How to price your handmade jewelry

tips for pricing handmade jewelry

How to price your jewelry for sale

Originally published October 2013.  Updated December 2018.

I started selling handmade jewelry in 2002.  In that time, I’ve made some mistakes and learned a few things when it comes to pricing your jewelry for sale.  Here are a few of my tips to make sure you get a fair price for your handmade resin jewelry.

If you haven’t started making resin jewelry yet and want some help, here’s how you get started:  how to make resin jewelry

When I first started selling handmade art jewelry, I made sterling silver jewelry.  The formula that worked best for me was to triple my materials cost.  Silver was reasonably priced then and a triple markup allowed me to cover the materials and equipment, then left me with a fair profit for my labor.  Once I moved into resin jewelry, that clearly wasn’t enough.  If you’re only spending dimes to dollars on materials, multiplying that amount times three is going to undervalue your final product.

Step 1
  1. Figure out the fixed costs associated with selling your jewelry.  These are easy to overlook because no one thinks about these when you’re casting resin, but they certainly are important.  These costs include insurance, taxes and licensing fees, utilities (phone, electricity), any interest (if you’re carrying a credit card balance on your supplies purchased for example) and finally the depreciation costs.  (These can be significant if you have a lot of equipment in your studio.)
Step 2
  1. Decide what is a fair wage per hour for you as the person making the jewelry.  Another way to think of this is to ask yourself what you would have to pay someone to do this for you.  Calculate the number of pieces that you can make in an hour.  Divide your hourly wage by the number of pieces to get a labor cost per piece.
Step 3
  1. Calculate the variable costs for producing the jewelry.  This includes resin, findings, inclusions, etc.  You will also have costs associated with the jewelry that can be shared over several pieces.  For example, a $5.00 mold that can be used to create 10 castings would add 50 cents to each piece, not $5.00.
Step 4
  1. Add the costs from Steps 1, 2 and 3 together to get your cost per piece.
Step 5

Add a markup to compensate yourself as the owner of the business.

Most people stop after step 4 and say that’s a fair price.  This isn’t even a wholesale price.  You need to add a percentage onto the cost per piece as the owner of your store.  Think about it, if you pay someone to make these for you, by the time you pay for supplies and labor, there is nothing left for you.  As the owner of the business, you are the brains and your money is at risk.  You deserve to be compensated as such.

So how much should you add?

There’s no right or wrong answer.  If you’re a beginning artist, 25 percent is a good start.  Once you are experienced (e.g. you’re making the items faster and with fewer mistakes), a 50 percent markup is more appropriate.

This final number is now your wholesale price.  (If you’re thinking, but I’m not selling wholesale, ‘who cares?’, keep reading.)

The wholesale price is important because this is the amount a boutique or gallery would have to pay to buy a quantity of your jewelry.  (In the wholesale business, you are going to set a minimum purchase — either in dollars or pieces — that someone needs to make in order to get that price.)  My wholesale price per piece is such that I could never afford to sell a single piece at that price, but 30 pieces at that price is a reasonable sum.

Step 6

Multiply your wholesale price by (at least) two to get the retail price.  This is where I see many jewelry makers make mistakes at pricing.  They stop at the wholesale price because they’re afraid of charging too much for the jewelry.  Here’s why you need to markup the wholesale price you got in Step 5:

  • 1.  Assuming you are going to sell your jewelry at some kind of retail outlet, whether at a craft fair or online venue, you need to think of yourself as a retailer of your product.  As a retailer, you need to cover the expenses of your booth entry fee, craft fair tent, display materials, credit card fees, packaging costs (boxes and bags), and to be able to pay yourself to work as cashier for your store.  (If you couldn’t do it, you would have to pay someone to run the cash register.  You shouldn’t treat yourself any differently.)

2.  You have the cost of maintaining an inventory.  In selling wholesale, oftentimes jewelry isn’t made until a store places an order.  Money isn’t tied up in finished inventory simply waiting for a shop to place an order.  When you’re selling retail though, things are different.  You have invested money in a finished product that should provide you a return when it sells.  Think of it as a loan — you need to be making some interest on that loan!

  • 3.  If things go well and you decide to wholesale your jewelry, stores are going to expect at least a 50 percent discount as a wholesale price.  There’s no way to make a store hate you quicker than for you to sell your jewelry cheaper on a retail level than they are.  Don’t think you can sell a pair of earrings at wholesale for $10, then only charge $12 if someone buys them from you retail.

So what happens if you get your retail number and you’re concerned no one is going to pay that price?  You have two choices:

Choice 1

Find a way to create value in what you are selling.  If part of the reason a piece is expensive is because of the labor to form, sand and polish it, then you need to explain that to customers.  No, not everyone will understand, but those that do will appreciate the quality and be willing to pay your price.

Choice 2

Find a way to make your jewelry faster or cheaper.  For example, when I first started making resin jewelry, I created a line of pendants made with sterling silver and resin.  As the precious metals market went up, so did the price I charged for this line of jewelry.  My wholesale accounts resisted the price increase, so I found an alternative.  I took the line and made them with polished pewter instead.  It was the same look and I was able to sell them for the price I originally charged when I first started.  It was a win-win for everyone!

Of course what I’ve described here isn’t a perfect fit for every situation, but I hope I have at least given you something to think about as you’re getting ready to sell your jewels!

 

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2018 Resin Obsession, LLC

16 Comments

victorina

Thank you for all your GREAT information that you have shared!I am VERY thankful and will be telling our ARTIST friends to buy from you!!!! I will be placing an order soon!
(The Bangle Mold set)
My husband and I are both Artist and we LOVE to come up with new ideas!
Thank you and BLESSINGS to you,
Victorina

Reply
Terrie

Thank you so much for this information. This has been the hardest thing for me. I do the very thing you said is that I stop at the wholesale price because I don’t think the people will buy at the higher price. But I found out at the last craft fair that a man would not buy a piece from me because he didn’t think it was priced high enough (thinking it wasn’t the real thing). I learned my lesson. Thank you for the insight.

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Sue

Thanks for the help with this, I’m just starting out and had no idea what a ‘fair’ price would be for the products made. This has been very helpful for me :-).

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Lorna

Thank you for this. Pricing is incredibly difficult. I’ve been making jewellery now and then as a hobby, but redundancy (and no available jobs within a 30 mile radius) means that I have to use my creativity to make some money, hopefully. As you say, though, the price of silver has rocketed. My answer is to use just a little silver and combine with other materials. Thanks again for such a great article.

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Maureen

Thank you for this info. I already use this formula: material cost + labor x 15% (overhead) x 20% (profits)= whole sale x 2 = retail. I make wire and forged jewelry in sterling silver and copper, etc. I still find that people will love what I have, enjoy looking at it and then move on to the booth with the $4 earrings and buy from them. There are so many jewelry booths to compete with and many are doing the whole sale price. Now they will go out of business eventually, but there is always another jewelry maker, who is pricing the same way, to replace them. It is very frustrating at times. I enjoy what I am doing so I will keep plugging away at it.
http://www.fb.com/artfullyadorned

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Bernie

Thankyou for the information. I make and sell jewellery on an Australian website similar to EBay and it is hard to price things because you don’t want to seem too expensive and someone always comes along with a similar jewellery item and is always cheaper. The competition is very hard.

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dayueka

Thank you for the great information.. i will make resin jewelry, and you help me for pricing. Thank you.. wish the best for u…

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Rebekah Cochran

Pricing is one of the hardest aspects of selling jewelry but so is the venue you are choosing to sell at.I sell each weekend at an artisan market in my city. We specifically do not have too many of the same kinds of artisans at the same venue. Why in the world will someone sell at a show that has 20 vendors and 8 are selling jewelry. I only work with resin and vintage objects and my pieces are bold.. Large.. sassy and saucy… And I do well. But you have to choose venues where your STYLE of jewelry isn’t competing with others too.. Often I think we feel our style is very unique and frankly it isn’t. After seeing 10 tables of the same style of jewelry people kind of zone out. We see differences but the customer doesn’t. Id suggest thinking way WAY outside of the box sometimes and putting your most unique pieces out front to draw people in.. Then they can see the quality of your work. And price the unique pieces higher.never lower than the vast body of your work. Some of the newer artists are fabulous artisans but are paying themselves peanuts. No wonder so many quit. U would be leery to buy a Lexus for a thousand bucks and would be leery of the quality of someone’s work who is charging ten bucks for earrings that I KNOW in a gallery would be 40. People expect to pay for quality.

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Connie Steinberg

I make jewelry from other jewelry and found objects. as such, assembly is the least of the amt of time to create the piece. Any advice on how I set prices?

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Katherine Swift

I think this formula can still work for you. When you are done, ask some trusted friends what they would pay for your jewelry. If you have underpriced your items, adjust as necessary.

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Lena Bey

Thank you. Pricing is quite difficult to do. Sometimes I think I am cheating myself because I want to get customers. Such as a copper necklace I created. Each link was hand created by me, added semi-precious stones were added and it had matching earrings and bracelet. It still sits because people believe the price is too high. I just remember painful fingers after coiling all that wire to make it and just can’t bare to lower the price. These doesn’t include the price of the copper wiring and precious stones. Getting so discouraged.

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Katherine Swift

I did the same thing to in the beginning. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to sell stuff at a discount to try to get customers as long as you realize that isn’t a viable long term strategy.

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Megh

Pricing is quite difficult to do. Thanks for the help with this, I’m just starting out and had no idea what a ‘fair’ price would be for the products made. Thanks again for such a great article.

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