Pricing Your Creations - Do What Is Best for You

This is a subject that hits different nerves in each of us who have our own handmade businesses. And this question is the one I get asked the most about. How do you determine your prices?

My on-line business is different for me than for most. When I decided to turn my hobby in to a business, one of the first things I determined was it was a hobby for me, something I did on the side after my full-time job. It was then and still is today this same way. I don't ever plan on making it my soul source of income. I don't want to have to rely on my selling of jewelry to survive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is wrong to live off your handmade business!! For those of you who can, I applaude you. This is simply a decision I chose to make for my business! I see my business as a way to support my beading/jewelry making habit and to also give back to a couple charities that I support.

In pricing my items, one of the biggest contributors to my price is the market/region in which I live. I live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the county in which I live (Athens Co., Ohio) is the poorest in the state. Several of my customers (even though my business is on-line) live and work in this area. In knowing this, I decided to create jewelry with quality materials, that is stylish, trendy and affordable for everyone.

Many find it hard to believe that I produce the jewelry that I do and price it as I do. I have several tell me that I don't charge enough, that I make it difficult for other jewelry designers to get more for their items that are comparable in design/materials, and the list goes on. But on the flip side of those comments, I receive feedback from my customers that is completely opposite; "what a great deal for such quality," "love buying from you because I get something that is one of a kind and is well made but doesn't cost a fortune!"
When I get the criticism, I immediately tell them why I do this and that it is my goal to provide quality that is affordable. Jewelry for many is a "luxury" and I want everyone to be able to afford it, no matter what! People are looking for good deals, especially in today's market and I am doing what I can to reach out to those who want to "splurge" on themselves, but still have a little money in their pocket!
Does that make someone else's creations not worthy of the price they charge? Absolutely not!! We are designers/creators/artists in many different formats and we create items that you can't find in "big box stores." We use our hands and our home studios to create items that are personal to us that we want to become personal to those who purchase them. And because of this, I encourage all of you to be able to justify why you charge what you charge when someone decides to criticize or question it.

So to answer the question, "what should I charge," I will answer it this way. Do what works for you. If you are doing this full-time and making a living off of it, then make sure you are covering the cost of your materials, your time, etc. If not, and you simply want to pay for your hobby, then price according to that. It is different for each of us and I believe there is no easy answer to this question unfortunately, other than do what is best for your business and stand firm that your creations are personal, unique and deserving of the price you are asking, no matter how high or how low!

Now, go create and have fun! Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn


Leaving Your Mark on Various On-Line Sites

I've noticed through Google Analytics that lately, several hits to my Etsy store have come from the Relay for Life website. Your probably wondering why, so let me explain a little.

I donate a portion of my sales to the American Cancer Society. I don't really advertise that I do this, I just quietly give back. I decided to do this when I started my business because cancer has affected too many in my family and also too many friends and I felt it was important to give back, much like I give to my church. I've been blessed and I pass it on. While it's not a lot, it is something and every little bit helps towards finding a cure for this terrible disease.

I've participated in Relay for Life, been a team captain and more for the past few years as well. I posted probably two years ago on the Relay for Life site about creating a Cancer Awareness bracelet that our team was selling to help raise funds. And since that time, I still get hits from that post to my website and now on my Etsy store. I had no clue that sharing that idea would lead to exposure for my site. That certainly wasn't my intent when I posted the idea on that site!

Posting to various websites, leaving blog comments, etc., can lead to more exposure for your business. While I thought my personal post on this forum board was just sharing a fundraising idea for our Relay team, its turned out to be a lead for my store and I still get several requests from people wanting to purchase these bracelets or have special orders of these bracelets in certain cancer awareness colors.

Keep in mind when you are posting blog comments, responding on message/forum boards, using the forums section on Etsy or any other type of on-line media outlet, you are leaving your mark and therefore, you are probably going to be driving traffic to your store.

Make sure that when you do this, your posts are relevant, pleasant, and make the reader maybe want to find out more about you and you store as well. Don't ever leave rude comments or post something negative about a competitor on these types of posts either. That just makes your business look bad.

Next time you go to post, give it a couple of minutes of time and put some thought in to you. You never know what it might lead to! :-)

Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn


First Facebook, Now Twitter!

Social networking is certainly on the rise! I must admit that it took me a long time to finally jump on the Facebook bandwagon for several reasons. But now that I have, I'm glad. The personal side of it has allowed me to reconnect and stay in touch with so many family members and friends.

But, the business side of it has been great as well. Adding my store link to my personal page introduced my business to about 90+ people who had no clue that I designed jewelry and owned my own business. They have emailed me about it, checked out my site, joined my mailing list and better yet, have made purchases! It has also introduced me to some new friends and "fans" on my business Facebook page that I also created.

If you haven't take the leap yet in to the social networking scene, I would encourage you to give it a try. It doesn't require a lot of your time (ok, it could if you let it, but don't!), its very easy to use and it can introduce you and your business to an even bigger audience!

Have fun with it and enjoy spreading the word about your business with the social networking site that are available! If you already do Facebook or Twitter, share your success stories with a comment below and also share your site! I'm always looking for new sites and friends! ;-)

Until next time....Blessings! ~ Dawn

PS...the link to my facebook page is on the left side of the blog page and if you would like to "follow" me on twitter, that site is: http://twitter.com/shadesjewelry