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dogsoldier

Selling pieces on Etsy

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I will be opening my own Etsy shop soon to sell some of the craft projects that I have been doing for a while. These projects include hand carved runes, drinking horns, leather bags, chainmail, and scale mail. This has led me to start checking out what others are charging for products similar to what I will be offering and I have to say that I am honestly shocked at how much people seem to think their stuff is worth. I don't want to call anyone out specifically but here are some examples of what I'm talking about.

Scale mail bikini for $250

Chainmail mantle with scale sleeves for $300

Scale mail vest with chainmail backand no sides for $550

Chainmail dress with some scales for $900

Most unbelievable... 16 x 42 inch sheet stainless steel scales for $3000!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they can't sell stuff for what they think it's worth and I'm not saying they aren't nice pieces. I'm just wondering if anybody actually ever buys these things. If it's priced so high that no ordinary person could afford it, is it even worth selling?

I'm not trying to offend anyone here by asking this (if the above examples belong to members of this forum). If it is indeed common to sell pieces in that price range perhaps I need to reevaluate my asking prices.

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A lot of those prices are about what they should be in a retail setting, though without pictures its a bit rought to estamate the hours and material costs associated with each piece.

Figure 15% or so markup to cover the fees.

Some prices may be a little high but it depends on what market your coming from and rember not everything listed will actualy sell.

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I would say the prices you have listed are probably pretty close to what they should be. I personally have looked at starting an etsy account but I honestly don't see where I could make money doing it. Currently my biggest sellers are AA HP4-1 bracelets that I sell at 20 dollars because after figuring in materials cost plus my hourly wage (between 13 and 14) selling at 20 only leaves 5 dollars as profit. Now for friends or the items I make which I donate the profits to charity that still leaves the price at 15 dollars and that's not including the fees I would get from etsy & paypal, yet I see bracelets very close to mine going for 14 and that would bring my wage down to ? $11, with no profit. And as any business student can tell you if you don't make profit your not really accomplishing the goal of owning a business.

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I don't want to post pics of other people's work for fear of singling out individuals that might be members here, but this is one of the pieces I plan on selling. The chainmail is 14 ga. 5/16 id galvanized steel with laces up the front. The vest is mild steel large scales with laces on the sides and leather harness. I plan to sell the set for $600 and vests by themselves for $300. Is this not enough? I don't want to make a whole bunch of stuff that is just going to sit around in my garage and not make me any money because no one will buy it at the prices I'm selling them for.

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Those prices are pretty much standard. You will find a lot of people who sell for what it costs them in materials without considering adding in wages or profit. They won't be around long without getting frustrated over not making a go of it.

I just recently got my items into a gallery. I am in the middle of moving house, but when that's done I will add to what I've provided for sale. I intend to make a mix of inexpensive and expensive items: a couple of intricate pieces and a whole bunch of really inexpensive things that will sell easily.

Pricing depends on the market you're going after. Some people will accept a BA bracelet for $10; others want a work of art and are willing to pay for it. Essentially, you need to decide whether you want to be perceived as a craftsman or as an artist. The craftsman makes items of quality in patterns already determined by others. The artist goes a step further by using imagination to make one-of-a-kind items that really should sell for a higher price.

I guess the answer to your question is, yes, people will pay that. Have you looked at the cost of a good bikini lately? $100 is not unusual. I'd like to see the dress to find out why it is going for so little.

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someone on this forum commented on this issue years ago and it made sense to me.I dont recall his exact words, and I'm not going to look for the thread, the long and the short of it is simply that undervaluing your work hurts all maillers. on etsy, there are people that charge several times what I do. and there are people that charge a fraction of what I do as well. I don't try to compete with anyone on price.

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Those prices are pretty much standard. You will find a lot of people who sell for what it costs them in materials without considering adding in wages or profit. They won't be around long without getting frustrated over not making a go of it.

I just recently got my items into a gallery. I am in the middle of moving house, but when that's done I will add to what I've provided for sale. I intend to make a mix of inexpensive and expensive items: a couple of intricate pieces and a whole bunch of really inexpensive things that will sell easily.

Pricing depends on the market you're going after. Some people will accept a BA bracelet for $10; others want a work of art and are willing to pay for it. Essentially, you need to decide whether you want to be perceived as a craftsman or as an artist. The craftsman makes items of quality in patterns already determined by others. The artist goes a step further by using imagination to make one-of-a-kind items that really should sell for a higher price.

I guess the answer to your question is, yes, people will pay that. Have you looked at the cost of a good bikini lately? $100 is not unusual. I'd like to see the dress to find out why it is going for so little.

I wouldn't be selling anything for just the cost of materials. 2000 mild steel scales are about $70 and are more than enough to do the vests that I designed myself. Add in the $30 cost for leather and hardware it's about $100 total. If I sell that vest for $300 that leaves me with an additional $200 I didn't have before. I have no intention to ever try to create a "work of art" with chainmail, I've already got that covered in other areas of my life, so I guess I would prefer to be seen as a craftsman making high quality original designs of functional armor geared more towards re-enactors. I don't plan on making bracelets, necklaces or dresses.

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I wouldn't be selling anything for just the cost of materials. 2000 mild steel scales are about $70 and are more than enough to do the vests that I designed myself. Add in the $30 cost for leather and hardware it's about $100 total. If I sell that vest for $300 that leaves me with an additional $200 I didn't have before. I have no intention to ever try to create a "work of art" with chainmail, I've already got that covered in other areas of my life, so I guess I would prefer to be seen as a craftsman making high quality original designs of functional armor geared more towards re-enactors. I don't plan on making bracelets, necklaces or dresses.

How long does it take you to make that vest?

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I've never quite understood the "I charge $X to cover a wage I pay myself, and profit. If I don't make a profit I'm not successful" I always worked under the notion that creating the job that was paying you the wage was a form of "profit" and would cover making the job successful. If you are farming the work out to other people then having a non-wage profit becomes important, but when you are making the stuff yourself it seems to be an odd idea.

To simplify my thoughts If I sell a piece that I made in an hour for $20, and had $1 in materials I see myself as being paid $19 an hour. I can also look at it as making $10/hr and $9 profit, but the difference moot to me.

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j_betts, that's pretty much how I feel about it. Just getting paid for what I'd probably be doing anyway seems like profit enough, to some extent. Once it feels like work I suppose I'd probably want more.

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To simplify my thoughts If I sell a piece that I made in an hour for $20, and had $1 in materials I see myself as being paid $19 an hour. I can also look at it as making $10/hr and $9 profit, but the difference moot to me.

^ This

Like others said, I don't try to match prices on Etsy. When I first started selling there I did do a bunch of research on what other people were selling and the prices they used. Materials, quality, and pricing were all over the place.

I've come up with the way I price things, that covers materials and my time/profit. All my stuff is on my site, all my available stock is on Etsy (for the most part). This is helpful even for locals that are buying from me directly in person. They can browse what I can give them the next day.

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I've never quite understood the "I charge $X to cover a wage I pay myself, and profit. If I don't make a profit I'm not successful" I always worked under the notion that creating the job that was paying you the wage was a form of "profit" and would cover making the job successful. If you are farming the work out to other people then having a non-wage profit becomes important, but when you are making the stuff yourself it seems to be an odd idea.

To simplify my thoughts If I sell a piece that I made in an hour for $20, and had $1 in materials I see myself as being paid $19 an hour. I can also look at it as making $10/hr and $9 profit, but the difference moot to me.

The difference becomes important when you keep track of business and personal expenses separately. Essentially, the sale price has three components:

Sale price: $20

Materials: $1 - obviously, this is a fixed cost

Wage: $10 - this is what you, personally, get paid...what you can take and spend on personal items (after paying taxes, of course)

Profit: $9 - this is what you leave in the "company" to buy new materials, pay for advertising or show space, fund growth, etc.

Any accountant will advise you to keep your personal and company finances separate. That's why it's important to differentiate between wage and profit.

Just my two rings worth.

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I guess there are two different ways of looking at this. One is from the perspective of an individual selling an item they made and are only looking for what they consider to be fair compensation for their time, the other is that of the business owner trying to squeeze as much profit as they can out of the items they produce. I wasn't looking at it from the opposite perspective before. I am not a business, I'm just a dude with some pliers and a little inspiration. I have a full time job at a graphics design company where I get to do all sorts of unusual and interesting things on a daily basis and I make a pretty comfortable living at it as well. The craft projects that I do in my spare time have more of a cultural and religious significance to me, but even from a purely economic stand point it would seem that selling a piece for a moderate profit would be more beneficial than not being able to sell it at what would be a substantial profit. If it won't sell you aren't making a profit, you are taking a loss. My question is, at what point does the risk of not selling an item out weigh the potential for increased profit? And how likely are people to actually buy an item in the price range of my previous examples?

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I guess there are two different ways of looking at this. One is from the perspective of an individual selling an item they made and are only looking for what they consider to be fair compensation for their time, the other is that of the business owner trying to squeeze as much profit as they can out of the items they produce. I wasn't looking at it from the opposite perspective before. I am not a business, I'm just a dude with some pliers and a little inspiration. I have a full time job at a graphics design company where I get to do all sorts of unusual and interesting things on a daily basis and I make a pretty comfortable living at it as well. The craft projects that I do in my spare time have more of a cultural and religious significance to me, but even from a purely economic stand point it would seem that selling a piece for a moderate profit would be more beneficial than not being able to sell it at what would be a substantial profit. If it won't sell you aren't making a profit, you are taking a loss. My question is, at what point does the risk of not selling an item out weigh the potential for increased profit? And how likely are people to actually buy an item in the price range of my previous examples?

Fair point. One consideration is that it is much easier to lower your prices than to raise them later. In the minds of customers and potential customers, lowering prices is acceptable but raising prices requires justification. Until I have a firm idea of what things will sell for I start a little on the high side and lower the price approximately monthly until things start to sell. That will give me my pricing strategy for future product. If I can't make sufficient money on that price for a specific item, I stop making that item. If your items sell really quickly, you are asking too little and "leaving money on the table." If they don't sell at all, it could be that you are charging too much OR that you have made the wrong items for your potential buyers. It isn't always about price.

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I've never quite understood the "I charge $X to cover a wage I pay myself, and profit. If I don't make a profit I'm not successful" I always worked under the notion that creating the job that was paying you the wage was a form of "profit" and would cover making the job successful. If you are farming the work out to other people then having a non-wage profit becomes important, but when you are making the stuff yourself it seems to be an odd idea.

To simplify my thoughts If I sell a piece that I made in an hour for $20, and had $1 in materials I see myself as being paid $19 an hour. I can also look at it as making $10/hr and $9 profit, but the difference moot to me.

Well Brimley's Mom gave the basic reason why I keep the two separate, the profit is what I can afford to reinvest in the company (materials and equipment, advertising, booth fees for shows) or contribute as a charitable contribution. Where as my hourly wage is what I would need to survive if it was my only job. But again this has more to do with the fact that I would eventually like it to be much more of a career than a self sustaining hobby.

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As a business owner, I kind of take exception to "squeezing" as much profit out of the items I produce. I work hard at what I do, I make quality maille and it's pretty unique from what I've seen. People pay my asking prices because they want my product. I price my product based not only on materials used and time invested, but also because I think the craftsmanship of what I make is worth what I charge. That being said, I also consider who my audience is. If I'm selling a piece out in Boulder at a store in a premium location, I can and will charge more for that piece because people there are willing to pay it. But that same piece in Greenville, SC won't sell at that high a price simply because the market is different there. Even the pieces I make to send to the stores I'm in differ due to market preference.

Do I intend to make a profit on the pieces I make? Well yes I do. Do I gouge my potential buyers? Hell no I don't. I cannot tell you the number of people who have looked at my stuff and told me I'm undercharging. Maybe according to their market I am, but in each area I sell, I feel that I sell my items at a fair price. And with the economy in the shitter, I don't, and can't, use fine metals in my jewelry. The most expensive metal I use is titanium. I don't think my audience would buy sterling, gold, etc.

If you are making a product and don't really care about making a profit, more power to you! But people who do this as a business have expenses (my computer, my internet, rings, pliers, craft show fees, insurance, advertising, etc). All that stuff is expensive, so making a profit is important. And I'll be honest with you, owning a jewelry business is hard...there are TONS of jewelers competing for the same business. So when I talk about profit, I'm talking about on a specific piece, not overall. My expenses at this point still outweigh my income. But I'm ok with that, and I expected it. It's hard to break into this biz...(and I realize you aren't making jewelry, but there are a good number of people out there making armor too, so my point is still the same).

If I have tried selling a piece in a few different markets in different seasons and it still isn't selling, then I "discontinue" the item and either mark it down drastically or just take the damn thing apart and reuse the rings in something else. I have a small ziploc of items that are waiting to be taken apart for that very reason.

Maybe a little more than my 2 rings worth...;%29.gif

Edited by bikepartjewelry

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A perfect example of why I price the way I do happened just last week. I had an order for more bracelets than I could make by the deadline the customer needed so I was forced to have my brother help with the crafting after which I checked his work to insure it was up to my standards. Now since I didn't make the item the $14 in wage that I charge went to my brother for each piece he crafted. However, he was using my tools so my business still had to cover the overhead (electricity, wear on tools, etc) that is where the "profit" comes in.

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I think this discussion is essentially a difference of opinion between hobbyists and business people. In general, hobbyists are more concerned with making their enjoyable hobby self-sustaining than with making a profit; whereas, business people are trying to generate income (that's the whole point of business). Because the goals of each are so different, it will be nearly impossible to achieve any agreement on the subject of pricing.

For the record, I am a hobbyist when it comes to chain maille, but I also have a business education and run an electronics recycling business so I understand the business side of things too. Even though I am a hobbyist I try to price my wares competitively. As I'm still new to selling, I'm still working on my pricing strategy. Oh, and pricing strategies need to be reassessed frequently because markets change fast and often.

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If they don't sell at all, it could be that you are charging too much OR that you have made the wrong items for your potential buyers. It isn't always about price.

There is also the possibility that you are under charging for your work and your potential buyers view it as a cheap "knockoff". Take for example Wal-mart's jewelry section in comparison to a jewelry store. If you see an almost identical ring at both places and the jewelry store is more expensive most people will believe it is because the piece at the jewelry store is better quality. Whether it truly is or not becomes a moot point most of the time.

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There is also the possibility that you are under charging for your work and your potential buyers view it as a cheap "knockoff". Take for example Wal-mart's jewelry section in comparison to a jewelry store. If you see an almost identical ring at both places and the jewelry store is more expensive most people will believe it is because the piece at the jewelry store is better quality. Whether it truly is or not becomes a moot point most of the time.

I agree with this, especially for jewelry. Perceived value is often more important than actual value. (Put an "i" in front of anything and it sells for a higher price. Maybe I'll start making iMaille. :biggrin:)

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I think this discussion is essentially a difference of opinion between hobbyists and business people. In general, hobbyists are more concerned with making their enjoyable hobby self-sustaining than with making a profit; whereas, business people are trying to generate income (that's the whole point of business). Because the goals of each are so different, it will be nearly impossible to achieve any agreement on the subject of pricing.

For the record, I am a hobbyist when it comes to chain maille, but I also have a business education and run an electronics recycling business so I understand the business side of things too. Even though I am a hobbyist I try to price my wares competitively. As I'm still new to selling, I'm still working on my pricing strategy. Oh, and pricing strategies need to be reassessed frequently because markets change fast and often.

I agree...2 completely different ways of thinking, both ok.

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I agree with this, especially for jewelry. Perceived value is often more important than actual value. (Put an "i" in front of anything and it sells for a higher price. Maybe I'll start making iMaille. :biggrin:)

That's hilarious.

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I agree with this, especially for jewelry. Perceived value is often more important than actual value. (Put an "i" in front of anything and it sells for a higher price. Maybe I'll start making iMaille. :biggrin:)

LOL that is a genius idea why didn't I think of that LOL

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In a couple of posts I feel as though it has been implied that the quality of my work is in some way inferior for some reason. I certainly can see why, because of the word "newbie" above my blank avatar and the number of posts below it showing that today was my first time. I have, however, been making and selling mail for more than 12 years and have been a member and avid reader of this forum (as well as others) for more than 3 years. I take pride in the quality of all the work that I do.

That having been said, the way that I have always priced things has been to look at them and ask myself honestly, "how much would I pay for that?" If the answer is less than it's worth to sell it I don't make that thing again, unless I want one for myself. I also make musical instruments out of unusual items like cigar boxes and soup cans. If I were to sell those things I would need to get at least $120 for a 3-string canjo. Would I pay that much for a stick and a can with some strings attached? No, I would not. So I build them simply for my own amusement. I do feel that a $200 "profit" for some scale mail is very much worth the effort to sell.

All of that aside, I appreciate all of the useful comments from everyone, I certainly have a new perspective and I do intend to reevaluate my pricing strategy before putting anything up for sale. Thank you, everyone... and the iMaille was very funny.

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