(Sierra Foothills, Northern California USA)
I hope I am posting in the right place. I’ve recently found myself in love with bead embroidery, and after a few years of making all kinds of jewelry and giving it away as gifts to friends, family and charities, I’ve finally got my courage to try to make some money by selling some of my work through our local bead store, owned by a friend.
She encouraged me as well which I am very grateful for. There is one other artist in town who sells her bead embroidered items through this store, and this lady claims she does not want to get paid for her labor, only enough money to return the cost of her beads.
I had an emotional meltdown when I saw her bead and pearl embroidered cuff offered for $60 (out of which the artist will get $30 after the store’s commission). There is no way I am going to spend a week of intense crafting and lots of money on cabs, pearls, etc. to offer my work at this price.
Now, I know people don’t get rich from making jewelry, especially in time-and-labor-consuming bead embroidery, it is a labor of love, but still. I got very discouraged. But then I thought I’ll try anyways. After all, I am not her and I should not be limited by that other artist choices and philosophy.
I will ask for the price I feel is fair to me and to customers, and if my work won’t sell, well, then that’s it. I just would really appreciate your insights into this situation, re: ethics, pricing, etc.
Any advice? Thank you, Rena, wonderful artist and teacher, for creating this space for all of us and sharing your teachings, and Thank you to everyone participating in discussions!