1) I use the highest quality materials I can get my hands on -- this takes a lot of effort to find great "parts" at reasonable prices. Also added into this little gem of scouring the globe to find what I need, I spend a hefty amount of time on youtube.
Why youtube you may ask? Well, I am a totally visual learner, one must SHOW me so that I can become one with what I am attempting. I seriously can not learn from a book, unless its a book not on how to produce something in my shop, but rather how to think about things.
2) When I am learning a new technique, those "samples" go almost directly into my teenage daughter's jewelry box. She has collected so many things over the years, and really her getting the samples is all about me testing the quality of a product I make. I perfect it so that it will not break once I put that lovely item up for the world to see.
And, her dad buys her a new jewelry box in every country he visits with the Army. She must have an entire college fund in those boxes.
3) I research what the typical prices would be for my "style," the quality of the products I use and so forth, in order to see if the item is marketable at the price it takes to make it. This may seem boring -- but I can't really market an item that the prices are way low out there in the handmade realm, even if my products I start with are visibly higher quality. I learned this the hard way with the two items below:
|Umba Sapphire, Peridot and Green Garnet Earrings|
|Massive Ruby Solitaire Earrings|
The Sapphire Earrings and Rubies above are extremely high quality stones -- made in specific ways to showcase the true stone personality. The Sapphires sparkle like there is no tomorrow -- they are also very, very rare. True Umba Sapphires are found only in the Umba Region of Africa, an area only slightly larger than the small area Tanzanite (from Tanzania) is found. The rarity of the Umba is what makes these long earrings so much fun -- for while they have the chemical and healing properties of sapphires -- well just look, they are pink and purple, and light gray-blue and ooooh sooo pretty.
The Rubies on the other hand are massive, deep wine rubies -- almost a star ruby with that shine. While my mother adored these mammoth beauties -- they too, because of their sheer size are expensive, just for the gemstones. But because I purchased the stones without researching how well these items are moving -- I had to place them in the Clearance Section, because I only have so much room in my shop for items.
It's sad -- but I just didn't do my research and instead listened to my mother coo over both sets of stones long enough to say: "I'll take them." Will research better from now on -- both pairs of earrings are now below cost in the shop :(
4) I work out how long it took me, how much time and effort went into the piece, how high end the gemstones were, and add the amount of 14k gold filled or silver into the product. I then compare this "raw" amount to what I researched before.
Take the piece below:
|Labradorite Necklace on Clearance|
But this is where I differ from big jewelry stores -- and is a key component to my "philosophy:" I can produce very beautiful items, still pay myself a living wage, and not mark my items up 10 times what I put into them. However, the downfall of this process of "pricing" is that I really can not go below this 45% off without basically "paying" the customer to take it out of the store.
But -- I can reduce the prices of older items to these extreme lows -- so that you can enjoy them, and I can see them going out into the world.
Check out the Clearance Section here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/maggiesjewelry?section_id=13687199
It's a delicate balance to price these items so that 1) You are happy with the quality of the product as a customer and 2) I can keep doing it.