Thursday, 25 June 2009

Value what you do!

I have had a very good day and learned a lot. I have travelled to the "Creative Quarter" in Folkestone, Kent to see if any of the galleries there would be interested in displaying and selling my jewellery. I tried 2 galleries with fair success in them both but 2 very different experiences.
The first gallery I went into was interested in selling my jewellery but did not want my "higher" end priced items as he simply did not think that any of it would sell. But he does want me to go back with some earrings and necklaces and will sell them on a sale or return basis.

The second gallery I went to was awesome. The owner was just a complete gentleman he invited me to sit down and we had a very long and detailed chat. He complimented me on my professional manner and on my presentation which boosted my confidence I can tell you. He also really liked the piece I was wearing. He was very honest with me and said that until recently he had not even considered lampworking and beads as potentially part of his gallery feeling that jewellery makers do not actually make their jewellery they simply assemble selected components into designs that they create, not really handmade. Now I guess there is a whole debate to be had there into the semantics of what is handmade but I am going to avoid that topic for tonight. What did come out very clearly from our chat was that he felt very strongly that I was undervaluing my work and was not pricing my work appropriately at all. I admit a level of naivety into the pricing thing and he opened my eyes to many factors that I had not considered and has made me massively question how I price my work. This comes on the back of a bit of a wrist slapping from a very good friend who has also told me off for not pricing my work appropriately.

So.........the pricing debate! There are a fair few places on the internet that you can look to get information about how to price your work; here, here, here and here They certainly give you food for thought!

I have 2 ways of pricing my work. Firstly my bead sets and focal beads. These I charge an hourly rate e.g. £20 so if a set of beads takes me 30 minutes to make they cost £10 to sell to you. This covers my price of the glass, the gas, the electricity, labour etc etc. I tweak price depending on the glass I use so if I use the silvered glasses or Rubino the price goes up a little to allow for the fact that these glasses are more expensive.

Jewellery is a bit more tricky and after much consideration I generally cost out the price of my materials and then multiply by 2 or 2.5. I see what that comes out at and if I am comfortable with that price that is what I charge if not I tweak! Not very scientific I know!!!!!

I under charge because I don't want to seem too pompous and up myself like "who the hell does she think she is selling constume jewellery at that kind of price I can buy cheaper in Argos" so I price to be competative with the big chain stores. I tell myself I don't want to make a huge profit just enough to feed my glass habit, thus I undercut people who are trying to make themselves a living. I would hate to have pieces of jewellery languishing in my shop for ever so I price to sell!. I get terribly embarrased when I say "Oh that piece costs £45" I would rather say " Oh 25 quid ok" BUT this may make it seem as though I am undervaluing my work and if I do that then it is like someone says in one of the links above

"It's tempting to believe that the lower the price, the quicker it will sell. However, sometimes super low prices may make customers suspicious. Why so low? Is there something wrong with it? Also, if someone really wants an item (as long as the price isn't outrageous), they will pay what you ask."

Both galleries have asked me to return with some pieces of jewellery to display and hopefully sell. The second gallery has asked me to reconsider my pricing and price them more reasonably as if I continue to sell at my current prices then I will effectively be competing with him and he would no longer be interested in doing business with me. His parting words were that I should value my work. If I value my work then others will as well and as long as my work is considerately priced I will find a market.

I have learned lots today and I am still taking it in and considering what he discussed with me but I can learn as has this lovely gentleman who now has an appreciation for what we do in lampworking (I have to admit to not being able to take credit for this, he met a lampwork artist at a glass fair earlier this year and she opened his eyes to what we do so thank you to the mystery lady who laid the groundwork).

Value what you do and others will value it also


  1. Great read Sam, you've made me go "hmmm...."! Hope you do great in the galleries honeybun xxx

  2. Thanks for this Sam, very useful, good luck with the galleries!

  3. Excellent piece, after 6 years of selling I still struggle with pricing so I'm looking forward to investigating your links too.
    Congratulations on your success with the galleries.

  4. I'm going to add another link for research...this is the one that has had me thinking the most...especially the part about not "undercutting" the galleries we sell to.

  5. 'Mentally kicks himself' Yes, you are so right!!!

  6. Thanks for the links Sam, I am just going to start selling and I have been worrying about pricing

  7. A very interesting read Saffie - definitely food for thought! A lot of it has to do with confidence, or lack of it!!!!...... :-)
    Lovely beadies by the way

  8. Thanks for taking the time to blog this Sam. It's very timely for me, your stuff is going to do really well in the gallery, I just know it :O)xxx