March 26, 2008


...I'm being busy...

Here's something pretty to look at
until I return.

March 22, 2008

some thoughts about pricing

I've given up on formulas.

Until about a year ago, I used 'pricing forms' I'd made on excel.
For every jewelry component I purchased, I calculated the price, down to the last pearl, and listed the price on every little compartment or container in which I stashed all these parts. When a piece of jewelry was completed, I listed the cost of each and every bead, jump ring, clasp, ear wire, every inch of wire used. And of course, I kept track of the time it took to make the jewelry. I knew my mark-up, my percentage of profit....all that...and the time it took to do all this was sometimes greater than designing and making the jewelry!

I've scrapped all these time-wasting calculations and am back to pricing by my gut, the way I did when I started out, and I feel so much freer to just enjoy the process of making jewelry.

However, I've gotten some useful advice from customers and friends that I've used to guide me in 'pricing by gut', and I'd like to share some:

Pricing is not just about cost and mark-up. It's about perception. Customers usually know when you are under-pricing yourself. While this may not lead them to the conclusion that your work is shoddy or your materials are sub-par, it will give them the impression that you lack confidence! They will wonder why you don't value yourself, let alone your product. It will unconsciously feel icky to them (pardon me for not coming up with a better word, but I think 'icky' explains it pretty well). Be aware that when you handcraft an item, it becomes imbued with your feelings - about yourself and about the process, even about the customers you are hoping to attract. Your customers will pick up on your feelings and your lack of confidence will subconsciously repel them. Strange but True! Conversely, the love, respect, and joy, that you put into what you make will be felt and appreciated by the customer. Really! And when they pick up on that, price becomes less of an issue for them.

Pricing is about your market and where you want to place yourself in that market. If your market expects to pay more, raise your prices! I've had the very good fortune of selling primarily at craft shows and retail shops in the very-high end resort areas of Colorado. I realize not everyone is so fortunate, and you must consider your own unique market, but do allow that your market may be more high-end than you realize. You are not, after all, competing with Wal-Mart. People who are looking for the cheapest price are not your customers! Your customers are people who are looking for unique handcrafted items, and they expect to pay more. (And if you are looking to wholesale and your product is unique and well made, consider seeking out shops in resort areas. No kidding! If you want the money to come to you, go where the money is!)

Do use your common sense and intelligence when pricing. Don't price silver plated earrings as if they are sterling (and vice versa!). Be honest and reasonable in your pricing and your customers will respect you for it. Know that a 'good deal' is not the lowest price. It is about getting the best quality product at a fair price. Price to be fair to your customer and to yourself and you will both feel like you got a 'good deal'.

This post is already much longer than I intended, so I will leave it here and maybe return to the subject another time. Thanks for bearing with me if you've made it this far!


March 17, 2008

thoughts from the laundromat

hangin' out...
sitting on a bench outside the laundromat
waiting for the clothes to dry,
enjoying the view, which is, of course, in color,
but I am sepia today.

Thursday will be the first day of spring.
Do you know what that means?
Only two more months of snow in the Colorado mountains...

March 09, 2008

found it

Part Two
Made possible by little brown sparrow.

March 08, 2008

lost it

I played around all morning with the old poster sketch tool in Etsy (more tax avoidance).
Somehow, I managed to save the top two rows, but I don't know how I did it!! I was able to get it to open in Microsoft Picture It, after much stress and struggle, but took a lot of turns in the process, got lost in the woods for a while, and now I have no idea how I got there.

What you see is what I got - the bottom two rows are missing.
Does anyone know how to save the whole page?
I'm afraid I haven't wasted enough time :)

March 05, 2008

tax time

Lately I've been finding all sorts ways to avoid beginning work on my income taxes -

like taking pictures of my ceiling
(although I do kind of like this one)

Today I even resorted to dusting and vacuuming, proving there are no lengths to which I will not go to avoid the inevitable.

March 02, 2008

perfect day

Gray Sunday
...perfect day for a nap...

March 01, 2008

Where do I go?

In answer to Danielle, who left a comment asking where I go on my business trips.....

Flight over Buffalo Mountain
Silverthorne, Colorado

Once a month, I drive the 100 miles into the mountains where I used to live to visit the stores that carry my jewelry. Since I lived there when I began selling to them, they think of me as local and I think it's good PR to stay in touch.

Rather than answer Danielle's question directly, I thought I'd post about this as it may be helpful to Etsy sellers who are interested in selling wholesale.

As much as possible, Go In Person, not necessarily to try to make a sale (always be prepared though), but just to let your stores know you are interested and available. Buyers want to feel they are important enough for you to call on them regularly. Don't pester your shops for a sale, but show up. And listen to comments from the owners and sales staff. You will pick up clues that will be very helpful.

The best piece of advice I ever got, although it was not intended to be, was from the owner of my best-selling store, on my very first visit. Together, we were admiring the jewelry she buys from other artists, and she made a comment about the one we both liked the best. Even though the artist lives in an adjoining state, about 400 miles away, the owner said to me, "I love her jewelry, but she never calls on me, so she must not need my business". Wow! That was worth it's weight in all the jewelry she has since bought from me.

When I left the mountains, I was actually hoping to just mail a box of jewelry now and then, but another comment made me re-think that approach. While rummaging through my bag of necklaces, the buyer commented on how much she loved going through all the jewelry herself and seeing everything. Loving jewelry as she does, it's touching it and seeing it in person that excites her. And I'm sure it also leads to a ton of impulse purchases that she might not make if she were just thumbing through a catalog and had plenty of time to think about it. Never underestimate the attraction of being able to fondle the jewelry!

Visiting your shops regularly will also keep you in touch with what is selling and what is not. You may have a great design that is selling well in one shop but not in another. It's all about the clientele. Different shops attract different shoppers. As you become familiar with the trends in each store, you can gear your presentations accordingly. Owners are busy people. They may not always notice which pieces of your jewelry are selling best. Educate them. Keep track for yourself and mention to the buyer that you've noticed a particular design is selling well. They'll appreciate that you are knowledgeable, not just about your own line, but also about their store.

Try to be flexible. Getting stuck in one particular design aesthetic will limit you to only being able to sell to shops with a compatible style. One of my stores sells only long, dramatic, dangly earrings. Another considers them much too dressy and buys only simple classic styles. If you can design in several different styles, it will expand your sales possibilities and probably keep you from becoming bored with your own jewelry too!

These trips are so important to me, not just to make a sale, but to refresh me and renew my enthusiasm for making jewelry. Appreciation is a great motivator and you don't get that from waiting at home, hoping the phone will ring with an order from someone you never actually see.

(Oh, and don't forget, the mileage is deductible!!)