How to Price Jewelry: 11+ Ways to Cut Costs, Increase Value, and Achieve Profits
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a jewelry artist ask how to price jewelry. We all know a formula for pricing handmade jewelry that multiplies materials costs by some magic number to get $70 an hour for labor, $200 for a bangle, or something like that. But those formulas and their results aren’t always feasible or logical for how to price jewelry. There are too many other factors that need to be considered as you price your designs to sell.
ABOVE: Carolyn Edlund and Kristal Wick sharing jewelry business tips.
As I’ve reviewed Sales Success for Artists and Makers and Designed to Sell, our online jewelry business courses with Carolyn Edlund, as well as Carolyn’s previous courses with us, I’ve learned too many great tips not to share. Are you ready to try selling your jewelry designs? Or if you’re already selling them, are you ready to make more money? Put these tips into play. Learn about choosing your market for optimal sales and finding or catering to niche markets for optimal profits. Plus, learn nine other ways to increase the perceived value of your work. Then see how to learn more in Carolyn’s online jewelry business courses.
1. Choosing Your Physical Market for Optimal Sales
When we think of where to sell our work at a better rate and profit, we often think of luxury or artist-friendly settings like resorts, high-end boutiques, and museum shops. But we should consider the niche sector instead. Niche markets cater to customers who are passionate about a topic and would be passionate about your work, too.
Examples of niche markets include the religious and spiritual sectors, pet lovers, sports, wine lovers, foodies, causes and charities, disease awareness, environmentalism, wildlife preservation, etc. Would you sell more paw-print jewelry at a boutique or pet store? Would your wine charms sell better at a resort, museum shop, or winery? Determining the physical marketplace/s where you’ll sell handmade jewelry is a big part of pricing it. You also need to determine the audience market of who you want to sell it to and for what purpose.
2. Creating Niche Markets for Optimal Profits
Niche markets are prime places to sell your work to people who will value it and pay the highest price. As a business owner, you’re free to choose a market, whether you create one for what you make or cater to one that exists.
I’ve learned from Carolyn that you get the most for your work by suggesting a new purpose for it (i.e. a necklace that can also be a bracelet). You can also add words or messaging, allow for spiritual or ceremonial uses, etc. Carolyn uses the example of a lidded jar. For a potter or ceramics artist, is it a jar with a lid or a funereal urn? The latter niche market bears much higher prices.
Compare the prices of white ribbon and white candles in a craft store with prices for the same items in the wedding section of the same store. Staggering! So whether you’re marketing rings in general or wedding bands in a bridal market has a considerable effect on their value, though it could be the very same ring.
Both the physical market in which–and the niche market to which–you promote and sell your handmade jewelry or art are up to you. They have a profound impact on your jewelry business, sales, profits, and how to price jewelry. They are two of the ways you can increase the perceived value of your work. Here are nine more.
How to Price Jewelry: What Is Perceived Value?
The idea we have in our minds for the price or reasonable price range of an item is its perceived value. “If you make an item that falls into a category with a clearly established perceived value, you may find that it is difficult to break out of that range,” says Carolyn. But there are exceptions to perceived value, and we learn how to alter the perceived value of our work as we learn how to price jewelry.
With a specific and well-crafted luxury marketing message, including packaging, you can expand the price range in a customer’s mind and add to the perceived value of your product. I sometimes balk at the prices of those famous brand candles at Cracker Barrel, but I’ve been known to pay $40 or more for a candle that comes in cute packaging from a cute shop with cute gift wrap. They get me with their perceived value and luxury packaging, and instead of “buying a candle,” I’m “treating myself” and that costs double, ha!
For another example, I have only three words: little blue box. Hashtag: want! No matter what’s inside.
9 More Ways to Increase Profits: Add Perceived Value to Your Work
- Use words or symbols: Appeal to the left brain and make a connection by using words that share the concepts behind what you do. These may appear in the artwork or design itself, or may be less obvious, such as a word or two on the bottom of a ceramic pot, on the back of a pendant, etc.
- Use luxury or targeted packaging and presentation: Present your handmade work in a beautiful box, or with packaging that carries a message that relates to your customer. What is your style–luxury, humor, dedication to a cause? Use words and images on packaging, hang tags, and boxes that convey your brand message.
- Create limited editions: These carry higher price tags than open editions. Collectors know they are getting a scarce piece of your work, and it is more highly valued.
- Made in America: Interest in items made in the USA has soared. This taps into national pride and the desire to support American artists. If you are not an American artist, promote that the work is made in your own country.
- Add functions: Does the 5” x 7” greeting card you sell also fit perfectly into a pre-made 8” x 10” mat and frame? Can your handmade kimono be hung on the wall as a piece of fiber art? Each added function can also add value and reasons to buy what you make.
- Use a certificate of authenticity: Use the “real estate” on the back of a painting or a matted print [or on your packaging] to include a signed certificate, with information about the artwork and the artist. This adds “credibility” and is also a wonderful addition for buyers who are selecting gifts.
- Sign your work; Your signature says it’s yours, a creative work by an artist. Your signature matters, and tells others that the collector has a valued original.
- Tell your story: Your story, inspiration, and technique are fascinating to many people. They appreciate the fact that your fingerprints may be on the work itself; that it is painstakingly made in a time-honored tradition, with great skill. Share this in your marketing, packaging, and presentation.
- Share the customers’ benefits: “What’s in it for me?” That sums up the concerns of most customers. Share how your art or handmade work enhances their lives or makes things easier. Do you work with tarnish-resistant silver? Is your handmade clothing made to fit a variety of sizes? Do you offer gift cards or returns if they are unsure of what to buy? Talking about benefits can make your customer realize how much they value what you are selling and close the sale. –Carolyn Edlund and Wendy Rosen
The market in which–and the market (audience) to which–you sell your handmade jewelry are two options for increasing its perceived value.
In Carolyn’s extensive, informative jewelry business courses on how to sell jewelry at retail events and how to design jewelry that will sell, you’ll learn excellent advice on things like how to raise the profits you make by selling handmade jewelry through increased perceived value. Her courses are packed with actionable, logical methods and formulas to help you determine a fair but profitable price.