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Cause jewelry and collaborations


#1

I was asked by a friend and non-jeweler to design (and ultimately
manufacture) a piece of jewelry to represent a cause that she’s
involved in. These items will be sold through the cause’s website.

I have absolutely no idea how to go about divvying up
responsibilities or costs for this kind of thing. Who pays for
what–and when? (I have no intention of eating any of the costs.) Who
owns the rights to the designs?

How do you go about pricing the items? How much should the
designer/maker get per sale-if anything? That is to say, do you
"donate," discount, or fully include your labor time? -Etc. The one
thing I DO know is that the piece will be easy to make and thereby
quick in terms of duplication. And, I plan to make them, get them to
her, and have her handle orders, packaging and shipping.

For those of you who’ve done something like this, I could certainly
use your help. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. [If you’d
rather not answer here, please feel free to send me an email

Thank you in advance!
Tamra Gentry


#2
absolutely no idea how to go about divvying up responsibilities or
costs for this kind of thing. Who pays for what--and when? 

Well, Tamra - you sell it, and they buy it. Not quite so simple, but
almost. Speaking as a businessman - not a lawyer - it’s not that
complicated. If they pay you for the design and model making, then
they own the design and the models. If they have a design (like a
logo) already, then they already own the rights to that. All of
which is nailed down by verbal or written contract - to some degree
you can both do as you wish, if it’s negotiated and agreed upon.
After your design (the actual piece, not just the concept) is in
place, then you just sell them to the buyers at a price that you
derive in the usual ways - cost, labor, profit, etc.

What you may find with charities (churches are notorious for it) is
that they expect YOU to be charitable in your business. That’s up to
you, but to me business is business. They might want you to come up
with the model without pay and just want to buy the product. I
wouldn’t do that, but if you do then you own the model. They also
might cry poor and want breaks on the per piece price, but that’s
also not gonna happen around here. It’s just business, regardless of
their being “a cause”. Also - I wouldn’t get into a royalty in lieu
of profit agreement in a million years.

Anything like, “We’ll give you a percentage if and when it flies”.
Usually, they don’t fly - let them take the risks, and yes you may
miss out on a million-dollar phenomenon. But probably you won’t.
Ditto for “Make us 100 pieces, and we’ll pay you as they sell.” No,
here’s your 100 pieces, pay me. There’s no reason on Earth for you
to shoulder their risk.

The distinction is: someone brings you their logo (which they own
the rights to) and you make a lapel pin. They pay you for it, and
they own the model, meaning they can take that model and have it
manufactured anywhere they like. If you do the work on spec, then
you own the model and they can’t have it made elsewhere - but you
can’t make it for anyone but them, because they own the rights to
the artwork. Since I have no use for somebody else’s logo pin, I
expect to be paid for the models, even though they aren’t
constrained to deal with me. that is, again, unless you have a
contract saying otherwise.

I hope that’s fairly clear - I’m not a lawyer, I’m just talkiing
about the common-sense ways that we’ve done that sort of work in the
past. Basically, you make a model/original/approved design, and then
you sell it to the client. The fact that they are a cause, or a sect,
or a religion has nothing to do with anything. It’s still jewelry.


#3
The one thing I DO know is that the piece will be easy to make and
thereby quick in terms of duplication. And, I plan to make them,
get them to her, and have her handle orders, packaging and shipping. 

So it’s basically wholesale. You’re wholesaling them to her. Don’t
distract yourself with the fact that it’s for a cause. She’s the
"gallery." You pay for the development costs and plan to recoup
those in your sales.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#4

This is a special order. They want it. You’re not making it on spec
like you would an original design. Were it not for their order, you
would not make it.

Let that be your guiding light in your dealings. If you feel like
you want/need to make some sort of donation, write a check after the
whole deal is done and paid for. I would really be hestitant about
donating materials or services to the special order, it may set a
precedent that could bite you on the, well you know.

They plan on profiting from the order, let’s hope they don’t do it
at your expense. Because then you will have lost a friend in addition
to money.

Sorry to be the pessimist, but this kind of thing is frought with
downs for you. Been there, done that, earned the tattoo.


#5
How do you go about pricing the items? How much should the
designer/maker get per sale-if anything? That is to say, do you
"donate," discount, or fully include your labor time? -Etc. The
one thing I DO know is that the piece will be easy to make and
thereby quick in terms of duplication. And, I plan to make them,
get them to her, and have her handle orders, packaging and
shipping. 

I am working on something sort of like that right now. Price it so
it will sell, but still there is enough for both you and the
benefiting cause to both make enough money that it will be worth
while. Be very careful because your friend is in it for love and
devotion to the cause and is likely looking beyond the dollars. Be
sure that it is understood that it is up to her to focus on the
message and the marketing while you are going to produce a quality
product at a fair price. If it is just a little thing that won’t take
too much time for the total production run, you can discount, donate,
whatever you want. But what if it goes really well and they sell so
many it becomes a full time job? I suggest that the wholesale price
be profitable to you so that you will benefit from making it.

In my case the design copyright does not belong to me. I have agreed
that all molds and tooling I make are property of the customer as
they are no use to me if I loose the job. Since I am set up to take
mail order and already do that every day I am fulfilling retail
orders, figuring $8 per order as part of my cost. That is in addition
to charging the retail customer for postage. In our situation the
wholesale customer is paying for advertising and promotion as well as
some of the other costs of having models made. But since all the
retail payments come to me, I pay a percentage to the wholesale
customer. It is really more of a partnership in my case since I own
all the work until it is sold retail.

Stephen Walker