Misc Biz Info
I just updated my Etsy tutorials so customers get instant download (without having to wait for me to email them the file). This is a great feature, Etsy. Thank you! If you want info on it, click here.
Twice in the past week, I ran across someone on a forum bringing up the subject of their handcrafted jewelry being resold by a previous customer.
There are many scenarios this can take:
A) Previous customer needs cash so has to sell off some of their personal collection
B) Previous/current customer buys things from you and sells them to others
1) Mentioning that you made them
2) Not mentioning anything about who made them
3) Saying she/he made them her/himself
C) Someone uses your photos to “sell” items online. When they get a sale, they purchase your item and ship it immediately to THEIR customer (or they have you unwittingly drop-ship to their customer).
In scenario “C”, I see two things wrong. First, if he/she is selling your items for a profit, you aren’t charging enough to begin with. And second, this person is using your photos without your permission. That’s about it. On some selling sites, they may be breaking TOS (terms of service) by not actually having the product in the listing in their actual possession.
In scenario “A”, I don’t see much harm. Sometimes we have to part with things we love because we have unexpected bills. I just feel badly for the customer who has to sell off her collection/items.
In scenario “B1”, it’s cool that she/he mentions who made the pieces, but if she’s making money off of your jewelry, YOU AREN’T CHARGING ENOUGH.
In scenario “B2”, it’s her/his prerogative to give credit to the original maker of the jewelry. I really don’t take offense to someone reselling my jewelry and not mentioning that Laura Bracken made it. But again, this is a sign that I’M NOT CHARGING ENOUGH.
At this point, if the piece is selling for more and NOT being attached to an artist’s name, then you know for sure the sale price has nothing to do with brand. At this point it’s just about the materials and the design. And if she/he’s getting more than you did (with NO NAME attached as the maker), then YOU could have been getting those prices too. The only “unless” I’m going to use here is: unless you sold it when silver was $5 an ounce and silver is now $30 an ounce, etc. In that kind of case, yes, materials can appreciate in value over time without an artist’s name being involved.
In scenario “B3”, we have some uncoolness. People should not be selling other people’s work and saying it’s theirs. We still have the other factor, though… you’re not charging enough for your jewelry.
So here’s how I see it…
1) I’m not going to worry about people reselling my jewelry, other than to take note if they’re consistently making more than I am. At which point I need to rethink my pricing calculations.
2) If someone uses my photos without permission, I’m going to try to go legal on their ass (as much as I can without stupid expenditures, because at the end of the day I must choose my battles).
3) If someone sells my jewelry saying THEY made the pieces, I will probably do the same thing I did in #2.
How can I prevent most of these scenarios?
1) Price well.
2) Watermark online photos (I don’t do this because I’m not overly concerned about it at the moment)
3) Stamp my pieces with a maker’s mark.
These aren’t iron-clad solutions. They’re just things that you can try in order to prevent some of the scenarios you might not like.
The most important thing, though, to avoid having others selling your jewelry for more than you sold it for is for you to sell it for “the right price” in the first place.
The right price is a mythical creature, though, so you will have to make your pricing decisions based on factors that are important TO YOU and go from there. In other words, some people figure their own labor at $10/hr while others figure in $50/hr. Some people want a hobby and others what a profitable business.
Get serious about knowing what your skill level is by knowing your market inside and out. Always know your materials’ cost. And value your time and expertise.
Most of you already know I sell a pricing calculator (still only available for those with Excel… works on PC’s better than on Macs). I’m giving you my Etsy link because of the instant download thing.
I use my calculator on everything I make. But (as stated in the Excel file), I take into account things like not counting all the hours when I’m learning a new technique, changing my hourly wage based on if I did the work or if I subbed it out, etc.
I often have people say to me both:
“Why is this so expensive?”
“Your prices are too low!”
Only I know how long it took me to make something. Some of my items are experimental, some are like production work, some take weeks to finish, some required me to take expensive classes, etc. There are lots of factors that others don’t always know about in regards to what we make. I usually just smile and say, “Mm.”
Anyway, I’m sure any one of us could write a book on the subject, so I’ll get off my opinionated soapbox now.
Thanks for listening!
Here are three minimalist
(you KNOW that’s one of my favorites) necklaces. Two in bronze and
steel, the other in copper and steel. They’re stylized mountain scenes.
You can click on any jewelry photo to see if the piece is still available. To see everything that is currently available, click here.