Pricing Jewelry: Customers’ Mental Price Limits (Video)

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 25

by Rena Klingenberg.

Here’s a jewelry pricing experiment that may be very profitable for you:

Before you start experimenting with your prices, make sure you’re starting out with profitable pricing. See my Jewelry Pricing Formula for details.

Transcript of This Video:

When we’re selling our jewelry we’re always concerned about our pricing.

Are we pricing our work high enough? Are we pricing it low enough? Are we pricing it profitably enough?

Well, one thing to consider is your customer’s internal pricing limits.

We all kind of have limits where we’re comfortable spending this much – but then you get a little bit over that and it feels uncomfortable.

And I’ve discovered in selling jewelry that there are basic price limits in people’s minds:

$5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $150, and $200.

And at each of those steps, people are willing to spend up to a certain amount, and then when they reach that point (for example, $100) that’s a mental price barrier that they have to cross before they’re willing to spend more.

But one thing I discovered is that you can really use these internal price barriers to price your jewelry more profitably.

Although I’ve probably sold the majority of my jewelry in the $40 to $49 range (that’s a really popular price range for the types of items I’ve mainly created and sold), I made this discovery:

Once you get to the $50 point, many people are just as willing to buy the same item for $99 as for $50.

So for example, with a pendant that you’d price at $50 or $52 – experiment with that.

See what happens if you bump the price up to $60, $75, $80.

Keep testing and see at what level people are still willing to buy that piece.

It’s definitely to your advantage to earn as much as you can on each piece you sell, because over the long run you’ll probably make more money by selling fewer pieces at higher prices, than by selling a whole bunch of pieces at lower prices.

And it’s a lot less work for you. It gives you a lot more time and energy for selling your work.

I’d love to hear whether you’ve experimented with these internal price barriers that your customers have – and if so, what happened?

Thanks for stopping in today! I’ll see you soon.

After watching this video, you may want to hop over to my related video, Jewelry Artists’ Mental Money Barriers – to see the other side of this issue.

Pricing Jewelry: Customers' Mental Price Limits, by Rena Klingenberg, Jewelry Making Journal

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Pricing Jewelry:  Customers' Mental Price Limits, by Rena Klingenberg

Lemon Lime Jewelry Set: Carved serpentine pendant, Czech glass beads, copper, sterling silver. By Rena Klingenberg.

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  • Bob Keil says:

    Several years ago we were selling my pendants ( or trying to sell them ) for $35 to $40 dollars and not doing well.

    A wholesaler saw my work and wanted to sell them but I could not give her 1/2 of what I was selling them for since that was less than it was costing me to buy the parts. She suggested that I raise my prices to $80 or $90 dollars. I just could not imagine someone paying that price for my pendants.

    Later we were at a show ( at that time we were only selling my pendants ) and we were doing poorly. A fellow vender, who we had met at the show, suggested I raise my price to $80 and told me I would sell more. By this time we had run out of almost anything, I had already booked one more show and after that we were going to stop showing and try to figure out how I could do the same thing cheaper. So I raised the prices on my pendants to $80 and at the next show I sold 12 of them and my current pricing was born.

    I put 8 feet of wire ( about 1/2 ounce of silver ) into each pendant . When the price of silver hit the roof, I bought less but only had to raise my price a little. I now sell the same pendant in silver for $99 and have no problems and have room for wholesalers.

  • Sara Sharp says:

    Wow, that was inspirational! I make intricate, detailed pieces that tell a tale, always one-offs, combining handmade silver, semi-precious stones, and medieval art skills like French beading which I’ve incorporated into jewellery, and Turkish needlace – both painstaking in time and detail.

    A couple of years ago, I struggled to sell them at a reasonable profit. I’m not quite there yet, but I have, just last week, increased the price of a necklace to almost double and SOLD IT! I’m flabberghasted.

    But I had looked at work in galleries, high street shops and websites and figured I was practically giving away my 8-hour plus work for a Β£10 profit. I know, that’s not business, but I love what I do.

    I hope I can carry on being firm about what my work is worth. You both have certainly given me the push to do so.

  • Pauline says:

    This was great information. Excellent pricing formula. I’m at the stage where I probably need to discuss with our accountant whether my jewelery is a hobby or a business. My pricing is currently based on a ‘hobby that covers its cost’…..barely. Actually, a bit of overspending last year has put me quite behind. πŸ™‚ However, at the moment for what I’m doing, a bit of tweaking of your formula could suit me. I haven’t had to worry about paying commissions, posting, market stalls etc. That could change if the accountant says I need to declare myself as a business. I did a little research on the subject (for New Zealand) and whether you are a hobby or a business has a fine line on either side!

  • marlene says:

    Very good article. The best piece of advice I ever read was ‘if it isn’t selling, raise the price’!! It does work just don’t go overboard in raising the price. lol
    People want value and if you don’t value your work then who will??

  • Thank you so much for including a print transcript for those of us who live in the hinterlands with poor internet coverage πŸ™‚

  • Anne Lise says:

    Great article!
    Thank you so much!
    I have noticed that pople here in Norway have a price-limit at 200 NOK.
    But I didn’t think about the fact that it could be more price-limits and that it had so much to say about selling.

    And when it comes to raising the price.
    I have tried to raise the price and I no sell less. Maybe I did not raise it hight enough? Maybe the price are in between to Price-limits?

    Thank you for putting new thoughts in my mind and make me think about pricing!

  • This was an incredibly helpful and informative article, and comments. As a jewelry artist, I’ve always found the pricing to be the part I dread the most.
    Finding the balance between pricing for time, materials, and potential selling point (audience, show, etc.) is always a challenge. Your article and comments have been enlightening. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lisa Hansen says:

    Thank you,
    As i always under value myself, usually just doubling my materials.
    As financial times are not good for me.
    Since i am in that boat, i often feel that everything needs to be a good deal.
    I had just been talking about how my brain works when purchasing something.
    i will discuss this is small terms (no real silver or gold or gems )
    If i think its a steal i would jump on it, earrings $5.00,
    if 10.00 i most likely would think do I really need them,
    at 20.00 i would probably walk away.
    The deciding factor would be How Much do you love that, would you ever be able to find it again. Is it unique?
    So thank you, i try to make my jewelry different, and i forget there are other people who do have money.
    Ultimately i guess we strive for our creativity to be part of our price point.
    I have not been selling for very long and do not have any customer base or followers yet to build my confidence so i thank you for the article.
    It will help me to start out better, i may not be able to go that high yet as i need to more experience , better mechanics and also not get in a rut of being to low priced.

  • I have tried raising my prices on my jewelry items with absolutely no change in my selling successfully. My husband insists that I need to lower my prices since everyone says they LOVE my items, but when they look at the price tag, the look of sticker shock is quite evident. Not sure what they were expecting since I only sell at juried handmade only craft show venues. Besides the usual “oh I can make that” or “I can buy something similar at {fill in the blank here…usually WalMart} for much less”, I’ve just about given up. I am trying to create non-labor intensive jewelry at a different price point from my Kumihimo items, but I refuse to cheapen my work to accomodate “looky-loos” who have no idea what handmade really means. Sorry for the rant, but it is very frustrating.

  • I am currently sitting here in knots how uncomfortable i am with pricing!!

    i am using your formula currently and had to come back here for added support and encouragement! Lo and behold I FEEEEEEL 150% better, THANKS AGAIN RENA!!!

    p.s. I watched the video on pricing barriers AWESOME tips to keep handy when pricing as well!!! πŸ˜‰

  • Pamela says:

    Great article! I do agree with your pricing formula however there may be some caveats. Increasing the price of very simply made seed bead earrings that are not significantly different from other jewelry artists or even retail stores may not work. If someone can walk from your booth to another one that sells similar items for a lower price, they will probably buy at the lower price. You need to make jewelry that is truly unique and different. Department stores always have sales that greatly discount their jewelry and if I don’t make something that can’t be bought anywhere else I am not going to sell very much. I have also heard the “I can make that” statement from “looky loos” and it can be discouraging. Even if you’ve put a lot of work and your heart and soul into a piece of jewelry, if it’s not different enough from something similar and less expensive I don’t know if it will sell at a much higher price point.

  • Darlene says:

    This is true and it emphasizes the fact that you will sell more if you offer pieces at all the different price points to appeal to every budget. I have to remind myself to make enough of my high end pieces or sets and am always pleasantly surprised when they sell.

  • Dita says:

    Like most jewelry artist entrepreneurs I do have this dilema. I have experienced that increasing a one of a kind wire knit jewelry increased my sale but then it is also true that many people are more interested in the bargain basket of $5 or $10 items and now I am struggling if I should focus more on making those toe rings for $3 or work on my more time consuming pieces that are uniquely mine. But I am definitely going to try the toe rings for this craft fair.

  • Dolores DeMone says:

    Thanks Rena, this was a great article. I will be subscribing to your Newsletter. I don’t think economic times are the greatest for any handcrafter or juried artist trying to sell their work right now. I couldn’t agree more with the comments of Lisa, Anita, Angela, Pamela, Darlene and Dita. Yes, I too hear “oh I can make that” so now I don’t feel so alone.

  • Bob says:

    What you are selling does account for a lot of reactions. Me and my lovely wife Bette do handcrafted jewelry and sell at craft shows within 250 miles of Syracuse, NY. Booking is a major time consumer and I use as many aids as I can get. Bette does earrings and wrap around bracelets and I do earrings and pendants. Bette works from a design point of reference of shapes and colors while I work from a wire point of reference. What we sell is all OOAK. We joke to the customers that Bette does the normal stuff and if its weird and has wire, he did it. We sell oh how we sell. Bette is the lead sales person (You know just between us girls) and I work as the technical expert. Should that work, and occasionally it doesn’t , we reverse roles, many times with the same patter,………………but we constantly sell, sell, sell. The time to relax and be normal is when we strike the tent and start to ride home. We are always tinkering with our design and layout of the booth. We are all evolving. That is Bette, Bob, Booth layout, and what we sell. There is nothing that is perfect and does not need to change or improve. Sales are the guage, not just at one show but we listen to the customers. I agree some help us by coming and others help us by going but they all help and do not be afraid to listen to other booths, even your competitors. I’m sorry, I got on my soap box again. We see people at these shows who sit in a corner of the booth and state at anyone who walks by and then lament about poor sales and many other items. Both Bette and I have been known to talk to walls. We greet as many people as possible thank those who walk through, don’t buy anything and walk out. I try to talk to them and ask what they were looking for and did not find. Some answer me, others do not but they all are thanked for coming into the booth. We have a bowl of shiny stones on the front table and make sure every lid that walks by is offered a shiny stone but we admonish, “only one!”. If an adult has anything to say, we tell them that’s how I started. We were moving and Bette told me find a use for them or throw them away. That’s how I started making jewelry. Kids that make jewelry we compare notes and I make sure they learn something new for talking to me and I offer some items like wire to design or teach them how to make earring hooks……something and we give them a business card and tell them if they have a question, e-mail me, it’s right on the card I give them.
    All right, I’ll stop., Good luck and don’t complain, find out where you failed the customers, because they all came to buy, even if you were not able to sell them.

  • Sara Amrhein says:

    Thank you Rena for this great video! And for this AMAZING site! OMG! Such a plethora of infomation. A jewelry business bible! I have gone through your pricing formula and after watching this video realize that I am underpricing my work by A LOT! So now I need to start raising. How do I do that? Do I just go in and over haul everything at once? Or should I start with a few key pieces and slowly raise from there? I will keep some lower priced items but I know that the big pieces that I create need to have a higher price tag. It’s been hard for me to develop confidence but people are always telling me how much they like my work. I have now been accepted to two juried shows this year so that definitely boosted my confidence level! Now its time to start making a real profit and accept my worth as a trained, experienced, educated designer and start getting paid! Thank you!

  • Thank you all for sharing your insights and experiences regarding pricing!

    And thanks also for your lovely appreciation of JMJ! πŸ™‚

    Here are 3 of my jewelry pricing posts that address some of the issues mentioned in this discussion; I hope you find them helpful!

    Transitioning to Higher Jewelry Prices

    How to Raise Your Jewelry Prices Gracefully

    Profiting from Jewelry That’s Time-Consuming to Make

  • lyone fein says:

    How much jewelry does your husband buy? Thought so.
    Do not undervalue your work. Keep a strong positive attitude. Keep improving your craft. Always vent to us. . . Seriously, do not ask your husband for jewelry advice!

  • Sarah says:

    These links aren’t working when I try to open them.

  • Hi Sarah, thank you for letting me know you couldn’t get the links to work. I checked them out, and they worked for me, but that may be an internet fluke of some sort. If you still can’t get the links to work I will check with my tech gal. My apologies for this issue you’ve experienced here! πŸ™‚

  • Claudia says:

    Anita …. I hear you. I live near Albany, the Capitol of New York State. This is a difficult market here. Many of my hand-crafted beaded necklaces are priced at around $35.00 to $40.00, and many people think that is way too much. Still, I do get some sales. I pride myself in making things with genuine semi-precious stones, genuine Freshwater Pearls, and genuine gold spacer beads. It seems to me that most people could not care if it was just plastic. The meaning of genuine …. anything ….. just seems to go over their heads. But I love this business SO MUCH that I just will not quit. ( I can’t quit – I’ve got a lot of stock ) My last show …. at my house …. with friends and relatives …… was GREAT, though, so I will continue to make jewelry for as long as my arthritic hands will let me !!

  • Kathleen Bennett says:

    Mmmm me too, couldn’t get the links. I’m having my first stall on Sunday 31st March for 12 year. So yes I’m nervous.
    Thanks for this article and all the comments. KtB.
    Kathleen Bennett

  • For anyone who couldn’t get the links to work, try them here:
    Jewelry Pricing Formula
    Jewelry Artists’ Mental Money Barriers.

    If you still can’t get the links to work, can you please let me know what device you’re using?
    Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • How would this work for pieces that are in the rather large range (or set of ranges) of $250.00 to several thousand dollars? Are there $300, $500, and above barriers?

  • I would love to see your work. Like mine, it sounds very artistic!

  • I, too, keep forgetting that the people to whom I am marketing are not as financially strapped as I am. πŸ™‚

  • You do need to create unique pieces, I agree!

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