Monday, May 10, 2010

How Much Should I Pay for Chainmaille?

When I first wanted to learn chainmaille I went to the craft store and bought a $2 bag of jump rings and some $3 pliers and made a European 4 in 1 bracelet. I made a 7" long, 2" wide bracelet in half an hour. I thought it looked great, I planned on making more and selling them for $15. Then I started wearing it, first the bad closures scratched and kept opening. Then the cheap silver plate started wearing off and turning an ugly yellow color. So I started doing some research and talking to other maillers.

I learned about saw cut rings and good closures, my next European 4 in 1 bracelet took me about 3 hours to make, and the saw cut bright aluminum rings cost more than $2.  If I still charged $15 for this bracelet I'd be paying myself about $2 per hour. And after factoring in time for tumbling the bracelet to get any burrs off, re inspecting for good closures, time to take pictures, post the item online, packaging and shipping time and cost, plus transaction fees, well now I'm not really making anything.

So when you see a handmade chainmaille bracelet and want to know why it costs $60 ask the mailler how long it took to make and inspect the closures. If you read my last post you know how to tell a good closure from a bad. Chainmaille takes time to make, especially with good closures, and with anything handmade the time and skill of the artist is a large part of what you're paying for.

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