Pricing and Selling Handmade Jewelry – Valuing Polymer Clay Beads

Swirl Disc Bead

Are You Feeling Like Your Stuff’s Not Worth Very Much? Then Your Customers Will Think That Too:

As a bead and jewelry designer, one of the hardest things to figure out is how to price your pieces. This is why you will often see handmade beads listed anywhere from 15 cents to 15 dollars for similar items. That’s a pretty big spread!

With pricing, there are two main factors to consider. One is your cost of production (i.e. materials and labor). And when I say labor, I’m referring to how much value you place on an hour of your time. If you are doing this as a business, obviously your items must be priced so that you are not losing money with each sale. That’s just basic economics.

The other pricing consideration is market perception. And that is what I’d like to focus on for the rest of this article.

Perceived value is what allows one bead to sell for $15 in the marketplace, as compared to something similar that might only go for 15 cents.

So how do you get customers to pay higher prices for your products?

Well, it starts with you. What is your perception of the value of the stuff you sell? If you honestly feel that your jewelry pieces and beads aren’t worth much, then everything you say and do is going to convey that to the customer. And that’s what they will believe too.

On the other hand, if you present your products and your artistic story with congruency and passion, customers will see value in this. It’s why many people love buying handmade… because a piece of the artist comes with every purchase.

Do you think of your finished polymer clay beads as chunks of plastic made from a product that little kids often play with at pre-school? Or are they precious miniature pieces of art, based on an idea or feeling that inspired you to create?

Are you starting to see that ‘how’ you view your handmade beads might have a big influence on what you will be able to charge for them?

Watch the following YouTube video and see why Sandy Rueve of She Beads is able to charge up to $15 for a single round polymer clay bead. Listen as she describes how bead making traditions have been around for 30,000 years. She tells a great story…

Do you think Sandy believes in what she produces? Absolutely! She sees value in it and has the marketing skills to get others to see it as well.

She also makes an excellent product… which goes without saying by the way. In business today, it’s given that the quality of your product must be good.

Now I am not so naive to think that everyone can accomplish what She Beads has achieved. But I do think you can study other people’s success to see how to improve your own chances of having it too.

A belief in yourself and of the value you bring through your art, plus constant research and testing of the prices you charge, will give you a much better chance at making your jewelry business a viable one.

If you find that you’re working your butt off making a good product, but hardly getting any money in return… why don’t you give some thought to the things I discussed above, about story telling and perception.

And then try raising your prices. You may be surprised to find that your products become much more desirable to your customers.

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For more success tips and ideas on selling your polymer clay beads and jewelry items, here are a couple of other articles to check out:

 

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. And, it all began with one bead……
    I have read about She Beads in the past but never saw this video, thanks for sending it. I totally agree with you on how we value of our products. To me, it is not only the cost of our supplies in that one bead but how long did it take to get there. How many piles of scrap clay and hours and hours of experimenting, tissue blade cuts on my hands, sanded off fingernails did it take to finally “get it”? It is the commitment, the knowledge, the passion.

    Marketing as related to price is the key in most products. Many companies make tow identical products and one costs 50% more based on how it is marketed. A few years ago a friend and I sold various clothing, jewelry, purses and household stuff on E-bay. The key to success of selling was telling the story, romanticizing the product. Not only was it great fun to write the descriptions but the seed was planted as to why this item was a “must have” for the buyer. Get inspiration from listings on Etsy or Ebay.

    One thing I really like about the PC community is the passion and willingness to share experience. Cindy, I really like it when on you videos there may be a small error and your perception is the bead may be kinda cool like that.

  2. What a great post. Super video. I loved seeing the beads being made. My problem is that I like most of my beads so much, that I usually want to keep them. Except for you! Let me know how to send your heart bead to you. Take care, Susan

  3. @Anna: Wow! Thanks for your feedback and input on this post! You are so right about the importance of romanticizing the product and telling a great story. People buy jewelry more for the feeling they will get when they wear it than for the mere sake of having it. So if it comes with a great story or feeling behind it, it will be more desirable for them. Going to Ebay for inspiration is a great idea! Haven’t been there for awhile… will have to follow your advice!

    @Susan: Thanks! Did I actually win one of your lovely hearts? That is so cool! I will email you with my address. I know how you feel about wanting to keep your own stuff. Lately I’ve sold so many of my pieces that I’ve had to make stuff especially for myself to keep. That way I won’t miss it when its gone!

  4. Great video! Thanks for sharing it with us. I do go to many sites just to see what artists are charging for their beads and pieces. She Beads makes wonderful beads. I agree with Anna, many artists from the Polymer Clay community are so willing to share their expertise. It’s like a family.

  5. I HAVE MADE SOME BEADED JEWELRY AMULET BAGS, NECKLACES, BRACELETS. MY POLYMER CLAY ITEMS HAVE BEEN COVERED CANDLE GLASSES,PLATES WITH A THEME THAT HAVE BEEN COVERED IN CLAY. I HAVE ALOT TO LEARN ABOUT SELLING MY THINGS. I HAVE SOLD SOME BUT MOSTLY I GIVE THEM AS GIFTS. LYNN WATTS

  6. @Lupe: You’re welcome! That’s a good idea to look at what others are selling their pieces for. The nice thing about looking at Etsy is that you can check the ‘solds’. It’s one thing to charge a certain price for something… it is quite another to get that price. I like to look from high price to low, since it’s the higher prices you want to get. BTW all your great comments makes this blog a great polymer clay community for everyone. So thank you very much!

    @Lynn: There will always be things to learn about selling. The trick is to make the best quality work you know how and test, test, test!

  7. I love making beads but they seem to be taking over my work area which is actually a guest bedroom and family is coming to stay this summer. I love making interesting colorful beads but I am not too good at figuring out how to put PC beads together into a finished necklace, lanyard, bracelet or earrings. I am a simplest at heart; less is more but when is “less” not enough. I keep getting stuck at this stage and keep making more beads and more beads and more beads. The I get these really great ideas from Cindy and I have to try them and then this is more and more and more beads. HELP !!! I guess the first step is to admit you have a problem; Beadaholics Annoymous. I would like to explore selling on Etsy or a local boutique to recoup some of my cost and buy more PC toys. I prefer to have some internet sites rather than buying a bunch of books or magazines. Anybody have an suggestions or resources I can tap into. Help…I am drowning in my beads.

  8. Ani you are so cute! What you probably should do is consider selling your beads. Many people do not want to learn to make beads. Personally we both know they are nuts! ;) Etsy supports the sale of supplies and may be an excellent place for you to sell your beads.

    You could also check into some local bead shops if there are any.

    I lean more toward making beads than making stuff with the beads myself, so I get it. Being a beadaholic is a healthy addiction and should not be curbed in any way. Could turn out to be a very good business for you too!

  9. Cindy, I am going to join your club, but would first like to know how to make disc beads and if you have a tutorial on this. I want to know how to make it look like one solid piece and not like it was pieced together. Thank You, Vickie

  10. You are in luck Vickie. I do have a video tutorial on making disc beads. It was just posted a few days ago in the members library. You can follow the link by my name above to see the intro clip for that tutorial. Below the intro clip is some information on how to become a library member if you want to see the full tutorial.

    By becoming a member in order to receive full access to the disc bead tutorial, you will also then be able to view each new tutorial that is released weekly over the next 90 days. The ongoing subscription is only $9.95 which works out to just $3.32 per month.

  11. **PHOTOS ADDED: Project photos have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Carrie, an avid contributor here at the blog. Click on the “Jupiter Beads, Faux Raku, Mod Canes” link by my name above to have a look.

  12. This is a wonderful article! And I love the video about She Beads. I can see that perception and “telling a story” really does help sell beads; I’ve seen this in action on Etsy. I am gathering all of this info, with the hope that I can put it to good use when I’m up and claying again. Thanks again, Cindy, for all of the amazing, informative things you throw at us day after day! You are one tireless teacher (and we love you for it!)

  13. “You are one tireless teacher…” Actually I’m kinda tired right now LOL. It’s late and I’m just trying to get caught up with all of the comments that came in today.

    PS: That disc bead at the top of the page is what I call a money bead. You’ll understand what I mean by reading the article linked to my my name.

  14. NEW PHOTOS JUST ADDED:

    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Selling Polymer Clay Beads), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Melinda Herron. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

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