What do we do?
The price of sterling silver is at an all-time high - (needless to say I can find no logical reason for this jump in price - have to admire greed, don't you?), and silver is a major component in the jewelry we produce.
Because of the high price of silver, it makes it very hard, if not impossible, to price our jewelry competitively. We cannot compete with the $5.00, inexpensively made, produced overseas buy/sell jewelry. And there are customers who do not want to pay for quality handmade jewelry, who will walk right past our booth being drawn in by the “sale” signs at other jewelry booths. I don’t want to discount the customers who come to craft fairs because they are looking to buy handmade jewelry – they are the ones who make it all worth it.
Sometimes it feels like a struggle to get us energized for a show. Even the ones that have juried us in seem to be allowing poor quality jewelry to be sold at booths all around us. Sitting home, creating jewelry, or watching NCIS reruns seems so much more emotionally rewarding. How sad is that?
The ethical business dilemma (you know this had to tie into the blog title somehow) for us becomes how do we price jewelry we have made using sterling silver we bought when it was less expensive to purchase? Now a gas station raises the prices at the pump the moment there's a rumor of an increase in the price of crude oil. If we followed suit, we could charge at current prices -- but do we want to base our business model after people we all consider to be gouging the consumer?
Do we figure the selling price based on current prices to offset the fewer sales we've been having because of the economy drop, and the competition from the buy/sellers?
Do we sell at prices based on what we paid in the past and make a real price jump on the pieces made with current priced silver? This creates another dilemma. If we use up the "stash" of sterling purchased before the price jump, to restock will be more difficult because we won't have made the money from our sales which is needed to replenish our sterling and will have to use less in our pieces - which will be difficult as we love the look of sterling silver with gemstones, freshwater pearls and Swarovski Crystal.
We don't have the answers - but am hoping some of you can offer suggestions, or get us all into a discussion of this.
Business ethics! Is that an oxymoron?