Pricing for Makers

A MAN'S GUIDE ON HOW TO.jpg

Yes, you knew it didn't you...that pricing your work was important...really important...like maybe the reason you stay in business or not...

commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed" Proverbs 16:3

Pricing your work as a maker can be one of the most frustrating tasks, and it is the most common issue I hear from you. How to do it? What to account for? Why does it always feel like I am giving my work away? 

I hear you, I have been there and I hope this post helps. Pricing is so imperative to your success because it puts a monetary value on your work, a value the rest of the "non-maker" world comprehends.

I am going to walk through the pricing model that I currently use and it has served me well. It is not rocket science but simply accounts for the different aspects of your product.

To view a PDF of this pricing model CLICK HERE

 Following is an example of the pricing model used on a sterling silver engraved ring.

STEP 1- You have to track your time and be very diligent about doing so...I'm serious you have to! Add all the time you have in the piece. For our example it is as follows:

25 min cut out / 15min file and prep to solder / 30 min solder / 30 min to cleanup and prep to engrave / 2 hours engrave //   

Total is 3.67 hours x $14.40 ($40/hr wage rate) = $52.80 (total time)

This total time is multiplied by the Wage Rate...what is this? It is the amount you want to get paid per hour multiplied by 0.6 twice, don't worry to much about why just decide your own wage per hour.

STEP 2- Take the total square inches of silver and multiply by how much it costs per square inch. For our ring we are using 16 gauge sterling silver that is $5.94 a sq/in. For 7.5 size ring that is 0.5" wide and 2.34" long the total material is:

2.34" X 0.5" = 1.17 sq/in X $5.94 = $6.94 (total material) 

Add your Total Material and Total Time together to get $52.80 + $6.94 = $59.74 (total cost)

STEP 3- Figure out your Fixed Costs, these are the cost related to your business that keep it functioning such as electricity, internet, website hosting, etc. I take the total and divide by about how many orders per month I do. So for our example we are going to say this is $60 of fixed costs. 

 STEP 4- Take your total cost and divide by 0.6 once, than again.

$59.74/ 0.6 = $99.56  + $60 (fixed costs) = $159.56  This is your WHOLESALE PRICE

$99.56 (wholesale from above) / 0.6 = $165.93 + $60 (fixed) = $225.93 This is your RETAIL PRICE

At this point I take a look at my price and ask my self how it sounds. For me I would sell this ring at $235.  Its good to work the numbers and then take a logical look at the end to see what can be changed. The reason you add in fixed costs at the end, after your have divided your prices, is to account for them but not charge your customer a mark up on them. 

Bottom line is no one will value your work unless you do. Please give this a try and let me know what worked and what you think needs tweaking. Thanks! 

 

Sleep...its about more than just your pillow!

I don’t think the “simple” things in life are talked about enough. The simple things like sleep, water, exercise, and nutrition! These things are the building blocks to our wellbeing and significantly influence every aspect of our day, so why are they treated with such little weight?  

Health is an all encompassing choice, it is not solely dependent on whether you had a kale salad for lunch. With proper sleep, you are more apt to make healthier food choices, actually lace up your shoes and go for that run which causes you to feel so good about yourself that you walk into the shop with confidence and positive vibes. This week we are going to chat a little about sleep, my favorite! Ask anyone Nevada is a pro at sleep!

I understand that some people (my father and brother for example) can thrive off of little sleep, but they aren’t the vast majority! Most of us “humans” need sleep and lots of it. I know you are all smart and have heard this a thousand times, so get some dang sleep people! However, sleep is not a lightswitch action. You don’t just say, "ok brain stop thinking of the thousands of things to do and go to bed…now”, thats not reality. So to achieve the sleep your body needs you need to look at the routines set up around bed time. Little kiddos are walked through a routine that gets them ready for bed that shockingly, includes comforting things like a bath and reading an actual book! Madness! Seriously though take a look at your hour before bedtime, what activities are you rushing through, which are you savoring? 

My night routine doesn’t always look exactly like this but I can tell the difference in my mind and body when it does. I begin signaling to my brain that is is time to wind down with some candles and lowering the lights. If you want to learn more about why these things are so important check out The Little Book of Hygge, Danish Secrets to Happy Living. A healthy snack like greek yogurt (plain) with some fruit and nut butter tides me over so my body has something to munch on while I sleep. A warm cup of  tea and reading are also a must! I try my best to not look at my phone for at least an hour before bed. The light it gives off impairs your bodies ability to produce serotonin and if your looking at social media you will usually start thinking about things that don’t concern you. Then bedtime with a smile and a prayer. 

So I challenge you this week to put down the phone, tablet, etc at least an hour before bed and just take note of how you feel. If you hate it let me know, and if you find you’re actually relaxed and content in your present moment, let me know! 

Always Learning

Adopt the mindset that you are always learning; and may I suggest adopt it early. Holding the view that “I am always learning” is far removed from the view that I will never be an expert at something. It instead replaces possible haughtiness with humble success. We are not the end all to a process, people are thinking of new ways to accomplish the same goal all the time! 

Learn from both those just staring out and industry leaders. People who may just be starting out in a trade will pose questions about foundational aspects of which you could stand to revisit. This “revisiting” could unlock a new way of accomplishing that goal in a more efficient timeframe. Do not get so far advanced that you become unwilling to help those around you. Be humble. Be relatable.

Figure out how you learn best- whether that be in a group, individually, or by yourself. Once your ideal learning environment is found you can focus on finding classes that meet those parameters, maximizing your learning. For instance, if your not someone who gathers any excitement from groups or networking a large seminar will probably stress you out more than it will help! For myself,  I love being around people but I am an introvert. I gain energy when there is quiet and I can think. A happy medium is what I strive to find.

Lastly don’t feel pressured to learn from those that everyone says you have to! If the person who is recommended by many people just doesn’t inspire you or create things that speak to you, don’t feel pressure to make them a teacher. I have been around some extremely talented people who are highly respected in this industry and while their work is gorgeous and their creative process works for them, I personally am just not drawn to it. So learn from those YOU love and don’t worry about it! 

I challenge you to pick one way you can invest in your learning and commit to it this year. I will be taking a class this July focusing on fabrication and layout skills, two things I DEFINITELY need to learn more about! 

“I’m not where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be”~Joyce Meyer

Till next time, stay positive!

 

Comparison: Stages

It can be so easy when you are just beginning a new trade, job, business etc to compare yourself to all those who just seem to have their gosh dang stuff together. You don’t see the months, years, and even decades of work put in to get there. 

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else middle.” 

The reason, I think, the quote said middle and not end is because we should never stop learning. We should never come to a place that learning is beneath us and we brush away potential growth. You may be many stages ahead of someone but the opportunity to learn from that individual is open, and their way could be a better way of doing things! Its a cycle of learning, teaching, and relearning.

Stages are natural in any trade. Stages of struggle. Stages of, “why the heck did I think I could do this”? Stages of, “wow I actually did this”! It is easy to look at my father, Jeremiah Watt’s, work and forget that he once struggled with drawing scrolls to fit a piece or to sharpen gravers and control depth of cuts. Am I saying he is perfect now, no, but his frequency of mishaps has gone down for sure. Stages can make you feel alienated from other makers because of your self perceived level of skill. When you are in a new stage and things are harder it is way easier to focus on all that which you do not know.

Try and find others in all stages. Those which you can aspire to, those you could help in some way, and those who just get the stage you are in. I have heard it said that you know something best when you can explain is simply, and that is TRUTH! Seek out ways you could practice teaching it will highlight both the areas you have mastered and those that need work. Feedback from those you could help is sometimes even more valuable because they ask questions people in a stage ahead may not ask. Also find those you could learn from and make connections. You're not as far away from those individuals as you may think. A simple message or email could create a pathway to a relationship. Be brave and try it! Intentionally seek out those who are in same stage to provide a support group as you grow. They will understand the struggles and maybe have a great idea of how to move past the obstacles! 

So remember when you find yourself inkling towards comparison, we are all at different stages and we can all learn from someone! 

Till next time, stay positive! 

 Kailey of K Bar C Leather is just fantastic!! Her way of popping in color is gorgeous! Check her out by clicking on the picture and following her at @k.bar.c.leatherco

Kailey of K Bar C Leather is just fantastic!! Her way of popping in color is gorgeous! Check her out by clicking on the picture and following her at @k.bar.c.leatherco


 Cate of Havstad Hat Co is pretty much the coolest...traveling around in an airstream building bada**  hats is why! Check out her work by clicking on the pic and follow her at @havstadhatco!

Cate of Havstad Hat Co is pretty much the coolest...traveling around in an airstream building bada**  hats is why! Check out her work by clicking on the pic and follow her at @havstadhatco!


 Amy Raymond does it all!! She is a mom, rancher, and kick butt silversmith! Maybe i'm Oregon biased! Follow her on Facebook at Raymond Silver and Instagram @amy_raymond

Amy Raymond does it all!! She is a mom, rancher, and kick butt silversmith! Maybe i'm Oregon biased! Follow her on Facebook at Raymond Silver and Instagram @amy_raymond

Comparison: It Happens

Comparison between makers; it happens. I would love to sit here and tell you I have never compared myself to other makers or felt bad about the level of my craft, but I can’t because that wouldn’t be the truth. Comparison happens but the lessons we learn and the frequency of the comparison is what we can work on.

Knowing your own comparison triggers is huge! For myself I find limiting my consumption of Social Media really helps my "comparison bug”, especially when I’m in a vulnerable state already. Now I’m not saying social media is bad, on the contrary,  I believe it is imperative to business in a social age. However it does not get to control my emotions and flow of my day.  Just as in our thoughts, the more we compare the deeper the Grand Canyon becomes which causes us to more easily compare the next time. So here are a few ways we could reframe comparison.

Recognize that we are all a part of a bigger goal! I am a Western maker carrying on traditions with my style and guess what, so is the one you’re comparing yourself to! Without a large group of unique makers carrying on the western traditions, we would have no one to aspire to or draw inspiration from. Try saying out loud to yourself when you are feeling jealousy rise up, "I appreciate the work they are doing and how they incorporate their unique style into tradition". The truest you can be to your own creativity is simply making things you are passionate about.Create not based on trends but what you feel will showcase your style in the best way! 

I challenge you to ask yourself when you feel comparison what it is about the piece you wish to emulate? Then try it! Inspiration is fantastic then go put your own spin on it!  

Here are a few artists/makers that I so look up to!!

 This Lady is just simply amazing!! Amanda from HD West Leather is known for her southwestern/cowgirl style painting on leather! Go check her work out on Instagram and her website www.hd-west.com

This Lady is just simply amazing!! Amanda from HD West Leather is known for her southwestern/cowgirl style painting on leather! Go check her work out on Instagram and her website www.hd-west.com

 Don't you want to rock these this summer?!! Christian Hitzelberger has such a creative take on silverwork and I espicially love his numerous overlays! Check his work out! https://www.facebook.com/christiansilverco/

Don't you want to rock these this summer?!! Christian Hitzelberger has such a creative take on silverwork and I espicially love his numerous overlays! Check his work out! https://www.facebook.com/christiansilverco/

 Tayte McRae's ability to draw and engrave both floral and real life animals/humans is something I admire for sure!! He is such a artist and not just in silver!! If you want the best Canadian maker its this guy! http://taytemcraesilver.wixsite.com/mcraesilver

Tayte McRae's ability to draw and engrave both floral and real life animals/humans is something I admire for sure!! He is such a artist and not just in silver!! If you want the best Canadian maker its this guy! http://taytemcraesilver.wixsite.com/mcraesilver

In the following few weeks Ill be talking more about comparison and also highlighting artists that inspire me and I love their creations! 

Don't Let a Grand Canyon Form

Stay with me for just a bit and the title will make a lot more sense. I am pulling all the metaphors for this one!! 

Think of negative pathways forming a Grand Canyon in your brain. Water is a powerful force creating huge chasms in short time. Like a flash flood, negative emotions and thoughts can completely take control of your brain. If you are standing in the bottom of the Grand Canyon its pretty hard to see out of, right? In fact it kinda becomes the only thing you can see, just an ongoing trench surrounded and overwhelmed by high walls. Thats exactly how negativity is! It becomes the only thing we can focus on and it is dang hard to climb out of. 

However, positivity can create a floodplain in your brain. Floodplains are created by the breaking down of the river banks and eventually spilling over and flooding adjacent land. This water than flows over and saturates the land. And this is how positivity is! It can chip away at our negative chasms and eventually flood our entire lives.

Also when we are in the canyon we probably don’t even consider all the other canyons surrounding us that people have created in their own brains. I bet they would like to hear about the floodplain and how they could just get out of that darn canyon! 

So let positivity seep. Let it seep into your inner talk and love for yourself. Let it seep into your relationships with your family. Let it seep into your romantic relationships. Negativity can control your brain, IF YOU LET IT! It can become a Grand Canyon, IF YOU LET IT! But Christ gave us the choice and I think God views the glass as not half full but perpetually overflowing! 

Pathways: On the Narrow Side

You don’t have to think every thought that comes into your brain….what?!? Crazy, mind blown!

A pretty awesome lady of God, Joyce Myer phased this simple yet poignant statement. The reality of this world is quite hectic, daily bombarding our bubble with stuff, more often than not negative stuff. However, creating positive pathways trains our brain to seek out and be aware of more positivity.

The brain seeks coherence and unity in thought. Its how it makes sense of the world and keeps you from spinning like a perpetual top. So when we have programed our brain to see negative we are deepening that pathway. Think of a cow trail, the first time a cow finds a better way to water it might be difficult because there is no trail, but repeated use turn that single track into a highway of sorts. Over time I bet that cow barely has to think about finding a trail but unconsciously follows whats there. Stop and think about this for a second. If we are allowing others to dictate our emotional state we are unconsciously following trails they have created leading to a destination we do not desire.

I am responsible for me, another great reminder from Joyce Myer. We have all experienced waking up in a good mood but to have it “ruined” by another individuals emotional state. Or this silly scenario... getting mad at other peoples joy when you just want them to be grumpy with us. Isn’t that crazy! Just the other morning I was feeling this and had to realize my choice to think positively. Simply speaking positive aspects of my life out loud helped me wrangler in my mood and turn the preverbal frown upside down. In the past I have used “being overly conscious” of peoples emotions as a crutch and excuse. I have thought, “Oh I am just such a feeler that I need to feel that person's emotions and put them above my own”, no ma’am not a good idea! I can love others and feel for them without letting their path dictate my steps.

I believe that Christ came, died, and rose again because we are a broken world that needs saving. And because we are born into sin we have pre-paved pathways of negativity. This could just be my opinion but I believe that the devil wants us to be in constant angst and negativity; whereas God is a God of light, joy, and triumph. So choosing to be positive is choosing the narrow path, which God tells us will be hard. Negativity and blame come natural but the conscious effort to be responsible for my own joy is difficult. With time and a whole lot of Jesus we can see more and more positivity in the world. 

My challenge or call to action for you this week is to get your walking shoes strapped on and have a clear direction in mind, irregardless is a path is present. For me, I am going to try and visualize success in my shop before I even light the torch to solder or pick up that graver. Maybe for you its not giving in to the gossip while sipping coffee or during a dinner date smiling instead of bringing up past wrongs.

I’ll leave you with this, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past” Isaiah 43:18. Have a great week and create your own paths! 

Create a Positive Floodplain: Law of Attraction

Bills piling up, things you want nagging at your mind and all you can think is ,"man I wish I had more money", "I want more"! If I just had more I would be happy. What seems to happen though is the more the focus is on the WANT the more you WANT.

Ahh, the Law of Attraction at work. A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast, The Lively Show with Jess Lively, and she was talking about the Law of Attraction. It caught my attention. At first it seemed a little too “voodoo magic” for my taste but she led into an interesting way of thinking. A lot of people when they think about the Law of Attraction they picture money, relationships, stuff just magically floating in and they associate the feeling of joy with the acquisition of said items. The way that Jess presented it made a lot more sense to me. In short, want leads to more want.

Being a “baby” business owner and really learning things as I go can be tough financially, at times, and I have caught my self in the "discontentment trap" focusing on all I don't have. I am not saying that you should never work towards something you desire, rather I am saying that the feelings that you are associating with the acquisition aspect can be felt in the present moment. If I step back and say man, I have food to eat, a house to sleep in, clothes, gorgeous location etc.  Holy Cow, I have so much and can feel pure joy without it hinging on more STUFF. Maybe this was just a reality check for myself, but I think it was a necessary one. 

Focusing on all you have and contentment can be a challenge and must be practiced daily. I used to really dislike that word “contentment” because I interpreted it as never having more or just settling. I don’t see it that way anymore. Contentment is the realization of how blessed you are and being happy with what you come upon as it comes, but not hinging your joy on the getting aspect. 

I would challenge you to try this...first begin with woking on your own mind. Write out three things you are grateful for in the morning and three amazing things that happened that day at night. Bonus, if you want to infuse your relationships with positivity, instead of flooding the other person with negative things that happened simply ask, "what one great thing happened today?". It really has helped my emotional steadiness and I hope you would find the same! 

Over the next few weeks I am going to talk more about positive thought patterns, why its important, and what the heck I mean about a positive floodplain so stay tuned. And smile, you are so loved! 

Thanks for reading, leave a comment with your thoughts!

Filling the Cracks

Thud, thud, thud my feet fell on the hot ground as I continued, one stride at a time, down the ~8 mile descent. I looked like living tomato and felt like a roasted one! It was in the upper 90’s at about 1:30pm with little to no wind. I kept repeating, “He can do it, that means I can”. 

There was no one pushing me, no coach telling me to dig deeper, no wings on my shoes that made me fly (that would have been awesome though). It was just me and the constant thud of my feet. Interjection- I say “thud" because I'm just not a graceful butterfly and thats really how my feet sound, I have a solid stance you could say! During the 32 mile Bighorn Trail run I had to tap into the mental strength in order to finish. I believe that we should do the physically challenging things for the mental benefit. I had heard from a lot of people the last half is just mental, its all in your head. So when I was feeling quite pewneuy I thought alright its all in my head, hence my mantra “He can do it, that means I can” (He- being my savior Jesus Christ, he kinda created the whole world, kinda a big deal). I think that sometimes our minds forget what we are capable of and a good, tough physical challenge will jolt you back into the mindset of I can do more

Our body’s, if you think about it, are just carriers for our mind so why not make your ride a lamborgini? Why not do your best to keep the body healthy for your minds sake? Everyone has there own definition of challenge and physical activities they prefer, but choose something. Pick a feat that is both challenging and interesting to you! Probably not the best idea to set the goal of Everest in a month if you’ve never walked a mile. Be realistic but aim higher than the couch. For myself, hand eye coordination is not really happening so I choose running. I consider it exploring because, you can run anywhere and see some country you never would otherwise. 

Give yourself grace too. Earlier this year my brother Pine and I attempted to summit Pico de Orizaba in Puebla, Mexico. It is the highest hike-able volcano on the North American continent, us Watt’s are not mountain climbers. We didn’t summit due to the wind scaring the living daylights out of me, but I still walked away with something; an experience that took most of my physical and pretty much all my mental strength to make it up and down safely. Pine and I had to stay strong mentally to encourage each other, make sure each one of us was not experiencing altitude sickness, and well to climb through the darkness with ice picks and freezing toes. So we didn’t reach the summit, but perfection wasn’t our goal, doing something was. I love the line from Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, “Perfection is the enemy of done”.

There you have it, my deep thoughts during a 7 hour of fast/run/hike on a Saturday in the sunny mountains of Wyoming. Challenge yourself physically and reap the mental rewards. Give yourself some grace remembering, perfection is just not gonna happen. “Theres a crack in everything, thats how the light gets in”-Leonard Cohen. Leave room for the big guy in the sky to fill those cracks. 

Lighten Up


I am a creative. 
For most who are reading you probably hear creative and think I dance around and analyze stars while growing fully organic vegetables and raise my own goats…nope.
I am a daughter of a saddle/bit and spur maker and I grew up in the western lifestyle. Something about the western mindset might see calling myself a creative strange, but I embrace it because is not fabricating a buckle, out of what, a flat piece of silver, creating? So there you go, I am a 22 year old silversmith/engraver boss. 
The name of this blog comes from my name Nevada Watt(what?) get it…if you don’t go back read it again (and maybe put on your glasses), I have faith in your intellect and sense of humor. Anyhow, I was raised by the best people in the world and they taught me that it's ok, no- rather, it's totally acceptable to push the boundaries of traditions and find new ways to breathe life into them. Following are just a few thoughts that bounce around in this blonde's head, maybe you’ll find these thoughts have entered your mind too. 
I heard about this book called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert from a completely amazing podcast, Being Boss (www.beingboss.club), so I picked it up and heck ya it's really opened my mind to some thoughts. All I have to say is drive to your nearest seller of trees with words on them and buy it! 
Guilty, guilty I am of battering myself and overanalyzing every piece of my work, constantly striving for perfection while not praising myself when I do do something grand. I am not alone in having treated my work as my baby, my sweat, tears, and blood…yikes! Have you ever stopped to think about how weird that sounds? Hear I am working away in my shop building a silver buckle and am so caught up in every minute detail, worrying about the outcome like I believe the world is revolving around its' completion.
Just a little test if you don’t believe me: I bet if I completely ruined the piece or if the piece never was in existence the world would continue spinning in its natural orbit completely unaware of my troubles, that seem so huge. About a year ago I was building a silver espresso cup and having hell, excuse my French! The solder joints just wouldn’t play nice, the angles had to be so technical for my very untechnical mind and I will be honest I really didn’t love the process!
I cried, a lot.
Yep...big, hot tears.
Finally, with the help of many friends it was completed. Guess what, from the moment it was done I really didn’t think about it again. It just seemed to go away and I moved on to the next project. This begs the question, "Why do I make myself into a martyr? Why do I act as though I am enslaved to the work and must go about in an unjoyful way?"
It's sort of insane, right!
But I believe a lot of makers in the western industry treat their work this way. Let's make a change, shall we?!
Let's think positivity over the work and truly believe it loves us back (go ahead and judge me for saying that if you want, but try it). 
Another mind provoking tidbit from Gilbert’s book…the thought of passion versus curiosity.
I had to seriously check myself on this one! I have been using the word passion as a cop out. I’ll say to people, "Oh, I just didn’t feel passionate about that.” and you know what, it stops them from asking any more questions. It somehow turns whatever I was saying into a noble decision made from the heart. Sure sometimes that may be true, but a lot of times...no.
I’ve also had a hard time in playing the game of, "You must only have one passion and it must consume you whole heartedly."
Ya, I’m just not that kind of person. Not saying anything against those that are, it's just not me. I have strong passion at times and then other times it's like it up and went on a walk - about in the middle of God knows where!
I love how Gilbert said be curious and follow the things you are interested in while being completely open to the fact it may lead to passion, it may not. Don’t be afraid of interesting. Heaven forbid you widen your horizons and gosh, you might find something else you love. I really took hold of this thought because I can’t stand to only do one thing.
I have to try other things even if its just for a season or a day! 
Your work is not a human life that causes the earth to fall off its axis. It's OK if your passion goes on a walk about....just be curious about other things while it's gone.
Embrace the interesting.
And for goodness sake, lighten up and take joy in what you do.