I was working last week with a jewelry designer last week who was consulting with me about how to get her business working for her. First of all , I liked the question. I totally believe that the reason we have a business at all is so that it will accomplish something for us. Then we talked about the business of designing and selling jewelry. We talked about how to gather costs of production- both labor and material and how to use those costs as the basis for setting prices. What she has to keep in mind is how she will distribute her jewelry. She can sell directly to the end user/consumer and she can also sell through stores and other outlets.
In either case, she needs to set the right price. So, she needs to work against her ultimate retail price. She wants to make sure that when she sells direct to the consumer she sells at or near the same price as the stores that carry her line will sell. So to set her prices she must both know her costs and the retail prices her pieces will command. Then she can plan production based on estimates of how many pieces she can sell at wholesale and at retail and plan her production and her financial commitments accordingly.
Costing and pricing and planning are all part of the business mind set that successful artists and artisans cultivate. Know the cost, know your end market and plan your production to meet financial goals.