October 8, 2009
A few weeks ago I decided that I'd like to offer a line of jewelry along with my beads. While making jewelry is fun and it's where I started with my business 17 years ago, I have to say that it's been a struggle to give myself permission to ask a fair price.
Everyone has different reasons and systems for the way they price their jewelry, so I'm not saying one way is good or bad. I'm just offering my thoughts here. If you have overcome this struggle in your journey as an artist, please share your story with me!
So these are the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head:
1. I have to charge for more than materials. I need to support my family. This isn't a hobby for me, this is my livelihood. If I'm going to spend my time making jewelry it has to be worth the investment that it will take out of my day. Along with the physical making of the beads and jewelry, there is photography and design work, marketing, advertising, selling costs, packaging, shipping and paperwork that goes along with each piece of jewelry.
2. I don't have to afford my jewelry. So my price needs to reflect what my work is worth, not what I think is affordable. I'm a bargain hunter by nature. It's just a hold-over from my survival skills as a young 20's something mother with a husband who worked manual labor. Thankfully now I can afford all sorts of luxuries but it's hard for me to pay certain price points for things and I just need to let that go.
3. My time is valuable and there are intangible qualities to my work. There are my design skills, my craftsmanship and my ideas. These are harder to quantify into a dollar amount and make it harder to pinpoint a formula.
So I do have a basic formula for the price as a guideline and I have a general idea of the fair market value for work that is comparable to mine. But I still struggle to ask that higher dollar amount. I know a gallery or boutique could ask for more for my work than I'm charging, so why can't I give myself the okay to charge more? It may just take time. I might find that the demand for my work is growing too much and then I'll have to charge more. (Okay that was weird to write, like I might as well of asked for a pocket full of pixie dust.)
I feel like I need to look in a mirror and say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it people will buy my jewelry." (Nod to Mr. Stewart Smiley.)
Share with me - if you know of a good link or have a jewelry designer that you admire I'd love to see it!