Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to Price Handmade: Materials

Let’s first examine how to calculate the cost of the materials you use to create a handmade piece. That is easy enough to do, right? Well, wait a minute...are you factoring in ALL the expenses?

Since I am a jewelry designer, we will look at the true costs of that. Here are all the elements you need to add in when calculating the cost of your beads alone:

1. Cost of the strand or bag of beads
2. Taxes paid on them
3. Any postal charges if they were ordered online
4. Gasoline or transit charges if you went to a specialty shop to get them

Add all those together then divide the total by the number of beads in the strand or bag. That is your price per each. I strongly suggest that you do this calculation as soon as you bring new beads in. It will make your life much easier later on because you will only have to multiply the number of beads used for a piece by the cost per each.

Note: I should take my own good advice. I acknowledge that I do not and have lived to regret it.

Next, look at the other supplies needed to create your jewelry piece:

1. The clasp
2. Spacer beads
3. Stringing material
4. Charms
5. Miscellaneous findings

Once you’ve factored in all your true costs, you can plug the total into whatever pricing formula you end up using to calculate your customer and wholesale pricing.

I’ve considered looking into a commercial inventory system for my computer to keep track of all my material costs but you can also create a database in your favourite spreadsheet program. It’s a lot of work at the front end but will pay off in the back end. Trust me.


  1. I can see it being both really worthwhile and a lot of work - but what worthwhile things aren't work?

    1. Indeed, and I truly wish I'd been keeping track from the beginning. It is really hard to back track.