Of all the bits of advice I could ever give to anyone starting out as a jewelry designer, this one ranks number one in my book. I can’t begin to describe to you how much time and energy I would have saved if I’d only known…or figured it out sooner rather than later.
It’s a two-part pricing & record keeping lesson here, as follows:
When you go shopping for materials – and I don’t care what those materials are – metal, gemstones, silk thread, wire – get an itemized receipt. Ask for each item to be broken out on the receipt, line by line, with the dollar amount. Okay, that’s all for Part One.
When you get home with all your goodies, before you do ANYTHING ELSE, either photograph or scan them. Print out the photo/scan. 3-hole punch it. Annotate the photo with the following:
* What the material is
* What you paid for it
* Where you bought it
* How much it weighs or measures
* How much it cost per X – inch, foot, carat, stone, strand, whatever
Then assemble your printouts into a 3-ring binder and keep it where the dog can’t eat it.
If you follow these instructions, the quality of your life as an artisan will improve immeasurably. Why? Let me lay out the following scenario for you.
You come home from the gem show with 5 strands of gemstone beads. You know you bought, say, 3 strands of 6mm tourmaline briolettes and 2 strands of amethyst graduated rondelles. Your receipt from Gems R Us says “beads, $450.”
Next day, you make a gorgeous necklace out of 2/3 of a strand of the tourmaline.
Question: How are you going to price it?
Ah, so now you see. If you have my handy-dandy instructions and you follow them, all you would need to do is take out your photo of the tourmaline, which you have carefully annotated with the price per strand and the price per stone.
If you have not had this advice handy, all you would have for your effort is a receipt that says “Beads, $450.”
I rest my case.