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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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