Transitioning to Higher Jewelry Prices

by Rena Klingenberg.

Transitioning to Higher Jewelry Prices, by Rena Klingenberg - Jewelry Making Journal

When we begin selling our handmade jewelry, most of us start out with a selection of low-priced items.

(See my jewelry pricing formula to make sure you’re pricing your work profitably.)

That makes sense as a starting place, while you develop your skills and experiment with techniques, materials, and product lines.

But as your skills progress and you refine your market and your jewelry lines, you’re probably ready to start making more expensive items – and charging more for the expertise that’s now evident in your work.

But how can you go through this price transition without losing any of your current customers?

One solution is to offer jewelry in more than one price range.

I’ve had a lot of success with striking a balance by offering quality jewelry items in three price ranges – low, middle, and high.

Some of my customers started out purchasing my low-priced items, then moved on up to buying my middle- and high-priced jewelry.

But many started out right away with the middle- and high-priced pieces.

And when you start offering jewelry that’s above your original low-priced items, you may be surprised at how many of your earliest customers will say something like, “I’ve been waiting for you to start charging more!”

Because honestly, many of your devoted customers have been wanting you to move up to the next level – in your designs and your prices!

I’m interested to hear whether you’ve raised your jewelry prices (or added new jewelry lines in higher price ranges) – and what your customers’ response was?

Older Comments:

Kim Ryan says:

I’ve recently been making more intricate silverplated wirework jewellery which has commanded a higher price than normal and I’ve been really surprised by how well they have sold. Many people still say what good value they are for such unique work. My aim for 2013 is to move into working with sterling wire, gemstones and some lovely lampwork artist beads to create a signature range. I’ve been thinking of it for a while and decided that 2013 was the year to stop thinking and talking about it and actually do it! Looking forward to the new challenges!

Ann Wittman says:

I have been designing jewelry now for 5 years and have evolved a style that reflects my personality. I started out selling at flea markets out of the back of my van, but soon became discouraged as I found people wanted only cheap and poorly made goods. As my skills have improved and my pieces evolve, I realize that certain markets are not for me. I co-chair our local Holiday Boutique and I am known for my jewelry but sold much less this year as my quality has gone up as well as my prices. I am now consigning to several shops and doing much better. I also have begun offering classes in my home and really enjoy passing on my love of beadweaving. I enjoy “one of a kind” pieces and prefer to make items of higher quality. Stretchy bracelets at $8.00 just don’t inspire me. I have one shop that prefers sterling silver and real stones and another that sells costume jewelry ,but unique pieces.
So, I agree having several lines at different price points is a good way to approach your customers.

Zoraida says:

Pricing jewelry for shows has always been an issue for me. I started making necklaces and because of the work and time involved, some were a bit pricey. I noticed people looking to buy something from me but wanting to spend less. I went on to bracelets, then earrings and pendants. I sell lots of earrings, bracelets and pendants now. It’s so satisfying (and flattering) to have someone tell me “now I can own one of your originals”. I’d like to have something for everyone. Sometimes, they come back and buy something more expensive. And yes, I’ve had a few people say I don’t charge enough.

Megan – New Eve Jewelry says:

Yes, I’ve learned the same thing in my day job a a marketer!
Funny story about this: Yesterday I was talking to a (very frugal) friend about a piece he was buying for his wife. I told him it would be $40. He said, “How about $50?” I laughed and told him he needed to learn to haggle better – that’s not how it works! I am thankful that he valued my work that much.

Rena Klingenberg says:

Thanks so much to all for sharing your experiences with this.

Kim, it’s exciting to hear about the signature range you’ll be offering in 2013! I’m glad you’ve already gotten indications that your new direction will be well received. Please keep us posted! 🙂

Ann, thanks for sharing your story of discovering that certain markets aren’t for you, and how you’ve moved up to making higher quality, unique pieces. I love that you’ve found different shops that fit the different ranges of jewelry you love to make!

Zoraida, I think that was a very smart move to include some less time-intensive pieces that are more affordable. It’s an easy way to expand your customer base, and now more people are having the pleasure of wearing your artistry (and spreading the word about your jewelry!).

Megan, I love your friend’s “reverse haggling”! (I wonder if you had responded with “$60!”, he would have said, “$70!” – LOL!) It’s a great feeling when someone feels that your jewelry is a valuable gift for their loved one.

Kathi Ader says:

I agree with having a balance. The only negative I’ve found is that if a person really likes a more expensive piece but doesn’t have the money, they’re not satisfied by buying something cheaper. If they can’t have the piece they really love they would rather buy nothing.

Veronica says:

Hi Rena
Thank you so much for all the information you share here, it is really helping me sort through my journey into what I hope will be a full time endeavour for me. I read your formula for pricing about a week ago, and can’t stop thinking about how low i’ve priced my pieces. The first thing i’m doing is finding a cheaper source for most of my supplies, as I assumed I was getting a great price where i buy most of my beads when having done more research it’s not that great. However some things may just have to go up in price, and i’m wondering what the best strategy is for raising prices on pieces that may continue to sell for some time. Do I do it in increments, or just jump to new price over night. Do I warn people and have a pre price jump sale, or do i bite the loss on what’s already been priced. As i improve, I look forward to using more expensive components and a natural raise in price, but what to do about what I’ve already done. Thanks so much.

Veronica says:

Yikes 5 questions in there and not one question mark lol

Rena Klingenberg says:

Hi Veronica!

Getting the lowest prices possible on your supplies is a great step.

Next, your customers understand that just like the prices of everything else, your jewelry prices will occasionally go up.

But you can make them feel very well cared for if you give them advance notice of your price increases.

Set a date when your new prices will take effect (for example, anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks from now). Then notify everyone on your customer list about your upcoming price increase, and the date it will happen.

Invite them to shop now, before your prices go up. You might also suggest that they take care of their upcoming gift purchases now, while your prices are still lower.

And at your shows, parties, and other jewelry events, let customers know about your upcoming price increase – so they can shop now.

Now your customers have time to get used to the idea of your price increase before it happens.

And even better, they appreciate that you gave them this “insider opportunity” to shop and stock up at the old lower prices before the increase.

Customers feel like they’re getting a good deal this way – and you’ll likely get a nice surge of jewelry orders.

Now they’ll be very understanding about your price increase when it takes effect, and will continue to support your work!

And everybody wins! 🙂

Karine Jean-Paul says:

Wow these are all such amazing and great stories. It’s good to see that some customers value our work . I have been making Jewelry for a little over a year and when I started I knew nothing about pricing and my pieces were at average prices like 20$-40$. After taking a business class I recently evolved into a new, more elaborate jewelry style and my prices went up. At first I thought I was crazy and that no one would buy my jewelry but I attended a fair last week and a client actually purchased a 125$ necklace from me CASH! Can you imagine how shocked I was, I played it cool and I did not let it show but inside I was like OMG this is amazing! I was so happy to see that my jewelry was worth the price and effort I put in.

Keep up the good work guys, we deserve it!

Carole says:

I try to keep my prices at varying levels, but even my higher priced jewelry, people often tell me that I’m not charging near enough. I tend to follow the advice that a craft mall owner once offered me, and that is, if people keep buying at the listed price, keep telling you that you’re not charging enough, and you as an artist can’t keep up with demand, raise prices in .25 to .50 increments until it levels off. That has generally served me well, but I’m often still afraid of ‘overcharging’.

I sometimes see items similar to mine being sold for for a fraction of the cost ($5 or so), and I can’t see how those people are even making back their supply output. Most don’t use the same quality of materials that I do, nor is their work necessarily as well done. The flip side is that I’ve also seen items priced well above what I charge. Both make sales, so it’s a slippery slope.

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  • Michele C. says:

    Hi Rena!
    I am encouraged (and emboldened) by your jewelry pricing article. I have recently started making original painted pendants on pendant trays using a variety of materials, such as foil, yupo paper, alcohol inks, and even nail enamel, sometimes including crystals and reflective tiny moons & stars. Glass cabachons glued into the painted pendants finish and magnify the detail. This is a departure from the strung necklaces, bracelets and earrings I’ve made in past years.

    I haven’t sold these yet but I was invited to participate in a local high-end art and craft guild holiday fair in December 2018. I have a couple of other opportunities at a gallery and another artisan craft fair nearby. I plan to use your pricing guide, which sets my pendants (strung on suede or leather and adjustable) at the base price of $33.00. It does seem high to me, but I think the traffic at these venues will support the prices.

  • Jill K. says:

    I take a different approach. I don’t announce that I’m changing the price. I just change it. Most people don’t even notice, and if somebody does, then I may say something like, “You’re such a special customer of mine, the price doesn’t apply to you this time. If you buy it right now, it’s $X for cash and $Y for charge.” That often makes them want to buy immediately. For the ones that claim, “too rich for my blood,” I explain I have to pay rent, materials, etc. and it is handmade, taking my time and talent. If they’ve been really nice, perhaps I’ll offer a small discount or I might say, “well, maybe next time, but I can’t promise it will still be available.” Some people will just throw a $amount out to see if you’ll haggle, but they don’t understand they are sometimes rude about it (offer $5 for a $30 item). What sells for $X in a rural place might easily be $Y in New York or San Francisco.

  • Thanks for mentioning this, Jill K. You’re right that many folks don’t know or care if the price is changed – and then it’s a non-issue.

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