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selling chainmail

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This is not me judging your reasons. Just curiosity. Knowing that you need no income from mailling, and can even likely afford to expand the hobby at your leisure why do you feel that freedom translates into a lower price other then a higher one? Is there guilt over double dipping? Do you not yet feel confident in your work? Does the guy in the next cubical make maille as well?

Again I'm not trying to alter your opinion, or critique your decisions. I am just interested in your motivations as we share some advantages that have led us to different conclusions.

Mostly I set my prices comparitive to other people selling similar items on my chosen retail outlets (etsy and artfire). I feel very confident in my work and nobody in my general vicinity makes mail. However, I feel uncomfortable charging $30/hr (on top of what I'm already making) for the standard pieces. Something that requires some thought or creativity, then maybe. I make items for pleasure and I would like to sell them. Being that there is a lot of competition in the online markets, a majority of my pieces are sold word of mouth to people that I know. For the rest, I've gotta go with what I can get.

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It is interesting to see what everyone figures, and honestly, I haven't really explained my own prices very well.

For me, my crafts are all entertainment for me. 100 bucks on materials is the same as two nights at a slightly above fast food restaurant with friends.

I get off on the problem solving, the design work, and the manual activity. So my products are just the byproduct of my entertainment. So honestly, I tend to just give my stuff away. Except people I know don't need 20 bracelets or 10 books, and 40 pairs of earrings. So I take them to a local business owner, decide on prices based on what I'd be willing to pay for them, and haggle a bit (they tend to want to price at much more, but I'm just looking to liquidate stock typically) and set a price. I get rid of inventory, someone else gets a great deal on something handmade.

I never do custom orders, unless it's for a friend, which I only will accept if it interests me because of the intellectual challenge I can get from it, and it's not too extravagant that I can't handle the materials costs. And then I usually give it for free. Again, it's not the money, it's the challenge I want.

I consider costs and product value a challenge a well, and try to operate my crafts from a business standpoint only for the intellectual problem of how I can make a low cost product while maximizing profit. If I can make something for a dollar that someone else might sell for $50, awesome. I'll still probably only charge about $30-40.

The problematic part of it all is that I've dabbled a bit in a number of fields, so I rarely buy anything anymore.Typically I can figure out how to make it myself. It's also a buzz kill, because I can tell the costs of materials vs. retail costs pretty damned easily. Other than clothing, food, and books, I only buy the occasional piece of electronic equipment, or other silly doodad that has to be manufactured. I also live a minimalist lifestyle so it's not like I really have the need for anything.

The nice thing about it though, is that I'm willing and able to teach people what I know, and enjoy it. My next few big projects I hope to do will be improving upon some things I've seen about and think I can do a better design on. We'll see what happens. :)

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Mostly I set my prices comparitive to other people selling similar items on my chosen retail outlets (etsy and artfire). I feel very confident in my work and nobody in my general vicinity makes mail. However, I feel uncomfortable charging $30/hr (on top of what I'm already making) for the standard pieces. Something that requires some thought or creativity, then maybe. I make items for pleasure and I would like to sell them. Being that there is a lot of competition in the online markets, a majority of my pieces are sold word of mouth to people that I know. For the rest, I've gotta go with what I can get.

Thanks for the insight. Do you sell on Etsy/Artfire or just use them as a reference for the prices?

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Thanks for the insight. Do you sell on Etsy/Artfire or just use them as a reference for the prices?

Well, "selling" is a loose term on artfire since I'm not willing to pay for a Pro account. :) But yes, I have a store there, and etsy as well. I've been on etsy far longer and sold a few things there. I think I would sell a lot more if I put the time into redoing my pictures and things, but I'm a bit ADD and so I have about 10000 interests and not enough time to do it.

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Well, "selling" is a loose term on artfire since I'm not willing to pay for a Pro account. :) But yes, I have a store there, and etsy as well. I've been on etsy far longer and sold a few things there. I think I would sell a lot more if I put the time into redoing my pictures and things, but I'm a bit ADD and so I have about 10000 interests and not enough time to do it.

I have always been tempted to set up there selling the same stuff at twice the price with the description describing my work as more expensive because it's twice as good as the rest. Just to see what kinda fireworks it might start. Not that I believe that. I just like watching egos have a stroke.

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I have always been tempted to set up there selling the same stuff at twice the price with the description describing my work as more expensive because it's twice as good as the rest. Just to see what kinda fireworks it might start. Not that I believe that. I just like watching egos have a stroke.

I think that would be funny. At least I know it would give me a chuckle. You never know, you might even make some sales. :)

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I have always been tempted to set up there selling the same stuff at twice the price with the description describing my work as more expensive because it's twice as good as the rest. Just to see what kinda fireworks it might start. Not that I believe that. I just like watching egos have a stroke.

That can actually work quite nicely. When you make a stir the pot type site, you tend to gather a lot of links from different site. Sure, most are from people upset with what you are saying...but as far as search engines are concerned, you have more links to your site...so you might well get better placement in search results.

I do a lot of different things and am just getting into making chainmail, but my take on the whole pricing issue is that price should be one of the _last_ things to consider when selling online unless you are selling mass market products. Much more important than price ( for online selling ) are:

  • Visibility - If people never find your items, you can sell them for $0.01 and still never sell anything
  • Trust - If you make mistakes that cause people to think you are shady or that your items might not be what they are looking for, people will go elsewhere.
  • Navigation - People want things _now_. If you cannot get them to the types of things they are interested as quickly as possible in an obvious fashion, they will go elsewhere.
  • Checkout Flow - If your checkout process is not as simple as possible, you will lose sales due to trust / navigation above.

If you are doing all of the above well, then it might be worth worrying about price. If not, price becomes a moot point unless you are wanting insane amounts for things...and insane to one audience might be expected from another.

Of course, my pricing for the things that I currently do revolves around simply getting the bills paid while having a good amount of free time to learn new things and enjoy life. My monthly bills have been crushed as much as possible so that I can meet my monthly goals quickly ( sometimes a three to four day project at the start of the month pays the bills... ).

I've recently taken a look at the chainmail jewelry market online and it looks to be _very_ easy to compete in as very few people who are making and selling chainmail seem to know anything about getting it in front of buyers online. Jewelry is a hard market to target well...but I was quite shocked at the results turning up in the top ten for a large variety of chainmail jewelry related searches.

Anywise, I wouldn't fault anyone for selling at prices they feel comfortable with. They are _not_ hurting your sales or prices. There are simply too many people buying jewelry and not enough people supplying chainmail jewelry for that to be the case. If you are not selling reasonably well online, then most likely your problem ( provided you are making nice pieces ) is the four things that I listed above, not the price that other people are selling their items for. I'd recommend that if you are doing online sales and worried about competition you stop worrying and start educating yourself on how to do the above four things well on your own site. What matters is _your_ sales, not the prices of your perceived competitors.

Yes, this advice comes from experience in other venues...but it applies to all online selling ( even mass market items ).

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KISS = Keep it short and simple. If you get involved in a really intricate weave that takes forever, for example I made a 1/1 chain and add over 100 wire wrapped swarovski, fw pearls and a few other odds and sods I had kicking around. The damned bracelet took me over 15 hours to make and I was only able to get $150 for it. So I only made about $10/hr and that's not including all the crystals and pearls I used. The market will only bear so much. It took too long and I will never make that bracelet ever again unless it's for personal use or a present for a dear friends. I wire wrap earrings and they usually take me 15 minutes to make and I charge $25 per pair and they sell so that's wear I make good money. Don't get too involved in making something timewise because your profit margin will be dramatically be cut to a lot less than what you think the piece should be worth. YOu also have to get a feeling for your customer as well. I can go to certain shows that attract let's say for the sake of aruguement blue color workers. I know they don't want to spend a lot so copper and BA are my saviors. They don't mind spending $40 on a copper bracelet but no way are they going to spend over $100 on a sterling silver bracelet. You just have to feel your customer out. good luck.

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Having a mix of work myself I keep my pricing moderate across the board. I have the bread and butter pieces like JPL and half persians and then there are the pieces that took me 10+ hours to complete. I have been doing this as my full time job now for just shy of a year and my experience is that you need to set your price point and stay to it. You can fetch better prices when people see quality in your work, have seen you crafting or from the word of others. It's easy to get discouraged because there is always going to be someone that undervalues the work they do. I keep in mind that my customers could buy a BA bracelet for $5 from some other shop rather than pay me $20 for a stainless steel one but they buy from me because I OBSESS about my quality. I spend time dealing with spring back on stainless so I can get an accurate AR, I saw cut every single ring manually. Attention to detail will outshine some crimp/machine cut mass produced crud.

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This is the first time I heard the argument that low prices damage other maillers but it does make sense. when a customer doesn't understand the process the price might speak miles to them. I guess I never realized it since I buy a lot of handcrafted items simply to support their craft. Alas I am one of the (potentially converted) maillers who sell at cheap cost.

for those curious my equation is <material X 2> + <complexity/design> = price. since I multitask I can;t keep an honest track of time, though by that standard a euro 4-1 bracelet aluminum would probably sell at about $10 if that. since my motivation of selling is simply to keep my obsession well fed I decided to compete with machine made jewelry. which works well in that sense. this new information; however, might cause me to change how I sell online. (to my knowledge no local maillers so I feel free to price to my hearts desire)

wish I could maille at work xD you lucky bugger you.

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This is really an excellent thread for those of us that are 'pricing deficient'.

My issue is that I don't spend money on jewelry, clothes, etc... and so my sense of what's a reasonable price is skewed to what someone else has, who sells or buys a lot.

I have seen sellers, mostly on Etsy, (and this is in wire wrapping, where I have more of an idea of prices) and feel he's WAY overpriced on his quality and work, and yet his confidence is catching, and I find even myself 'buying into it' so to speak.

There's alot to be said for that.

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This is really an excellent thread for those of us that are 'pricing deficient'.

My issue is that I don't spend money on jewelry, clothes, etc... and so my sense of what's a reasonable price is skewed to what someone else has, who sells or buys a lot.

I have seen sellers, mostly on Etsy, (and this is in wire wrapping, where I have more of an idea of prices) and feel he's WAY overpriced on his quality and work, and yet his confidence is catching, and I find even myself 'buying into it' so to speak.

There's alot to be said for that.

You hit the nail on the head, MerryWire. Confidence is one of the biggest factors in making a sale. I have worked in a sales environment (high tech sales support) for about 20 years and the most successful sales reps are the ones who exude confidence without overdoing the hype. Calm confidence is knowing that your stuff is the best and not being afraid to let people know. There is a difference between assertive and aggressive. Aim for assertive.

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