Friday, September 19, 2008

Need Your Input, Please!

I posted these earrings in an earlier blog post and received some great comments. I always appreciate my commentators!

Interestingly is that a couple comments mentioned that it's a steal. One even suggested the earrings would sell quicker for me if I raised my price from the listed $8.00.

This is where I need input from my readers. How do you feel about prices of items that interest you? Do you avoid prices you may feel are low? Would you be more interested in buying those earrings if they were priced at $10? $15?? $20???

Because I'm able to buy wholesale, the materials used to make this pair of earrings cost me $1.75. It cost me $.20 to list in my Etsy shop. If and when they sell on Etsy, I'll pay a total of 7% in commissions totalling $.56. That brings my cost of goods sold to $2.51. That's a gross profit of $5.49. The overhead that normally comes into the accounting play is extremely negligible because I work from the home. The percentage of overhead "spent" directly on this small pair of earrings is too tiny to account, but for the sake of argument and a nice round number to work with, let's give it a value of $.49 which also includes self-employment taxes. Profit is now $5.00 which pays for my time spent making the earrings. The earrings took 2 minutes to fashion (I've been doing this for years, speed comes with experience). That would give me the equivalent pay of $150/hour!

Not a bad wage, huh? Yet this well-meaning critique that my prices are too low has come to me from more than one place. "Under pricing" is a frequent topic on the Etsy forums. So now I'm asking you, dear reader, should I raise my prices?

Do you personally want to pay $13 for something when the designer is offering it to you for $8 while still making a comfortable profit margin?

When I started making my own line of jewelry, I had it in mind to have a Mission Statement for my business. I've never put it in writing, so I guess I'll do so now.

The Mission of '57 Design Studio is to provide quality handcrafted jewelry made of quality materials direct to the customer at prices that are friendly to the budget.

However, I would really like my business to succeed so I'm beginning to feel the pressure to raise prices, even in an economy that is on a roller-coaster of confidence. To be honest, I've already increased my prices ... two years ago I would have priced those earrings at $5.00.

As for the necklace, that IS a steal. That pea-pickin' thing took me three hours, but I seriously doubt anybody would pay $528 for a piece that is basically costume jewelry (no semi-precious material was used so I can't classify it as "bridge").

I welcome and appreciate any and all input. If someone would kindly Stumble this post, I'd appreciate that, too, since I'd like to get input from a variety of sources. I'm too "shy" to Stumble my own post!

Oh, and has anybody else been glued to a financial news network these past few days? I think I'm happy to hear of the possibility of mutual funds being insured by the government, especially since the major insurer of securities has defaulted and is in the process of being bailed out only to get sliced up into a gazillion pieces.

No short sells for 30 days, that's interesting too. I was wishing I had some spare change yesterday when the market opened with a huge plunge. Not only did it end on an up note, it opened up and is currently soaring. Time to raise 6 flags over Wall Street!

Stumble It!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Proposed House Bill 568 of the 127th General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

Sec. 955.111. (A) Beginning ninety days after the effective date of this section, no person shall own, keep, or harbor a dog that belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog.

(B) Not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section, a person who owns, keeps, or harbors a pit bull dog on the effective date of this section shall surrender the dog to the dog warden. Not later than ten days after receiving the dog, the dog warden shall euthanize the dog.

(C)(1) Beginning ninety days after the effective date of this section, if an officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is a pit bull dog, the officer may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a search warrant. The court shall issue a search warrant for the purposes requested if there is probable cause to believe that a dog is a pit bull dog.

(2) After obtaining a search warrant, an officer shall seize the pit bull dog and surrender the dog to the dog warden. Not later than ten days after receiving the dog, the dog warden shall euthanize the dog.

(D) As used in this section, "officer" has the same meaning as in section 959.132 of the Revised Code.

Please ... no. Even if this doesn't pass, I am thankful I DO NOT live in Ohio, but I fear that Ohio's actions will set a precedent for other states to follow.

This is not a vicious dog. He's a much loved family pet. I contend he has a right to life as any living thing.

I know pit bulls have attacked and killed. I know some of the victims have been children. The fault lays in the human animal, not the canine. Any dog, ANY dog of any breed, that turns vicious should be humanely euthanized. Any human owner must accept responsibility for the actions of his/her pet and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If the law of the community and/or state doesn't have sharp enough teeth to punish the human, change it.

But to irrationally mandate the wholesale slaughter of pets because of the chance of their genetics is cruel and inhuman.

I've poked around the worldwide web on this subject. I read a portion of a forum of concerned parents who want to enact all sorts of Breed Specific Legislation against Pit Bulls because they believe they endanger children. But take a look at some real statistics.

What is the leading cause of death of children in America? Car accidents. So if you're advocating the slaughter of family pets, then ban the automobile. It's only logical.

I better stop now before I break my keyboard. I'm POUNDING here.

Stumble It!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back to Business

I need to remember why I'm doing this blog!

Handcrafted jewelry! Yeah, that's what this is all about. These earrings are made out of simple cream-colored "river rock" and brass-colored pewter. River Rock is what the supplier called the stone beads and it works for me. The price works for me too. These earrings will be listed on Etsy for $8. The ear wires are 14k gold-filled. I only use gold-filled or sterling for ear wires because, personally, my ears are bothered by plated and base metals. Because gold-fill has an actual layer of gold around the base, my ears have not had an allergic reaction. If anyone is concerned as to whether gold-fill will react in their sensitive ears, I'm always willing to send them an ear wire to test. I can also switch to solid gold ear wires at cost, which last time I checked was around $9 for one pair of 14k gold french wires.

This handcrafted necklace is all done! I wrote about it here a while back. Loading the rings with the cream-colored glass bugle beads and brass-colored daisy spacers was a time-consuming chore, but I like how it turned out. I've already taken this to some of my local networking meetings where it has attracted a LOT of attention. And the listing price is only $28 so that should attract a LOT of attention, too.

While fall and winter is coming upon us, I love offering what I call "the winter whites." Cream-colored stones and beads paired with gold or brassy metals exudes warmth and works with a lot of business attire for women. This necklace would look great with tweed tailored jackets in camel, cream, even some reds and blues. It's long enough to be doubled for a choker, or worn long to lengthen the torso, depending upon what the wearer's body type requires to look its best.

Here's the detail shot of the double beaded rings. Since most of my photos are prepared for listing on Etsy, they are rather large files. Blogger scales them down for posting on the blog page, but the photos are clickable if you'd like to see a nice, large version.

Sometimes I think the photos show too much detail! I often see flaws after taking the digital photos and detailing them in Photoshop ... flaws I don't catch when either working on the piece, or displaying them. I guess the digital camera sees more than our eyes do. One can let anything slip by. I've taken many a piece back to the design table to be reworked. There's another necklace that goes with this part of my line that had a design flaw I didn't catch until the photos were taken. It may not even be a true "flaw" because the necklace looks fine in person. But exposed to digital scrutiny, it doesn't look right and therefore it wouldn't likely sell.

Handcrafted jewelry! Yeah, those are the keywords. Eat 'em up spider 'bots.

Stumble It!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"This Town Needs an Enema!"

[Rant mode on]
After dropping off dear daughter at her middle school this morning, I headed home my usual route which takes me to the street on the backside of the school. This street has a driveway leading to the school, one used by the parents of 6th graders to drop them off at their special entrance.

Smack-dab in the middle of the entry to the driveway was someone's pet kitty cat, dead, run over. Not only run over, but flattened like a pancake. The only way a critter gets that flat upon being struck is if multiple people ran over the poor thing.

What on earth is WRONG with some people! I realize that accidents happen, I've had critter-related accidents myself although fortunately never involving someone's beloved pet. But even if this started as an accident, it appears to have ended in something more intentionally cruel.

Is it some sort of sadistic pleasure that people get from running over creatures? Is it a matter that they're not paying attention to the road?? Do people just not CARE about anything anymore? Imagine how upsetting the view has to be for some of the kids getting dropped off at school. I'm grateful my critter-loving daughter gets dropped off at the front entrance. Her day would have been spoiled by seeing the carnage.

The real scary thought is that those who've chosen to flatten the poor creature have reproduced.
[rant mode off]

Okay, that's off my chest. This morning serves to remind me why I don't let my cats explore the great outdoors.

On a much lighter note, I'll leave y'all with Roady on my neighbor's Jeep getting ready for some suburban surfing:

Stumble It!