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"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." by William E. Henley

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the art of pricing

Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

My friend Jess over at Rosy Revolver asked if anyone from our team Handmade Division would blog with her about pricing. At first I wasn't gonna do it cause I didn't know if I had anything useful to share. But then I thought some more about it and there is definitely something about pricing that I feel that I want to share.

It's hard
It takes time and effort
But it's worth the time you put into it.

and it's also something I have yet to master...
There is a balancing act between what my time is worth and what someone would be willing to pay for it. It's definitely not always easy.

I have a formula that I use. It's not perfect and it's something that I tweak and change to make sure that I get a return for the time and soul that I have invested in a piece. But it's important to have a formula. AND it's so important to make sure that you get paid for your time.

As most designers I dream of doing this full time. To finally be able to create every second of every day. Well maybe not every second. A girl has got to make time for the man in her life.. and the kitties of course. And yummy dinners once in a while. But what I am trying to get at is, unless I treat this as a business, a business that will eventually support me and not only buy new materials to play with but also pay rent and buy food I need to make sure that I make enough money per worked hour. I need to make a decent living out of it. And I need to make sure that my business is making a profit .

With my profit I can also invest in new tools which is vital for my business to grow. When I first started novadesigns I was hand drilling every hole and hand filing and polishing every corner..
I know, pretty crazy huh? But when I had made enough profit I could finally buy a flexshaft and a tumbler. It was like a new world opened up!

So when I see sellers on Etsy under pricing their work it makes me cringe. Not only are they cheating themselves but they are also
sending the wrong message to our customers. I really don't want to look like an over priced snob who is trying to take every buyer to the cleaner. Cause that couldn't be further away from the truth. But sometimes I feel like that is how I might be perceived in comparison. And that sucks.. And I have no desire whatsoever to try and compete with such low prices.

I really feel like I deserve to get a return of my investment, when it comes to designing, dreaming, creating and pouring my heart and soul into a new piece. And I know there are buyers out there who knows and values the work that I do. And I really appreciate that. You guys are amazing and make me want to run home from my day job every day and dive straight into the studio.

But for you who struggle with pricing. Do some homework. Especially if you are just starting out and might be dreaming of doing this full time. There are tons of useful information out there on what you need to consider when pricing your work. Hidden costs that you might not think
about. Please do your home work and price your work at a fair price.

There is also something to be said for perceived value. If you are selling something for maybe half the price it should be sold at.. well a buyer might wonder why that is. What is the quality perception? Is there something wrong with the piece?

Not to sound too cheesy but please look over your pricing to make sure you aren't giving your silver babies away for free. Take the time to price them correct, cause your pieces are worth it... and because you are worth it.

Love ~tess

here's the links to other posts about pricing

Alice Istanbul Designs (that post coming soon)

Sissy & Jack's (post coming soon)


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. Like you, I work full-time but dream of being able to one day earn a living metalsmithing. I have so much to learn, and I'm excited to see what everyone has to say on the issue of pricing (there is just so much to take into account when developing a pricing formula, and I know I'll be changing mine again and again in an attempt to get it right for me)-thanks again.

  2. I work after a formula too. And like you I tweak it once in a while. And I get second thoughts and I trying to guess what the preceived value of my new silver baby would be. And then I also feel like an over pricing snob. And I get so sad when I see people under pricing their lovely hand crafted items.

    Pricing is hard and frustrating but very very important. Thank you for posting this. :)

  3. Pricing is one of those things I hate ~ I really, now I have my hallmark (needed in the UK for selling), have to charge more for my work its expensive to keep sending pieces out to be marked and as I become more and more confident and become fussier over my finishes the time element comes into play.

    Will pop over to see what Jess has to say now :}

  4. thank you for commenting guys! Pricing is super hard and I feel like I continue to learn new things as I grow and develop my business.

    It's a great topic to discuss though and really shouldn't be such a secret subject.

  5. Great post Tess! ( I actually commented earlier, then realized I didn't wait to do the security word - oops!) I totally believe in what you say about the balancing act of what you feel it is worth and what people will pay.
    Definitely shouldn't be a secret subject - I am happy it is being discussed from so many angles!

  6. Thank you for your time in posting! I appreciate this article!


I treasure your words and the fact that you are
taking the time to share them with me.
Please forgive me if I don't respond personally to you.
I always try but sometimes time just flies away!
love ~tess