Jump to content
Legba3

For all those asking about pricing...

Recommended Posts

If the articles gel with you, then you obviously were meant to read them, and get something from them :D

Things I learned: I AM my target customer, and I only make pieces that I would wear. I will try out other pieces in copper, and if I don't think I would wear them, then they go in the scrap metal pile. As I said the other day, that was when I really began selling regularly.

DJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't post very often, but I just have to say....

Must we???

Really?

If she is doing well, then good for her! I sell basic chain for a couple hundred bucks a shot with regularity, and I don't have anything priced below $100. Granted, I tend to work smaller scale in 22g and 20g sterling, but I also sell 18k gold by special order, and I may have just landed a gallery that is specifically asking for the $400 + pieces. There IS a market out there for the higher priced pieces, and being critical of those who've found it is just...uncool.

I got a bit of this a while ago on the whole Aura thread -- "Can you believe her asking price???" If you care to chase that one down, you'll notice pricing is no longer listed on my site. There are practical reasons for that. Among them: I customize each piece to fit a particular person's needs. With that customization, comes a shift in pricing. Gold. If you've watched the market over the past month, you will see that the cost of materials on a gold piece is extremely volatile -- whenever I quote gold, I put a time limit on how long that quote is valid. I don't want to be stuck with a quote I gave six months ago when gold was (I'm guessing) a couple of hundred dollars an ounce LESS than it is today.

I think there IS skill and talent involved, particularly when a person cuts their own rings (and works in expensive precious metals -- the springback on gold is different than that of silver and can totally screw you up if you don't know what you are doing), and departs from the standard designs. She may not have her most unique designs on the site, and there may well be a REASON for that. Also, not a LOT of people have the time and patience to really CRAFT a well thought out design and then execute it with every single ring having a tidy closure and having the proportion and drape of the piece work beautifully. Once you go off the map of basic chain, yeah, it does require thought and experimentation, and swearing, and taking things apart, and redoing, and changing guages, and going up .25mm in ring size, and then shifting the sizes of four other ring sizes in the piece to accomodate that so every thing hangs properly. You don't think painters don't go through similar processes to get a painting right? Yeah, I can reproduce my pieces, but only because I take DETAILED notes and pictures of what I've done. And since I cut my own rings, and have my own way of doing it, the ring sizes I give to Dick or Jane may not work for them, because of that personal variation in method and tools.

As someone who spends quite a lot of time talking to professional painters, and sculptors and photographers, I can tell you that many of them tell ME that there is no way they could do what I do. In fact, this Christmas, I did quite well in exchanging jewelry for paintings and photographs. A win/win all the way around, as we all went off of our RETAIL pricing in determining an even trade. I've sold for cash gold pieces to other artists. It's all relative. People are paying you to make something they would not make for themselves. I don't discount the value of that. I can't paint. I love paintings. Heck yeah, I'll trade a bracelet for a painting I love by some one I like and respect.

I think discussions about pricing are valid and useful for all of us, and would not discourage that, but I get really annoyed when particular artists get singled out and questioned because they are doing WELL. Put on your confidence, be realistic about your skill level and your market, and take a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well said Jessica.

The short and skinny is - what we do is an artform. Not everyone is capible or has the patience to do what we do and we should charge for it.

Personally I hate seeing peices that take hours and hours to design and create selling at a "retailers" markup (i.e. cost + 40%). Time and creativity really needs to be considered. Can that be put into a standard formula for pricing our items.... no. it is a guessing game to figure out what the market can handle.... yes, if it priced too high it wont sell - but you at least have room for negotiation - if the item is priced too low it wont sell either. People see a price that they feel is too low and the question the quality of the item.

an honest example of this - I had a bracelet listed at $10 on display in a Mall kiosk for 6 months ($2 in material and 30 minutes of my time.... I thought it was a decent mark up), it finally sold last week when I raised the price to $25 .... I only increased the price as an experiment.... apparantly it worked.

Now I dont price any bracelet less than $20 and most start around the $40 mark, - Im talking about a basic weave chain in steel, AA and/or copper.... Custom designs come with larger pricetags and I have not even touched Silver yet.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$50 wine tastes better then $10 wine. Even though they were served exactly the same wine. http://www.news.com/8301-13580_3-9849949-39.html?tag=nefd.pop

I think this supports what Legba3 has been saying since I have been on this form. Higher prices for well crafted items result in better sales.

What I have said a couple of times. Know your materials. Know the difference between silver plated, sterling, argentium, and fine silver. Be able to explain the difference in terms the customer can and will understand. Tell the customer the advantages of each and the disadvantages. Stress the advantages of what you are selling and stress the disadvantages of what you are not .

Do not be afraid to charge a reasonable price for a well worked piece of YOUR craftsmanship made in any type of metal.

Mike S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old saying: Distant brought and dearly bought is best for lady fair.

American ginseng was once exported to China by the ton and then imported back to the States as "Chinese" selling for many times the price of the "inferior" domestic.

Marketing. Salesmanship. Quality (real and imagined). Demand (real and created). Labor. Add them all together and you have pricing. You also have a Richter 8 headache trying to untie the Gordian knot that holds it all together!

And Alexander isn't loaning you his sword.

GtM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have now deleted the link to the website at the beginning of this thread as requested by the owner.

PLEASE STOP SENDING HER NASTY EMAILS NOW

This is her email

"...could you kindly pull my link from your post in that forum, or ask the forum manager to do so? It's been over a week since the posting, and I'm tired of getting these nasty emails. I really don't care what they say, but weeding through them every day is getting annoying.

I don't blame you in any way, but the response from some of these people is very unprofessional and I don't have time to deal with them. Besides, it's making the people who contribute to the forum look bad."

Is this really how we want to be known???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*sigh*

What possible reason could so many people have for sending her nasty emails? That's really too bad :(

These boards are really too juvenile and petty sometimes.

[Edited to add: Re-reading the thread, feedback *here* is almost universally positive. Usually to the tune of "Gah, that's high. But, good for her. Something to be learned from that." I'm a little curious what these nasty emails consisted of and who's sending them. I would hope it's just angry teenagers or bitter artists who can't even sell their crap for a buck an hour being douchebags, and not actually representative of the community]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

personally I think its sad to see all these people jumping on thosecharging extremely high rates for there jewelry and not hearing anyone say a word about the people charging next to nothing (say 15USD for a Byz bracelet) when its the latter who are driving prices down for everyone else trying to sell there items

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
*sigh*

What possible reason could so many people have for sending her nasty emails? That's really too bad :(

These boards are really too juvenile and petty sometimes.

[Edited to add: Re-reading the thread, feedback *here* is almost universally positive. Usually to the tune of "Gah, that's high. But, good for her. Something to be learned from that." I'm a little curious what these nasty emails consisted of and who's sending them. I would hope it's just angry teenagers or bitter artists who can't even sell their crap for a buck an hour being douchebags, and not actually representative of the community]

All I know is that she emailled me and asked me to please remove the link. I did mention to her that the responses had been pretty good after the first few but if she wanted it removed...*shrug*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't blame her for not wanting to be flamed. andI can agree on higher prices. here in HI I normally charge $60 for a silver bracelet but they weren't selling. one lady didn'tthink that the material was silver because she thought it was to cheap....

Lesson learned.

silver braclets now sell well for 175

and gold for 400

and I am out of stock of metal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
personally I think its sad to see all these people jumping on thosecharging extremely high rates for there jewelry and not hearing anyone say a word about the people charging next to nothing (say 15USD for a Byz bracelet) when its the latter who are driving prices down for everyone else trying to sell there items

I agree, the biggest problem I've seen in the craft world is Sunday crafters saleing for "cost of supplies and tiny bit over." They are, for the most part, running in the red without even realizing it because the actual cost of running a business has been completely ignored.

It's also sad, and extremely unprofessional, to be sending a competitor hate mail because she is succeeding and you are not. Who's fault is that, if not your own? It takes a lot of hard work to run a business successfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
not hearing anyone say a word about the people charging next to nothing (say 15USD for a Byz bracelet) when its the latter who are driving prices down for everyone else trying to sell there items

You *do* hear people saying that too. I do anyway, all the time. Usually along with a smear campaign about how they're "inferior" because they're made by people in other countries.

There's a lot of hate directed both ways. And, it's not like you have one group of people who hate the high prices, and another that hate the low prices. In my experience it's the same ignorant crowd that hates both ways at the same time, and thinks only the perfect price they charge is an acceptable amount. But then also go complaining about not being able to sell enough, or to make enough when they do sell.

Instead of accusing some of "ripping people off", and others of "driving down prices", I wish more people who open their mouths about business would recognize a little bit of economics, some very simple supply and demand.

There is no "natural" price. What pieces end up selling for is an amalgamation of the entire market. If I can get more customers by selling cheaper than a competitor, and I am willing to and capable of doing so, I will do so. Yeah, I'd be driving down prices. But down from what? There was nothing special about where they were before. There's nowhere a price is "supposed to be", other than in equilibrium. Me *not* driving down prices is the artificial point.

That's what a market economy is. Those that are most efficient and most willing get the business. If I'm willing to do the work for $5/hr and it's not worth your time for less than $30/hr, why should you stay in business? You're not entitled to that wage. And that goes for *any* job.

Putting rings together is really, really easy. Anyone can do it. So, surprise that it's not exactly in high demand. Maille gets off on a super loophole in that the "market" is fragmented and consumers haven't a clue where to look. Almost universally, maillers aren't actually competing with each other (except for armor). People who buy your stuff generally don't even know other people make it, you are their one alternative to the jewelry stores.

I agree, the biggest problem I've seen in the craft world is Sunday crafters saleing for "cost of supplies and tiny bit over." They are, for the most part, running in the red without even realizing it because the actual cost of running a business has been completely ignored.

I think it's the reverse. You want to make them something they're not.

I mean, people aren't *that* stupid. Every person at those craft sales has surely thought "Gee, I spent this much on materials. I spent this much time on it. My table for the afternoon cost me that much. And, I got this much in sales. Was that worth my time?"

I don't think for the "most part" people are running into the red without realizing it.

The "actual cost of running a business", for chainmaille, is what? On top of materials, just about zero. A couple bucks for a website if you have one. An investment in necessary tools like.. pliers and... cutters. Whoopie. You probably had those anyway if you ever wanted to make any maille for yourself.

I mean, by all means treat your hobby as a business when pricing, but be realistic. You're not renting a store. You don't have employees. The "real cost of running a business" amount almost entirely to "Okay, well, after you saw what you made, was it worth your time?"

I have an example...

When I was kid, my mother stayed at home to run the household and take care of me and my sisters. My father worked, but money was tight any they wanted to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. So my mother took out sewing contracts, or sewed stuff to sell at craft shows. She sewed in the basement on a sewing machine she already had. I doubt, when all was said and done, that she broke minimum wage for her efforts.

She wasn't stupid. She knew how little money it brought in. She still did it. Was she in the red? I dunno, my parents were pretty good on not wasting money, so I'm pretty sure they were doing it because it made money, not cost money. And, I'm also pretty sure my mother could figure out "Gee, I sold out in 1 hour, maybe I should charge more next time?" if that possibility was afforded to her. I'm not bragging about my parents amazing abilities, I'm pretty sure this is rather typical.

And what's the alternative? What other job can you stay within earshot of your children if they get into a fight, or drop if they need help with their homework, or work on and off while checking on the oven once in a while? What other job also suffices as daycare, (which otherwise costs you money), or allows you to watch your children grow up?

More options today than 25 years ago, but still not *too* many more.

Maille is the same way. I suspect you're really not weighing the hidden advantages of a home-hobby business. Further.. raising your prices isn't something you're entitled to do just because your expenses are high. Or, rather, go ahead, but you're not entitled to the same amount of sales. Regardless of your expenses, you should be selling for as much as you can.

It's also sad, and extremely unprofessional, to be sending a competitor hate mail because she is succeeding and you are not. Who's fault is that, if not your own?

*shakeshead*. Yeah, no argument there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bad form to follow my own post, I know, but...

All I know is that she emailled me and asked me to please remove the link. I did mention to her that the responses had been pretty good after the first few but if she wanted it removed...*shrug*

Well, I may have a hint at what was being said. Just discovered now some angry negative mod points someone cast at me for my first post above in the thread. It's anonymous anyway, so I'll share why they red-carded me:

"It doesn't matter if she's making a living of it. She lies and decieves [sic] the customers claiming the time to be 3-4 times longer that in reality (one example). Read the page before you start mastering."

.. I'm not sure I made the claim of whether of it being justified because she needs to make a living off of it, or what "mastering" is.. and this person would be about the first to accuse me of not being thorough.. but..

Lies and deceives her customers? Strange. Some amazing underground journalism going on here to sneak into her place and record how long on average it takes her to make pieces.

I mean, if I thought the times were high, I'd just assume "she doesn't work that fast." I bet whoever left the feedback was quite knowledgeable regarding non-maille wire-knitting from single stands too, to have an informed standard to go by.

Worst part is, for what it's worth, it's semi-legitimate criticism they didn't bother to voice in the thread where it could be addressed or discussed. I'd wager they also didn't hold back their opinions from Christina either.

Harumph.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The "actual cost of running a business", for chainmaille, is what? On top of materials, just about zero

What of booth rental; hang tags; accomodations for weekend shows; business license; business cards; shipping; receipt books; knuckle buster; credit card fees; brochures; transportation to and from a show; the furniture for a booth; electricity to run you power tools and tumblers; advertisement; consignment fees; sale and use taxs; etc; etc; etc?

That is hardly "just about zero".

MY family have been in the crafts business for close to 40 years. They have talked to many, many people who did not realize overhead should be considered in pricing. This is not stupidity, and I never said it was, it is a matter of inexperience.

Educate someone about the economics of running a business and they can make a modest living. Add a drive to secede and there's no telling where they can go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What of [snipped long list], etc; etc; etc?

That is hardly "just about zero".

All legitimate, where applicable. A bunch of them, not often applicable I don't think, I could make a fair case for.

And, it depends on volume. The more volume you sell, the cheaper all the fixed costs are going to be as a proportion. Though, it's somewhat self-scaling, and still just about zero when that's considered. How many maillers have business licenses? Sure if you sell a lot you'll probably get one. But if you're selling a lot, that fixed cost is spread back down near zero. How many maillers travel a long way to get to a con and have to stay in a hotel? Not many, and, if they're doing that, they're probably selling quite a lot (or expecting to anyway, but that's another issue). Honestly now, how many of us pay taxes on sales? Making a living off it? Sure. Selling at craft shows? Probably not. And so on.

They have talked to many, many people who did not realize overhead should be considered in pricing. This is not stupidity, and I never said it was, it is a matter of inexperience.

Sure, inexperience maybe for an item here and there, once. After that, what do you call it if they don't fix it or realize it?

My point being, people trying to make money, generally, are not stupid. They're not stupid going into it, and if they end up spending more than they make on a business, I'm pretty sure they'd figure that out and not just keep marching on with the same low prices, continuing to lose money.

If you are thinking "I'm going to make 200 bracelets and sell them at a craft show on the other side of the country where I can rent a table for $100/day", inexperienced or not I don't think it somehow completely slipped your mind that the costs of your travel, lodging, and table better be paid for by your bracelets. I can't even really imagine *anyone* being that dumb, even on their first try.

I think just about everyone at any given time has considered just about everything they need to, that's relevant and applies to their situation.

Your advice seemed to be hinting otherwise. That most people actively in a business don't know that they're losing money in it, and need to be told to raise their prices to account for obvious costs they are spending but somehow have never crossed their minds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
how many of us pay taxes on sales? Making a living off it? Sure. Selling at craft shows? Probably not. And so on.

Every artist and craftsman on the show circuit that I know. It is required by law here in the states. So, for that matter, is a business licenses. You might be able to attend a small local fair without one, but once you get beyond that--not a chance.

I never said any one was stupid, inexperienced yes, stupid no. Most people do learn quickly. That's what the small local fairs are for--to cut your teeth on. If you want to move to the big times, though, you must present a professional appearance. weather you like it or not presentation does make a difference in the perceived quality of your business.

Most high end consignment shops wouldn't look twice at work with shoddy presentation, no matter how good the workmanship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in the UK even if you don't pay taxes on sales you pay tax on everything else. As a registered business you pay tax on sales but can reclaim all taxes on materials and booth rental etc.

As for how long something takes to make surely that varies from person to person and I don't know what 'mastering' means???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×