This is the second in a two part series on how I price my work. I posted the first part yesterday.

Originally, this series was written for the ISGB Newsletter.  Enjoy!

Pricing Your Work

In my last article, I mentioned that pricing your beads and/or jewelry is the most stressful part of getting ready for a bead show for many people.  In this article, I’ll talk about what works for me and the really basic, straightforward formula I use.

Remember, though, this is just what works for me.  You might have something better and that’s great.  As a side note, I once had a conversation with a group of artists friends on pricing our work.  There were five of us in the group.  We came up with 7 different pricing techniques between us.  Granted, there was also some wine…

So, back to my personal pricing system for my beads.  I do the following math, and yes, its algebra.  And yes, I apologize.

(How much I want to make per hour) * (how many hours it took to make it) = X

Ok, look.  I’d like to make 30 million dollars an hour too, but that’s not going to happen.  You need to be reasonable about your hourly rate but you also NEED to get paid for your time.

(The retail value of what I spent on supplies) = Y

We will talk about what goes into this in a moment.  Hint: its more than just the glass if you’re a lampworker.

X + Y = Z (Where Z is how much I want for the item)

Now, we need to add a few more figures to Z…

If you are selling on a platform like Etsy or Ebay then you need to add the listing fees, plus the percentage they take if the item sells.

If you take credit cards, you want to include the fees upfront.  Paypal fees are 2.9% + .30 per transaction.  My fees for the Square are pretty similar.

Need packaging or shipping supplies?  Yep, you want to add that too.  I’m going to call those “incidentals.”

Complicated much?

Remember, Z is how much I wanted for that item.

Z + (Zx11%) = NewZ

I’ve found that 11% of whatever I came up with for Z covers any listing and packaging/incidentals and credit card stuff.

NewZ is what you need to sell or list your item for.

Alrighty.  You hanging in there with me?  Lets talk about the types of things that need to go into your retail value of the supplies that you use.  First of all, there’s the glass…  That’s sort of self-explanatory, but if you’re using boro or silver glass it might be more expensive than soft glass white.  Here’s a few other things you might consider adding…

  • Gas.  I’m lucky.  I get oxygen and propane at a pretty reasonable rate here.  It’ll be less if you have an oxycon, though.  I figured this for me at a pretty reasonable rate of $5/day and then divide it by how many beads come out of the kiln.
  • Electricity.  I figured this out at about $1/hour.  For a 10 hour kiln cycle that means that I divide $10 by how many beads come out of the kiln.
  • CZs
  • Metal foils or powders or leaf
  • Mica powders
  • Metal tubing and bead caps
  • If you’re really OCD, you might consider adding a really small amount of your bead release…
  • A friend and I once got into an argument (it was in play, but still raises the point) on whether there should be wear and tear on the tools and/or mandrels.  I don’t tend to add them, but you might want to.

See where I’m going with these?  All of these together would create your supplies and since you must have them in order to create your beads, then you should consider their costs.

You might also consider adding how long it takes to photograph and list items on social media sites and/or online sales sites.

The list of things to consider just keeps growing, doesn’t it?  You want to make this pricing thing a savvy business decision!  Realistically, the thing you want to do towards this end is only try to sell at venues that have buyers who appreciate handmade.


I originally wrote this article for the ISGB Newsletter a few years ago.  I meant to bring it over to this blog, but I can’t see where I might have posted it.  So…  If I already put this up and you’ve already read it, I’m sorry!

This is part 1 of a 2-part series on how I price my work.

Pricing Questions

Pricing your beads and/or jewelry is the most stressful part of getting ready for a bead show for many people.  In my next article, I’ll talk about what works for me and the really basic, straightforward formula I use.  But today lets talk about some of the questions at shows that make us as designers and artists question our prices.

  • Will you take less for this?
  • Is this your best price?
  • Do you wholesale?

These questions are related, although the first two tend to make artists prickly whereas the other is a simple business request.  Generally, my answer is no on all of them, but I’ve been thinking about the wholesale question a lot lately since I’ve been working with Shawn Tucker and he primarily does wholesale with a minimum order.  He feels that doing a large sale at wholesale pricing is actually easier than multiple small retail sales.  As a result he prices for wholesale and when he does retail its a simple keystone.  If you decide to do wholesale, you should have your prices set in advance.

A lot of my friends have told me that they are embarrassed by having to answer these questions, but if you’ve considered why your product is special, you have no reason to feel embarrassment.  Its up to you whether you feel it necessary to explain to a customer why the prices need to stay as-is, but I generally find that a customer who asks this question isn’t completely committed to learning about lampwork.\

  • How long did this piece (bead) take?

Since I have been working at this a long time, some of the pieces I make seem to take a really short amount of time from what people expect.  Sometimes , when the pieces are production pieces, this means that I can price them lower than I otherwise would.  When you make 30 million of the same piece, your time gets faster and you have less waste.  These less expensive pieces are your loss leaders, the pieces that people will buy without thinking about whether they are going to still be able to pay their bills or purchase a single special lampwork focal or set.  Keeping these less expensive and trendy is the way to go.

“How long did this take?” might, on the other hand, refer to one of my large-scale beaded collars, which are extraordinarily expensive.  In this case, I tell them that I have been a professional beader since 1991 so I work pretty fast and they need to take my time with a grain of salt.  The piece, I go on to explain, has a couple hundred dollars worth of materials in it plus anywhere from 40 to 80 hours of working time plus “all the design time.”  I remind them again that there are years of experience behind that work and design time, that each piece is  one of a kind, and that each piece builds off all the previous ones.

Finally, “How long did this piece take?” might also be in reference to one of my tutorial samples since at bead shows I sell as many bead weaving tutorials as I do lampwork beads.  In this case, the underlying question isn’t really about the cost of the piece (which is not for sale since it’s a sample) or the cost of the tutorial itself.  The potential customer is really asking how long it will take HER to do that piece.  So I tell her that I work pretty fast and that her first attempt will probably take X  amount of time. This conversation is actually building a relationship with your customer and will make her more likely to buy from you.

So, back to pricing…

You want to make this a business decision, not just a “I made these things as hobbies and now want to recoup my loss on them” sort of decision, although I have to admit that I started selling my work to be able to afford my beading and lampworking habits.  This goes back to the venue in which you choose to sell. Most of the bead shows you want to do actually have buyers who appreciate and understand handmade.

Another way to say this is – your TIME is valuable! Don’t underprice yourself!

See you next time with my pricing formula!  – Hannah

50% off selected tutorials in my Etsy shop! Today through Monday. Also, free domestic shipping on jewelry and beads through Sunday with coupon code FREESHIPCYBERWEEK



Shawn has a brand YouTube Channel and we have been trying to add tutorials weekly to it.…0BwjTSdAHWy2QA


Its all boro, but I thought you might get a kick out of it anyhow…
So far –

Mushroom Pendant

Flared Bowl (this is for functional glass…)

Goblet in 3 parts
Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Part 3 –

Welding Hollow Handles instead of pulling points

Fumed Glass Rose

Bellflower Bead –

And finally, a tour of his little shop

Thanks! Click and Subscribe, please!

Free Domestic Shipping on anything in my Etsy shop! Starts today, runs through until the 25th. Just put in coupon code FREESHIPCYBERWEEK.


We’re going to pretend that my last post was sometimes last week instead of in February.

Since then, I’ve had a ton going on and made a whole bunch of new pieces. You can see ’em all on my Facebook if you are dying to catch up. There’s some really good stuff there – some newly released tutorials and some new jewelry/purses. Enjoy!

And while I’m at it, here’s the link so my Facebook sales group – I run little trunk shows on it irregularly and without warning.

Oh, and here’s a random photo…