Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Wow!! That is Expensive!!!"

by MaryAnn Carroll

For any of us who make beads and/or jewelry, I would guess that this is a reaction that you have probably heard, whether mumbled to their friend or made directly to you at some time.

Well.... I say...

"You get what you pay for!"

After my most recent glaze firing, I was once again faced with the dilema of pricing.  I try to be fair, but also, I put a lot of time into my work to make a high quality product, so I'm not going to give them away.  What I do is this... I base my prices on the amount of time that I put into each bead.  Beads that are basic rounds with one glaze take the least amount of time so they are the least expensive.  If a round bead, however, is large, then it takes up more room in the kiln which means fewer beads in that firing (beads cannot touch each other during a glaze firing).  In that case, that bead would be priced higher do to that fact.


Then, we have the beads above which were created from porcelain clay at the same time.  They are basically the same size (I don't measure while making beads) and both glazed.  The beads on the right cost more than the beads on the left.  Although you might think that the beads on the left look like they have two glazes, they don't.  They have one glaze that "breaks" on the edge of a ceramic piece.  This simply means that while the glaze is melting in the kiln, certain areas will puddle in greater amounts and edges, bumps, etc. will not.  Both very cool.....  but the time invested was different.


And then we have these expensive little babies that you see above.  Well....I LOVE the look (picture doesn't do them justice, but the time invested far exceeds that of some of my other beads.... 


And they all came out of this little kiln shown above.  This is a doll kiln, which is perfect for the amount that I am able to create at one time.


I also own these ceramic beads above.  I believe that they are manufactured in China.  While there is nothing wrong with them and some do have some of the same effects as my handmade, they were most likely produced in a factory, which is why the price is considerably lower than handmade ceramic beads.


Those, most likely, came from a kiln such as the one above.

So.... I hope that you learned a little more about why those of us who create handmade might need to charge more......

Like they sometimes say, "Wow!!  That is expensive!!"

I say.......

"Yup! You get what you pay for."

To see a funny little video about pricing at shows, click HERE for one of Patty's posts.

12 comments:

artybecca said...

Handmade will never beat mass production on price, so we have to attack the problem from another angle. If we create components or jewelry that are different from what buyers see at a retail store, people will pay (if they love the item) because it's unique and there is nowhere else to buy it.

Carol said...

sorry, I forgot to say that I don't think your work is over priced.

Patty said...

Ahh, so you have the same problems with the imports. Handmade rocks!

D'Arsie Manzella said...

I am both proud and simply amazed that I have the tools to create in pewter. I may loose some business to the pewter manufactured in other places at a bargain prices. Yet those who support my artwork know that the entire creation process happens within my cozy house. Handmade just feels richer. It's the love and depth within the piece that radiates to the owner/wearer.
Woot Woot for handmade!!
PS, I can't wait to get my order from you!!

Beadbug said...

Handmade is always the way to go and worth the money but trying to explain that to others is often impossible. I am going to my first show next week to start the process in your cute video all over again and again and again. :)

MaCarroll Beads said...

Well.... I have to say that as of lately, I've been looking at beads in some chain stores and realizing that I am very fair in price. Everyone... whether commercial or handmade sells to, hopefully, make a profit. So, when buying commercial you have to also realize that there is a profit being made in that purchase as well. I see handmade as going right from the hands of the maker into the hands of the buyer.... no middleman/woman.

Kelli said...

I get that quite a bit too. Especially from co-workers who bought from me when I first started out years and years ago. But then I was putting store bought glass beads on wire, attaching an earwire and charging $7-8 a set. Glad to say I've come a long long way from there. So, now they tend to balk at a $32 pair of hand hammered sterling silver earrings with handmade ceramic beads. I have to just assume they are no longer my customer. I think people who understand and appreciate handmade, KNOW they're getting a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. I don't get upset about that stuff any more. Everyone likes different things. And if they think handmade is overpriced, then they just don't get it. And that's ok. There are a lot of other folks who do get it, appreciate it, and won't ever go back to the mall for their jewelry.

VanBeads said...

When I first decided to market and sell my handmade jewelry, I took a marketing class that was designed for and targeted artists. In our first class, the instructor asked us who we thought our competition was. I said, "Well, Wal-Mart, Michael's..." thinking that those big box stores were where my customers would also shop. Well, halfway through the class, I took a trip to Los Angeles and visited some high-end galleries. I came back to NY with a whole new understanding of who my customer is. So, from there, if someone looks at my work and says, "Oh, it's so expensive!", I pretty much know that they are NOT my customer.

And yes. You DO get what you pay for!

Lisa Godfrey said...

This is a great post and great comments too! One thing I have learned is rather than try to educate mass market shoppers of the benefits of handmade, just market to people who already appreciate and buy handmade. There will always be people who want something unique and different that you can't find in a store. This is what I love about creating jewelry with handmade components. You're getting handmade x2. The price is going to be higher but the jewelry goes from fashion to art!

sasha and max said...

Great post MaryAnn - your beads are made with love (and are very reasonably priced too) As a big buyer of handmade beads and components, I love the fact that the pieces I buy from talented artists such as your lovely self are usually one offs or limted runs - it makes my pieces unique - why bother beading otherwise?! Yay to handmade! Vicki :)

Alice said...

I hear this when I am trying to sell my jewelry that has handmade beads or components included. While the customers love them, the price usually scares them off, even after I've tried (gently) to make them understand the piece is one of a kind and not mass made. In today's economy it's a tough sell.

kelleysbeads said...

Awesome post! I love being able to educate people as to why handmade art beads seem so expensive. So much hard work, sweat and time goes into creating each and every one!!

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