Creativity in Designing and Selling Jewelry


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- Gloria-Jean Browne

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In this Issue of Jewelry-olgy:

    *New Jewelry Business & Design Tips: Seven inspiring new articles

    *Feature Article: How To Price Your Handcrafted Jewelry

    *Your Jewelry Photo Gallery: Everyone is invited to join in and show off their creativity!

    *Great Jewelry-Related Website: Creativity

    *Online Jewelry Business Resource: Table Top Studio (How to Photograph Jewelry)

    *Recommended Reading: Secrets of a Handcrafted Jewelry Shopping Service

New Jewelry Business & Design Tips and
Techniques from My Website:

Managing Your Jewelry Inventory for Success
Learn how managing your inventory can have a major impact on your cash flow, production schedule, and profits and how it can also be a major factor in the success or failure of your business.

Designing Jewelry for Teenagers - A Profitable Market Niche
Teenagers jewelry is an important and lucrative market niche. Today’s 12- to 19-year-old crowd shops for fashions more than any other age group.

How to Use Trunk Shows to Market Your Handmade Jewelry
Discover how selling your handmade jewelry through trunk shows at galleries and boutiques can be both lucrative and rewarding for a variety of reasons.

Caring for Your Handcrafted Gemstone and Pearl Jewelry
Tips on how to care for your handmade gemstone jewelry.

Handcrafted Jewelry - Imparting the 'Special' Touch
Handcrafted jewelry helps to stand out in the crowd creating your own style statement.

Copper Jewelry in Action!
Discover the benefits of wearing copper jewelry.

Benefits of Magnetic Jewelry
Discover the benefits of magnetic jewelry and the therapeutic effects they have on the body.

Your Jewelry Photo Gallery:

This is new section on my website, a place where you can submit your pictures and proudly show off your jewelry designs to the world. Everyone is invited to join in and show off their creativity!

Feature Article:

How To Price Your
Handcrafted Jewelry

As a jewelry designer, deciding what prices to ask for your pieces may be one of the hardest chores you face and also one of the most neglected and least understood areas of business.

Learning how to price your handcrafted jewelry is the key to profitability and requires much thought as well as computation. I cannot tell you what your prices should be, but I can tell you how to go about setting prices in a business like manner in order to reach your greatest profits.

Some jewelry designers figure that they are doing fine if they cover the cost of their materials and make a little extra to cover the cost of their time. Their formula for pricing might look like this:


If you don't intend on making any money in your business this formula is fine, but if you want to be self-supporting and make a profit too, then using this formula is totally unrealistic and probably won't even allow you to break even.

A typical situation can be illustrated by the plight of a jewelry designer who produces beautiful Swarovski bracelets. Her cost is six dollars each. She feels that a markup of 50% will pay for her labor profitably.

Thus her bracelets are priced at $9.00 each, and she honestly believes that she has done a good jog of pricing. In fact, the whole arrangement seems great. She produces and sells a lot of Swarovski bracelets from her home studio.

As business volume increases, however, she realizes that she is spending so much time ringing up sales, that she is not producing any bracelets. If she hires someone to handle sales, her costs will certainly increase. If she continues to cope with it herself then her production will go down. At about that time, she realizes that she has not based her prices correctly.

Of course, if our jewelry designer discovered that she did not have customers coming to her home studio, she might consider that the local craft show would be the place to sell her bracelets. Upon reading the entry requirements, however, she learns that the craft show charges a booth fee, as well as rent on a table and chair.

In addition, the jewelry designer has to consider the setting up and dismantling of the booth, transport to and from the show, and breakage as well as her time attending the show—time that she might have spent designing bracelets.

Any price increase that this jewelry designer considers will not be small. Will the radical change in prices mean that her bracelets are so expensive that no one will buy them?

At this point, the jewelry designer wonders how she went so far astray in her pricing. Unfortunately, she started at the wrong point, and many of her assumptions were incorrect. Her original retail price (cost + labour) was completely unreal.

If the purpose of selling your handmade jewelry is to enable you to become self-supporting, it is vital when figuring costs that you clarify all the costs involved in doing business.

There are two stages to price your handcrafted jewelry. The first stage is to figure out your wholesale price and the second stage to is to add your selling costs to arrive at a retail price.

Figuring Wholesale Prices

As a jewelry manufacturer the first stage you must consider are the costs involved in producing the product. Your pricing formula should look something like this:


Examining each of these costs in your formula should give you a better appreciation of the complexities of pricing.

    Cost of Materials - The total cost of all raw materials and finishing products used in making an article. Your jewelry business cannot offer competitive prices or become profitable unless you are able to buy supplies and raw materials at wholesale prices. Obtaining the materials you need when you need them, and at good prices, is vital to your pricing and your profits. You want the lowest prices for the best quality materials.

    Also keep track of all your finishing items such as jump rings, crimps, finishes such as paint and polishes, even the glue and thread you used. The amounts of these things used may seem insignificant per item produced, but you'll be amazed at how much they can add up to over a year or even a couple of months.

    Labor Costs - In figuring labor costs, you will have to set up an hourly wage for yourself. The decision as to what your time is worth is actually a very personal one. The per/hour figure will not be based so much on the going rate as it is on your education and skill, as well as your experience and reputation.

    You can decide on a minimum which you would accept, but remember that you should actually be able to live on this minimum wage whether in reality you have to or not. Right now you may be only working at your business part-time for a little extra income, but some day you may want to make it your full-time career.

    Overhead Costs - Above and beyond the cost of materials and labor, which are directly related to the jewelry you produce, you must also consider all the costs of being in business. You will have these costs whether or not you make or sell anything. Your automobile, rent, insurance premiums, telephone bills and utilities still have to be paid whether you are away at craft shows or working all night to finish an order. This is a very neglected area in most home businesses, and if you fail to take overhead into consideration, it can eat up your profits.

    Profit - Profit is the return you get for the whole jewelry project—for the creativity that went into it, the skills required to carry it out, and the risks undertaken. In short, for being an entrepreneur instead of just a laborer.

    If you do not add a profit to your price, you will just break even— assuming you have figured out your costs correctly and what you pay out in expenses isn't more than what you bring in, in sales. If your business isn't making a profit, your business isn't succeeding.

    After you have figured out your materials, labor and overhead, all you need to do is add a percentage of the total of these three costs and you are ready to set your wholesale price in your pricing formula.


      Materials - $5.25
      Labour(1 hr x $15) - $15.00
      Overhead (20% of M+L) - $4.05
      Total Production Costs - $24.30
      Profit (15% of total Costs) - $3.65
      Wholesale Price - $27.95

Setting Retail Prices

The second stage must absorb the cost of selling the product, regardless of the means of selling you use. Even though you may decide to start out selling your work strictly retail through craft shows, you should still figure your wholesale price, as your selling costs will be added to this price to arrive at a retail price for your products. Normally your retail price is double your whole sale price.

Many jewelry designers say they can't afford to wholesale their jewelry — that is, they can't give a discount off their retail price to a shop or gallery that wants to purchase in quantity for resale.

This is because these jewelry designers are selling their products retail at the first pricing stage, the wholesale level, and therefore have not adequately considered the second set of selling costs.

Selling Costs

What it actually costs you to make a sale. Your selling costs are any money that you must pay in order to get your product to the final customer.

Following are some of the easily identifiable costs of selling that contribute to your selling costs:

    * Exhibition Expenses. Booth fees for craft shows, cost of materials for your booth, signs, and display items.

    * Travel Expenses. If you attend out-of-town shows you should include your food and accommodations.

    * Advertising and Promotion. Included in your selling costs are any expense involved in making your customers aware of your products. Printing of brochures, flyers or catalogues, and any advertising in magazines or newsletters. Also the cost of setting up a website.

    * Packaging Materials. When selling your products directly to the customer you need some sort of packaging material for them to carry their purchases home. This would include gift boxes, bags, tissue, hand tags, and gift cards.

    * Rent. If you were to rent a shop or studio the cost to rent, utilities, and cleaning supplies

    * Your Selling Time. In your selling costs you must also consider not only the time you actually spend at the show sitting behind your booth, but the time spent packing up the jewelry the day before, loading the car, traveling time, unloading and unpacking when you get back — after all, you are losing these hours from production.

    * Sales Help. You may need to hire help for setting up and dismantling your booth, as well as help in selling.

    * Mail Order. If you sell your products through the internet or mail order then you must also consider your mailing costs such as postage, shipping, and extra packaging materials.

Depending on how you decide to sell your work, you might find that you are spending as much time or more on selling your jewelry as you are in making them. Actually this is quite normal and to be expected, especially at first. You should soon become more knowledgeable about selling and get your selling costs in line with what your retail price allows.

Even, if you are only a part-time jewelry designer, you must bear in mind that the prices you charge must reflect an income from which you could earn a living.

Right now you may be selling handmade jewelry either for the fun of it or for only a bit of extra income. However, in the future if you do decide to make jewelry as a full time business you will realize that you are not making sufficient profit from the low prices you have been charging and then it will be too difficult to suddenly raise your prices high enough to make a living from your jewelry designs. Therefore, fixing a reasonable and fair price early in your home jewelry business is of extreme importance, especially if you are to make your business successful

Featured Jewelry-Related Website: is an invigorating community alive with the voices of creativity coaches, artists, writers, and business professionals sharing their knowledge and expertise to inspire creative exploration and expression in everyone. Named a Writer's Digest best Web site and lauded by the English Journal, they're proud host to Art of the Song and essays by America's foremost Creativity Coach Eric Maisel and other professional authors.

Creativity Portal's collection of beading resources you'll find a growing cache of informative jewelry-related articles and Web resources that explain the jewelry making design process, and those that share online design tools, free patterns, jewelry making tips, techniques, and instructional how-to tutorials for your own creative bead and jewelry projects.

Online Jewelry Business Resource:


Taking good quality pictures of jewelry for most is an unsolved mystery. However, there are some simple techniques used by the professional, which even amateur photographers can use to obtain dramatic results with minimal effort. TableTopStudio shares some great examples showing the basic setup that should allow anyone to achieve results they can be proud of.

Recommended Reading:

Secrets of a Handcrafted Jewelry Shopping Service

Rena Klingenberg's extensive knowledge and immense amount of research is evident as she answers all of the "How-To's" and "What-If's" to running a Personal Jewelry Shopping Service. Insider tips, strategies, hot market niches, and lots of real-life examples for selling your one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Presented in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand format, Rena covers not only the many logistics of setting up and running a successful business; she also provides effective tips on marketing, scheduling appointments, handling consultations, making a profit, etc. And as a bonus, includes numerous sample forms that can easily be adjusted to fit your own personal business needs. 115 pages.

What You'll Learn in This Book:

    * What is a Jewelry Gift and Shopping Service?

    * How to Operate a Profitable Jewelry Gift and Shopping Service

    * How to Work with Your Clients for Best Results

    * How to Get Clients for Your Jewelry Gift and Shopping Service
    (This section of the book contains 46 pages of strategies, tips, and secrets for getting clients who are VERY willing and able to buy from you again and again)

Click here to learn more about Rena Klingenberg's book "Secrets of a Handcrafted Jewelry Shopping Service"

Find More Jewelry Business & Design Information

You'll find plenty of information at the Beading Design Jewelry site. If you're looking for specific information about building your jewelry business or designing unique jewelry, try the Search This Site feature to find the information you need.

Thanks for reading Jewelry-olgy Creativity in Designing & Selling Jewelry Newsletter.

I welcome your comments and questions.

"Happy Beading"
Cheers, Gloria:)

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