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Pricing Bracelets


My understanding, after speaking with a number of professionals in a
variety of hand made arenas, is that tripling your cost is a good way
of arriving at a wholesale price. That way you cover your 1) cost of
materials; 2) overhead; 3) time. Hope that helps!


For an artist to price any hand made item is a challenge to say the
least. To do so in a business-wise fashion can make the difference
between being successful as an artist and realizing a decent living,
or failing to do so.

Try first to calculate as accurately as possible all of the total
costs and expenses which are incorporated into your actual annual
production. Once you determine the factors and expenses involved in
producing your work you should be able to arrive at a general pricing
formula which will be applicable to your particular situation. A good
place to start is to consider your entire overhead for a year and
divide that by 2000 hours (an average of 50 weeks @ 40 hours per
week) to determine your required wage per hour. (Even though very few
of us actually work only 40 hours a week)

Here is a very basic example to then apply to pricing your bracelet:

a) Labor charges (number of hours @ your hourly wage)

b) Cost of materials (include transportation, interest charges, or
other costs)

c) Profit on materials (you should earn some % return on your

(a+b+c) = Wholesale price, Wholesale X appropriate markup = retail

This doesn’t take into consideration any additional business profits
aside from that of investing your assets in the materials required to
produce your work, nor does it account for what someone else might
charge to make a similar item. But at least it is a way to begin
thinking in terms of what all is involved in the creation of your
artwork beyond just the time you spend at the bench. Then you can
determine how much you actually need to earn for your time and
precisely what you have to charge for your work to earn that amount.

Hope this is helpful.

Michael David Sturlin, jewelry artist @Michael_David_Sturli

Michael Sturlin Studio, Scottsdale Arizona USA


Friends-- I would like to comment briefly on the pricing issue.
Here’s my take on this most difficult process:

I use a rough formula to add up time, materials, and a few less
tangible factors. This, however, doesn’t determine the price.
Ultimately, what you can get for your work is “what the market will
bear”. I try to judge this by looking at ather people’s work that I
feel is of similar value, see if I can find out how well it is
selling (at shows, they will often tell you), set my price according
to what I think I can get, and see whether it sells. What the
"formula" does is tell me whether I can afford to keep making the
particular type of work. I have had designs I could easily sell for
twice what the calculation would demand, and others that could not
possibly be profitable, because the perceived value was less than the
"cost" to me. It’s all a crap shoot, but the market determines the
value–you just have to keep trying until you find the market that
puts the most value on your work. --Noel



   I use a rough formula to add up time, materials, and a few less
tangible factors. This, however, doesn't determine the price. 

Very true, as is your following statement about “what the traffic
will bear.” I also look at others’ work and try to gage my efforts in
comparison. This is not an easy thing to do in my case, but so far it
has worked fairly well. In most cases I will price entirely according
to the complexity of the work involved, compared with and extrapolated
from the related work I’ve seen, and absorb the materials cost. It
averages out, with small pieces being very cost effective and large
pieces being reasonably profitable under the circumstances. (but don’t
even ask me about platinum - I’m not sure if any amount can make up
for what a pain it is to tie knots in pure platinum wire. :wink:

For some unique pieces, there is no rational method of pricing.
Enough effort and time go into a piece to make it precious, but it
might be so ugly that nobody in their right mind would look twice at
it, or, on the other hand, it could be something so amazing that
people are afraid to even bid on it. I suppose one could put a high
price on it and then make it clear that it is merely a starting point.

Of course my perspective is that of one who has a regular job in the
corporate world and who can therefore afford to be a “starving
artist” on the side. I don’t have a booming jewelry business, but
neither does my survival depend on it, so if people don’t like my
prices, my work languishes unsold and I get to enjoy it myself.
Luckily, some folks like either my work, or my prices, and things keep
moving anyway.