Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ARTBEADS Experience

OK so I promised I would Help everyone out by letting people know about the different companies I deal with in regards to buying my supplies for my jewelry designs. Well when I got a request for a custom pendant! I decided to do some checking around. So I found Artbeads website a little while back through Facebook and Twitter and they're great. I started out by checking out there prices to my fallback sites. Better prices equal better prices for my customers right!

Well I got my order done and got a message from my client I was doing the custom work for, basically letting me know she changed her mind on color. Ok lets test reaction time of this new company right! I told her I already made the order but let me see if I can change it!?. If not I would just make another order, no big deal. So I wrote the company right away and asked if I could basically cancel my order so i could reorder. Well normal turnaround I know is roughly 24-42 hrs (usually). They called me a few hrs later. A nice girl ( I'm terribly sorry I wanna say it was a Carrie but I'm not sure!) called and asked what exactly I wanted to do and we changed the order together. It was great. She verified everything with me and then she explained the shipping changes (basically- orders go out in the morning she called in the afternoon so my order would be pulled and shipped the next morning, I believe it was the 14th or 15th of June. Well later that day I got a few email verifications from them. One was an invoice with the changes we made. The next was to let me know the original invoice shipment # went out (which she told me to ignore), then the next email I get is that the corrected order went out. I figure SWEET I will get it in a couple of weeks!

NO WAY!! order shipped out on a Monday! (I chose regular mail -for Canadians, shipping is only $1 -Americans it's free) I got the package the following Monday! Man did it feel like Christmas! LOL or at least my birthday :D. I had ordered copper chain, 4 swarovski 4mm bicone crystals (that's actually what needed to originally be changed- my client wanted a different color of purple) a beautiful lobster claw, some nice copper jump rings i believe inner diameter of those are 4mm as well, and for a treat for myself ( If I can when doing online orders I buy a "treat" for my studio, usually it's a new tool or gadget). This time I chose a nicely designed heavy duty cutter (for when I go back to my chainmaille vest for my hubby). The packaging was amazing so creative yet sooo professional, love the little info card they send to, it's so vibrant and colorful. I thought from now on when i do an expose on a new store I would show what I got and how it comes for you. Purely because of Artbeads.

So here it is folks!!

Isn't the packaging soo cute!?

I definitely give Artbeads a

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So a little while ago I put up all 6 of my new pieces in my photo gallery on Facebook, because of that I got a lovely woman in one of my crazy little games inquired if I could recreate a cute little Putty Tat that she draws on correspondence. With much delight I absolutely agreed and we are now well on our way! Here is the start of the the lil' mini Putty Tat!

Now I'm just waiting for supplies to come in and I will finish up her design! I'm actually guess it will take a few weeks. Purely because i am waiting for supplies from the states. This will also be another chance to check out a new store and how they work, other then Cowspot Beads. I'm really looking forward to it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~June 24th 2009~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ok so now I can officially start this Putty tat piece for Kelly! I have been fiddling around with it and I am starting to get the look down!

This is the evolution so far!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New pieces and a new Direction

Ok so here's all the new pieces folks!:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Artisan Jewelry

I wanted to post this article from that I found. For any new jewelery designers or hand made crafters out there.

So here it is. Check it out below.

Artisan Jewelry

Pricing handmade artisan jewelry always seems to pose a problem for my artisans. It took me a while to come up with my own system and thought I would share what I have learned with everyone. I sell my handmade jewelry both retail and wholesale.

I feel that many of artisans underprice their jewelry – period! We feel “guilty” about asking “too much”. I mean, it is just a hobby, isn’t it? Well, not if you are trying to sell what you create – you must start thinking of your “craft” as a business. There are multiple factors to consider when calculating expense, too much to include in this article but this will certainly get you thinking about prices.

Here are two books that might help with making the transition of “it’s just a craft” to IT’S A BUSINESS (please note, there are more books on the subject – these are two of which I am aware):

Viki Lareau – Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry

Wendy Rosen – Crafting as a Business

Some key things to take into consideration when pricing:

(1) How do you put a price tag on creativity?

(2) Do you buy your supplies retail or wholesale?

(3) How long does it take to make the piece of jewelry that you are pricing?

(4) How long did it take to design the piece?

(5) What about overhead costs? The list can go on and on but here are some great pointers to get you started:

How to Price Creativity:

I took an intermediate forging class and my instructor, Michael David Sturlin, was full of stories. We briefly discussed the subject of pricing jewelry and he told the class this: “A jeweler colleague was asked at an artisan show how long it took him to make a particular ring. He responded “30 years and 15 minutes.” His point was that his design and technique evolved over time. Think about it – how often do we sketch an idea or have an idea in mind and start making it and by the time the final product is complete, it is different than the original thought? I have one bracelet that is my best seller that I have been making since 2008 and each time I make it, I still improve my technique. Although a repetitive design may only take 15 minutes to make, how long did it take to get to that 15 minutes? It is hard to put a price on creativity. In my opinion, it comes down to your reputation and quality of your work: In other words, are you an established artisan? Does the quality of your work match the price you are asking? Quality of work, your “reputation”, trust of the buyer, what the market can bear, word of mouth – some things come with time and can be a big part of pricing your jewelry.

Key Points for Pricing:

In addition to the books I listed, classes are also taught about pricing jewelry, many of which are taught at bead shows. I have not read either of the books or taken a class on the subject. Some of the key factors that I use are:

1. Time involved

2. Overhead expense

3. Cost of supplies - are you purchasing supplies wholesale or retail?

4. What can the market bear?

What Helped Me Find My Niche:

1. Eni Oken has a price calculator at for $5. I purchased a copy a few years ago and use it all the time. The jewelry price calculator has many variables for wholesale and retail pricing. There are columns for itemizing components used for the piece of jewelry being priced, hours/minutes, and wire cost calculated in inches and feet. You can use the numbers that Eni plugged in or change them to fit your needs. And, of course, you are able to change the cost of sterling silver wire which fluctuates continuously.

2. Keeping track of time is a necessity. If you are selling a piece that you have made multiple times and now it has become your “15-minute ring”, you should still charge a fair amount for your time. Just because you have become proficient at making this one piece of jewelry, think of the “30 years” it took you to get there!

If you are making 1-of-a-kind pieces, then that becomes a bit more challenging. When I make something that is 1-of-a-kind, it is usually because it was a pain in the neck to make and although a nice piece, I just never want to go there again! So I just use my best judgment of time to charge. If it took me 8 hours, that is probably too much time to charge for so I would stop and think how long would it reasonably take me to remake this and I also try to make the price “fit in” with my other pieces. If I chose to never make that piece again and break even on it, for me, it was probably a GREAT learning curve!

3. You need to decide how much you are going to charge per hour for your time. I have a retail hourly rate and a wholesale hourly rate.

Find Your 30 Years and 15 Minute Pieces:

Some of my pieces are definitely my money makers. These are my “30 years and 15 minutes” pieces. For example, one of my money makers is a necklace that I wholesale for $100 and retail for $200. Here is the cost breakdown: The necklace takes me 1 hour to make with about $20 of material. I plug my materials into my jewelry price calculator and the optimal suggested wholesale price is $59 and suggested retail prices range from $83 to $119. When I first started making this particular design, it took me 3 HOURS to make it!

Here is another nice money maker: I have a leather bracelet that I wholesale for $20 and retail for $30. This particular bracelet takes me 15 minutes to make with about $4 of material. Again using my jewelry price calculator, I enter my minutes and material cost. The optimal suggested wholesale price is $13 with the range of suggested retail prices being $18 to $26.

Both are good money makers but the necklace wins hands down - my point being if you sell wholesale, you can keep a profit balance between your products. I wholesale 1-of-a-kind pieces with established clients, making a small profit, because I know those clients are also going to buy my money makers, so I keep a nice profit balance with everything.

In my examples above, it is easy to see the profit I make based on what I feel the market can bear, what I feel my creativity is worth, what I can get for that jewelry based on the repetitiveness of my client and my reputation. The calculator is a GREAT TOOL but cannot incorporate what the market will bear and what your creativity is worth because these are arbitrary factors that will change with time and as your expertise and reputation develop. LET ME REPEAT THAT – AS YOUR EXPERTISE AND REPUTATION DEVELOP, the factors will change.

I specialize in wire wrapped jewelry, woven wire jewelry, and forged jewelry. The more my expertise develops with each style, the better my finished products are constructed. The larger customer base I build and the more contacts I make, whether they are customers or other vendors, the more my reputation is established as a longstanding business.

Wholesale Buyers – Some Things to Expect

1. Wholesale buyers will try to give you every excuse and sob story they can think of to get you to lower your prices. “Wow! This necklace is stunning, but I can’t make my profit on it at your wholesale price” or “I mark up 3 times from the wholesale price so that makes this necklace too expensive for my store clientele” or “I won’t be able to pay my overhead if I reduce my price to 2.5 times mark up.” Honestly, I could go on and on – I have heard all the stories of how they REALLY WANT to buy my jewelry but it is just too expensive! When I first started selling wholesale, green and naive as ever, I would buckle and lower my prices – I wanted to sell! Do you want to buckle or get what you deserve?!

I have a longstanding client who owns two jewelry stores. She marks up 3 times the wholesale price. Upon one of my return visits to her store to show her more jewelry I had for sale, she was on the phone so I was browsing and saw some of her prices on my jewelry and many were priced more than the 3 times that I had wholesaled for – HELLO! My prices went up after that visit, slowly and over time, but they went up.

So now when I hear “I love this necklace but…”, I may respond with “If you tell me how much you mark up, I can calculate if I can work with my price” (so make sure you always takes a calculator with you unless you are great at math) or if I don’t want to barter and this is a new buyer to me, I might remind the buyer of the materials used in the piece and/or the complexity of design. Or maybe this is a well established buyer and I know their ploys to try to get me to reduce and I keep my necklace because I know I will sell it without a problem elsewhere. Sometimes presenting the necklace on my next visit does the trick, too, just because when the buyer sees it for the second time, they just have to have it!

2. “What if I want to buy 50 leather bracelets. Will I get a discount for buying volume?” If your answer is yes, know how much you will discount. I have no personal experience with this but the stores that I sell to are not chains so they don’t buy in quantity. I would think there are vendors out there who do give quantity price breaks and this can probably be researched on the web to get ideas on the subject.

(for the original article please click link at top of page)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I made this bracelet on memory wire with rose quartz chips. If you wanna take another look at it check it out at



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