Saturday, 9 September 2017

A Microwave Mishap, Hollow Lentil Beads and Charging for Actual Time Spent, I wish. . .

Hollow, Image Transfer beads, using my digital images. . . 1'' 25mm.

Having managed to lay myself low with relatively minor but still unpleasant food poisoning, due to not heating up leftover moussaka sufficiently in the microwave, duh. . . I have had a day or two of sitting around, feeling delicate, and recovering my equilibrium, which is a poncy way of saying 'getting my guts back to normal'. I'm not normally that dozy, not quite anyway. Dunno what I was thinking, but I wasn't concentrating on the matter in hand that's for sure. Still, lesson learned and no lasting harm done.

Hollow polka dot image trans beads, first experiment.

I'm feeling hugely better now and have been in the workshop/studio messing around with stuff. A valued regular customer asked me to make some more hollow, lentil shape, textured beads like some I had sold previously, so I made a set or two. While I was making hollow forms I decided to try the lentil shape with image transfers instead of textures. I liked how it looked so I tried some experiments to define the best way of getting the result I wanted.

Not too bad. Not so sure about the varnished look but I shall live with it for a while and see.

I got quite close to the look I was after but the process was pretty time consuming. I will do a step by step with pics if anyone is interested.

The reverse side of the ones in the top pic

Which leads me to wonder about the whole subject of charging enough for the time things take to make. Especially with supplies like beads, which people mainly buy in order to use in items which they then sell on. Whatever the theories about pricing, I don't think it is realistic for me to charge twice the unit cost (although not a lot when using polymer clay) plus a generally acceptable hourly rate etc etc if I actually want to sell what I'm making.
Finished items, like jewellery, maybe, as perceived value is connected to price and many sellers say that raising prices helped sales, but supplies are a bit different I think. Maybe?

I made some smaller ones 3/4" 18mm. maybe a more usable size.

I tend to look at what other people have sold similar things for, and price bearing that in mind. I suppose, pragmatically, if something is not economically viable to make, it's probably not a good idea to continue making it.
But then again, there is a lot more than economics involved in what I do, and a lot of my time is spent on all sorts of unproductive things anyway, so the question 'Is it worth it?' becomes a more complex and subjective one ;-)

Any thoughts?

Jon x

ps - I'm still not sure how much to try to sell these for. . .

More groovy small ones

And another


  1. Urgh! You are right where I am. I'm going to do a custom/pre-order 'event' type thing soon for the moth wings and moths that I make. When I consider the time it takes me to make them, especially the decoration, I know that the price I'm charging isn't really high enough. That's not so bad when I just make a few, but I know that I will have to ask more when I do this thing. The question of what I should charge for them is thoroughly doing my head in right now. So, I'm not even going to try to suggest what you might charge for these! I'm just making empathetic noises here, really! But, I do particularly love the big dotty lentils. How big are they - and how much are they? Ha!

    1. Thanks for the empathetic noises Claire, I suspect people will pay more than we think for stuff, but it's hard to act on that suspicion. . . I wish I didn't have to deal with it. Ay well. . . I'm glad you like the dotty beads, they are £8 for the two. They aren't listed yet but let me know if you want them and I'll sort something out.

  2. Well Jon. Being a celiac I can commiserate on your tummy issues. Here all labels must be read and evaluated for possible gluten content even if it's 'gluten free' (some companies lie... surprise!) and then I'm watching
    taps drip in the bathroom sink for a day at least...sigh...

    As for your pricing problem. I can't agree more. It's enough to drive a person mad trying to figure what price to put on it. There is the idea that if everyone is sort of copying each other's pricing ...the snake eats its tail then...

    For me I know I don't charge enough. My reason is the economic downturn our province took when the price of oil dropped away. So did all of the jobs here in Alberta and in fact we had a mass exodus as well. For the people who remained...did they 'need' my product? Absolutely not. They needed to eat and turn on the heat in our -40C weather. So I dropped all my prices. I can make more and raise the price in better times...or I can try throwing it in a pot and boiling it to see if I can eat it or at least get some kind of gruel out of it?

    So charge what you're comfortable with. Some people say put a big price on it as you can always discount it or slash the price or whatever you want to call it. Start high and then find out what the market is comfortable paying...

    I've been in retail and business nearly all my adult life and this is what I used to do...put a price on items. It's not easy!

    As for these... love 'em!!! I do love polka dots on anything so my eyes widened when I scrolled down and discovered yours. I don't know which ones are my favourite...

    Back to pricing for a second...I worked 3 days on a statement piece for a show where I was one of the two invited artists. 3 days! And I had to put a price of $125 on the piece. We will never get what we invest into the item out of it. Not unless you have a production line set up and have whittled away all costs..along with wages..expenses...

    So why do it? I love to create things and have others get enjoyment out of them. I could never wear all the things I create so I'll price according to my market. That being said I kick myself sometimes when I get a customer who would have paid almost any price...

    1. Yeah, the snake eating it's tail thing hadn't escaped me. But the concept of a going rate for something is a hard one to avoid indulging. I guess the thought that if someone doesn't buy my stuff they won't get anything much like it elsewhere ought to make me feel more confident about charging more. What price uniqueness? ;-)
      I enjoy making stuff so I'll keep at it and continue to wrestle with pricing. .

  3. And yes! Please! Pics of your process would be fascinating!!

  4. Jon - just came across this and thought you'd be interested in seeing her prices for beads...