This is an example of how the market has changed. The first set of beads sold for nearly 10x the price that the second set sold for. Same basic beads, same glass, same beadmaker, same sales venue. Whatta ya gonna do?
Believe me, I don't want my work under-valued any more than the next person. I know how hard this work is, how many hours I spend in my hot studio in the relentless (almost endless) Florida summer with sweat running down my face, pouring water down my throat as fast as I can to make up the difference. I know how much time and effort and love I put into each bead I make and I know the cost and quality of the materials I use.
However, I also know that there's a jewelry designer out there somewhere who's struggling in this economy, too. And I understand that this is a partnership. She loves making jewelry as much as I love making beads but if she can't sell her designs, then she can't buy more beads. If she can't buy my beads, then I can't keep making them. Then we both end up in a cubicle somewhere, browsing Etsy on our lunchbreak, thinking to ourselves, "That used to be me." (I'm actually thinking, "I coulda been a contender" but that's a movie reference I'm not sure everyone is going to be able to recall and I don't want people thinking I'm all crazy and stuff.)
That's just not an option for me. I'd rather cut prices in half for now (and I have) to make this work than to go back to 9 to 5-ing it.
So, in order to keep this machine running until the economy rights itself, we're going to have to work together. Beadmakers need to keep prices fair and reasonable - without trying to undercut the competition - and designers need to hang in there and stick with high-quality artisan work instead of jumping ship for the cheap stuff, no matter how tempting it might be.I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this issue.