By the way, if your friend down the street was selling plastic
beads without telling her customers she is treading on very thin
ice! That is not only unethical but illegal as well. Be up front
with your customers...don't try to decieve them. Basically, she
was charging too much
Gee Don, don’t assume that people don’t want to pay a lot for
plastic! First off, IF she was selling them at face value, AND
there was no deception involved, there is no legal issue.
You may not remember, but back in the eighties you could walk into a
department store and buy paper earrings for $45 dollars. That’s
right, paper – and the findings were base metal coated in gold
colored or silver colored wash. And they flew off the shelves!
They were huge and colorful, and flashy (did I mention they used
gold colored paint on a lot of them?) and lightweight – perfect for
giant eighties hairstyles.
It is the market which drives the price. If you find the right
niche market, and you produce a product that they crave (even if
it’s just because it’s “fun”) then you can command a price
commensurate with what they are used to paying. In the case of
ladies at spas, they are very used to paying a chunk of money for
what they want. In fact, this is a niche where charging too little
(in their eyes) will make your work unsellable. It is more of an
Just because you might harbor a little resentment at the prices that
this person was able to command for plastic, doesn’t mean that
"Basically, she was charging too much". I understand that in a
traditional retail jewelry business, the price points can be below
$100 for pieces made of 14K gold – what you need to realize is that
it is not the intrinsic value of the material that sets the price
(it is just this kind of thinking that makes people sell finished
jewelry by weight!) – it is demand that sets the price.
Frankly, it astounds me that I can purchase natural (or even
treated) stone beads for less than glass beads being imported from
the same country! Just because I value stone over glass, though,
doesn’t mean that everyone does.
Like it or not, each of us lives in our own little world, and it
does good to find out about other people’s perspectives. Learning
about other people’s attitudes toward spending will help you a lot
with your business, and maybe then you can find a niche market that
will be just as profitable for you as the plastic bead girl’s
business was for her.
Also, from what I remember about the original post, it might have
been a little harsh in advising two years of study before trying to
make a sterling neck ring. Really.