Tag Archives: quit your day job


Had a question on professionally pricing your work….

It takes a long time to get practiced enough to charge for time…. That is really hard to figure out. It really depends on your skill level.

I look at my piece when it’s done and think of the cost of materials: I double that cost upfront. Sometimes I can’t include the cost of a really expensive stone – that cost I don’t double I just want what I paid for out of the stone. I usually then look at that price – how much is it $$$$ this is my wholesale price or do I need to triple the cost of materials because of its complexity? Look at that price, $$$$. Then I ask myself should I make more of this? Is it profitable? Did I enjoy it or was it a pain. Can I do it in a reasonable amount of time? After I answer those questions I look at a retail price: a great profitable retail price is doubling your wholesale price. You can’t always do this in our current economy. A retail gallery/store gets 50%. As you grow your business stores will want you. You cannot undersell them. They will drop you. It’s a very small world so they find out if you are underselling them. You will eventually go out if business if you don’t sell at a retail price. The buffer in the mark up is for wear and tear on tools, new cameras, new computers, insurance, travel, customer service, returns, and everything else that goes with any business….. This formula is fair. I don’t know too many jewelry artists making too much profit. We usually give the shirts off our backs.

Whenever possible take a workshop. It revitalizes you. You learn more in a day with others than a month on your own.

Some pieces are a work of love. These pieces have no reasonable price. I have a few pieces that took hours and hours and hours. I do it for the love of doing it. I have put my heart and soul into it. How do you sell these pieces? You put some price on them that if they have to leave you are ok with it and the person buying it obviously will give it a good home because they are willing to buy it for a cost that is abstract.

I sold one of my favorite pieces to the wrong person one time. I still think about it. I still regret selling it. He was a super rich guy (or was posing as one) and could have cared less. The piece is probably laying in his 22nd mistress’s jewelry box unworn and unappreciated. I’ll never do that again. Wish I had it back.



Working At Home



This post is about working from home and running a business. I had a wonderful lady that is interested in making her jewelry more of a business than a hobby and has mediocre sales online, etc…. Her jewelry is beautiful so she has a very sellable product. She wants to ramp it up and maybe do a show and get more internet traffic. The book above goes over everything very well so I recommend reading it. However if I would have read this book while I was just getting started I might have been too scared to start. It all takes time to develop. You have to start somewhere. Just jump in.

Here is my response to the wonderful lady that asked me a some business questions:

About your show….. talking to me might have been a bad thing. I did not start out how I am now. It was a very slow progression of learning and building and doing and changing. It all takes time. Don’t be scared! It’s fun. Shows are really really fun and worth it. They are work but every show you learn a little more and meet new people and create lasting friendships as well as customers. Go to your first show and just have there whatever you have for inventory – don’t worry about making a zillion things. Take it all in for the experience of it.

I tell people that want to run a jewelry business that a 40 hour work week is minimum because I know most people are not self motivated enough to be their own boss. There are weeks I work 70 hours (show weeks) and there are weeks I work 10 hours. I could work 80 hours if I did not have any other responsibilities like my family. Thank God I have them or I would never leave my basement. I work steady while my children are at school. After school it’s all them….homework, sports, dinner. I get up early on the weekends to take care of orders so we can go enjoy our weekend days together. In the summer I try and work from early AM to 9/10 Am and then go do fun things with the kids and do some computer work at night. You will find a routine. I just try and emphasize that it’s a lot of time.

If you left your house and went to a full time job everyday you would probably leave at 7am and not return until 5 or 5:30 pm-48/52 weeks a year. If you did this in your jewelry business for yourself you would be successful. Most people won’t do it. They wander off in their minds and do other things. When my kids are at school: I don’t clean the house, I don’t go grocery shopping, I don’t make dinner….I work as if I am gone at a job in my studio. All the rest has to wait just like other people do that leave and go to a job in the morning. They are not telling their boss ‘I’ll be in later. I have to wash my windows and fold a load of clothes first.”

If you cannot commit to a time frame that works for you and your life that is ok but you won’t have the same out come as someone that does. It’s still fun. You still enjoy it. It’s a wonderful craft and a wonderful learning process. It’s really all up to you. Last year at the Bead and Button Show I went to get a bite to eat with another instructor. It turned out she is a Chemist. She makes jewelry just for herself for fun ( and it’s awesome stuff!) She sometimes doesn’t go into her studio for a month at a time. She is so skilled she is writing a book on several silversmithing techniques. We have completely opposite goals and we laughed at ourselves and the differences. It is what you want it to be but go for it. It’s a journey. See where it leads.


Whether or not you just have fun at your kitchen table or make a business out of it…..it’s all good. Just get started.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!

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