Pricing is difficult. At the gem and mineral show I attended in MSP,
I know the imported beads sell for 25 cents for a 1" sphere bead.
But that is less than the cost of buying the clay wholesale here.
These suckers get sold at $2 in the store.
Test marketing is important.
One thing I found though if you do not try to sell something, there is no way to really know it can sell. If it does not sell at one place, it does not mean it won't sell somewhere else. If you are the person doing the selling you can get input from the clientele and use it for you new designs. But don't let it drown out what you feel looks right. Doing something someone else "told" you to do can cause you unwanted bad feelings if it does not sell and you find your self with a batch of ugly beads.
Two, if the items are not priced clearly, less people are willing to ask the price, much less try to buy.
Be proud of your work, you tried to price it fairly.
Label it so people can mentally check their budgets.
If it costs too much today, they will save up and buy it later because they do love it.
Don't underestimate you customers' will power. =) I've sold many dolls over the long run this way.
For pricing, weigh your bead + figure clay cost.
How many can you make in an hour to how much $/hour you need to make to make a living.
Is $5 and hour enough to pay rent?
Add in cost of Mailing, catalogs, and business cards.
Don't forget cost of equipment like a digital camera, clay press, pasta machine... & show fees!!!
The better shows do cost more, but you do get more people who have the $ to spend.
Avoid any show on April 15th NO vender did well on this day.
And add enough for Profit
You do deserve a healthy profit if you are going to do this professionally, you will need to be able to reinvest in needed supplies etc. even help in the future.
Counting labor costs now even if you do not pay yourself, will leave you room for when you do need it.
And when you do get help remember you need to know how many you can do an
hour.... If they do 2 when you could do a hundred... you will have trouble
and making the original cane takes time on top of production, then there's conditioning clay time.
Watch out for hidden costs
$Clay/supplies + $labor + $overhead + $profit =price
Or supplies cost times 3 or 4.... = Price
Starting out it might pay_in the long run_ to have
low prices, and raise them as you get known.
Enter your beads in National contests like Bedazzled.
BUT People do pay for what they value. Many people are leery of too good deals.
They fear the quality is the low like the price.
Make sure you raise the prices as your costs go up.
For this reason, many companies make a catalog then have a price list separate.
Then on a yearly basis they send out a new price list.
Best example for this is the Elliot and Green Bead Company.
They have a marvelous wholesales catalog. I believe they advertise in Lapidary Journal.
Fire Mountain gems found it important to not only show the beads but what can be done with them.
Showcase a necklace as an example, with the bead you are selling.
If you choose to do commission work,
A. Make sure its something you think you will want to do before accepting.
B1. Take a nonrefundable deposit of at least half the quoted price to cover cost of materials and design time... remember the commission is taking time away from your production. Tell the customer that the remainder will be due on completion.
Having a preprinted contract with this policy for commissions is a good idea and will make this policy a concrete object to your customer.
B2. Draw up proto type if they seem fuzzy about the commission, its easier to make changes before it is made and before buying supplies. If this is not what they want, you can drop the contract and refund $. I would not consider doing any commissions for them in the future. Some people are dreamers and just are not satisfiable. And they will cost you $ and time if you let them.
C. Give your self a reasonable deadline and get the sucker done as soon as possible
waiting for the last minute only creates unnecessary stress & poor quality.
D. DO NOT give the piece to the customer until they pay you the full amount.
You are a business and you do not work for nothing.
E. If they decide it is not what they envisioned & they do not want to pay remind them that the commission was not refundable do not take less than agreed on. And if they back out of the contract, go ahead and sell it to someone else at full price. After all you did the work & deserve full payment.
May your art be profitable!
now retired from selling
and busy just creating