Value

I’ve spent the last few weeks in a quandary.  About money.

I’ve been making and selling jewellery for a few months now.  I make to commission, rather than in bulk, and I generally have about one sale a week.  This suits me nicely, I could up it to three or four sales a week, but not much more.  Everything I make takes time and I want to make sure my customers are happy.  What with nativity costumes, sorting out the dodgy drainage in the kitchen sink, dog walking and writing work, I’m pretty busy.

I think my pieces are quite expensive.  £50 for rings and necklaces feels like a lot to me; I don’t often spend that kind of money on myself.  It’s certainly a lot more than you can buy pretty things for from a shop like White Stuff, but then I work in precious metals, so my base costs are quite high.

When I look around me on the internet to see what other people are charging, it seems like I’m quite expensive.  There are a gazillion jewellers on Etsy, all charging prices that I don’t understand.  Sterling silver rings for a price that must just about cover the silver and nothing else.  No taking account of the time, effort and design skills that must have gone into it.  I’ve never been able to bring myself to charge prices like that, but it’s also constrained me.  How can I justify charging more than twice what other people are charging?

I also have a niggling feeling that I’m not worth it.  Why would people spend £70, £80, £100 on something that I’ve made?  I’m competent, but I’m just me.  I think undervaluing yourself is a female thing.  But it’s also a stay-at-home-for-ten-years-mother thing.  It’s really hard starting a business selling something you’ve made, you’re basically asking people for approval in a slightly needy way.  Do you love me?  If I charge you too much then maybe you won’t.

Then my tutor got involved.  She’s been saying for weeks that I need to think about prices.  Whenever I make something for sale, she asks me how much for then sucks her teeth a bit.  Well, she doesn’t actually suck her teeth, but you know what I mean.  I mumble a bit and carry on with what I’m doing without changing a thing.

This week she got strict.  She sat down next to me and picked up a ring.  £50 isn’t enough for that, she said.  You should be charging £80.  A lot of work and care has gone into it.  I know but it’s just me.  Look, she said, if you were a really experienced jeweller, you’d be charging £120 for it.  £80 is not a lot.  If you don’t charge enough for it people won’t value your skills.

And she’s right you know.  I may be working at my kitchen table but I have skills, and it’s only fair that I’m paid accordingly.  I don’t shop in Primark because I don’t agree with people being paid peanuts.  Yet I’m doing exactly the same thing with my own business.

So, I’m putting my prices up.  Because I’m worth it.

*runs and hides*

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9 comments
  1. You do have skills. Amazing skills in fact! And skills that I know I – and many others – are happy to pay for. So good for you I say 🙂

    • Victoria said:

      Thanks lovely

    • Victoria said:

      *grins*

  2. I guess as you’re just starting out it’s hard to feel the value for your skills rather than something that is a hobby with the bonus of a few pounds. But skills like this have become very undervalued these days given how cheap you can buy a lot of things now in the pile it high approach to retail. It makes it hard to change your mindset but you’ll have to if you’re to become a master craftswoman 🙂

    • Victoria said:

      You’re right, and I hate the pile it high sell it cheap approach, so I shouldn’t be subscribing to it.

  3. You are completely right to have put prices up – the things you make are beautiful and you need to value your own time, not just in the actual making but also the design part of it

  4. hmm…if you think people are selling for the price of the silver, maybe it depends where you get bullion from(not that I have a problem with selling for a fiar price). Have you tried argex in brum? last time I bought they were 20% cheaper than cooksons on kilo price, and their customer service is considerably less snotty to boot

  5. Girl I read this when you first posted it and you really made me think. Pricing is a constant worry for me. I hate doing it and have been guilty of using the ‘What would I pay for this?’ template….useless! I am trying to get better and do costings properly but need to factor in the One-off component. How do you put a price on that?
    Anyway GOOD FOR YOU! Me? I’m still pondering…
    Great post.
    K x

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