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Your personalized creation – good enough to gift or sell?

So, here you are. You’ve found that you enjoy beading. Now, you suddenly have 9 necklaces, 3 bracelets, and 7 pairs of earrings. While you can manage to wear them all at some point or another, why shouldn’t you share your talents with family and friends? Or, maybe even the world? Are you thinking about selling your beaded pieces? You most certainly could! Your options are unlimited.

Gifting to family and friends

I know, you are second guessing whether your talents are worthy of sharing with family and friends. While you don’t want to embarrass yourself, because you’re not sure if anyone else would like your work, or, you just don’t think your pieces are good enough to be seen in public, you need to remember one very important thing….WE ARE OUR WORSE CRITICS! That statement holds so much truth.

Listen to me. Anything hand crafted, always means so much more than anything that is mass-produced, and can be purchased and worn by half of the population. Each piece that you craft, is unique, and a one-of-a-kind personalized gift. One that will not only grab attention of others, but will be praised about by the person who’s wearing it. And, if your toying with the idea of selling your beaded jewelry, what better way to circulate it to the public, than to have those closest to you, advertise it for you?

How do I sell my handmade designs

There are many ways that a person can begin to sell their jewelry. There are a ton of avenues you can take. You just need to decide which one best suits you.

One can rent a table or booth at local bazaars and farmers markets. You can create a Facebook Page, an online business, that you could post pictures and prices to. Or, a person could make a website to sell on. One can also host a jewelry party at your house or a friends house, and invite all of your girlfriends. There are lots of different ways that you could sell your beaded art. You just need to find what is right for you.

Before you start selling your artwork, you need to make sure that you have at least 10 pieces of each kind of jewelry. So, you’d want to have 10 necklaces, 10 bracelets, 10 pairs of earrings, at the very minimum. If you are going to sell sets, you need to have no less than 5 already crafted full sets made. This will ensure that you have a small inventory to get started with. And, don’t forget, you will most like have a few, to many, requested special orders. In any case, you will need to bead new items in your spare time, to keep your inventory full. One can’t have a thriving business, if you run out of inventory to sell. So, I’d suggest that you set aside 2 to 4 hours a day, just to create. Of course the time that you spend on your crafts, will depend on how quickly you work. And, the more you string beads, the faster you will get doing it!

How much do you charge for your beaded designs

Okay, this can be kind of tricky, as you need to keep track of your costs for your materials, and clock how long it takes you to make a piece. And of course, there’s always that exquisite piece that we are just SURE, is worth $50 or more. Reality is…most people aren’t going to pay that much money for a beaded necklace. Unless, the entire thing is made from Swarovski crystals, and is the PERFECT piece to go with their wedding or prom dres1s.

So, here’s how I break it down, to get a reasonable price for my time, and to pay for my materials.

Let’s say I made a necklace that is 14 inches long:

I buy the following materials:

  • 110 yrds of beading thread $2.49
  • 1 strand of multi colored seed beads (300 pcs) $3.99
  • 1 dragonfly pendant $4.99
  • 1 package of spacer beads (72 pcs) $3.19
  • 1 package of lobster claw clasps (8 pcs) $3.19
  • 1 package of jump rings (120 pcs) $3.99
  • total spent $21.84

I use 14 inches of thread, plus an additional 3 inches on each end…so I use a total of 20 inches of thread

my total is less than a penny per yard, so I’m going to charge $.01 for a yard of thread

I use 120 beads $3.99 divide it by 300…my total is less than a penny per bead, so I will charge a penny per bead

so, I’ll charge $1.20 for the beads

I will charge the full cost of the pendant….$4.99

I use 6 spacer beads…..again, my cost is less than a penny per bead, so I will charge $.06

I use one clasp…..$3.19 divided by 8 is a little over $.39 cents each, so I will round it up and charge $.40 cents for the clasp

I use 2 jump rings to attach to the clasp…..again cost is under a penny, so I’ll charge $.02

So, lets add this up:

$1.20

$4.99

$.06

$.40

$.02

my total material cost for this necklace = $6.68

Now, I’ve also got 1 hour labor into making it. Generally, on most pieces you will add a 300 percent mark up…but, I chose an expensive pendant to add to it. No one else chose it, just me. I’ve already added the cost of the pendant to my material list, and it took me less than an hour to make it, so, in this case I would only add a 75% markup which is $5.01. So, generally speaking, I’d charge $12.00 for this necklace. If I left out the pendant, and just used the beads and spacers, I would sell the piece for $5.00.

It’s always best to stay on the cheap side of your purchases, unless someone specifically requests expensive beads. In which case, you should always let them know that it’s going to cost them some money.

You don’t want to overcharge for any of your jewelry designs. If you do, you’ll find that you won’t have many, if any sales. So, be fair when you price your items out.

Your biggest gift of all

Trust me, the biggest gift you could give someone, is a handmade design, that you made with love. There is nothing more precious, then something made for you, by someone who is dear to you.

So, for that next birthday gift, wrap up one of your works of art, and gift it to the Birthday girl, or boy. They will absolutely love and cherish it. They will wear it with pride.

Happy Beading and good luck!

Machele VanVoorhis

11 Comments

  1. Quite an issue selling handcrafted pieces – but also important to understand and be excited by the unique possibilities – (In my past experience as a florist 300% was very standard and necessary return and even more for certain pieces) – You suggestion is a great, honest and respectful post – very much appreciated – Would love to see some photo’s of you work… do you sell on-line? – Sandy:)

  2. I think it’s so important to be realistic about pricing handmade things! I actually did this same type of thing when I used to crochet tops and bathing suits. Although with crocheting it’s your time that is the most expensive “material” so it is hard to monetize it.

    I think breaking down the material cost is a great place to start, and as long as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself during a hand-made project time is never really wasted!

  3. Thanks for the info. Everything make perfect sens. I agree, you can not give someone a more cherish gift as one you make yourself.

  4. Woah! This was such an interesting article! It’s actually the first article I come actos that’s based on beading.

    I never would’ve have thought that the way you were dividing/multiplying your tools and your work were the way to charge for the piece itself.

    And yes, you’re absolutely right! There’s no better gift than someone giving you something made by them. That’s such an intimate and kind thing to do.

    Thank you for this article, it was great!

  5. Dear Machele
    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to make towards an amazing hobby – beading. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,
    Andrey

  6. Thank you for your advice. I will keep it in mind. I think that handmade items should cost more than mass-produced ones. It would be nice to see a picture of the necklace you made, but I think $5.00 is cheap for a handmade necklace that took one hour to make. I would charge more. The price also depends on where you live, some countries have much lower standards, and there the price is lower than in countries with higher standards. Have a nice day.

  7. Great post and what a simple way to sort out the costs of homemade goods.
    I often wonder how people come up with their prices, since items can vary wildly in price at different types of events.
    I love going to craft fairs and bazaars and getting super unique items to give as gifts. It really is an awesome gift to give or receive. I will be thinking of this post when I look at how people price their items. Thank you!

  8. Great post about practically sorting the prize of home made goods. I really like homemade unique crafty things. It also makes wonderful gift for friends and family. I usually look for hand crafted things for Christmas gift. I hope you share some of your secrets ways of making unique jewellery. Thanks

  9. Thank you for this informative article. I’ve been creating some hand made pillows, but I still don’t think they are good enough for the public to be honest. I’ve been gifting them and for now I had good feedback from people who have tried them.

    What I sell is not jewlery, but can your example be also applied to my case?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Of course it could work exactly the same…I would take the cost of your fabric….Lets say it was $3.99 yd ..and you used 1.5 yrds….and you used thread that was $3.00 a spool, and had 20 yds on a spool, and you purchased one aplique at $1.49

      $4.00 divided by 1.5yds = $3.00
      $3.00 divided by 18 inches used thread = $0.18
      1 applique = $1.49

      total material cost =$4.75 rounded up

      $4.75 X 3 commission = $14.25…..

      Does that seem fair to you? I would also look in stores, see how much something similar is going for…
      If that seems too steep, try doubling your commission, which brings it down to $9.50….Keep in mind that you put your labor into this…it wasn’t a mass production factory with 50 employees all sewing the same thing…be fair to the customer, but, be fair to yourself as well.

      Thank you for looking at my site and offering feedback….I’m on my way to comment on your site! :))

      Sincerely,

      Machele (Shelly) VanVoorhis

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