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Sunday, February 8, 2015


Laura Bracken: This week we'll talk about how we do accounting and inventory (and stuff like that) for our business.

Tammy Adams: Accounting? Inventory? Why can't I just make jewelry? Oh, right. 'Cause I'm a "self-representing artist."

Laura Bracken: Excellent point, Tammy. There are a lot of artist who balk at having to do the “other” side of the business. I use an Access database file to keep track of what I make and as you can see from the sample photo, it's the same place where I record a sale.

Mandy Atkinson: I have a system that seems to work for me... I make a list as I work of what I am using to make each piece. This years pieces all start with the number 5 as it's my fifth year and I have a 'blank' list with this years numbers on my workbench that I complete as I finish each piece.

I then type this up onto a spreadsheet (just trying to convert it all to your system Laura). Then I have another excel spreadsheet for what you call 'inventory' and I call 'stock' but it's the jewellery I have for sale LOL. This has a worksheet for each year, a worksheet for 'sold items' and a worksheet for 'for sale items'. The 'sold' and 'for sale' are organised by B (for bracelets) then E (earrings), N (for necklaces) and R ((rings)

I update everything as and when I can, but always before and after a show... I take a printout of my 'for sale items' to every show

I also measure each piece of wire as I cut it (lol) and every gemstone bead has a price etc etc...

Nohline L'Ecuyer: I use Jewelry Designer Manager and I will show you. This is the page where each individual component is listed and I take a photo because I am a visual person.

So if my inventory is all hunky dory and up to date I can actually get a report that contains stuff like this screenshot. This helps at the end of the year to give you a total inventory value.

So then, when it comes to assembling a piece, I enter the item # and the quantity used and the computer spits out a price. I use a half sheet form that I use when creating that I list every item on, including an inch of wire, and it turns out like this.

Laura Bracken: Interesting. I notice no labor charge. Is that because you make enough profit with your mark up as is?

Nohline L'Ecuyer: Pretty much yes.

Laura Bracken: What if you made a piece that was very lost cost on materials but took a lot of time to make... do you change the formula then?

Nohline L'Ecuyer: Yes! I play it by ear. The program automatically calculates. So on the bottom right with the direct/whole price etc, I would just play around with that until I feel i have a fair price.

Tammy Adams: I have project sheets to track materials for each piece, an Excel file to calculate costs per item, and then I download the CSV file from my Etsy shop to get my sales data. I only sell via that shop; I don't do shows.

Barbara Swinton: I also use Jewelry Designer Manager for my pricing and inventory And like it a lot though I don't use nearly all the things it can do. It gives my accountant all the things he needs at year end. Tracking income and purchases is done with excel spreadsheets and it's just very straightforward. Although it all takes time, I can't think of any way to streamline it more.

Mary Rembach: I use Bead Manager Pro. Just started using it last year. Before that I used excel to keep track of everything. I really like the software. I am still keeping duplicate records (excel and Bead Manager) because I haven't added all my parts in yet. I had to add every part: bead, wire, etc. The great thing about Bead Manager Pro is it does the inventory for you. When you add a new piece it subtracts from your inventory and of course it has all the reports you need too.

Jen Smith Fletcher: The cost of materials I use is written on each bag/item when purchased. I jot down my expenses as I make an item in a pretty notebook and do my formula thing with a calculator to get to my price. Each item is listed on an Excell spreadsheet with a number to keep track of what the item is and if I have it in a gallery or shop. I use Peachtree [now called Sage50] and plug in all my receipts/sales for year end. I'm just used to that from my bookkeeping gigs.

Barbara Swinton: I started with JDM at the beginning of 2011. And yes, it took me four days to enter all my components into it! But that was a one time thing. Now, every time I buy components I enter them in - no exceptions. A supply purchase never takes me more than 15 minutes to log in, using the units I do...1 troy oz of 18 gHH SS wire at $25.00 and 145" (because after creating a piece I enter in how many inches of wire I used) and that's it. Inventory is more than the cost of finished pieces, especially for me because I'm always buying - it's the addiction thing. Inventory really affects the bottom line.

I think that the requirements are different if you are registered as a business with your state...or if you treat your craft as a hobby.

Mary Rembach: Yes Barbara Sadler Swinton- I'm not finished entering my parts inventory and I've been at it on and off (the older parts) for months. I too add each item as it's ordered and it's amazing the $ amount of inventory you have when you do this.

Tammy Adams: Now that Laura clarified "inventory" is finished pieces, I will clarify my answer. That excel spreadsheet I use to calculate prices is also my inventory tracker, of sorts. Each piece has an item number assigned using a very clever alphanumeric system based on what it is and when it was made. (E270115 would be earrings made today). When a piece sells, I highlight the row in a color.

Mandy Atkinson: LOL... I count all my gemstone beads on the strand as they arrive from the suppliers... such a pain especially when they are tiny and the strand has in excess of 150 beads! And when some of them turn out to be cracked, or the drill hole is 'skew whiff' so they have to be discarded from stock!

Nohline L'Ecuyer: Finished piece inventory - hmm - I dont't - it's made, the cost is set, it is out there.

Pavlina Stoyanova: I am accountant and typically use QuckBooks for everything else but my jewelry business. I like to keep everything in Excel spreadsheets. You can add as much formulas as you want for everything. If I buy a strand of stones, I have a column for the price per piece. For the wire - the price per inch, etc. Then dividing shipping per items and adding a portion to each piece/inch. And I use different colors to mark inventory which are about to finish or have to order.

Mandy Atkinson: Oh Pavlina! That's why I love excel! I divide shipping between the items on the order too!

Marybeth Rich: I use what used to be Outright but is now owned by Go Daddy for the money part of the accounting, it inputs everything from Etsy and paypal for me I just have to verify the way it is categorized. For the inventory of what I have created, I have an Excel spread sheet that keeps tabs of every finished item I have. Finally, for pricing, I use Laura's spreadsheet. Does anyone use Craftybase?

Laura Bracken: Marybeth, thank you for the reminder that I'm overhauling the pricing calculator (and all customers get the new version). I've never heard of Craftybase... what is it?

Marybeth Rich: Looking forward to it Laura! Craftybase is a way to keep inventory that is supposedly aimed at handmade artists. From what I understand, it keeps track of items for inventory, helps with pricing, maintains customer lists, component lists etc.

Laura Bracken: Gotcha. My system is that each component is labeled with its price so when I create something, I just enter the price for that item and the pricing calculator does the rest. But no, I don't have a system that automatically tells me when I'm running low on something. When I see for myself that I'm running low on something, I put that info on my white board. When it's time to order, I just turn around and look at my whiteboard and all the info's there.

And thus ended our discussion on inventory and accounting. Lots of different systems out there for the different ways we like to stay organized.

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