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Author Topic: How do you price your work?  (Read 2872 times)

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jerrysg

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How do you price your work?
« on: October 05, 2016, 07:51:37 PM »

Starting to think about selling some of my polished cabs, belt buckles and bolos but I would like some suggestions on how to price things. :icon_scratch:

This is strictly as a non-professional and definitely not to earn a living. Maybe to be able to add some equipment or take the wife out for dinner.

What I would like to do is get a discussion going on what factors people consider when pricing things. Like:

Is there a difference if you bought the rough or slab compared to collecting it yourself?

Does the rarity of the material have a major influence on your pricing or do you base it on "pretty" for the average consumer?

Do you have a set value for your time that you include?

There have to be lots of other factors to consider but lets get a discussion going.

Jerry

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Orrum

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 04:59:39 AM »

Spent my life in retail. Raised horses all my life, usually had 45 or so. Jewelry aka rough , slabs , cabs etc are disposable income and emotional purchases. You can't sell jewelry for any more than the local market will bare!  Like as in if a woman can buy a tiger eye pendant from Walmart for $6 you are gonna have a job selling yours for more. Yea yours is better and more authentic, most women don't care if they look the same. That's market for you, you can find a niche spot where folks pay more if you look hard maybe. Other thing is you gotta "sell"!   Very few salesmen in the lapidary world. You gotta make eye contact, talk freely, be astute about their moods, lifestyle, and desires. It ain't easy or there would not be all those jokes about salesmen. I could sell a yearling colt in a consignment sale for a couple thousand. The same colt at my house might sell for 5 thousand dollars but I had to mechanised the product and sit on it untill someone came along. You don't want to go to a jewelry show and sit on the merchandise cause to do so does not pay the expenses of the show. Same goes for website sales. It's a tough situation and I see a lot of broken hearted craftsmen sitting at shows, the sit, never look at anyone and can't talk when spoken to in a sales type friendless msnner. They are great folks but are not in the"groove".

So before you try to sale your lapidary products examine yourself before you examine your crafts!  Look deep Grasshopper.

Sorry this is not meant negative but instead as a start to a decision, many other factors enter here. I go to shows and lose money sometimes but I have a great time and the lovely Susan and I are retired and make a vacation out of it with our camper!
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kent

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 07:42:28 AM »

Jerry,

I had a similar question on the old forum. You might be interested in some of the dialog.

http://gemstone.smfforfree4.com/index.php/topic,18141.msg204273.html#msg204273


Cheers,

Kent
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jerrysg

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 09:04:49 AM »

Kent,

Thanks for the link to the old forum. Lots to think about.

Jerry
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lithicbeads

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 10:04:46 AM »

Sorry to say it is almost never worth the effort.
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likesrocks

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2016, 10:27:30 AM »

This topic hits home with me. I used to be a starving artist, thus, I have been in sales of one thing or another for most of my working life. Heres a bit of observation form years of starving. Few people understand the amount of work that goes into artisan quality items. Thus, they don't see the value of it. However, there are the fewer number of folks that totally understand the process and will gladly pay quality prices for quality workmanship.

To become a thriving artist you must know your buyer and cater to them with items, cost and a personality than at says both, "I just do this for fun and want to share with you as cheaply as i can". At the same show and with the very next potential client walking by, you must convey that you acknowledge you are a "skilled artisan and have poured much time and energy into this priceless piece of jewelry and that you would like them to become an owner of one of your treasures because they are capable of appreciating it"!
 
Do you want to sell a few high end pricey pieces, or would you like to be the Walmart of the show and sell lots of inexpensive to lots of people? Either is fine, even both at the same time is fine, as long as you have the merchandise and talk to go along with the item to each client.
 
The best setup I have ever seen at a show was the beautiful college age daughter handling the sales with a youthful, smiley, chirpy, witty, professional and friendly sales attitude as her father, dressed in work clothes with soiled apron, was tolling away at the grinder just behind her! He was creating new and mystical treasures with his many years of experience and wisdom!  This booth always had folks looking at and buying items while at many other booths, people were just smiling and slowly walking by. The sellers booth items were not anymore beautiful than anyone elses at the show, but the shopping and buying experience was far nicer.

This is my 2 cents!
 
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kent

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2016, 01:44:23 PM »

My method seems to work pretty well. I've made a large number of pendants for my wife and they get noticed alot. She always carries my business cards with her  :thumbsup:

Cheers,

Kent
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55fossil

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2016, 01:47:16 PM »

    Living the dream now. I have always sold as an amateur/hobbyist/professional. I have had my works in magazines, books and sold in select upscale galleries along with the web. I like my prices to be $30 for average cabochons up into the hundreds for top end work.
But I also know when to let go of a cab that just did not make the grade. I give it away so as not to have it reflect on my premium pieces.
     My pricing is what the market will bear. I get a higher price on much of my work due to quality, the fact that I mine my own rock and do all the work myself. But if your cabochon lacks quality it does not matter what you put it into, silver, gold or pot metal. The amount of time you spent making a piece means little to most customers. Rare only means that there is not much of it. If it looks like junk no one cares if it is rare. Now, if it is top quality and rare that helps a lot. But the market price is still there unless you happen upon that special customer. Nope, you cannot compete on price with the importers. You compete with better quality, customer service and the term "Hand Made". Not Etsy's definition but hand made by the seller. 
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Jhon P

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2016, 02:28:56 PM »

You can sell your work for a profet! Wow.  Just kidding, I do his for fun I sell things to friend and people that I know sometimes , I am too busy with my business that I don't have time to try and sell. I give away more stuff than I have ever sold. Maybe one of these days I may need all this good info but I got into this because I enjoy doing it. But I am listening and hopefully learning
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55fossil

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2016, 04:08:34 PM »

   Jhon...... don't do it man......    not worth the trouble......    Kind of kidding.     But between the tax man, the few morons that pop up and never seem to leave... well I guess it is worth it. Meet some cool people in the business. And yes, there is a profit if you do things right and have a little luck. At least that is what I have been told. My accountant says I should keep trying and maybe someday I will make a profit.    Neal
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2016, 08:40:11 PM »

Cab prices of $30 and up are about where we are too. A few smaller cabs for less (even though they take just as long as a larger one) for the kids - who usually have parents in tow, right? If we sell a couple of opals that makes it a good show, but still not enough to make it any more than a self-supporting hobby.

Good luck to anyone who decides to sell their pieces. If you enjoy cutting stones or making jewelry, then it is nice when strangers give you money for something you do for fun.

Jhon P

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2016, 07:15:31 AM »

Hey I sold a pendant last night. A friend needed a gift for a friend. But I didn't make any money. I sold it for what the cab was worth. Colorback mountian turquoise.
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Stonemon

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2016, 08:42:54 AM »

Pricing is difficult. You never know what is going to sell. I have had stuff sit for months then because I liked it, thinking I would keep it, raised the price and it sold immediately. Who knew?
I am with Vince on this though.  If I cannot get $30.00 or more for a quality cab cut from nice material there is no reason to market it.
I do best with local specialty materials, Trent, Holley, and some of the Owyhee classics. These are rocks I have a history with and know how to handle. Generic pieces, no matter the look seem to be a tough sell.
I am able to sell enough when I am cutting to take care of the shop and supplement my other income but so far have not been able to make it work as my only source of income.
Bill
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Bill

vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2016, 07:57:34 PM »

Yep. Raising prices does work sometimes. There are buyers out there who seem to think if it's underpriced there must be something wrong with it.

There will always be the lookers who think everything should be $10 (or whatever) but when they comment that something is priced too high we just say something like "Well, we sell quite a few of them... .". Usually they just mutter and walk away to waste someone else's time.

For the buyers who seem serious about making a purchase, offer them a small discount if that's what it takes to make a nice sale - and if your margins will allow it. That's pretty much the way it is in the gem trade.

tetonartgallery

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2016, 07:40:46 AM »

These guys are trying to sell you a course - do not know if it is any good, but their FB video introduction is worth watching and relates to this thread. https://www.facebook.com/marketingtools4artists/videos/1809868379247209

PS: I edited out a prior link that jammed up my computer so i have posted a Facebook link to the video i am referring to. I hope it works.
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Enchantra

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2016, 12:17:24 PM »

I echo the sentiments by many of those who have posted here.

You have to understand the market, what prices it will bear etc.

I used to do shows back east.  I stopped after the last show I did back east I sold only one item and it was to my Dad's cousin who let me set up my booth for free on her property for the show in her town.  Lots of people, but no buyers.  Why?  I went walking around.  If you have a bunch of mass produced made in China crap, you did well, that's what folks were buying.  I sold nothing because my stuff, while priced very reasonably, wasn't cheap enough for the clientele.  I've worked retail on and off for years so I know how to greet and talk to customers and converse with them and put on the happy poker face.  However even that didn't help at that show.

My biggest problem in selling items online and at shows is competing against lower quality and lower priced items.    For example, I do some bead embroidery, wire wrapping and metal clay.  A simple bead embroidered piece could run $60 - $200 depending on the stone I have in it and cost of materials and time.  I have a piece on my site that is marked at $100.  I found someone online selling something similar (They didn't copy..) for $50 who was in Eastern Europe.  I have my items marked at the minimum of what I can accept for it to cover materials and a bare minimum of my time.  If someone can undersell me either they aren't charging for time, or they have found a way to get the materials so cheaply that I just cannot compete against them.

Most of my online sales have been to people my Husband works with.  Somehow my Introverted Husband manages to sell more of my jewelry than I do.

I use a very basic formula in pricing my work.

(Materials x 2) +  (Hours x $10) = price of finished work.

I've been told by numerous people I price to cheaply with that formula, especially since I'm an award winning artist.   However if I price things even higher than that, they don't sell.  When you compete against China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand, where the vast amount of mass produced jewelry is made, it's a tough road.  In your stores the vast number of jewelry sales are to teenage girls, and the twenty and thirty-somethings who want something flashy for cheap.  I am good at flashy, not good at being cheap.  I try to stress the hand made aspect of my pieces and the fact they are better quality than anything you find in a store.

One of the last quotes I ever did for a custom order was back east.  I remember writing about this on the old forum.  It was a quote for a bridal ensemble for the bride and ten bridesmaids.  I worked up two quotes because this woman wanted flashy pearls and Swarovski crystals.  So I did one quote with freshwater pearls and Swarovski Crystals, and one quote with glass based pearls and Cheaper knock-off Crystal that was still elegant but at least more in the realm of affordability.  The quotes were earrings, necklace and bracelet for each person - 11 sets total.  Cheapest price I gave her was $1100 - that's $100 per set.  The more expensive quote was for $1600.  She came back to me appalled at what I was asking and felt she should be able to get each set for $20 because it was handmade.   I informed her that I couldn't even afford to buy the materials for that, and if she wanted something that cheap to kindly go to Claire's in the mall and buy crap made in China using plastic pearls and faceted glass.  I will not put up with the attitude that because it's handmade that it should be cheap. 
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tetonartgallery

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2016, 11:18:07 PM »

$10 an hour - where else can you find anyone to do skilled labor for that - plumbers get $50 or more and they deal in shit.  I don't even think you can get chinese labor any more for $10 an hour.  Much more jewelry supply anymore than there is demand.  One must find a way to create demand for their persona in addition to their artwork.
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2016, 07:15:08 PM »

Yeah, the people whose work commands prices high enough to make it worthwhile always have loyal buyers who are more than willing to pay that price for pieces produced by that particular person.

Amethyst Rose

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Re: How do you price your work?
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2016, 06:02:46 AM »

My wife and I have been doing craft and rock shows for over 25 years now.  We have gone from beaded jewelry to mostly wire wrap work with my stones.  At the rock oriented shows, I also bring my cabs for sale.  90% of the cabs sold are wholesale to jewelers and sometimes make up the majority of the sales.  Quality matters as does price but knowledge of what you are selling also matters.  The more you can tell a jeweler about the stone, the more likely they are to buy it.  As we currently work full time, we do not have to make a living at this which makes it a self-sustaining hobby for us.  Starting to add more rock shows as retirement is closer as these shows do much better for us then the craft shows. 

Over the years we have seen an explosion of crafters doing jewelry but the majority of it is fairly shoddy work with commercial stones and pot metal findings.  Quality work with quality metal makes a difference in sales.  We use nothing but precious metals now.

Good luck to everyone

Bob Johannes
The Amethyst Rose
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