Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another Wednesday post!!

It has been a busy week for me - lots of little non-jewelry-related tasks that have to get done.  I keep making lists, and crossing off the tasks, but I always feel like I am playing catch-up!

Anyway, I posted a not-quite-a-tutorial for a new-to-me technique, over at the Love My Art Jewelry blog.  It features a two-tone metal pendant, this time I used brass and sterling.  It was a practice piece (in case it did not work out), and I used a kinda  hum drum Labradorite that was devoid of the gorgeous flash that this stone is known for. So it is now mine! I've worn it twice already!

It was rather time consuming, but now that I have the gist of the steps to take, I will be visiting this technique again.

A very lovely repeat customer of mine quite recently purchased almost all of the sterling silver bangles in my shop.  Still my all time favorite piece of jewelry to create, I made another one.

I used 6 gauge sterling silver wire.  This time, I soldered 3 tiny silver embellishments to the top of the bangle - the center one is made using my shot plate.  I prefer to make the heavier gauge bangles in an oval shape.  They are much easier to put on (for me), and the decorative element is more likely to stay centered on the wrist when the bangle is oval, versus round.  

I also like to texture 3 sides of any bangle I make (I try to, anyway). When I wear bangles, I always tend to bang the bracelet on whatever surface is nearby (perhaps that is why it is called a bang-le???) Anyway, by adding texture, any future potential "dings" that may happen in the metal are disguised by this little bit of texture.  That's my theory, anyway.

I made some more hollow beads for some earrings.  These have sold already, but I have got to make a pair for myself!  They are so lightweight and comfortable!

It was time to add some color to my shop!  I bought these three GORGEOUS lampwork glass beads from Susan Kennedy (her shop is here) LAST YEAR.  I keep a pretty little handmade ceramic bowl on bench FULL of art beads.  I like to stare at their beauty every day - it is inspirational! Well, my bowl is overflowing, and it was time!

In my listing in my shop, I even went into detail as to why I loved these beads!  The ribbon of glass in khaki, navy, and ecru that flows all around the bead; the sterling silver droplets melted into the design; the rectangular shape of the bead; but mostly, it's that translucent deep blue glass! Just gorgeous!

I could not decide on copper or I used both, and made a little mixed metal chain.

My morning routine is cast in stone: I get up, brush my teeth, start the coffee, and turn on my I-Pad and read emails.  I received an Etsy email from a potential customer.  She referenced a pair of Sterling Silver earrings that I have in my shop, which are priced at $55.  She asked if I would sell them for $35.  Almost half of the stated price. I was shocked, and a tiny bit insulted.

Now mind you, my coffee was still brewing (I must have coffee FIRST THING in the morning - I MUST)!  I try very hard to keep my prices affordable.  It is stated in my listings that ALL proceeds are donated to charity.  I mean, I don't just pick a price off the top of my head - it's calculated.

I turned off the I-Pad, drank my coffee, and sat down at my computer. I wrote her back, thanked her very much for her interest.  I told her that my price was firm and fair, and is based upon the materials used in the design, the craftsmanship, and most importantly, the skill set required to create these earrings.

I have not heard back from her, and I am sure I will not.  But, it threw me off a bit!  I have had people try to "barter" with me at craft shows before - that never goes over well, either!

It took me a couple years making jewelry before I even considered selling it.  I am a private person with not the highest self esteem to begin with. Selling one's art is, in a way, like selling a piece of oneself.  Our art is personal - at least mine is.  It took me a while to learn that just because a piece of my jewelry does not sell, it does not mean that design is awful - it's subjective.  So, every once in a while when I receive comments like "why is that so expensive" or "can you reduce the price", I have to remind myself that it's not me - it's them.

If there are any other jewelry designer's reading this blog, I would LOVE it if you would share with me in the comments how YOU would have replied to this inquiry. I can tell that this is going to bug me for a while.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!!! I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!



  1. I just love your attentiveness to how those bangles are actually worn. I have a number of them "in storage" that I just can't wear for precisely the reasons you mentioned.

    As for bargain-hunters, it is NOT you; it is them. I have responded to such requests in absolutely the same way you did, but I also generally communicate that there are plenty of other beautiful items they can find within their price range on Etsy. (Whether those prices are "fair" is a question for another day!) It actually sometimes happens that a bargain-hunter will turn around and buy the item in question anyway; if not, at least you are already doing your bit for charity! In my case, I just can't afford to give things (or proceeds) away. However, I do understand that bargaining is a part of many cultures--and having even done some bargaining myself (not on Etsy), I know that "you win some, you lose some"! I also understand that I cannot afford every piece of jewelry (or what-have-you) that I admire either, so maybe I save up.... maybe I wait for a sale...or just maybe I continue to admire from afar. It may be we (as sellers) get offended by bargaining because it isn't all that prevalent here, but to tell the truth, I think the frequency of sales in the U.S. encourages buyers to believe that all prices will eventually get lowered (and therefore are probably overpriced to begin with), and so they come to expect that they can get everything cheaper. There are also plenty of sellers who-- for whatever reason--WILL lower the price in order to sell. I am glad you have come to a point where you can hold to prices you believe are fair.

    And as a sort of P.S., I have had a few very kind responses to my stock "no bargaining" response (noted above)--which has led me to think I may sometimes respond in future by saying I'd be happy to work out some sort of payment plan, if someone really can't pay the price (right now) of something I worked hard to make. As for YOUR emailer, it might have given me great pleasure just to say something like "I'd be happy to hold this item for you if you'd like to make a down payment now of $35 to my very fair price." ;)

  2. oh boy. yes, this is quite a topic. I know lots of designers that struggle with this topic - myself included. I have been asked this question quite a few times

    There are a few cases where I have adjusted the price (by say 10-15%) ... but I would say it was when I first started selling my jewelry and I wasn't sure what I would charge. Now, I am like you. I have time and experience to know that I am selling at very reasonable prices for quality materials, unique designs and experience, You did the right thing.

    and, btw, your pieces are GORGEOUS! you should not need to drop the price!!

  3. Patti, it's obvious that you put a lot of thought into each of your designs and your artistry is amazing. It's offensive that someone would try to haggle about the price and I think your response was spot on.

  4. I love that you think of things like dings in a bangle being disguised by the texture! I love the texture anyway. I don't sell anything, but I read many stories like yours of being asked to lower prices. Knowing what goes into quality handmade, I think the prices I see (like yours) are more than fair. People who ask for a discount are really just so uninformed. I think it is rude, but I do believe it comes from a place of not understanding what goes into handmade as well.

  5. I think that I would be happy to offer her a bundle discount if she was interested in also purchasing Xx and XX. Just make sure that those are priced high enough to make up the difference.

  6. Hi Patti, I'm not selling that much yet (because I don't have time to make more stuff to sell, for one), but I'm always worried I'll put my price too low: you see, I've had the opportunity to take a few metal classes with the most wonderful teacher, who is a silversmith and artist. He always tells me to charge by the hour! Well... I usually find that impossible, since the easiest task can take me ages, and I often do a little each evening, without looking at the time. But his point is you shouldn't undercharge for handcrafted unique pieces, because then you might undermine the market for others too! Of all the things gnawing on your conscience...
    Anyway, the right way to haggle would have been to offer her them for 50$, as a counter-offer. If you felt you could, but I might well have refused, depending on how much I liked them...