Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Need for Twist Ties & Popsicle Sticks Just Yet!

Can you afford to still make jewelry? Will anyone buy it?

I'm sure you've given some thought to the market price and how it's effecting the price of your pieces and whether you sell them or not. Worry not. It's not yet time to bring out the craft sticks and twist ties.
A burning question I hear more and more often, is whether or not someone can afford to use metal clay. Yes you can!
I happen to love math. Yes, that's probably why I'm in business, right? I confess, I am a bean counter. I have to do price comparison shopping at least once a day and often more.
So I thought I'd do a quick little comparison for you of silver and it's pricing.
A 25gm pack of PMC3 is today $ 2.24 per gram (retail). Art Clay is $2.50 per gram retail. Remember PMC is net weight and AC is gross weight (27.8 vs 20gm)
If you make a pendant about the size of a nickel you are going to use roughly 7grams. That's about $15.64 for material costs.
On April 30th, 2009 PMC 25gm retail price was $1.32 per gram ($12.63 market) and 7 grams would have cost $9.24. Then over the proceeding year silver increased and on April 30th, 2010 the PMC retail was $1.50 per gram ($18.62 market) and 7 grams would have cost $10.46.
Over the last year, the price of your materials has increased $5.18. I think that it's safe to say you can still markup that pendant $12 and it won't change your market that considerably. Might you lose a few customers by charging $62 versus $50 for that pendant? Sure, but I'm guessing that you can gain customers too by changing many things in your work and branding.
Could you take a few new classes to learn to use a tool or technique that can lessen your labor cost (which is your highest cost), can you learn to combine materials to lower your cost of goods, can you find ways to trim other costs (overhead) that actually cost you more?
It's simply a marketing problem. Everything in life is a marketing problem. How can you sell this highly valued material without being "salesy" but conveying the worth, the benefits and the sense of urgency (handmade, OAK) that your customer will buy it?
It's all perspective. It's all strategy. Don't let the market keep you from buying materials. Let it encourage you to become a better artist by using your materials wisely, being a better marketer, and a better business person!

Teacher, mentor, artist and founder of The Artful Success Program, Tonya Davidson helps artists take their techniques and business skills to the next level. As the CEO and founder of Whole Lotta Whimsy she has passionately empowered artists to live creatively from the inside out. Her ezine goes out to over 11,000 subscribers. Create the life you love by subscribing to her free ezine at Be sure to check out her blog at for FREE tutorials and articles.
Thanks so much Tonya for this helpful information.
Be sure to check out my ArtFire Studio:

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