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