Thursday , 23 October 2014
Let’s start 2011 right and stop being afraid to charge prices for your jewelry that show you are a professional.

Pricing Your Handmade Jewelry

Final Sale - Fine Art Photography Original Print (8x10) IN STOCK

Final Sale - Fine Art Photography Original Print (8x10) IN STOCK |by: elr104

Pricing your Handmade Jewelry

By: Jacqueline Jewelry

Let’s start 2011 right and stop being afraid to charge prices for your jewelry that show you are a professional. Even if you’re new to the craft of jewelry, you should be pricing for the luxury that jewelry is. One mistake that new jewelry designers often make is to price their work too low.

Pricing handmade jewelry seems to one topic that jewelry artists seem never to agree on. There are lots of different viewpoints and philosophies. This article will discuss some of the things to think about as you consider how to price your jewelry, and some of the common pricing models that jewelry designers use.

Keep in mind that you do much more than make jewelry as a business owner. In order to cover costs and overhead it is essential to charge more than your hourly rate + material costs, or keep your hourly rate on the high side (i.e. $20/ hour is much more realistic than $10/ hour) if you want your business to be profitable.

Here are a few pricing tips:

• Don’t compete with imports on pricing! Your quality is better, and you can never compete with those that make $2 a day. Instead, position yourself as the high quality jeweler that you are, and command reasonable prices.

• As a newcomer, you can start lower if you would like, and move your pricing up as you become more established.

• Lower pricing also can work against you because it cheapens the perceived value of your work. People tend to think you get what you pay for, so if you charge too low, people tend to think something is “fishy” if the price is lower than they expect for a handmade object.

I have another reason for not charging too low. This is kind of my personal soapbox:

If you charge too low, you are not only cheapening the perceived value of your own work, you are also cheapening the work of others because the public learns to think that some jewelers who charge what they are worth, are charging too much.

Those jewelers who charge what they are worth then have to work so much harder to convince customers that their work is worth the cost.

That said, as a jewelry designer, you need to consider two types of pricing: wholesale and retail.

Wholesale and Retail Pricing Models

Here are common wholesale pricing models used by jewelry designers:

• 3 x the material cost
• 3.5 x the material cost
• $20/hour • labor plus 1x materials plus 50% (or whatever you want your hourly wage to be)
• Eyeballing i.e. guessing at what it should be worth (not recommended, but common)
• $35/hour • labor plus 1x materials
• $26/hour • labor plus 1x materials plus 50%
• $20/hr.labor + mat. + 5%overhead + 20%profit

And here are common retail pricing models used by jewelry designers:

• 1.4 x wholesale
• 1.5 x wholesale
• 1.6 x wholesale
• 1.7 x wholesale
• 1.8 x wholesale
• 1.9 x wholesale
• 2.0 x wholesale
• The ever common but not recommended “eyeballing” method

Feel free to use any of the wholesale or retail pricing formulas to price your own work. Remember that customers are not only buying the materials in a piece of jewelry, and the time you spent making it, they’re buying your unique vision and expertise.

Original article > Jacqueline Jewelryblog ad1

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31 comments

  1. Great info, thanks for sharing! ♥

  2. Definitely some great advice in this blog. I shall certainly be using it for reference in my own shop. :)

  3. Thank you so much for this article! When I first started selling my jewelry on Etsy, I charged pretty low and hardly made anything! It took a lot for me to up my prices to what they are now. I am now a lot more organized and I know specifically what all the costs are that helps so much! I now feel like my shop and my jewelry prices are reasonable for the quality of craftsmanship. =)

  4. Tim – Thanks for reprinting my article. I hope everyone get’s a lot out of it.

  5. Great advice! I’ve been using the guesstimate method. Not working very well at all. I appreciate your advice and will start to do it on the cost of materials and time spent to make it, shop for it, time to enter it into my site, etc… that should bring it up to where I think my work is worth. Oh yeah, I’ll be taking out my old jewelry (my beginner work) and reuse the supplies in them. Thanks so much for the incentive to make the change that is so badly needed for me personally.

  6. Thanks Jacquline, for those of us who have increased our prices due to increased metal cost your words are reassuring.

  7. Aside from putting a fair and reasonable value on your jewelry, even to the point of announcing somewhere in your shop that your prices reflect a compromise between wholesale and minimal retail for example, pricing your jewelry should also factor in your originality (and let’s face it, even within some of the “stock items” presented everywhere e.g. the ubiquitous wire wrapped briolette) there is an uniqueness to every design…unless, of course, you are copying outright, which is another conversation.

    One of the other huge concerns, at least for me, is shipping and insurance. This is an area where I consistently lose money. SO… I have started to charge for both for domestic US customers, and to highly recommend it for international, especially for higher end items. There are some items which I will not ship without insurance, and remember: this is our right- to refuse to do business with people according to our personal standards.

    With PayPal’s new policy of automatically refunding customers, even in far flung locales, for items which do not show up, there is a definite danger for the small business (like most Etsy shops) of falling prey to serial filers. I always check the feedback of international buyers especially, and if they seem to never have things show up, I might be apt to cancel their order.

    This is an issue, shipping charges, which are almost as important as proper pricing if you wish to come close to making a profit with your business.

    • whoa I did not hear about that paypal thing. do they still try to contact the seller and get tracking info for proof? I always add tracking. I bought something online once that never came, and I had to do the whole dispute thing to get a refund, but I got it since the selling site never responded. If I’m sitting here trying to respond to a claim of non-delivery and they ignore me and refund automatically I will not be a happy camper, and that should be illegal actually.

  8. I make chainmaille jewelry which generally takes a really long time (lots of hours). I have a couple slightly different pricing systems from a chainmaillers’ forum site. One of them gives an example of $10 an hour for something that takes one hour to make; the other is more complicated with wages depending on weight of the finished item, for jewelry it would be $3 an hour plus 1.50 per oz. plus materials and extra features. that’s the one I generally use and it still gives a fairly high price for things that take 14-20 hours to make. after it sits awhile without selling I add a couple dollars.

  9. It can be so hard to determine the price of a piece. I also get a lot of materials for free or from bartering and that can make the whole process even more difficult. If I get my expensive materials for free I can offer low prices, but does that make my items seem cheap? It doesn’t feel right to charge a lot for something I got for free so I always struggle with item pricing.

    • You have to remember that even though you’ve bartered for it it still has a value.
      It is fair to base your prices on what it would cost if you had to buy it. (And bartering is buying – just not with money.) You can compare online or in a bead catalogue. It doesn’t have to be the exact thing, but it should be of equal size, material & quality.
      And in anycase – your time is worth something.
      You should think of it like an insurance claim. What would it actually COST you to replace that item? If you were given a TV, it would still have a value if you had to replace it.
      It’s a hard thing to get your head around in the beginning – but it makes the difference between successful business & an expessive hobby. Do not feel guilty charging. You are allowed to be successful and profitable.

      • Thank you for that kind reminder! Fair market value is something I will begin to look into to determine if things are staying fair for everyone involved. I don’t want to try and compete with factories in China, because if people wanted that stuff then that’s what they would get. I also don’t take into account all the love and magic I put into my pieces when I make them… I expend a lot of energy to make quality magic items that are worth more then the cost of materials and time. Thank you again!

  10. This has to be the hardest task for me in selling my jewelry. When I started I knew my prices were too low. When I increased them, I actually sold more, but friends (and even some customers!) still told me they were too low. So, I’ve increased them yet again! What I haven’t done, and this great article will encourage me to do it, is sit down and actually calculate what goes into a piece.

    Question: Do you actually break down the price per bead and the price per inch of wire or other metal? I have so much raw material inventory that I’ve bought over time that I can no longer match up with the original invoice so I know what I paid.

    • If I have the original invoice I will often break down the price for the beads. Because sterling silver is so expensive these days, I cost for replacement rather than original cost – especially if I’m using wire I’ve had around for a while. With beads, sometimes I go to a comparable vendor online and find out the current price.

      Then there are other times when i go on general knowledge of costs and wing it. :-)

  11. Great tips from ‘Jacqueline Jewelry’! I think all us jewelry designers fall into the trap of undervaluing our beautiful creations. Good point about the value of our own work and how low pricing reflects on other designers.

    Thanks for posting.

  12. I break everything out per bead/stone and I use the a price per inch on all of my chain and wire. It is the easiest way for me! =)

  13. I love the last line “Remember that customers are not only buying the materials in a piece of jewelry, and the time you spent making it, they’re buying your unique vision and expertise.” Excellent advice!

  14. This information came at just the right time! I was searching on pricing info and voila! I found this site! Thank you for sharing. I just finished an argent s.s. byzantine bracelet and since I have been told I don’t charge enough, I am in a quandry. I have about 5 hours into attaching the rings, perhaps another 1/2 hour making the rings, and my wire priced out to about $26. I generally charge $10 per hour, so that brings me to $76. So what is next? Is this where I start multiplying x1.5 or 2.0 for wholesale? Then that price time another 1.5 or 2.0. That comes out to a pretty high priced bracelet. So – what do you suggest? Is pricing wire work/chainmaille different from pricing a beaded/stringing item? Thank you!

  15. Pricing your Handmade Jewelry is now on: http://chelsearainbows.blogspot.com.

    I changed shops in February.

  16. Great information, thanks for sharing!

    So the next question I would have is, should there be a written agreement of some kind in place? I’m about to consult with a storefront owner who has an interest in my jewelry. Neither one of us has ventured into this before…

  17. I was told to decide what I want to net as far as labor is concerned and double that. With this formula, your taxes, social security, etc. are taken care of. The formula I follow are: labor plus other costs (overhead), plus 2.5 to 3 times materials. You need to be able to live and to reinvest in your business. Also, you are not making jewelry 8 hours a day every day. You are doing other business related chores and you need to get paid for them. This is your wholesale price. It may seem expensive but take a look at the prices of the successful jewelry designers and the reason their wares may seem expensive is because they are factoring in all costs and profit. Pertaining to a previous comment: how can anyone charge $3.00 per hour and make a living?

  18. An hourly wage for someone like me (who makes beadwoven jewelry) would simply be insane. It takes me a very long time to make a piece, because I am weaving individual, tiny seed beads together one-by-one. No one would want to by a simple peyote bracelet for $270 dollars just because it took me over 10 hours to make. There is just no way. I would look silly asking for that much, not luxurious. There is a balancing point somewhere in the middle that is a price the markets will bear, and does compensate me for SOME of my time at least. However, there is no way I could ask for $20 an hour for it.

  19. Thanks for the information I been working so hard on my new designs so I had no idea how to price it

  20. I have been approached by a boutique to carry my Handmade jewelry line. My problem is should I go wholesale, consignment or Gallery Style, which they sell and take a small percentage. If I do go wholesale pricing it to the boutique buyer is my problem. If I want $35.00 to come to me I am not sure how this works

  21. I make sets.. necklace, braclet and earrings. I use glass beads and beading wire. Aren’t these kinds of sets commen? They are just beads strung on a wire with a clasp. I don’t know how you would price them. I buy the beads and do not use them all in one set. How do you figure out price that way. I have never timed myself on making them because I make them and remake them and never plan them out. People say they are nice and that I don’t charge enough. Even people who buy them say that. I figured a set would be about 35.00 .. but they say more like 50.00.. I am confused. I don’t want to rip anyone off. I would’t spend 35.00 on them. lol

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