Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some more pictures, some new listings, and a question. I'm going to start with the question, though.

How do you price your work?

I'm not just being nosy or anything, but I'm curious. Do you really think about everything that goes into your creations? Or do you price your pieces at lower prices than you really should, in hopes of appealing to buyers? It's a pretty safe bet that everyone who's creating work to be sold is accounting for materials, and you're probably giving yourself at least some sort of hourly wage, but in looking at the prices being charged on Etsy, it appears that many of the sellers are shortchanging themselves... and in the process, they're devaluing the work of their fellow sellers.

I'm by no means an expert on pricing, but I have spent some time recently analyzing the pricing structure on my beadweaving in an attempt to place an appropriate value on my creations. A lot of thought went into developing a formula that would work. While many people use a formula as simple as cost-of-materials x 2.5 or 3, that type of formula doesn't work well for something like beadweaving, which requires relatively low material costs but a great deal of time.

So, what do you account for in your pricing?

1. Materials. You know what the beads, chain, wire, clasps, jumprings, etc., cost. Right? Did you remember to include the cost of the gas you used to drive to the store? Sales tax? Shipping costs?

2. Fees. There are lots of fees associated with selling, even on a site like Etsy where the fees are relatively low. There's that $.20 listing fee. The 3.5% transaction fee. PayPal fees, which vary based on the type of PayPal account you have and the type of account and/or location of the buyer. Think you have everything covered? What if your item doesn't sell the first time it's listed? Do you have some extra fees built in to cover renewals? (One of the best ways to "advertise" your work on Etsy is to list frequently. If you're not making all sorts of new creations every day, you should be renewing the ones you have in your shop so they get some extra attention. Every renewal puts your work on Etsy's front page, even if it's only for a few seconds, and you never know who might be looking.)

3. Time. This is where everyone seems to falter. You probably include at least some sort of hourly wage in your calculation, to cover the time it takes you to create your pieces. Do you include the time it takes you to design the pieces? How about the time it takes you to do the photography? Or to write up your listing? Do you blog about your creations? Post pictures to flickr, Talent Database, or other places to promote your work? How do you account for the time it takes you to do those things?

4. Packaging/shipping. You probably account for the cost of postage when you calculate the shipping cost for your listing. You might even account for the cost of packaging. Are you sure you have everything? Bubble mailers, boxes, bags, tissue, bubble wrap, ribbon, string, tape, mailing labels? Gas for the trip to the post office?

We all have different skills, we work at different rates, and we create different types of art. So it's unlikely that there's a formula out there that would work for everyone. Just be sure that when you're pricing your work, you're giving yourself credit as an ARTIST. Don't shortchange yourself. And don't devalue the work of others who may be creating in the same genre by offering your creations at prices that are too low.

*steps down from soapbox*

Okay, enough of that. Now for the pictures. These are my newest listings, for two very different bracelets.

First is an Oglala bracelet, Garnet and Mauve Ruffle. These are so much fun to make, and even though I'm not a "red" person, I love the colors in this piece.

The ruffles are made up of beautiful clear beads that are lined with a pale mauve color, and then there's a picot edging made from size 15 garnet colored glass beads. The larger beads are painted glass, and I added some little strands of the size 15 beads for some extra embellishment.

The second bracelet is very different from the Oglala. This one, Abstract in Bronze and Sand, is the same design as the Evolutionary cuff I created awhile back, but I used only two colors of beads this time.

The beads in this one are have a matte metallic finish (my personal favorite). The bronze beads, which have an iris finish, are absolutely gorgeous!

Hey, look at that! I managed to get some pictures taken today!!! Of course, there are a few other things which I should have gotten done that didn't quite make into my schedule... but then, that's always the way.


MySweetThree said...

Pricing is something that I have a difficult time someone who has never sold their work before until now, I follow those Etsy forums on pricing..and then I found your blog about it. I pay attention..It is a learning process for me. But..thanks for the post..I learned a lot.

Lucky Girl said...

Terrific pricing info--thanks for posting! It can be such an emotional issue for people, making it more difficult than it should be, and you've hit the important points.

Melody said...

Pricing, yeah. I use a formula that partakes deeply of voodoo economics. *grin*

Actually, I start with an hourly rate, add a ballpark amount for materials, then add a premium for difficulty/uniqueness/artistic merit. I generally do not build in costs for design time, fees, or shipping materials, but still end up pricier than many on etsy. My craftsmanship is excellent, my materials the finest obtainable, and each piece is a labor of love. I don't think my prices are too high for what the buyer receives, not at all.

I hate to see something on etsy that I know took at least 30 hours to do (plus design, plus materials) priced at what I think of as thrift store pricing. It makes me sad for the artist.

I adore your Abstract in Bronze & Sand! I'm working on a freeform piece with lots of matte metallic right now, and I'm falling in love with the colors again as I work. There's something about gleam as opposed to shine that really resonates with me.

Beaderjojo said...

People who underprice themselves are doing NO good for the progression of bead art.

When I price my pieces, I take into consideration materials, design time, and active creation time. I then might then add a little bit if it is something spectacular. I rarely take into account the time it takes me to photograph and list...but with my prices on the mid-to-higher end of the scale in terms of bead weavers, I don't feel I have much "wiggle room".

Jean Hutter said...

Great post MaryLou - a lot for me to think about - I think my prices are to low and I have no formula - I just seem to pick a price and then price like items accordingly. Having said that, part of my problem is I do not keep track of the price of my materials or my time. I really need to take a long hard look at my pricing structure. Not that I sell very much, but you are right about undervaluing your work and hurting other bead weavers in the process. I am going away for the long weekend and this is something I will be thinking about. I would also like to come up with a formula that will work for me.

melissa said...

For me, I do my pricing in a couple of ways. Like right now, I know people are tight with money, due to the poor economy, so I have set my prices pretty low. At least most of them. Some things that I know have a higher value, like more rare gemstones, or solid gold settings, those prices are higher. Plus I go by what it cost me to purchase the supplies. If I get an awesome deal on my supplies, I pass that on to my customers.

GrandmaMarilyns said...

There are a lot of things in your blog that I don't take into account when I price my items. I need to rethink some of my prices. The only things I am sure about on my prices are my peyote cuffs.

Hot Rocks said...

Great article on jewelry pricing! I have a formula that I use, but I agree many sellers on Etsy sell their work for way too cheap. I always wonder to myself, how a jewelry designer is making any profit selling necklaces for $8.99?
Anyhow, love your work the bronze colored bracelet is beautiful!

Artisan Beaded & Wire Wrapped Jewelry said...

Pricing..the bane of my jewelry creation existence. {sigh} This is something I struggle with constantly, and given the sheer number of sellers I see with $4 earrings or $5 bracelets, its not something that I think will ever be 'right'.


Regal Beads said...

thank you for this! It made me rethink my shipping, I hadn't really figured in my new boxes for example.