Count the Cost
What? Count the cost, what is she talking about? When you create a work of art no matter what form, there is a cost in that creation. Now do you get it? For this blog I want to focus on art jewelry pieces like these.
The Eagle Mt piece is available in my shop NancysWildWireArt . The Pony is in my best friends collection(another blog post) And the earrings are in my personal jewelry collection. Now back to our subject, counting the cost. I had a lot of trouble with this in the beginning. I can’t tell you how many custom paintings I did from life or photos for $25. I forgot to pay me for my work and my talent, I was not told that had worth and added value. I am not trained in art, never took an art class, I just do things. I just don’t always do them in a way that benefits myself. Thank goodness supplies were a lot cheaper back then . Do you always know what you have invested in a piece? If you don’t you can’t possible price it at fair market value. Do you keep track of your time? Well you should! I don’t work for nothing, cause they don’t take smiles at the grocery store or the electric company. I am not going to tell you how to price your jewelry, I simply can’t. I just hope this post makes it easier for you. Everyone must determine their own skill level, and what they are worth as far as an hourly wage. I have my hourly wage in my mind, and that is what I pay myself for the hours I have invested. If I think the market will allow, if I think anyone will be willing to pay that price for my work. Sometimes you have to adjust to stay in the market, but never,never,never short change yourself. From now on keep track of your hours, keep records. A simple index card for each piece is all you need, once you finish the piece and get your price you can toss it. Now for some fun! Do you count the elements in your jewelry? I mean the beads,the wire,copper sheet,gemstone cabs? It will help if you mark the per foot price of each gauge of wire when you get it, it is frustrating looking it up every time. When I buy beads they are usually gemstone beads and they come by the strand. Once you cut open the strand use a few, bag or bottle them, do you know how much they cost? Do you dig through your files for the packing slip and guesstimate the cost because it is too much trouble to do anything else? You probably cheat yourself. Let me show you a much easier way to this part? Yes it takes a few minutes , but you will be so glad you made the investment:) I recently got a shipment of Turquoise,I saved them to use for this. They are pricey so you don’t want to give them away. I have 2 strands I saved to work with for this blog post. Hubei coins on a 16″ strand@ $10.99 and a 17.5″ strand of Sleeping Beauty @$19.99. Lets talk about the Hubei coins first.. I use a ruler, lay the strand alongside it and count the beads in an inch As you can see, it is about 5 coins per inch, and we have 16″ divide the cost of 10.99 by 16 to get $.69 per inch divided that by 5 (the # of beads per inch) gives us bead cost of $.08 each. Lets do another one? Sleeping Beauty chips,17.5″ strand same thing. Cost of 17.5″ strand is $19.99 divide cost by # of inches to get the cost per inch in this case it is $1.15 per inch. Count the number of beads in an inch it’s approximately 14-16 of these divide the cost of an inch by 14 and you get $.08 each per chip. I always round off, so please don’t email me and tell me my figures are wrong:) This is not rocket science we are just counting beads, but they do add up. To keep it simple and not to repeat this every time I use a few of these beads, I put them in herb bottles I find at garage sales.The ones with stoppers. I label the bottle with all the information like material,size, cost per inch and cost per bead if they come on a strand. Write it on the label. While we are on the subject,bag and label cabs too in the same manner. A little work now saves time later and you will be glad you did. This what my finished turquoise looks like bottled up.Aren’t you glad you don’t have to read my writing,that I type this?
I was not doing all this when I first started and I gave a lot of things away when I was trying to make money. I happened to read an article on a site where I shopped for gemstone beads about pricing your jewelry. I have since gotten to be friends with Szarka the owner and have learned a lot from her. I will be forever grateful for this tip:) She taught me to value myself as an artist. Don’t forget to add any shipping or handling cost you pay too. When your order arrives divide the # of items by the shipping and handling costs and add the cost to the item. I scored free shipping on the turquoise we used so I didn’t need to do this. Now when you make a piece of jewelry be sure to count the cost! Please feel free to check out my shop NancysWildWireArt and my other blog Nancy’s WildWire Art
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