How to Price Jewelry & Other Art: More Than 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, either directly to me or on social media. We all know a formula for pricing handmade jewelry that multiplies materials costs by some magic number to get $70 an hour for your labor, $200 for a simple silver bangle, or something like that–but those formulas and their results aren’t always feasible or logical for how to price jewelry.
So before I got even a third of the way through Pricing Strategies for Artists and Makers, our online class on how to price jewelry and other crafts with the Art Business Institute’s Carolyn Edlund and Wendy Rosen, I had to stop and share some of what I learned–specifically nearly a dozen tips about choosing your market for optimal sales, finding or catering to niche markets for optimal profits, and nine other ways to increase the perceived value of your work.
Choosing Your Physical Market for Optimal Sales
As Carolyn and Wendy point out, the places we usually think of for selling our work at a better rate and profit are 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 they shared include religious and spiritual sector, pet lovers, sports, wine lovers and foodies, causes and charities like disease awareness, environmentalism, and 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.
Creating Niche Markets for Optimal Profits
Niche markets are “prime places to sell your work to people who will value what you make, and pay the highest price,” Carolyn and Wendy shared in their course. “As a business owner, you are free to choose a market,” whether you create one for what you make or cater to one that exists.
Carolyn and Wendy share how you get the most for your work by suggesting a new purpose for it (i.e. a necklace that can also be a bracelet), adding words or messaging, allowing for spiritual or ceremonial uses, etc. Carolyn uses the example of a lidded jar in the course; 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. For another example, compare the prices of white ribbon and white candles in a craft store with their prices in the wedding section of that same store. Staggering! So whether you’re marketing rings in general or wedding bands in a bridal market has a considerable affect 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 other art are yours to choose, and 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.
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 in this course. But there are exceptions to perceived value, and students learn how to alter the perceived value of their work in this course as they 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 similar candle that comes in cute packaging from a cute shop with cute bags. They get me with their perceived value and luxury packaging. For another example, I have only three words: little blue box. Hashtag: want! No matter what’s inside.
Here’s a free sneak peek into the class with nine more specific ways to add to the perceived value of your handmade jewelry and other goods, excerpted from Carolyn and Wendy’s class on how to price jewelry.
In this extensive, informative class on how to price jewelry, you’ll also learn about all the costs you need to know (materials costs, labor costs, overhead costs, cost of sale, and profit margin), along with a formula to calculate each one–which will ultimately help you determine your wholesale price as well as the keystone or retail price of your handmade jewelry or other art. After that, you’ll learn several ways to reduce costs by getting your supplies and inventory organized, along with other ways to reduce all of your costs (materials, labor, overhead, etc.)–which increases your profits before you ever begin pricing handmade jewelry.
Pricing Strategies for Artists and Makers is packed with actionable, logical methods and formulas to help you determine a fair but profitable price when pricing handmade jewelry–including ways to reduce all of your costs along the way. Register now to reserve your spot in Pricing Strategies for Artists and Makers–and if you want to start your handmade jewelry business on the right path, check out How to Launch a Successful Handmade Business while you’re there. It’s loaded with proven, professional advice on launching a handmade business, from making to cha-ching!