Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sterling Silver Chains Buying Decision Making

There are many things to consider when buying sterling silver chains , or any chains for that matter: unit cost, estimated possible uses, conduciveness to either short or long designs, my total budget, where we are in the season sales cycle, ease of reorder.

Unit cost of the Sterling Silver Chain

This is pretty basic. If the sterling silver chain is inexpensive, I can afford to buy more. Chances are, shipping or travel cost to get more will cost more than the sterling silver chain itself. I buy more just in case. If it is more expensive, then I defer the decision to other considerations.

Estimated Possible Uses

The more possible designs you can think of on the spot for the sterling silver chain , the more you should buy. However, as we all know, design ideas come to you after you've worked with bits of it. Sometimes ideas evolve. Some people say they can create designs in their head and then go back to buy the component. This ability, if it really exists to the extent some give themselves credit for, is rare. Most designers, like me, are tactile. They need to handle the sterling silver chain , and even link it up in different places. There is no perfect estimate. You don't want to go overboard, but there are some guidelines. If it is a staple like a sterling silver cable extension chain , you know you’ll use it up. Buy more. If the sterling silver chain can be used for obviously many things, like the sterling silver beading chain , buy more. If thesterling silver chain is more expensive, but you think you can cut it into sections for earrings, blend with cheaper chain for something long, works well as bracelet, like the hammered link buy more. You should always estimate your possible uses and then multiply with some rule of thumb, which I'll share later.

Short Chain or Long Chain

If the sterling silver chain looks like it would best be, or can be, used for a long necklace, I always buy more. One metre of sterling silver chain will just be long enough for one long necklace. There are some sterling silver chains that are obvious candidates for long designs such as this long oval sterling silver chain. Others aren't as obvious. If the sterling silver chain selection is in the grey area, buy slightly more you would otherwise.

Total Budget Considerations

I always have to think about this, though I don't always follow it when I am at a show or if I find some very exciting things. However, if I'm tight on budget, I defer this to the following two considerations below.

Position in the Season Sales Cycle

If it is at the beginning, I use up my budget on variety, but keeping in mind the number of samples and designs I will need to make. Also, I have to see if I am willing to take reorders for my work, and the lead time. So, if you have sale representatives or are sending samples out to boutiques, you will have to see how many simultaneous sets you need at the beginning of the season. If the lead time is small, you have to take into consideration of possible orders and accommodate. At the beginning of the season, buy more to accommodate the above and also note what possible designs you can make left over sterling silver chains into if your initial designs don't fly off the shelves. If it is at the end of the cycle and you are just filling in orders, buy less, keeping in mind how fast your delivery needs to be for your customers and from suppliers. If it is short for customers, but your supplier is far away or has a long lead time, you will have to buy more and hold stock.

Ease of Reorder


I always ask the supplier if they are carrying certain components forward. If yes, I can buy less. If no, or it is a close-out item, I buy a lot more, or will buy everything and if the quantity is high, I will see if I can get further discount if I buy everything. If you like something and it is being discontinued, you can shift your budget a little. The item can be used later. If it is being carried forward by the supplier, but they are far, hold more stock. Again, sometimes shipping is more costly than the merchandise.

Some Rules of Thumb

There are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Short necklaces are about 18" (can make 2/m of chain), bracelets are about 7", long necklaces that you can wrap 2x around the neck are at least 34", if you want to wrap 3x you need min of 44"

  • If you’re a small designer, remember you need to make and wear pieces yourself. Some customers don’t like to buy items worn by someone else, or you might become attached to it. Always buy enough for make, at the very least, 2 sets.

  • A good designer knows colour variations are a great way to increase sales. Ideal colour selection is 3 to 4 colours. This is usually the case for clothing designers.

  • I bought components for samples in 6's when I was a smaller designer. This gives you 3 pairs of earrings or 2 complete necklace and earring sets. I’ve graduated to 48's when I started doing other colours. For single colour items, I buy 24 if the lead time is less than 3 weeks for delivery to my customers. For chains, I buy expensive samples in 5 metres, and inexpensive in 10 metres. If it is less than $5/m, much cheaper just to do 25m spools.

  • For items that go to my sales representatives, I take the above and multiply each by 1.5.

  • 1 comment:

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