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