Teaching Chain Maille Advice, please
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Joined: April 08, 2010
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Teaching Chain Maille Advice, please
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Posted on Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:52 pm
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Hi Everyone, I am working with the local beadstore to teach my first chainmaille class and I need advice from those of you who teach classes. I'm not sure how the bead store owner and I should split the class fees and supplies, etc. In my area, most chain maille classes go for about $25-$30 for a 2 hour class. Supplies are extra if sterling is used. If using aluminum rings, some classes include the supply fees.

I should mention that at the time, this bead store does not sell rings.

Can you guys please give me advice on how I should charge for my classes? I'm totally new at this and would like to learn from those of you who teach chain maille.

Thank you so much.
Marie715

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Posted on Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:44 pm
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I'll see if I can get someone to move this to Knitting Circle. You would get more answers there.


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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:27 am
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lorraine wrote:
I'll see if I can get someone to move this to Knitting Circle. You would get more answers there.


Thanks, lorraine. This is my first time posting at mailleartisans.org. I'll copy my post into the Knitting circle.

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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:28 am
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marie715 wrote:
lorraine wrote:
I'll see if I can get someone to move this to Knitting Circle. You would get more answers there.


Thanks, lorraine. This is my first time posting at mailleartisans.org. I'll copy my post into the Knitting circle.
Oh, sorry, it is already here. Thank you.

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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:52 am
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I think it would be a good idea to split the cost of class and supplies. That way when your students sign up they can request what material their project is made out of. An example would be class cost is $20, + $5 for BA; +$7 for copper, brass, or bronze; +$10 for SS; +$? for silver.

Because I do not know where you live and where you get your rings or if you make them. I would have the class sign ups halted a week or two in advance that way you can order or make enough rings for the students.

Teach basics technique and show variations of that technique, example would be teaching them J 6in1/12in2, and some them a variations of hodo or stepping stones.

Something else to keep in mind does the shop where you will be teaching it have tools for the students or will you have to provide them.

When teaching myself new weaves I found it useful to use different colored rings AA, or rubber rings. I found this especially useful when all the rings are the same size.

I just started teaching my girlfriend on how to make chain mail. I basically taught her how to do J 6in1, with rubber and 20 gauge BA.

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Teaching Chain maille
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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:30 am
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Thanks, stry. I will be teaching in a suburb of Chicago. I am wondering specifically about what I should say my teaching fee is. Should it be a flat fee for the 2 hour class or should it be progressive based on the number of students enrolled? I will be purchasing the rings and making up kits for each student to purchase.

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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:01 am
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I am also in the burbs of Chicago, so it is always good to know that there are other mailers around.

Assuming you get your rings at B3 you could move the cut off date to 3 days before the class. If you are willing to pick the rings up your self. You may even want to call them up and for quick advise.

I would do it as a flat fee per student, unless people ask you for private lessons, and then I would base it on the number of people attending in private.

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Posted on Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:44 am
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Congrats on the teaching gig. Smile

Here's my advice about pricing for classes -- when you first start out, your minimum rate should not be lower than $20/hr. (You'll spend additional time prepping for class, etc, which is not reimbursed...so definitely remember to account for that. And then, of course, there's Uncle Sam who will step in and take approximately 30% of your earnings if you make more than $600/yr doing this.)

Some stores will pay an hourly rate, regardless of how many students show up. That can be nice if there are only 2 or 3 students, but can be very draining if there are 6 or 8 students, and you're getting paid the same rate. Trust me, 6 students is usually more than twice the work of 3 students....the energy required seems exponential!

Another way to get paid is per student. You can tell the store what you need per student, and what the minimum number of students you require would be. Then, the store can tack on their mark-up from there. If the stores do not sell jump rings, you should require that the students pay a separate materials fee directly to you, OR build that materials fee into the price you quote the store. (A word of warning--you definitely want to make sure that students use the rings you provide, which is why building the cost in can be a good idea. Sometimes students will bring rings, and if they're from another supplier, you may spend time measuring the rings to make sure they'll work. For many weaves, this can be eyeballed, but for some other weaves, it's tricky. At any rate, it can be distracting and eats up your time. I recommend having the students use your rings, and then they can always play around with their own rings later. Oh, and on a side note, if the store doesn't carry jump rings, you should give them our card. Wink )

If you get paid per student, you should receive a total of anywhere from $20-60/hr (roughly $8-10/hr/student) for a 2-3 hour class, plus your kit fees.

From a teaching perspective, the progressive rate is usually better. (However, it would obviously not be better if the store required you to teach even if only 1 student signed up.) From the store's perspective, the hourly rate is usually better because it is easier for bookkeeping and also can be more profitable if lots of students sign up. I straddle both sides of the fence, so I can see it from each perspective.

The bottom line is to not be afraid to charge for your talents, and never compromise that. Be prepared to walk away and say "no" if a location won't pay you fairly. Work on developing good relationships with your teaching locations so that you can iron out any differences in opinion, and you'll also feel comfortable increasing your teaching fees as you get more experience.

Hope this helps. I probably won't see you tomorrow, but if you want to pick my brain about anything at some point, let me know and we could schedule a phone call.

Good luck with your classes!


Chainmailling the world one ring at a time.
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Posted on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:36 am
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Definitely don't charge students for rings, I always give them base metal rings free of charge. Beginners should start with cheap, easy to work with rings anyways.

Have some fancier rings(silver, anodized niobium, goldfill) in matching sizes available to buy directly from you, in case the more adventurous students want to buy them for their projects. Good way to make extra cash.

Charge by the student, larger classes are harder to teach, so make it worth your time. I'd cap it at ~12 students per session. Even if there is only one student it's still worth teaching the class. One on one you can do an excellent job teaching them and maybe next time they'll bring their friends.


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Y'know, that might just be crazy enough to work!

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Posted on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:51 pm
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Actually, when I started teaching, I was doing exactly what Lorenzo said: not charging extra for base metal rings.

Eventually, though, I decided to lower my rates for lessons, but charge separately for materials. I did this to eliminate any grey lines. If two students were taking a lesson and one person only used 100 20 ga aluminum rings, but the other student used 300 16ga copper rings, the cost difference is substantial. Rather than try to come up with a complicated matrix as to how many and which rings are included in a class, I just decided to keep the materials separate. Easier for me, but also much easier to explain to students. Smile That way, too, if someone does bring their own rings to a 2- or 3-person lesson, they don't feel as though they're getting cheated on the lesson cost, since they wind up paying less overall then the folks who are buying rings.


Chainmailling the world one ring at a time.
Rebeca Mojica jewelry

Joined: June 22, 2009
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Posted on Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:31 am
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A quick comment about this thread - There are many good business tips, but for the actual class, you'd want to invest in some decent eye protection and some gloves for your students. I know from personal experience that accidentally stabbing yourself with pliers hurts a LOT, and it wouldn't do good if one of your students got injured in your class, weather you are liable or not.


-Just remember, if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

-Never take life too seriosly. No one ever gets out alive, anyway.

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Posted on Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:21 pm
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I've been teaching classes at a local bead store for about 3 months now. I found the easiest way for all parties involved was to acutally just sell a kit. I sell a kit with all the parts needed for 2 bracelets for 20 bucks. I split that with the store owner. Students bring their own tools. I usually get a class of 4 to 6 people. Class usually takes 90 minutes.

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Posted on Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:13 am
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i personally would suggest having a set of base rings that are just extra or leftover from other projects of yours that they can use for learning the pattern and then having the materials available for purchase from you. at least that is how i have done it when i was teaching about half my jewelry class...

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