The car is all packed, and it’s almost time to head out to set up for tomorrow’s Etsy “Made In Canada” Kitchener market event! It would be great to see YOU there. Open 10am – 3pm at the Walper Hotel in lovely downtown Kitchener.
Tag Archives: etsy
I’d have to say that overall, 2012 was a good year for Colour and Light! This marks the first year since I started the business (in 2008) that my accounting spreadsheet has a BLACK number at the bottom of it. I’m pretty proud of that.
All of the sale events I was a part of were more successful than I’d anticipated, in some cases very much more so. I did many custom orders over the course of the year, particularly in the latter part. My Etsy sales were down from 2011, but I still sold a few items. I tried out the “variations” option on the molecule listings, and I think I will continue to do that in the future. It’s a great way to offer custom options on the geeky pieces that people love, and the customer pre-pays for the item, so I can create the requested product with the confidence that the buyer isn’t going to disappear on me when I list the finished piece.
My summer sojourn as a Bird Nerd certainly impacted my studio output. Not only was I not physically creating items (including soap…I had no soap to sell at all this year) but thanks to the general lack of internet access while I was away I also wasn’t doing any sort of marketing or promotion, even on a casual basis. I won’t be doing such a long absence this year, and I’m looking forward to being home (and in the studio!) for the summer in 2013. But my bird work is important to me, and I’m not ruling out doing something similar in future years.
Late in 2012 I finally managed to take my recycled bottle glassware to the next level by figuring out how to create a flame-polished rim. This was a particularly exciting development because it led to a deal with my favourite new local craft beer establishment in which I’ll be creating a large number of pint glasses from clear wine bottles, with the logo sandblasted on the side.
This is also great news because now that I can make a REALLY NICE product, I feel that I can charge more money for it! The previous price for my bottle glassware did not reflect the amount of time and work I put into each one, but I never thought I could ask for a higher price because the rims weren’t very nice. As a result, I never felt very enthusiastic about the recycled glassware, even though that is often the thing that draws the most customer interest at a sale event. Everyone seems to love it! And now I have a renewed excitement for that side of my business.
Now that the holiday season is over, I can take a moment and look ahead at 2013. In the immediate future, I have the bottle glassware project to keep me VERY busy, along with a couple of custom stained glass projects I need to finish up. I have the very important goal this year of getting further into the glass fusing. So far I’ve been using my kiln very heavily for creating wine bottle trays and (more recently) annealing the flame-polished bottle glasses. I also made a lot of simple fused glass star ornaments in the lead-up to Christmas. These are great, but I really want to dig deeper into the art of fusing and experiment with producing some nice fused pieces.
I was inspired today by a great sale price to pick up the double e-courses “Business by Design” and “Marketing for Makers” by Megan Auman, who produced the “Pricing for Profit” digital workshop that I found so helpful. I’m looking forward to working through these and hopefully learning some great things to help improve the business side of my business in 2013.
I’m pretty excited about what 2013 has in store for Colour and Light! I hope you’ll join me on this journey!
Oh my goodness, I have been so busy lately! Let’s see, what has happened since I got stuck on the Jiimaan?
The Central Art Walk was October 20 and 21st. I think it was pretty successful for me this year! I was a little worried about how things would go this year, for several reasons: I didn’t have soap to sell, I didn’t have nearly as much glass inventory on-hand as I would have liked, and the weather forecast for the weekend was looking rather threatening. But, I surpassed my sales total from 2011 despite all that, so thumbs-up! It’s always such a fun event, too. I love being able to open up my studio and actually work on stuff through the day as people come in.
Since then, I’ve been working super hard at getting ready for the next event, which is the Frederick Art Walk on Saturday November 10th. Once again I’ll be at 60 Chapel Street, which is location “G” on the tour. I would love to see you there!
Finally I want to share an Etsy-related thing. I’ve decided to try to use the new “variations” feature that they have introduced, so on my molecule pieces you can request different colours and solder finishes at checkout! Pretty cool. It means that I’ll have to create a custom piece to-order if the buyer chooses something other than what is actually listed, but hopefully I can manage to get the piece finished and shipped in a timely manner if someone buys something. We’ll see! Anyway, check out my science-geeky listings by clicking below!
I had such grand plans to get a lot of work done in the studio today, but I got completely derailed by thinking about money.
Yesterday, I downloaded a digital workshop entitled “Pricing for Profit” created by Megan Auman of Designing an MBA. It’s a great set of insights into pricing for anyone running a “making” sort of business. Part of the download is a set of worksheets designed to help you price your pieces.
I decided to work through it with one of my popular items first, a Caffeine molecule like this one, currently priced at $20 in my Etsy shop.
First step is materials. Easy enough. After lots of measuring, calculating, digging up receipts and estimating, I can tell you that one Caffeine piece costs me $11.55 in materials. (That is much higher than when I first estimated the material cost for this piece back in 2008. The prices of both solder and copper foil have increased significantly!) Second step is labour, which is also pretty straightforward. I estimate that one Caffeine piece takes me 1.6 hours to make (a clear improvement in my skills over a few years ago when I would spend nearly three hours making the same piece!!) How much should I pay myself per hour? Well, minimum wage in Ontario is currently set at $10.25/hr so let’s use that as a starting point, meaning the labour cost for one Caffeine is $16.19.
Add those two together, and you have $27.74, which is already significantly higher than my current retail price. But wait, there’s more!
The third item is overhead. Take all your monthly costs and divide that by the number of production hours you put in in one month. I obtained a ridiculously large number for this, but then I remembered that my business alone is not paying our mortgage or utilities etc (and thank goodness for that!!). So I took 10% of these monthly costs instead. I’m not sure how accurate my guess at the production hours is, because some months I work really hard and other months I hardly set foot in the studio, but it’s a good estimate I think. The final number for overhead cost per hour: $4.81. Multiply that by the 1.6 hours per Caffeine piece, and we’re at $7.70. Adding that to the $27.74 from earlier, and we’re up to $35.44.
Now we get to the sticky part, the PROFIT. The worksheets provide several different ways to calculate this, all of which involve knowing monthly profit goals and monthly sales goals, and I am terrible at making those sorts of estimates because of the seasonal nature of my business sales. I decided to put in my own calculcation method: take the materials + labour + overhead price, and add 10%. In the case of our Caffeine example, that adds another $3.54. So now the grand total is $38.98.
But wait, that’s the recommended WHOLESALE price. Double it to get the suggested retail price: $77.96.
Double wow! Nearly $80 for a little piece measuring 4″ wide.
I don’t even know what to say. Clearly that is too much. Let’s ignore the retail/wholesale thing and pretend that the $38.98 is the recommended retail price. Is THAT too much? Where do I cut back? Taking away the 10% profit brings us back to $35. That’s starting to get back into territory that feels more reasonable, but I’m losing out on profit: money that I could be investing back into my business. I could lower my hourly wage to reduce the labour cost, but then I am short-changing myself. Are my skills and artistic vision worth less than the skills needed to do the crappiest jobs? Maybe I could cut back on the overhead, take away the household expenses. I’m certainly not paying 10% of the mortgage with my business income right NOW, but I dream about being able to contribute something tangible to our household budget.
I need to work through this process with one of my larger, more “arty” pieces as well. It doesn’t feel quite as scary to command a higher price for something like that as opposed to the molecule pieces which almost feel like a novelty item.
So there you have it. Long story short: pricing is hard.
It’s the beginning of April, and that means preparation for Bloomin’ Earth is in full swing!
Bottle glasses! Candle chimneys! And a bunch of bottles still waiting to be cut or put into the kiln. Not shown: the stack of slumped wine bottle cheese trays that still need masking and sandblasting, and the huge pile of slumped bottle rings waiting to be made into…something. Wind chimes, probably! Oh, and the recycled bottle glass pendants.
I had a sale in my Etsy shop on Sunday, which was lovely, but resulted in my having no Dopamine molecule pieces left, so I added a couple of new ones to the queue. A red one and a purple one are now awaiting soldering, and hopefully I can get them listed by the end of this week. And I should really get cracking on a Resveratrol and a Capsaicin as well! And maybe a new Bacon suncatcher. I still have the original one I made, but rather than re-listing that one I will make a new one, because I’ve refined the design since creating the original Bacon piece. The new ones are much nicer!
While cutting the glass for the Dopamine pieces yesterday I realized that I have been subconsciously putting off starting a cool new project because I’ve been worried about being able to cut the glass properly. My glass cutter is dull and I desperately need to buy a replacement head for it. I will get on that soon and then I can start the neato project. I’m looking forward to it because I was inspired by an article in Glass Art magazine, so I’m planning to try some new techniques with the copper foil, and possibly incorporate some glass paint as well.
I also need to think ahead a bit, to start preparing for the trip to Pelee Island in June for the Total Recall event. I hope the weather cooperates for that one, because not only is it an outdoor event, I am hoping to be able to make some time to sneak into the top-secret forest location where I found the window frame I used in the Pelee Window, and salvage some more vintage buried glass bottles to use for Pelee-themed recycled bottle art.
And that’s just what’s going on in the studio!