Friday, February 20, 2015

B'Sue's Build a Line Hop 2 of 3

Gung hay fat choi! How auspicious our hop lands during Chinese New Year! This is the year of the Wood Sheep or Goat. The Sheep is kind, tender and sympathetic.  Sheeps are creative and elegant. Because of their softer side, they are symbolic of peace and harmony and beauty. We have been considering our lines, creating them and soon we will be revealing them. Sure then, to be beautiful every one of them.

I have loved making my original works, generally making the entire piece with very little purchased components at all. I have quite prided my self on that, the ability to take just wire, metal and fire to create some wearable piece of art. Wearable art, a small piece of beauty but only a single piece, and most often priced out of impulse range. Wearable art for many of us has to be budgeted. If you love my work I want you to be able to own my work. See it, Love it, Buy it!  This at times necessitates a lower price line.

I have tried to create lower price points for my shop, but the harder I tried to create that price point the less my shop looked like my shop. While it did bring sales, It lacked the cohesion I had hoped it would bring. Focusing on photos and trying to create a unified photography style helped, but my shop still lacked that little something that just pulled the whole thing together.

The prideful part of me stands here tall and proud and thinks but being a hand crafted artisan is what we were striving to be. OOAK works, pride said, would make us stand out. That pride has gotten in the way of creating cohesion in my shop along many price points. At times, pride told me it seems too easy, it feels as if I am cheating, playing with these beautiful pre-made components of B’Sues and not making them myself.

The artist in me slaps pride and leans close to my muse whispering there is artistry in all of what we make and isn’t it going to be so nice that any one who would like to own a piece of my art, my heart, may be able to do so?

wind dancer studios, sneak peek, new line, new collection
Necklace from Muchas Champagne collection paired with stacking rings
and stacked copper bracelets already available in my shop.
It is important to me my new line creates cohesion with existing pieces.

Sharing that little piece of myself has always been the point. The way these designs complement my existing works, creating a full range of price points is a thing of beauty in itself, and instills such a sense of accomplishment. I think the artist and I will be hanging out more often, she makes sense :)

wind dancer studios, sneak peek, new line, new collection
Sneak peek: Red Heart filigree ring with pieces from Mucha's Nature and Music Collections
It was just as important to me that the collections be able to mix & match with each other as well.
Heart ring is another existing piece in my shop.

It is that desire to share my art that makes it so exciting to see the pieces in my shop fall into place as I create this line and these collections. It is incredibly freeing to think I can finally get back to the art of creating beauty in as complex or simple as I like. To be entirely hand made by me or artfully crafted by my hands. I look forward to completing this line and taking my work to the next level. This is where I’ve been headed all along, what I have been striving for and I can finally see it coming together. I love that! All I really needed it seems was that little nudge Brenda and her Build a Line challenge/Master Class has given me.

wind dancer studios, sneak peek, new line, new collection

Oh I’ll still visit with Pride every so often. I mean who doesn’t like making little pieces of art? But now we’ll have a design path to where we’d like to take this art. How incredibly freeing this new found path has been!

Til Next time!

Please join me in hopping with the rest of our designers on this our second hop...
I hear there are lots more sneak peeks to be had!

Our Hostess
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino
Aurora Designs

Jann Tague
Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King
Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford
Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott
Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Lynn Stinten

Marica Zammit
Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

Michaele Collie
The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig
Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman
Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre
Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady
MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West
Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson
Howling Dog Jewelry   

Leila Belcher
Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen
Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger
Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams
Paisley Lizard

Lynda O'Mara
LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

~*~*~*~*YOU ARE HERE!!~*~*~*~*
Dana Hickey  waves HI!!
Wind Dancer Studios


Janet Calardo
Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark
Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman
B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger
Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen
Hoarder's Corner

Robin Reed
Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson
Lilis Gems

Louise O'Shields
Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam
Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis
The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico
Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman
Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le
Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters
Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider
Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett
Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson
From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton
Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman
The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter
TreeZ's Treasurs

Melissa Latimer
Smithed Up

Renee Hong
Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris
Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer
Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams
Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier
Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen
Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams
Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens
1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller
Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard
Mama San's Mojo

Coral Law

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

We Pause for a Moment to Bring You.....


wind dancer studios, hand woven wire ribbon heart
Year of Jewelry Week 7
For My Love

Seriously, I've been in a work frenzy. Making left and right, working on Year of Jewelry and the Build a Line simultaneously I was going at a pretty good clip. But the mess it was creating on my desk crossed over the line from inspiring to debilitating and it all came to a screeching halt! um I don't like it when that happens, at all.

I cleaned some, and then made some, and then silence.

I have plenty of in progress pieces that don't need much to finish so it shouldn't take long to get the mojo moving again, that's why I work on several at once. It's easy to always have some unfinished to get things moving along again but I sure don't like the silence while waiting.

Speaking of waiting! Blog Hop Two of Three is this weekend! BSue's Build a Line Challenge... we'll be talking about lessons learned along the way, maybe a sneak peek or two of what we've been building ...... I'm looking forward to it! Needless to say next weeks post will be a little early :)

We'll See you this weekend!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Difficulties of Pricing your Work or Time is Money

amethyst rain drop earrings, wind dancer studios
Amethyst Rain Drops
Year of Jewelry Week 6 Amethyst

I've been self employed pretty much my entire adult life.

Pricing work in some areas is easier than others.

Take for instance our construction business. You factor in all costs for the year, payments, insurance, fuel costs, utilities, rent/mortage, repairs etc etc. Then you estimate the number of working days in a year. Weather factors in here, below freezing temps, melt your brain temps, freezing rain etc etc you just can't work in some of that, some for only a short time. Then you figure the hours in an average work day and divide your expenses by your workable hours and factor in a percentage for profit (kids might need braces, you might want to go out to eat on occasion, you definitely need clothing and food) and tada! there's your price. Piece of cake.

Jewelry isn't so easy. It should be but it isn't. A lot of artists just don't seem to see the business side of it, it's all emotion there. The formulas for pricing are abundant and there seems to be one for every personality out there. Most aren't bad at all and will give you approximately the same price within a couple dollars, just different ways of going about it.

The one piece of advice I see floating around that REALLY bothers me is don't factor in your time. My major in college was business management, people time IS a factor in cost, see above. Your time HAS VALUE. Even if you work in gold and diamonds the worth of your jewelry isn't just the sum of its parts, the worth comes of you. It comes of your time and knowledge in putting those parts together in a way that someone else thinks is beautiful. Someone who loves it and wants it as their own. Should you ever become busy enough to need help I can guarantee they aren't going to work for free.

Even the popular materials only pricing takes into consideration the cost of time when explained fully.
Materials x 5
once for the cost of materials
once for replacement of materials
once for your time
once for overhead
once for profit

That formula doesn't work so well when you're recycling or reusing but it works fine for silver or gold etc as it does take into consideration the full spectrum of your costs. When applied to several of my own pieces it came close enough to my prices I felt comfortable discussing it here.

One more thing, you know I owned a B&M once upon a time and half a country away, when I bought wholesale pieces for retail I didn't ask what the hourly wage was so I wouldn't multiply that number. I just doubled or tripled MY cost and that includes your hourly wage. Think about that.

Then there comes the issue of comparisons. Don't base your prices on others. I agree to a point.  You don't know if they're purchasing their materials at retail or at wholesale, you don't know what hourly wage they're charging or IF they're charging at all.

However, I absolutely believe in market comparisons. The power of the Perception of Value is potent. Jewelry is a luxury item, it is a fashion accessory. You want to be seen as elegant, or trendy, maybe even cutting edge, but you DO NOT want to be seen as bargain basement leftovers, wear today, throw away tomorrow. I suppose there are always exceptions but I am NOT one of them!

I don't willy nilly compare prices. I look for shops that are selling well and are selling items that are of a similar quality and style to mine. I look at the average pricing for simple, for elaborate, glass, gemstone and if I'm in the ballpark with my pricing I leave it as is. If I'm very high, I look closer at the materials gold filled and gold plate are not the same thing. Imitation gemstones don't price the same as the real deal. If I'm very low, I do the same. If it appears all else is equal I may adjust my price upwards or downwards as warranted. If I am secure in my price, knowing all is as it should be I leave it be.

Here's the kicker, I have very RARELY if ever lowered a price after this type of market comparison. I have however raised my prices on numerous occasions. Have my sales suffered? No they've increased. Is it because I raised my prices? I don't think it hurt, but to be fair it's probably just as equally important that I'm becoming recognized as an established fixture and not a flash in the pan here today and gone tomorrow. Online sales require more faith from your buyer than in person sales do. They want to know you're a real person and if they have a problem you'll be there to help. If they have family or friends that just have to have one too that their recommendation of you won't haunt them. Perception of Value increases with longevity as well.

 Whatever formula you decide to use, make sure you are fair to yourself. EVEN if you're just a hobbyist looking to make what you love self supporting, or just having fun at it. If you happen to become the new IT, you'll thank me for making sure you have a working/living wage.

I worked the price backwards from one of Etsy's IT designers once, she had burned out and was considering closing up shop. She had made a lot of money but still had only paid herself 50 cents an hour per piece. Granted she had a very streamlined production process and could make quite a few in an hour her total wages for the amount of work was only $9 an hour. Less than minimum wage in her home state.

Don't confuse volume of work with volume by sales. She could make much more than she sold in volume, however you can only earn by what you sell. Those are the numbers I worked from, what she had sold.

She ended up selling her shop and the new owner raised the prices by $1 effectively doubling her wages and she hired a helper. That shop is still humming along in the top sellers list. Proving a living wage will not cripple your prices or your sales.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope I've given you some helpful insight into pricing.
We'll see you next time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Little Bit of This A Little Bit of That

I've had the flu so it wasn't until just now that I realized I had no blog post! Yikes! Time to stock up on some posts again, I like having backups for just this kind of occasion.

award winning hand thrown pottery rtistic impressions on Etsy
She WON and Sold it!

News On the Home Front:

This weekend the kiddo was in her first Art Show outside of the University. She almost didn't enter as several of her friends whom she thinks are incredibly talented had entered and she thought she didn't have a chance. Good Mom that I am told her to knock it off, she is talented and she will never know until she tries just how talented she is. Well, kiddo took third! Yup she WON.  Insert Puffed Chest here, I am one Proud Mama! and may I say, the kiddo suddenly feels a little more talented, a lot more like a REAL artist (her words) and quite validated. Oh, the vase she entered also sold! Yup! Her goals for this semester are to make enough money to buy her own kiln, I'd say she's off to a great start!

Oh and on a completely sweet note.... kiddos BFF is getting ready to bring her little man into the world and welcome him into her arms. We're wishing her all the love in the world.

On the Desk:

I've been working away on the Year of Jewelry meeting my weekly deadlines. Some pieces I'm thrilled with, others are a learning experience. so all in all a good thing so far. This last week I doubled up, YoJ theme was squares and my first finished piece for B'Sue's Build a Line just happened to fit the bill. I like this piece a lot. I think it fits well with my existing stock and adds to my line beautifully.

Double Duty Squares and B'Sue Build a Line

speaking of  B'Sues Build a Line:

As you just read I've been working away. Lots of new goodies finding their way into the light of day. I'm excited about this new line. I love the style, I love the lines, I love how well it meshes with my shop and I'm excited for the cohesion and polish I believe it will bring with it. Two months is a long time to wait for unveiling but it gives ME lots of time to fine tune and write wonderful copy to go with.

In the Works:

I think it's time to have some professionally printed cards made up. I've been printing at home as needed and that has worked well but the computers update wasn't compatible with the software and the timing is serendipitous. I'm pretty sure I mentioned I've joined the Artisan Group. I'd like to have memorable cards to go along with that nice cohesive shop. New cards are officially on the To Do list.

Til Next time!
Thanks for stoppin by!