rise, and we all know that the bullion market can fluctuate dramatically, then you can afford to buy in new materials to replace the jewellery you’ve sold.

Building realistic goals when pricing

But when pricing your jewellery, there’s always got to be a certain amount of realism involved. You have to think about your ideal customer, what he or she wants to buy and where they are likely to buy it, what they would be prepared to pay and what they expect to get for their money. So, for example, if you paid £10 for a table at your local church fair, it is unlikely that you will sell many items priced £50 and above.  However, if you’ve paid a higher fee for a craft market in a busy town at Christmas-time, you are far more likely to sell your more expensive pieces. I am not saying you shouldn’t charge high prices for your pieces, but pick your market and customer carefully.

What do you do?

So how do I go about pricing? It’s a little bit of a combination of costing each item on a spreadsheet, keeping in mind the criteria and considerations mentioned above  AND sticking my finger in the air and pulling a figure out of my head! I’m also constantly challenged by my own self doubt as to whether my work should command the price I charge, but I am happy to say that so far it’s been reasonably successful. How do you go about your pricing? I would love to hear your views!