Pricing Puzzler

I think the hardest issue I’ve faced in trying to sell my jewelry is setting my pricing.  It’s so difficult for me to put a value on something that I’ve created from scratch.  I’ve been using a sophisticated pricing model (yeah, right) that is based on the price I’ve paid for the components plus my prorated hourly salary multiplied by two.  There are many problems with that model, not the least of which is that I’m making my own components (lampwork beads) and haven’t factored that cost into the model. Automatically, I’m in the hole.

Thus far, my best customers have been my family and my co-workers. That leads me to another part of my problem.  Do they know what lampworking is?  Do they know how much money I have invested in my supplies and equipment?  Do they know what artisan jewelry is? Do I even qualify to call myself an artisan?  I think I automatically assume the answer to all those questions is, “no,” so I discount everything.

Basically, I’m doing my calculations in my head and on the fly.  Customers: “Oh my gosh, that bracelet is sooo cute.  How much is it?” Me: “Thanks.” Inner dialog: That one was a lot of work. There’s three of my lampwork beads, plus about 40 Swarovski crystals that I double-loop wrapped… $50? She’s going to think that I think very highly of my amateur jewelry. Me: “$25.”  Ugh.
Basically, I’ve been selling the items for cost.  Good for their pocketbook and my relationships, but not good for my business.  Plus, it’s kind of making me feel that I don’t value my own money or time as much as I value everyone else’s.  Flash back to high-school insecurity and self-esteem issues.

The reason this is forefront of my mind right now is that I’m about to venture into marketing and selling my creations in a public forum.  I’m not talking about Etsy (which has netted me a grand total of $20 in sales over the past 5 months, pfft,) but actually selling things to strangers, face to face.  Before I do anything else, I need to have established, realistic prices for every item.

My head hurts just thinking about it.

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