At What Price?

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Wendy Brandes breaks down a custom piece, fee by fee


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in an occasional series focusing on how custom designers price their work to ensure they remain competitive, cover all costs, and (of course) make a profit. Here’s how Wendy Brandes of Wendy Brandes Fine Jewelry in New York City arrived at the final charge to transform a customer’s old engagement ring into a set of three “perma-stacked” stacking rings.

Design: The customer was originally going to resize her old engagement ring, but after reading my blog, she was inspired to go for a new look instead—something that was more of a statement piece. She sent me photos of her original ring and photos of a custom stacking-ring-style engagement ring redesign that I’d done for another customer and that she particularly liked. Based on our conversations, I designed a set of three rings that are permanently attached by a fine wire. Although I created both a hand-drawn sketch and a CAD rendering for the client to approve, since the design wasn’t an intricate one, I didn’t charge a separate design fee. Total Fee: $0.