Pricing Polymer Clay Artwork to Sell Wholesale

Polymer Clay Mermaid Bracelet

Polymer Clay Mermaid Bracelet

Figuring out how much to charge for your work is difficult. Especially when you are just starting out and don’t know how well your work is going to sell anyway.

Which brings me to the first thing that you have to look at and be seriously honest with your self about. How good is your work? Is it well made? Current? Something that many people might want to own? I really believe that most people already know the answer to this question. If you are honest with yourself, you can compare your work with what is out there and know how it stacks up.

I’m not saying that it has to look like someone else”s work.  You really don’t and shouldn’t want that. In fact the more unique your items are the better chance they have of grabbing a buyers attention. But is it well finished, would you buy it, is it different, colorful, eye catching…….would you take a second look at it if you were a buyer?

If you can answer yes to most of these questions, then good, you’re ready to market your work. But please don’t judge your work by what your relatives say or by the lack of sales on your online site. You know deep inside yourself if your work is good enough. If it’s not, then try harder, learn more, practice, we can all improve by spending the time. If you know it’s good and nothing is selling online, then it’s time to do something to improve your odds.

Next comes one of the most important elements in selling your work. Pricing to sell! The most important thing is to know how much it costs you to produce your item.

1. Cost of Materials – Calculate exactly,  don’t guess. Try to buy wholesale if possible.  Don’t forget the cost of having the items shipped to you or gas and time to buy it at a store.

2. Labor – How long did it take you to make the item? How much do you want to make an hour? How much is your time worth? Don’t forget to add prep time, ordering, preparing work space and tools etc.

3. Promotion – Spending time on your blog or any of the social media sites promoting you and your art.

4. Fees – Listing items, PayPal, internet fees.

So now that mermaid bracelet I just made cost me more money than I thought. But I can’t afford to charge less for the bracelet than I have invested in it. So I have to take the figures above and come up with a basic cost to make the item.

I could just charge this amount and feel like I made my money back plus a little bit for labor. But then I wouldn’t have left any room to sell at a wholesale price or give a commission to a consignment store.

Retailers typically keystone the price, meaning they double  it. So if you ever want to have the opportunity to sell wholesale, then you need to price your item from the beginning with that in mind.

If you have calculated that your item’s base cost at $10.00 then your selling price would $20.00.

Selling it yourself, (for $20.00) you actually make a profit that can be reinvested to help your business grow.

Selling it wholesale, (for $10.00) you still have covered your costs  and are being paid for your labor. Plus you don’t have to spend the time to market this item yourself.

Selling on consignment, same as selling wholesale except the commission is usually less that wholesale. Generally from 30 to 40%.

And last but not least, you really have to respect yourself and your work. If you undersell yourself, you are not only doing a disservice to yourself but to the art of polymer clay and all the other polymer clay artists out there trying to make a living.

We have many wonderful artists that are trying hard to raise awareness for the art of polymer clay. Some of them produce work that most of us will never achieve, but we can all strive to improve. We need to support their efforts and remember to value our own work.

Part 1 Selling Your Polymer Clay Artwork
Part 2 Pricing Polymer Clay Artwork to Sell Wholesale
Part 3 Mermaid Bracelet Listed on Etsy
Part 4 Inventory Lists for Your Polymer Clay
Part 5 Display Cards for Polymer Clay Pins and Necklaces
Part 6 Creating Tags for Your Polymer Clay Creations

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  1. First let me say that I appreciate the fact that you used Jackson, MS for your search yesterday. The info is a couple of years old but still relevant. I’ll be checking some of these out.

    As for today’s post, I have a question for you. A lot of what I do uses canes. You and I know that it takes a while to make a cane, then you reduce it and it lasts quite a while. How do you determine cost on something like that? For instance if I used 2 2oz blocks of clay to make the petals of a flower cane, then used approximately 1/4 of a block for the center, and about the same to “outline” each petal, I can pretty much figure my materials cost (at a sale price of $1.25 a 2 oz block) to be $3.25 max. That’s the easy part. Now how to you break down the usage? I reduce my canes in stages so that I have different sizes of the same flower cane. How do you determine the cost of a slice of cane?

  2. It’s a good question Arlene, and one that is not so easy to answer. There are variables, how much of the cane are you using, how complicated is the cane, how long did it take you to make it? And probably many other factors as well. The mermaid in this post used quite a bit of clay and canes. Most of them were skinner blends which take time and the face cane which is more time consuming than an average cane.
    To be accurate, you would have to time yourself, divide the length by the width, cut the whatsacallit into compounded segments and …….well you get my meaning.
    To be honest, I simply add minutes or hours to my labor costs depending on how many cane slices I use and how difficult they were to make. That’s where judging how much your market will bear will come into play and here’s an important point, how unique your canes are. If it is a design that is extraordinary in color or composition you are going to be able to charge more. I have found over the years that people will pay for originality, quality and the wow factor.
    But you should charge for the cane slices, even though they were made last week, or last year. A very good example is painters that paint an original painting, sell that painting, then continue to sell (at a profit) prints and notecards for years afterward. No one questions that the artist spent that time only once.
    I hope that helps.

  3. Thank you for this article. It is very useful for the newbies like me. I am a little frustrated about my sales at Etsy. Now I have others good options to looking for.

  4. Sarah, you aren’t alone in your frustration. It’s not easy to sell on line, there are millions of buyers logging on to the internet everyday, but they have to find you before they can buy from you. Don’t give up, but find your own style, create something no one else has…….thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and let me know I’ve helped even a tiny bit.

  5. Thank you so much for the articles on selling our art work and tips on the internet, I feel much better.

  6. I’m so glad it helped Virginia. We are all trying to figure it out. The main thing is to keep trying different things until one works for you. Galleries, internet, direct sales or wholesale..or all of them, there are lots of opportunities out there. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.