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How to Price Handmade Jewelry to Sell Online

So you’ve decided you’d like to sell your jewelry online? Notice I didn’t say “try.” If you’re already thinking, “I’ll try… I’ll probably fail, but I’ll try,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. Don’t do that to yourself!

To quote Yoda,  “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Now, granted you’re not going up against Darth Vader, but you still need the same positive mindset.

MyWired Shop Homepage

There are hundreds of books on the subject, eBooks and blogs dedicated to ‘telling’ you how to sell online. The whole process can seem daunting at times, but taken one step at a time, it is doable for just about anyone.

Learn more about the first steps to selling jewelry online here.

Pricing too low

Now, I could write endlessly on the all the finer points, but for this post I’m going to stick to what, to me, is one of the most important factors, and one of the biggest mistakes I see fellow jewelry artisans make — pricing. Specifically pricing too low.

Pricing too low usually happens by not taking into account free shipping, seller fees, and not paying yourself a fair salary. I can point out those mistakes in others only because I’ve made them all at one point or another.

Since I primarily sell on Etsy, my advice and opinions are based on that venue. Etsy is a fabulous setting for a jewelry artisan, or any artisan to get their feet wet. Yes, jewelry is one of the most prominent and heavily saturated categories on Etsy, but you can, with hard work, carve out a niche for yourself.

Here’s where one of the pricing mistakes I mentioned comes into play. Some might think “There are so many other jewelry makers on Etsy, I need to price my work cheap to get noticed.” Wrong! Pricing too low actually hurts you and your work. Shoppers will glimpse your work, see the super low price, and pass right on by, assuming there’s something wrong with it to be priced that low. It also implies that you don’t care enough about your work to charge a fair price.

Pricing models

There are dozens of pricing models on the Internet, and you’ll have to experiment to find what works best for you, but this is what I use:

Start with 2.5 times your material cost and packaging, add an hourly wage for the time it takes to make the piece and add 10 percent for overhead and incidental costs.

If you are considering consignment or wholesale, then you need to multiply your material cost by four. Most consignment or wholesale opportunities are 40 to 60 percent of your retail cost, and starting your base price at four times your materials cost helps to keep you from working for free, or worse, losing money.

Materials for a pendant

Photo via Bluprint Member BobbiWired

What is material cost?

Beads, wire, crimp covers, headpins, etc., the packaging you’ll use to ship to a customer AND the shipping you paid to get the materials. When you get materials, write on the bag what each individual part costs, so you don’t have to figure it later. Keep a small notebook handy to list all the parts that go into a piece.

What is included in the hourly wage?

This includes not only the actual physical time making the piece, but any prep work your materials need, designing and redesigning, polishing and packaging. I have an old stop watch of my dad’s that I use to help me keep track of my time.

What are overhead and incidental costs?

This includes things such as rent, utilities, listing and PayPal fees and the gas to drive to the post office to ship an order. Speaking of shipping, if you offer free shipping, don’t forget to add the shipping cost to the cost of the piece. If you don’t factor that into the cost, you’re losing money before you even list the piece for sale.

Labradorite pendant and Necklace

Project Photo via Bluprint Member BobbiWired

There are other factors to take into consideration too such as if the piece is easily repeatable or if it is absolutely one of a kind. But just stick to the simple factors at first! I don’t want to discourage you from trying… Oops, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

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38 Comments

lisanne

love to learn

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Bobbi Maw

Thank you Lisanne!

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Coral

Thank you so much for this. This is the thing I struggle with the most. And I HAVE been under pricing my pieces. I was only thinking about cost and hourly wage. I didn’t even think about the other things that you mentioned. Thanks again.

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Bobbi Maw

You’re most welcome Coral! Don’t feel bad, I still struggle with pricing too sometimes. :))
Bobbi

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SheerSurfaceOnEtsy

Thank You! It’s good to know I did it right! Sorry I can’t Share, since it would give the competition an edge :/

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Bobbi Maw

You’re welcome Sheer, though I’m not sure I understand how sharing would give the competition an edge. O.o
Bobbi

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Nancy

Thanks for the advise was not sure what to price my one of a kind items. Did not think about all the things you mentioned.

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Bobbi Maw

You’re welcome Nancy! Pricing one of a kind pieces is probably the hardest, because, being one of a kind, there isn’t anything to compare to, plus accounting for it’s uniqueness.
Bobbi

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Tracy Hensley

You are correct – All I make are one of kind items and I just go with my gut and how unique it is.
It was really time consuming to have a website, with one-of-a-kind pieces because you are constantly updating, that was a full time job in itself – I would love any suggestions on how to streamline that?
Thank you

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Gina

Love this article! I make jewelry but so far I haven’t started selling it online. Pricing is hard for me, especially when I start making something new. This is a great blog to refer back to. And now selling online doesn’t seem SO intimidating. Thank U for all the help.

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Bobbi Maw

You’re most welcome Gina! It’s a learning process just like everything else 🙂 Holler if you have any questions.

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Robbin D King

Thanks for the tips and advise, put some
Of my Jewelry on fb not doing good but I’ll shop around i do sell to individual but i need to get it out there i have buiness cards and i belive in me been making jewelry for 2yrs selling it for 1year1/2.

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Bobbi Maw

I’ve not really tried to sell in FB, Etsy takes all my attention:) Keep working at it, you’ll do great – especially with your fabulous statement “I believe in me”!!!

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Iris Boyett

I have posted some of my handmade jewelry on facebook. I get a lot of likes but no serious inquiries. I have thought about etsy. I was told by a friend that I was pricing tooo low like you mentioned, my time, material etc.. I’m just worried about pricing too high. I’m going to try to follow your steps in selling.

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Bobbi Maw

I understand your worries Iris – The first assumption when we don’t get sales, is “maybe I’m over-priced”. I’ve been there! Before you lower your prices, look at your listings from a buyers viewpoint – Are your pictures spot on (clear, crisp and appealing – no busy backgrounds)? Are you selling from a business page, or your personal page? Be careful trying to sell from a personal page – FB isn’t too fond of that. If you’re comfortable on FB, instead of Etsy, look into Shopify for FB – right now Etsy is having serious issues, you might be less frustrated waiting for the smoke to clear.
Hope that helps a little 😉
Bobbi

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Enid

Ok – I get all the material cost – by what about the hourly wage? What do you consider a reasonable hourly rate?

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Bobbi Maw

Hourly wage is a touchy subject for most. For me, when I started, I was hesitant to even pay myself minimum wage. But after gaining some confidence, I came to the conclusion that creating jewelry is a skilled labor, and I was worth at least as much an hour, as what I was being paid in my ‘regular job’ as as a customer service rep. Each year I gave myself the same cost of living raise. Since this is now my full time ‘job’, I pay myself the same fair wage as any ’employer’ would pay an ’employee who has dedicated 27 years to the “job”.

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Roberto Lindemann

When I sell my Jewerly on Line or at trade shows my fee is as followed

Material cost
Labor cost @80.00 per hour
Process $10.00
Design $.40 cents
Markup 60% off retail

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Va

Thank you so much…This has been a tremendous help to me.

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Esterina

This has been so helpful. I’m still in the confidence building stage but my jewelry has been well received. I know that I have under priced my items but this blog has helped to put pricing in perspective. Thank you so much.

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Radka Long

Thank you for this advice.It just confirmed what I was told by a friend.
Radka

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Savannah

This was good information I’ve been thinking I should price low cause I’m new and if you price high they’ll pick someone with a lower price but I’m going to have to adjust everything now

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Bobbi

It’s hard when you’re starting out – Even after you’ve been at it many years, there will still be people that buy someone else’s work, simply because it’s cheaper. 🤦‍♀️ My favorite mantra? “Never Give Up! Never Surrender” 🙂

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Katherine kuehnel

Probably a dumb question, but say we use 11 of 111 beads. Those 111 bead cost 11.99. Do we use 11.o9 when figute the cost of our piece of do we calculate the cost of only 11 beads?

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Bobbi

Not a dumb question! At $11.99 (you did include the shipping, right?😉) each bead costs .11 cents (rounded up) – so the cost added to your piece is $1.19 for 11 beads.

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Cheryl Arant

My husband is having me to read a book on the psychology of influencing people. I too thought I should “go low” on my prices because I’m new to it, but as the story goes in the book, there was once a lady who owned a jewelry store. She had some very nice turquoise pieces, but they weren’t selling. It was a touristy town, so when it got time for the season, she reduced the price, still nothing. She was leaving town, so she left a note for an employee saying price x 1/2. The employee thought it meant to double the price. When the owner returned, all of it was sold. She thought it was because the price was slashed when actually it had been doubled. The author went on to say it is the mentality we have when we see it is marked higher, we think it’s bound to be better! I think we all tend to think that way!

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Jane

Hi. Thank you for the great information.
I have a question. When you buy at a vendor and you get a price reduction for say 15 items, do you use the reduced price in your calculations or the price for one of the vendors items.
Thanks.
Jane

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Bobbi

Hi Jane,
I’ve always used the full price of a component even if I buy in bulk and get a discount.

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Jessica Jenners

Hi Bobbi, I’m so glad I decided to look into how to price out handmade jewelry or any item for sale for that matter and your website was the first and only one I clicked on. The question I have also ties in with Jane’s question. Let me give you some background info first. Currently I’m unemployed because for the last 12 years I worked for Arby’s Restaurant and by the end I was completely miserable and unsatisfied with my life. For as long as I can remember I have always been able to draw anything and when it comes to art and crafts I love challenging myself with trying new and different things and now I consider myself a “master crafter” lol, because with all the doubts people have had whether or not I could complete a certain job for them I have not come across something I could’t yet. I draw, paint, sew, woodburn, use tools and building with wood, henna tattoos and have even been teaching myself tattooing! Anyways to the point my husband and I have been trying to start a small local business for ourselves because I’m sick of going through life miserable because of jobs I hate and want a career doing what I love to do instead of wasting this talent I have. We have done 2 craft fairs and getting ready to do another. I guess I’m not sure what Jane means by her question whatsoever, I’m pretty much a newborn baby when it comes to the whole craft fair and trying to start a business stuff but I know it’s important info that I need to learn to become successful. So sorry for the novel but I appreciate all the help I can get. If it is easier for you to contact via email please do and thank you for taking the time to read this!!

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Bobbi

Hi Jessica,
Believe me, I understand all to well hating a ‘regular’ job and wanting to make a living doing something you love 🙂 I work 10 times harder now, but I’m the master of my own fate, not someone else.
I don’t do craft shows – I know lots of folks that do well at them, but I did a few, and hated it – so maybe someone else can chime in with tips and advice for craft shows.
When you’re calculating the cost of a piece, you’re adding up all the individual components cost. Jane was asking if you get a component at a volume discount, do you use the discount price, or the full retail price in your calculations. Others may feel differently, but I always use the full retail price of each individual piece.
Hope that helps a little!
Kind regards,
Bobbi

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Mira

I just started making wire wrapped (for most pat) jewelry and have some pieces listed on Etsy. I found out through your explanations and instructions above that my pricing for some pieces barely covers cost. It’s just now that I am “out there” with the pieces would you advise to leave the pricing or still change?

Every piece is unique I do not reproduce same exact design and much is wire work.

Thanks for your response, I appreciate all help I can get!

Reply
Bobbi

Hi Mira,
I would still change your pricing. Even though you are just now “getting out there” as you put it, doesn’t mean you should charge less for your work. And whether your work is wire wrapped, or beaded, or any other medium, it still requires your labor and materials, and you should be paid fairly for it.
I’m on Etsy @ https://www.myWiredImagination.etsy.com Holler if you have additional questions.
Bobbi

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Kate Morris

I fixed the URL for you Bobbi! – Kate @ Craftsy

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Neici

Thank you so much for your blog! I have only been trying to sell my handmade jewelry online for several months now but have had only one sell. I link my Etsy account with FB and on Instagram. Also, I just opened a Bonanza shop. I have changed my pricing many times throughout these months as I keep reading new information on this subject. It bothers me to see items being sold for the same price or even a lower price than my own when I am using stainless steel or brassmatels and glass or clay beads, and they may be using silver and pearls. If I used your motto, a stainless steel with clay and glass bead necklace Im trying to sell now for $25 should actually be $52. I can’t see that happening. 🤷

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Derek

I found out that I was selling my pieces, made from materials I bought at Michael’s, at about a third of what others were willing to pay. It’s all about perceived value.

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Derek

If you think that’s out of the question, Google “Palessi” and see how pricing influences perceived value.

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morten

As an almost new silversmith, here is my simple formula: I mark up raw materials 100% (A $40 sheet of silver is now $80.) Plus, $40.00/hour. That gives me a “living wage”, health care, but no retirement. I try not to compete with cheap Asian products. I find a way to “added value.” (And if you are charging $20/hour, you are damaging the market – and ruining it for yourself and the rest of us.) 20 dollar an hour for 48 productive weeks is $38,000 a year – before car, healthcare, and rents. We who make beautiful things deserve better.

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Bobbi Maw

Your absolutely right Morten! It never ceases to astonish me at the number of shops on Etsy (that write me for help) and let me know they either don’t charge labor or something around $10.00. 🤦‍♀️ I pay myself a little more an hour than you do Morten, and they’re shocked. I always ask, “would you work for a company for 30+ years and not get paid as much?”
Sometimes when explaining that, selling themselves so cheap hurts everyone, seems to be the hardest concept to grasp. 😞

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