Let's Get Creative: Silver Body Chain (Parsons x Teen Vogue)

Friday, February 24, 2017

           I have been inspired recently to take on more DIY projects, which is why I am starting a new segment on my blog, "Let's Get Creative," where I will be sharing a few of my latest creations.  I have already shared a few pieces here and there on my blog- like the heart embellished tulle skirt (Fluttering Hearts), the crystal drop earrings (Suny Side), and the re-designed tulle flared pants in my latest outfit post, (Tulle Flares).  For one of my projects for the Parsons x Teen Vogue Certificate Program, I created this body chain out of . . . drum roll, please . . . clothespins.  Yes, you heard correctly, clothespins.  I linked the metal parts of the clothespins together using jewelry pliers.  Who knew clothespins could be so chic?  

       For a different assignment, I had to calculate how much it would actually cost to produce it.  I constructed a chart detailing the cost of each material I used to create this metallic accessory, as you can see above.  This exact body chain cost me $38 to produce (after taking into consideration the cost of material and labor with  20% profit), and the retail price would be about $50.  I asked my family and friends how much they would purchase it for and they responded with prices ranging from $35-$80.  Also, I researched the prices of body chains online and they ranged from $2-250.  Therefore, I decided to price the body chain for $50.

        If I were to mass produce this body chain or sell more than the one I made, I wanted to challenge myself to increase the profit margin by looking at wholesale online stores.  Since the "Diamond" brand clothespins were the most expensive material I used, I found School Smart clothespins that were comparable to the clothespins I used at a fraction of the price, and sold in a higher quantity!  Another material I used were sterling silver jump rings.  I recently purchased them at a jewelry trade show at a wholesale price, so I decided to keep them the same for my second body chain.  As for the 25mm silver ring, it was part of a necklace that I no longer wanted, so I listed it as about $0.75 for my first body chain and I couldn't find a similar item online, so I decided to swap it out for a 16mm sterling silver jump ring that I found online.  This jump ring is sold at Fire Mountain Gems for $6.07 when purchased in bulk (100+).  Although they were on the pricier side, they were the least expensive ones I could find in a size that would work for the body chain.  Since I found the clothespins at a lower price point, I decided it was perfectly alright to choose these jump rings for my second body chain, as my new profit would be $31.58, which is $19.58 more than the profit of my first body chain!  
        However, if I were to sell this body chain, I would have to think about size and possibly change the retail price.  For example, if I were to sell this on Etsy, I could alter the price for a different size because these would be custom made to order based on the customer's neck and waist measurements.  On the other hand, if I were mass producing this item, I would either add adjustable extender links or create body chains in various sizes to accommodate customers of different body shapes.  By doing this, I would have to increase the material cost and retail price for the added clothespin links.  Then, I would be able to charge the same price for all sizes.   
        This assignment opened my eyes to the process of how designers and companies price their items and changed my thought process when purchasing materials for an item I hope to sell.  It might take longer to do research online, but looking for materials that fit both your design and your budget is crucial.  If I had only ordered the clothespins online instead of purchasing them from a store, I would have saved a lot of money on this project.  Also, I learned that sometimes you have to alter your design if the materials you are looking for are not on the market, like the silver ring.  I love the way it looks on my original body chain, but I wouldn't want to have that piece custom made because it would be more costly and would, therefore, bring my profit margin back down.  By opting for the pre-made jump rings, I may have altered my design to save money, but I didn't sacrifice my vision.  
       I hope you all liked my creation!  I cannot wait to style this body chain in an upcoming outfit post, so stay tuned for that!  Until then, stay creative, fashionistas!  And as always, I am sending you lots of love from my heart to yours!                

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