Saturday , 15 May 2021

Pricing: How Much Time Are You Really Spending on Your Product?

Abacus Hands Antique Calculator Digital Image Download Sheet

Abacus Hands Antique Calculator Digital Image Download Sheet

Pricing: How Much Time Are You Really Spending on Your Product?

We all know the formula:
Cost Price (Labor + Materials Cost) x 2 = Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price

But what goes into the cost of our labor?

A day in the life of an Etsy Item
Aside from what you spend on supplies and incidentals, which is relatively easy to track, what about the time you put in? If you are like me, you do not weigh time heavily into the equation because you are so happy while you are in creative mode, and you forget about all of the other stuff.  Recently I have taken a hard look at my time management for pricing purposes and life in general.

Sad but true, time is money, even when it feels like you should be paying someone for the happiness you get from making jewelry. 

Lets look at one little piece of jewelry, and all it has to go through to get into the hands, or onto ears or necks of my customer, (not exactly in order of appearance).  

Little Piece of Jewelry
  • The research process – this is what I like to call it when I am daydreaming up new ideas.
  • The sketch – you can skip this part if you do not need to sketch, but I do. Here are your five minutes back if you don’t.

  • Learning and practicing techniques, or, how the heck do I make this? This can include: time spent in trial and error, in courses, reading books, taking Ecourses, or tutorials.

  • Ordering or shopping for Supplies.

  • The actual designing process.

  • Actually fabricating your piece


  • Modeling it for your significant other or furbaby and telling them they are not excited enough about this new creation.
Not Really Me
  • Photographing it.
  • The dreaded editing of said photographs.
  • Determining pricing which includes more dreaded research and, yikes, math.
  • The even more dreaded listing of item.
  • Answering stupid and not so stupid convos.
  • Tweeting, FB-ing, Stumbling, Deliciousing, Stylehiving, Pinteresting, Kaboodling, Blogging, making the dreaded Treasury (I make them, but I don’t like them), commenting on T’s, and more.
  • Doing all of the above for your team members, as they have done for you.
  • Messing with Etsy on Sale. Should I, shouldn’t I? etc.

  • Promoting your sale if you chose “I should.”
  • Rearranging your Etsy store obsessively
  • Renewing
  • Checking Craftopolis
  • Reading Handemadeology
  • Checking Google Analytics and wondering if anyone really understands it.


  • Worrying about your SEO and asking Bob a lot of questions: 1800-jewelry24Seven
  • Creating and promoting coupons, or wondering if you should.

Finally,  a sale!

Continuing on…
  • Ordering or shopping for packing supplies.

  • Putting your precious piece into pretty packaging that you ordered or made.

  • Packing for safe shipping.
  • Printing a label, cursing at printer %&*((%!!  *(__$%^&!!!.
  • Fixing the printer or running to Staples for more printer ink.
  • Printing again.
  • Going to the post office.
  • Swearing I am going to get more organized so I can arrange home pick up, which is FREE.
  • Following up emails (yup, you bought it, yeah, its coming etc.).
  • Worst case, tracking a package. uuugghhhhhh.
  • Best case, happy customer, brilliant feedback, Yayyy.

Guess what, time to start all over again.

All of this is not even factoring in the very important time spent on the JET Thread!

Is your pricing right?
Do not sell yourself short. Much of the cost of doing business is our time! 


Thanks for reading,


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  1. Excellent post. Great information and very helpful. Thank for sharing.


  2. time is more precious than silver or gold! Thank you for the insight & the humor ;)

  3. Don’t forget, in a real job you would also get paid for sick days, vacation days, coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, and they don’t usually dock your pay if you make a mistake and have redo something!

  4. ROFL! That is SO true! I just came out with a hat design yesterday and so I’m nodding my head in laughing agreement about it all!
    Celeste (Crickets)

  5. I look at other Etsy shops frequently and wonder how they can sell a particular item for such a low price. I sometimes worry it makes me looks over-priced, but then I remember that no one should have to work for free to make the sale (even the people-pleaser in me). Thanks for the nitty-gritty list of the time-thieves we often forget to factor into our pricing. Ugh! I wonder why I love this Etsy shop stuff so much when at least half of your list made shudder, cringe, and giggle all at once. Great post!

  6. I just raised the prices of all my jewelry so that I can sell it wholesale. It’s hard to price things at at their appropriate prices when people are saying, your prices are awful high, but I want to make a living off my work and not keep it a hobby.

    • Yeah I always have to remember that when people say that, it’s not because I’m charging too much, it’s because they just don’t have the extra money, or they’re not my target market so they don’t understand the actual value of handmade jewelry.

  7. maryellen silberg

    Love this post..we, as artists, never really are reimbursed for the time spent making any item..we would not be able to sell the item if we actually charged for every hour of our time put into the process . I do quilting for my own home and family but have hesitated to put my quilted items on Etsy, as I have soooo many painstaking hours in the creation of each item that I do not feel I could charge for this and still come up with a reasonable retail price.

  8. It is hard to charge what my stained glass is worth when customers compare my items to stuff coming out of China, etc. :(

  9. Cat, your stained glass is lovely! You’re right – we can do our best to educate customers on the true costs of buying mass produced junk from China, but that doesn’t always result in sales.

  10. LOL – well put!

    I myself am working on streamlining my processes (i.e. taking pictures of 100 items at once so I can list at my leisure, making ONE trip to the strip mall/Michael’s/A.C.Moore/local bead shops and stocking up LOTS of materials, etc. etc.) so that I can start simplifying all of the above.

    I’m also trying to check my Etsy (and ebay, shh!) less obsessively (per Handmadeology’s advice) so that I have more ‘me’ and ‘creation’ time to myself.

    Really fun to read, thank you!

  11. Well put and so very true! If we added up each of the items on this list our jewelry would be over $100 per piece, lol!!

  12. Hahaha, this post is hilarious! Thanks for combining a good laugh with the depressing wake-up call of the ridiculously long list of time consuming activities we all face.

  13. Never thought about all the extra time that goes into researching, listing, etc. I was just figuring my time of actually making the item. Thanks for the info.

  14. The life of a creative is mostly a very underpaid one, unless you create this to die for piece that is easily replicable and has a large profit margin in it. Okay, so I don’t want to sound like a kill joy, but, well, maybe I just need to stumble up my hit product. #frustrated

    I guess as long as we are not selling ourselves too short, we make up for it in the enjoyment factor:-)

  15. Good post, even if it did feel like a homework assignment. Thanks!

  16. Been there, do that! Now I know I’m not alone and it feels goooood!

  17. I totally agree. Plus when what you sell are paintings, one of a kind, never-to-be-repeated works of art, THAT has to be reflected on the price too!

  18. What a great post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was chuckling throughout as I read it because it is so true. Especially the part about convos, shopping for packing supplies and the dreaded editing of photos for listings. Not to mention also, posting on 43924832 social networking sites to get your stuff seen but also that obsessive-compulsive checking of craftopolis, which is time-wasting, though fun and satisfying nonetheless.

    I use a slightly more complex formula (only slightly, otherwise my artistic brain might not be able to handle the math :P) because I like to factor in my overhead into it as well. I’m a “kitchen jeweler” and rent isn’t free! Even so though, I have a hard time figuring out what’s the right price for my items and end up tweaking them every once in a while.

    Anyway, thank you so much for writing this post, Norah!

  19. Makes me thick twice or three times. For sure I am not overcharging. Thanks for article

  20. Sad, but true! If I added the cost of my time for all of these, my jewelry would be so outrageously expensive I would NEVER sell a piece!

    (good post, though!)

  21. All of this is great info and I’ve thought about it a lot. Thank you for articulating it well.

  22. Excellent post! Don’t forget the office supplies costs or the costs of advertising too… Oh, and fees… and internet costs…and the list goes on. I think I have to agree that it’d be impossible to compete with imported jewelry if we priced as we really should all the time. Like everything else, you also have to factor in what the market will bear! That’s not to say I think anyone should set rock bottom pricing though! Definitely food for thought for many shops, Norah – thanks!

  23. HI Karen:
    For this article I really wanted to focus on the time that goes into our craft. The costs of fees, advertising and office supplies; well that is a whole other post! And a long one too. Hopefully artisans will unite in factoring in what our time is worth! Thank you for reading.

  24. Thank you to everyone who commented, for reading and laughing along with me.

  25. Norah makes me laugh each and every time!

  26. An excellent post, so true with it all. I have had friends and family (in good faith) say maybe I am pricing my stuff to high, but if I priced everything for 5 pounds I would not be making any money at all . . . in fact, factoring in time, I would be losing money big time, eep!!!!

    This post heartens my pricing resolve :)

  27. This is an eye opening to me. Yes, I never realized that I spent time that much and only charge the time when I’m making it. It is true I spent more time promoting than creating, but I never take that into consideration.. Great Post! and funny too :-)

  28. Excellent Article! Thanks so much!

  29. I loved reading this article – didn’t think about including so many fun activities. Now, I think I need to ask a lot more for each of my listings.

  30. I do lathe turned wood. Last year at a market some fellow looked at the price and asked, ‘Why, it is just a piece of wood.’ Fortunately my Czech is now good enough to turn and grab him by the arm, ‘Just a hunk of meat.’ My polite wife was shocked.

  31. I just read this and couldn’t stop laughing because it was so true! I really needed this right now, because like anything you can get a little burnt out. Thanks for sharing :)

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