I make jewelry because I love pretty things. I love playing with color. I love the process of creating something. I love having something to do with my hands while I binge watch Netflix. From my earliest days of beading*, my rate of production rapidly surpassed my ability to wear. As my skill set grew, people actually wanted to buy stuff from me, which led young me into a conundrum.
How Do I Price My Jewelry?!
Current me spent some time refining her process. When I'm pricing for shows, I follow a standard formula that covers expenses, overhead, and around $20 an hour for my labor. As someone whose primary inclination is to "sell it cheap because I want fast money to buy more beads", I have to make an effort to keep my pricing comparable to other designers. It's a balancing act between moving product and not undercutting other artisans at the show. Undercutting the market benefits nobody, and it's bad karma.
My primary customer base isn't shows or online, it's commission and spec work for repeat customers. I like to think this puts me in a karmically gray area in pricing. The "non-pecuniary value" of these relationships is just as much a part of the joy as making the jewelry, and it's priceless. I enjoy the collaborative process and design challenges, and I want them to keep coming back to "play" with me. I feel okay about keeping their prices low because these customers aren't debating between my bracelet and another seller's down the row. They're coming to me because they can't find the exact piece they need anywhere else, and they like me.
My slap-dash method works for me. It's not my goal to be a full-time designer and seller. I'm aware that I'm in the minority on this. Most designers want to maximize profit to grow their business. There are tons of tools out there to help designers calculate pricing based on various expenses including cost of goods, overhead, and labor.
I've compiled a list of some of my favorites. Check all of them out, and find one that works for you as-is, or take tips a la carte. Even if pricing is something you've got firmly set for your business, take a peek. It never hurts to know more about your industry.