The Business of Beadwork: To Sell or Not to Sell?

This necklace, made with some of the first glass beads I ever made myself, will never, ever be for sale!

A few months ago, I was invited to submit some of my beadwork to a publishing company for consideration in one of their beading books. As I went through my current inventory and personal collection of beadwork that I've created, I realized something distressing: I've sold most of my really knockout pieces of beadwork!

I did manage to pull together some current and older beadwork to have photographed and submitted for the project, but it really made me think about how I go about choosing which pieces of beadwork to sell and which to keep.

If you're thinking about selling your beadwork, there are a few things you'll want to think about before you decide whether or not to sell a piece.

I put a lot of myself into this square stitch choker, and I was both happy and a little sad to see it go to a good home with another artist.

1. Is it perfect? For me, if a piece isn't perfect, I won't sell it. This means that I don't sell any piece of finished beadwork with mistakes such as having a bead out of place or one that has too much thread showing between the beads. If there's a broken or otherwise imperfect bead in the piece, I won't sell it, either.

2. Is it comfortable to wear? You want to sell your finished beadwork because you want people to wear it, right? So if you try on a piece of finished beadwork and it doesn't lie correctly or is too heavy, bulky, or otherwise uncomfortable to wear, you probably shouldn't sell it. Likewise, if you have a hard time working any of the clasps or other findings on the beadwork, you should expect that someone else may have a hard time working them, too.

3. Are you already too attached to it? I have a rule: if I get too attached to a piece of beadwork while I'm stitching it, I won't sell it. It's almost not worth the heartbreak. When I was pregnant with my son, I managed to finish stitching on a square-stitched choker that used all Japanese cylinder beads. The fatigue and nausea were so bad those first few months that I could barely lift up my head at the end of the day, but I sat and worked on that collar as a way to relax and occupy myself so I wouldn't concentrate on how sick I felt. A few summers later, I actually sold the piece at a high-end craft market, and while I was really thrilled that it went to such a good home (bought by another artist!), I felt a little twinge when it finally left my hands. Now my rule is that if I fall in love with a piece of beadwork while I'm stitching it, I keep it, no matter what!

Have you ever felt a little twinge of sadness as you watched a piece of beadwork go to a new home? How do YOU decide which pieces of beadwork to keep and which to sell? Leave a comment (or two) and share your thoughts and experiences here on the blog!

Bead Happy,



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