Why I Wore Purple to a Funeral

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I wore purple to my grandmother’s funeral. Not because I’m a disrespectful brat, but because she didn’t want us all wearing black. Her reason for that was very simple.

“It’s so bloody depressing” is what she’d say about it. I actually don’t remember her ever wearing black. Not even in England when it was cold and miserable and it was the “in” thing to wear. She always wore something colourful. I remember she looked particularly enthralling in blue.

Unlike my Nan, I LOVE black. It’s one of my favourite clothing colour choices because well, a) it goes with everything, and b) it slims me down, and let’s face it there’s a LOT to be slimmed down. Had you asked me a few years ago, black would have been my only answer to “what’s your favourite colour?” I’m now 38 and have only just really started adding more colour to my wardrobe. My teenage black everything stage seems to have gone on for a little longer than most….

On the other hand, I love colour. Hot pink, deep purples, vivid blues and intense greens are on the top of my list (and if we’re talking clothes, it’s usually paired with something black. I’m not quite there, yet!)

When it comes to jewellery design though, I steer clear of black altogether and go for colour, colour, colour!! I do this for a few reasons; the biggest and probably most obvious being that with jewellery, we can be a little outlandish. We can have fun. If you have to wear an all black pant suit for work because bright coloured clothes are a no-no, add a little bright pink, or turquoise, or a splash of green. In jewellery we can allow our personalities to shine, even if we’re restricted by dress codes or uniforms (which is a whole ‘nother blog altogether!). Now, can you wear a giant statement necklace at a black tie formal event? Of course you can. You may not get away with it at work. So try something colourful, but subtle, and maybe a tad on the discreet side if you are wearing black at a funeral. When I was working in counselling (at a Catholic organisation), my dress code was quite explicit, but I’d work around it by wearing pieces of jewellery that caught the eye and attention of my teenage clients, and they were always a fabulous ice breaker.

Anyway, while I’m on the topic of colour, I mentioned in a previous blog about all these gorgeous gemstones that I had ordered off Ebay. Three of the 26 that I splurged on have now arrived and the colours are AMAZING.

Here are the three that I have in my little hands as we speak:

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Bumblebee jasper – this stunning, unusual blend of yellows, dark browns, and cream is just awesome! I’ve never used it before in my work, so I’m looking forward to it. To be honest, I’ve never used yellow in a design before. Not once. Not even when I was beading! I just couldn’t find a yellow I liked until I found this.

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This is a super unusual blend of natural copper, malachite and turquoise, and the colours are just lovely!! When I chose this one, I kept thinking how totally LUSH it’ll look with copper wire. It’s not a huge stone, so it won’t make a massive statement if it’s used as a pendant, so I was thinking if putting it into a bracelet instead. Gotta get that POP!

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This last one I chose simply because it reminds my of my mum. She loves tigereye and this is a gorgeous stone that has gone into a rather lovely pendant (so far, unlisted). It’s a little darker than I would have chosen before, but the colour and movement of the stone is amazing.

I could choose obsidian. Or jet. Or onyx. Or spinel. They’re all amazing stones, and they’re all beautiful. They’re all incredible shades of black.

But like my Nanna said, “Black is just so bloody depressing.”

Choose purple. I’m glad I did. 

 

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What to charge for your handmade products

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Photo credit: mr-numb via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

 

My blood is boiling, people!

I’m in a lot of jewellery related groups on Facebook and recently that pesky question, “What should I charge for this? is $20 too much?” has once again raised it’s ugly head.

Now, I’m all for people asking for help. I am. But when it comes to pricing, I really get annoyed very quickly and so I try to avoid these discussions. Charging $20 for a necklace you probably spent hours making is not okay. It’s too low. Far too low! Jewellery is a luxury item. Stop being so afraid to charge what it’s worth! 

I do understand, though. When I first started out, my prices seemed obscene and I’d often lament to my poor hubby, “Who the heck is going to pay $20 for THAT?!?” and he’d get all annoyed and tell me that I had to remember that it was made by hand, and not in some sweatshop being sold for pennies to big stores. It took me a couple of years to come around to his way of thinking, but now I can charge $240 for a wire woven bracelet thast took me six hours to make (probably more, if I’m honest, when you include treating with LoS, scrubbing, polishing, photographing, listing on the website etc…..) and not feel guilty about it. I’m also learning about my dream client, so now I design, produce and market to her, and she can afford my prices. More on that in a later blog, I think!

Handmadeology sums it up beautifully:

If you charge too low, you are not only cheapening the perceived value of your own work, you are also cheapening the work of others because the public learns to think that some jewelers who charge what they are worth, are charging too much. – http://www.handmadeology.com/pricing-your-handmade-jewelry/

So, here’s what you should be charging for:

Time

Your time is precious. Charge for it! And for the love of all things holy, don’t charge less than minimum wage for your hourly rate. Right now, I charge minimum wage for my wire work but that will increase as my skill level increases. I’m not going to train and study and practice and learn for years just to keep paying myself minimum wage. That’s ridiculous. It’s harmful. You also have to take into consideration things like down time because you’re sick, or you want to take a holiday with your family, or whatever…charge an hourly rate that works for you, and stick to it (or even increase it as your needs change). Aussie designer Simone Walsh has a great article on her site about this, including a great method to settle on your final hourly rate. Check it out here.

Overheads

You should be charging for your overheads, too. Just because you’re a stay at home mumpreneur doing this for some extra dollars doesn’t mean that you don’t have overheads. My lights wouldn’t be on until 2am every day if I wasn’t doing this. My computer wouldn’t be on until all hours. Internet access wouldn’t be such a necessity, either. Electricity and internet are not free (or if they are free wherever you are, I’m moving!). Charge for your overheads (industry standard is 20% of materials + labour).

Materials

Materials don’t buy themselves. Charge accordingly, but please don’t forget….you are charging what it would cost to replace those items, so if you got them on sale, you charge regular price because by the time you sell the piece and go to replace those items, the chances are they’re not on sale anymore. So now you have to replace those items at full price, whcih chews into your profit. Think about it. Also, take into consideration the currency that you buy items in. I have to buy most of my things from overseas and for the longest time, I undercut myself on materials because I was forgetting to charge in Australian dollars! So, let’s say I bought a stone for $5 USD, I’ve actually paid $6.87 Australian for it. (Ebay is fantastic because it tells me exactly what I paid in my currency so it stops this confusion). If I only charged $5 (Australian), I’d be screwing myself out of $1.87!! That adds up fast.

Re-investment

A percentage of each sale should be going right back into your business. Charge  so you can afford to do so.

Profit

You do want to make some money from your jewellery, yes? Then you need to be taking your profit into account too.

So really….is $20 for that necklace that took you 4 hours to weave really enough? No? I didn’t think so. 

Love,

Jacqui

 

PS. A quick google search will bring up a million and one different calculations, formulas etc on how to price your work, but I love this calculator which was developed by Laura Bracken. It takes ALL the guesswork out of pricing, and includes five different pricing formulas so you can choose which one feels right to you. The newest version, which I just got today (you get free updates for life), even includes your re-investment amount so you know exactly where every cent is going. It’s awesome and I can’t do pricing without it, anymore.