How to Price Handmade Beaded Jewelry
Beading is a fun hobby and can be quite lucrative if you can find your market. There are many ways to sell your beaded jewelry; you can have parties with your friends and co-workers, you can set up a booth at a craft show or flea market, and you can sell online via eBay or Etsy. If you can gain a following, you can even rent a brick-and-mortar storefront or buy your own website and do business through it.
One thing that a lot of beaders have an issue with is correctly pricing their creations. We may spend hours making what we think is the most beautiful necklace in the history of history, and we just know that it's worth at least a hundred bucks. Maybe some folks can get that for their work, but it's a pipe dream for most of us.
There are several things that you should take into consideration when pricing your handmade jewelry. You have to tally up exactly how much product you have added to your creations before you decide how much you can get for it.
An Example of My Pricing Strategy
I bought these pretty little yellow jade beads from a seller on eBay, and I paid $1.31 for them with free shipping. There were 60 of them in all. So I divided $1.31 by 60 and got $0.02183333333. So, in my opinion, each one of these pretty little 6mm beads is worth $0.02. I took a scrap of paper, wrote 0.02 on it (as seen in the photo), and stuffed it in the little plastic baggie containing these beads. Now I know that whatever I make with these beads, I need to add $0.02 for each one of them I use.
How Much Money Do You Have in Your Beaded Jewelry?
When we're first getting started with beading, we have a tendency to buy the prettiest stuff we can find. Unfortunately, that's not a good thing. If you're a beginning beader, start small. Buy your beads and findings (bead caps, earring wires, beading cord, etc.) on the cheap and know exactly how much you paid for them. Then you have to figure out how much each piece is worth.
How to Calculate Your Costs
If you have one strand of 10 pink quartz beads and you pay $1.00 for it, then your beads are worth $0.10 each. You take the total price and divide it by the number of beads. If you're buying 300 little silver plated spacer beads for $0.99, then each bead is worth $0.0033 each—round that up to $0.01 (unless you like lots of numbers after your decimal point). When using stretchy bead cord, if your roll is 15M long, convert the meters to inches—15M is about 591 inches—then divide your cost by the number of inches. I bought a roll at $1.59, so this makes my stretch cord worth $0.00269+ or $0.01 per inch.
So, if I take those 10 pink quartz beads at $1.00, ten of the little silver spacer beads at $0.10, and eight inches of stretch cord at $0.08, then my beautiful new bracelet's base cost is $1.18.
Buying on eBay
Now, if you're buying on eBay and the auctions are not "Buy It Now," things can get a little sticky. You may pay $0.41 for one strand, decide you like the beads, and pay $1.21 for the next. You will have to add $0.41 and $1.21 and divide by the number of beads you now have to find out how much each one of them is worth now.
I know this sounds like a pain in the butt, and it really is. However, if you are going into business, you need to be business-minded, and this means keeping track of your expenses.
The general rule of thumb with retail sales is to triple your expenses to find your selling price. This means that if you've made that beautiful little pink quartz bracelet with a base cost of $1.18, you should sell it for $3.54 (or round it to $3.50) in a retail situation. However, you'll need to think about how and where you're going to sell before you put a price tag on your work.
How Much Is That Beaded Jewelry Really Worth?
|Material||Base Cost||Total Used||Net Worth|
Large Green Jade Beads
$2.10/35 = $0.06 ea
Small Yellow Jade Beads
$1.31/60 = $0.02 ea
Large Silver Spacers
$0.99/27 = $0.04 ea
Small Silver Spacers
$0.93/138 = $0.01 ea
Closed Silver Jump Rings
$2.75/300 = $0.01 ea
Open Silver Jump Rings
$1.29/200 = $0.01 ea
4MM Silver Beads
$2.98/200 = $0.01 ea
3MM Silver Beads
$1.99/300 = $0.01 ea
Silver Plated Toggle Clasps
$2.98/6 = $0.50 ea
$2.49/1000 = $0.01 ea
Tiger Tail Beading Wire
$1.49/80M (3150in) = $0.01in
Earring Head Pins
$6.70/400 = $0.02 ea
$0.99/120 = $0.01 ea
Special Things to Remember When Pricing Your Handmade Jewelry
There are a few things that you may not automatically think about when pricing your jewelry, but they are just as important as your price per bead or finding.
- Shipping: Always take the amount you pay for shipping into account when getting your base price for your materials. If you've ordered ten items from a retailer or an eBay seller and your shipping was $5.00, then add $0.50 to the base price of each item ordered. That would make your $1.00 strand of orange crystals now worth $1.50.
- Waste: It almost doesn't seem fair to charge people for something they don't get, but it's necessary. In the above photo and chart, my beaded necklace is 17 inches long, and the bracelet is a little less than 8 inches, which adds up to 25 inches, but I have included 29 inches in the base price. This accounts for the extra at the ends that are doubled up (I'll explain that in another article), and about two inches, I had to clip off of each piece to complete it. Though the customer is not getting those extra two inches, I don't want to lose my money on them, either, so they get added to the base price.
- Packaging: If you are selling online or in a retail situation, take those bags, Ziploc baggies, mailers, and packaging materials into account in your base price. I would not advise adding them to your shipping charges on places like eBay or Etsy. If you charge someone $3.00 for shipping because you've included the bubble wrap and your tape, but the package gets delivered to your buyer with $0.35 shipping, they might be a little ticked. And they'd be perfectly within their rights to get mad. So include those incidentals in your base cost.
- Damages: This one is a pain. Let's say that you've bought ten turquoise beads for $1.00. This means they're worth $0.10 each. But your beads come in, and one of them is broken and unusable. Now you have nine beads for $1.00, which means they're now about $0.11 each. You can return your beads unless you're like me and buy your beads on eBay from China. Then you're just stuck with them. Don't throw those broken beads out, though; you may be able to use them in some other crafting project.
Answer to the skull bracelet base cost pop quiz: $1.84. Each skull bead is worth $0.19 for $1.52, the black glass beads are worth $0.01 for $0.08, the silver spacers are $0.01 for $0.16, and the stretch cord is $0.08 for 8 inches. If you answered $1.84, then give yourself a cookie! To sell it, my price would be triple my costs, or $5.52, rounded down to $5.50. This is a little high for a stretch bracelet, so I would likely offer it for about $3.00.
How Much Can I Get for My Beaded Jewelry?
To know exactly how much you can get for your creations is going to take some serious trial and error. The first thing you need to do is find out who your audience is.
If you are selling on eBay, shoppers are most often looking for a great deal. There are literally thousands of folks on that site that are trying to sell their beaded jewelry.
My best advice is to try a couple of pieces at different prices and see what happens. If they sell like hotcakes, you've may have priced them too low. If you're not selling anything at all, your prices are likely too high. Also, take into consideration that you may have hit on a trend and are making and selling things that people really want. Taste is probably one of the biggest factors when a buyer makes a purchase.
Take a look around eBay or Etsy and see what other people are getting for their jewelry and try to gauge how your work compares to theirs. Don't just look at the items they have for sale; check their feedback, and see how much they have already gotten for their work. The trick is to look at your work with a critical eye. We all think that what we create is the most beautiful, the best, and the most unique, but it often isn't.
If you're throwing a jewelry party for your friends or co-workers, you may be able to get a little more for your creations than selling online via eBay or Etsy. Don't be surprised if some savvy buyers want to haggle. After all, it's their money. Before throwing a party like this, make sure the minimum amount that you will take for each piece is set in stone, at least in your head. I have given discounts for people buying multiple pieces, but how you do this is ultimately up to you.
If you're selling online or at a craft show or flea market at a brisk pace, and you're thinking about either getting a store (or renting a permanent booth or table at a gallery or consignment-type store), you have to factor in the amount you will pay out for expenses to find out exactly how much you will need to make every week or month to break even.
With a little luck and a lot of styles, and the know-how I've just given you, you should at least be able to get started in the handmade beaded jewelry business. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them. Just comment below or send me an e-mail!
Questions & Answers
Question: Since your factoring in costs, would you sell a necklace that takes you 30 minutes to make the same with a necklace taking close to 5 hours to make?
Answer: No. You deserve to get paid for your time, just make sure not to overprice your jewelry. You don’t want to make it unsellable.
Question: What should I charge for a charm that cost me $7.00 to make?
Answer: If the charm cost you $7.00, then the triple keystone value would be $21.00. Although, unless the charm is super high quality, you may not be able to get that much for it.
Question: How much do you sell a regular glass beaded bracelet for?
Answer: It totally depends on how much you have in it. If you’re using stretchy cord though, my go- to price for inexpensive glass beaded bracelets is around $6.
Question: I commonly (but not always) purchase my bead stock on big sales and load up. So in that situation when applying "how much it cost me" to calculations do you typically use the sale price you paid or regular price? It feels disingenuous to use full price, but otherwise, some necklace (my medium) prices to my customers would severely fluctuate if I purchase something not on sale.
Answer: In that case, I would use regular price so that your items are priced evenly.
Question: How much would you charge for a silicone or wood beaded bracelet?
Answer: Whatever you have in it, meaning the cost of materials, plus the amount you’d charge for your time
Question: What about dollar tree beads and letter beads how much should I sell those for?
Answer: Three times what you pay for them is a good suggestion.
Question: If I sell a seed bead bracelet with 2 charms, is it worth 4-5 dollars?
Answer: It depends on how much you paid for all of it.
Question: What if the stones are genuine and you do each bracelet custom order does that mean you can charge a little more than triple?
Answer: It depends on how much you paid for the stones versus how much they’re worth.
© 2012 Georgie Lowery
Fehmeda on January 03, 2020:
Saling beading bracelets
Hafeez Ahmad on May 16, 2019:
Nice post i like your post.
elizabeth on March 26, 2019:
weak photos but nice idea
lanbeidebeadsjewellery on March 22, 2019:
Thank you so much for sharing these!
mrbdent on December 24, 2018:
A few missing points I'd like to mention. If you have "older" beads you should use today's current price to purchase if trying to determine the cost. If you just triple the base cost, you are missing the value of your creativity in it all. Unless you are making plastic junk bead stretch bracelets, those should be no less than $5. Anything more creative and difficult you should charge about $3 per inch to string, plus double your base cost for supplies. Oh, don't forget taxes, insurance, utilities... even if you do it at home part-time there is still a cost associated with these. Even say lava beads from China you should not charge less than $7 per bracelet. Keep your prices reasonable, but don't make it overly difficult for everyone else and lose money.
Varsha on October 20, 2018:
Great tips i got.
How about door to door selling ?
Patricia on October 15, 2017:
Since time is our most valued asset , it's a shame we put such a low price on it.
Debra Creech on August 05, 2017:
Thank you for your time in explaining the details of selling homemade jewelry. You have explained very well. Blessings,
kae on June 24, 2017:
how would you recommend pricing handmade beads?
I do custom work creating rosaries, bracelets etc. i have some cost in wire spacers and finishings, but I make the beads from a clay that is made using the flowers from the arrangements of wedding/funeral/special occasions for the memory of the event or memorial to a loved one.
This is mostly custom work. the clay is made from the flowers given to me from these events. But It takes hours just to make the clay, and then to make the beads, and then, of course, the actual time making the jewelry. I have days worth of work into these pieces but they take me a bout a month to complete from start to finish.
So far I have only done them as a gift for people I know. but I am getting requests from people i don't know and have even been asked by event coordinators to sell (non-custom) at their events. I would be interested in this, but I don't have the slightest idea how much I should be charging for this.
Jane on March 02, 2017:
What if you used old beads that you've purchased in the past or had beads given to you as a gift and don't know how much you've spent on it? I have a lot of creations, but haven't done the math on how much they are worth. If beads are gifted?
Deborah Jackson on December 10, 2016:
I have been beading since 2001 and still hadn't figured out. Thank you for posting this.
My question is, how do I price pieces and my inventory when I have no idea how much I paid for things long ago?
Josh on November 19, 2016:
You explain it very well, and it is a lot of work, but it will always help at the time of pricing. I did it by making a database basic program on access with the inventory and the price, the system automatically gives the price per unit. Also using excel or numbers also helps lots when we are updating the inventory, keeping the track, and adding other expenses, and also a customer database works great!
Allegorystyle on September 10, 2016:
I like your post ,How To Price Your Beaded Jewelry
Ashley on February 16, 2015:
I've been making jewelry for about 4 years now but I've only ever done it for fun and I've always just given away my creations. But I've recently started considering selling my work online or in a small store. Thank you for your feedback. I greatly appreciate it because I had no idea where to start when in came to pricing my things. Thank you so very much.
Heather Walton from Charlotte, NC on January 07, 2015:
Ahhh...if only pricing my jewelry was so easy. All of my pieces are very labor intensive and I love crystals and gemstones...which means I should sell my work for way more according to your formula. I don't look at my costs on a per bead basis. I know how much my materials are worth but I'm always fair with labor costs. Jewelry making is a labor of love!!! Thanks for the article.
Marie Edwards on July 23, 2014:
What I'd also like to know is about including the "labor" charge as well.
Capping minimum wage at $7.25/hour; and a bracelet takes 15 minutes (roughly $1.81/labor), the $5.50 can then be $7.31 or round up to $7.50. That can get pricey for some folks. I bought a cute beaded elephant bracelet at the 7-Eleven for $1.00 (plus tax). I've had some that question me on material costs and time as if I'm trying to cheat them.
This is why I charge about $5 if I have the items. If it is a SPECIAL request, I'd rather show someone or charge $7.50 (mostly I do bracelets). Likely, I may not use those colors again (special requests).
In short ... this is why I don't sell my beaded stuff or crochet things for sale. The materials and time are quite costly. It'd be easier to show someone and charge for tutorial time. I know some people who would need hours of it.
Now, if it is super special to them, as long as it is a one-time deal, I'm okay with it (the beaded goods, not crochet goods larger than a scarf). If it is for a gift, I will do it (within reason). This is usually why I'd buy the materials for the person, then pay for their time. Much easier as well. You know what you paid for materials, you keep what wasn't used, and compensate for their time. Yes, the person might do it as a hobby. But, there are times when it becomes "work".
This reminds me of an incident with a former friend and a crocheted item (blanket). He wanted a blanket for him and his girlfriend in specific colors. I said when I got done with mine, I'd be happy to do one for him.
He wanted me to stop mine and do one for him. He said he'd pay for the materials. I asked "what about my time". His answer was that since I did it anyway, why should I get paid? Only because he demanded I work on it all day (8-12 hours) and ignore my stuff (emails, my own hobbies, etc).
I said 2/hours day if not paid, otherwise pay my time. He didn't like those terms, nor did he come forth with money for, take me shopping, or give me the supplies. I bought the first four for him to sample the feel and the colors.
Luckily I was only out the money for those four skeins of yarn. He didn't even offer to pay for those or my time on the project. I spent roughly 40 hours on it when he decided he didn't want it. I can now (when I have the time) do RAK scarves for charity with those skeins.
Labor is one cost the consumer does need to know about as well. And, they need to know if it is a custom item -- they might have to cover materials used to that point and the time should they decide to cancel.
This was definitely useful information and I've shared it with a lot of crafters. Sorry for the long post, but I can relate to this issue quite well.
Rosheny on November 30, 2013:
Can u give me ideas on how to sell it , cuz nobody buys my necklace...if u don't mind helping me to sell it...
Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on August 14, 2013:
I have such a hard time pricing my creations. I make crochet baby clothes and other crocheted items as well as jewelry and I have a hard time pricing everything. It's difficult to guesstimate how much someone is willing to pay for something you've made, regardless of the math! Great hub!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 21, 2013:
a really useful and lots of tips to remember hub. I am interesting in selling my greeting cards but had no idea how much i should put the retail price. Thanks for the hub
Claudia Porter on November 26, 2012:
This is a really useful hub and the idea can be used with other crafts as well. This is great for people starting up a business. Voted up and useful. Love that carnelian bracelet in the first picture.
Xenonlit on November 23, 2012:
Beautifully done! My niece does gorgeous beaded jewelry and I will share this with her. Voted up and awesome.
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on November 23, 2012:
It is a real pain, the trick is to determine your cost per piece or unit when you get them so you don't get stuck having to go back and do it all at once!
Thank you for your comment!
Priyanka Estambale from United States on November 23, 2012:
I Like the way you split up each cost. It is time consuming but it is worth it. Nice Job.