Elegant Netted Bracelet

Nov 25, 2007

Can I get you a bracelet with that moose?

Does it matter where you sell your jewelry?

Over the weekend, I had two very different experiences shopping for beaded items.

On Saturday, I went to a craft show in another town. The show, held in a historic building, was arranged with like items grouped together in separate rooms--all the ceramic dishes in one room, all the jewelry in another. As a shopper, the arrangement made it easy to focus and quickly find items I was interested in. At the same time, the display of jewelry was so overwhelming, I felt it difficult to appreciate any individual pieces.

My shopping experience on Sunday was very different. I was wandering around a local health food store and found a display of children's beading kits--brightly painted beads and hemp for stringing--in between the cheese and crackers. It was easy to focus on the kits, but only because it was so oddly out of place like fruit punch at a brie-and-caviar reception. None of the other shoppers seemed to notice the kits and just breezed right by.

Those two experiences left me with far more questions than answers. Is it better to sell at expected places like craft shows? Should you seek out the more unusual venues? Does it hurt--or help--to have the competition clustered around your work? How much does location matter?

Elegant Netted Bracelet

This week's featured project, Elegant Netted Bracelet by Deborah Meyer, is from Beadwork magazine. It uses size 11 seed beads, hex-cut bugle beads, 4mm cubes, 5mm crystal bicones, and a button with a shank. This is an easy project to coordinate with your holiday outfit by making simple changes: switch out the button, change the crystal color, replace hex-cut bugles with plain ones, use larger seed beads--the possibilities are endless!


Interviews with Two Lampwork Artists

When you're admiring lampwork beads, it's always fun--and sometimes surprising--to learn about the artist behind the torch. In my conversation with bead artist Lori Greenberg, for example, I learned that she prefers working with earth tones rather than bright colors. I would have never guessed that looking at the many bright and beautiful beads on her website!

Check out the interviews with lampwork artists Lori Greenberg and Cindy Gimbrone.

See the new Interviews page for other bead artist interviews you may have missed!

At left: Lori Greenberg's Amber Marquis Bead. At right: Cindy Gimbrone's spiral bead in the "Spiral of Kronos" necklace by Sandi Wiseheart.

Coming This Week: On Wednesday I'll share some ideas for using buttons in jewelry and on Friday I'll announce the winners of the first Beading Daily challenge!

Are you making handmade gifts this year? This poll ended November 30, 2007.

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She is in post-Thanksgiving recovery mode today.

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CindyG@15 wrote
on Nov 26, 2007 10:49 AM
Thank you for posting the interview, Michele!
SueS@98 wrote
on Nov 26, 2007 4:30 PM
Regarding the question, "Does it matter where you sell your jewelry?" I would have to say that in my experience it definitely does! Not only does it matter WHERE it is being sold, but HOW it is displayed. Also, the amount of competition with like items makes a difference. I have tried to sell my peyote stitch bracelets at local bazaars, and also at a high-end craft fair. People at the bazaars were bargain hunting and thought my price of $25 too high. People at the high-end market were only interested in the high-priced, relatively simple-designed but more expensive Murano glass necklaces which were lavishly displayed in the booth next to mine. Consequently, I only sell in special venues or online now.
SueK@56 wrote
on Nov 26, 2007 6:37 PM
"Location, location, location!" Just like in real estate, you have to work at being in the right place at the right time. This is the main reason that I attend a fair/bazaar as a patron before I ever apply as a merchant. I chat with the vendors and try to get a sense of what will sell best from my own line. When I get home I record my notes before I forget them and THEN I make the decision if that event is the right place for my jewelry.
And, as Sue S. says, how the jewelry is displayed is critical. I could probably sell ice cream to Eskimoes if the set-up was right. It takes patience and practice to get your tables to looks "just right". Simply beautiful creations like Sue's sometimes get lost when placed next to a lavish display of Murano glass work. The answer? Change the location or pump up your own display. Sell yourself! Sell your work!
Work at being in the right place and once there, work hard at being the best and the brightest at the show.
Sue Kooiman
Show Off Your Stuff
Black Tassel Jewelry Designs
Zaz wrote
on Nov 26, 2007 6:49 PM
hello all, this is a very interesting topic, i hope more people with experience would contribute to it. i am still new at venues although my business is not beading but still, i do sometimes incorporate them as i design and make clothes and accessories.
Zaz wrote
on Nov 26, 2007 6:51 PM
oh and thank you michelle for this maybe simple but "just how i like it" pattern. my sister is deeply depressed and will visit us in the holidays so i hope to engage her into beading with me, she loves beads.
big hug
ZittaS wrote
on Nov 27, 2007 5:46 AM
Michelle made an excellent point. Fairs, particularly jewelry fairs are overwhelming and makes you feel confused and exhausted before you begin the round of the stalls. It is the same with shop windows. When just three items are displayed, you take in all the details. When the shop window is laden with articles, it hurts your eyes and you quickly move on! So please, let us have small displays of mixed crafts,so that your eyes can get a rest between stalls! As I love cheese, I wouldn't mind to throw in a few cheese stalls as well...
TamaraM wrote
on Nov 27, 2007 7:49 AM
I don't sell anything myself, so I could be way off base, but in reading about your different experiences, it immediately occured to me that diversifying where one displays one's wares might be a good solution. Different spots are better for different reasons, and the more people who see your stuff, the more likely you are to get sales.
on Nov 27, 2007 12:05 PM
Thank you for bring this up, your post strike home. I found that the overwhelming choices are not good for business, especially the styles of the items are similar. So if the vendors close to you are selling different items or different style jewelry, it is still enough to set you (and other vendors) apart.

Sooz@3 wrote
on Nov 27, 2007 10:35 PM
What a coincidence you talk about the beauty of netting! The Etsy Beadweaving team just finished up their November challenge and it was titled "caught in a net"! If you want to take a peek at the versatility of the net weave, go to:
Anonymous wrote
on Nov 28, 2007 2:42 PM
hello beaders all over the world!!my name is Louise and i am addicted to beading about 2 years!1 i am making lots of presents to family, and friends!!www.pushadolls.com
mixed media artist
KathrynS@27 wrote
on Nov 29, 2007 1:16 PM
My daughter sells accessories (not jewelry) and has found interesting differences in selling locations as well. Some of her items use recycled materials and those were extremely popular at a farmer's market--people who have the inclination to buy fresh, local food also liked the "real recycling" involved in reusing materials. Sometimes, a location can surprise you.
KimF@34 wrote
on Nov 29, 2007 3:20 PM
I also just started selling at fairs and have the advantage of living in a tourist town. I have found that tourist towns are key to sales. People are there on vacation, and shopping is part of most vacations. I tried selling in a larger town 30 miles away - terrible sales! Look for those tourists!
SharonI@10 wrote
on Nov 30, 2007 9:58 PM
I have sold my jewelry at 2 different types
of venues. The first was at a monthly
street market. Big mistake!! Unfortunately I brought mostly high end stock. This street market was more like a Flea Market. Plus I was competing with resale. Will never go there again as a vendor.!! The other 2 venues were for artists only. I brought all my jewelry to both and nearly sold out at the first show, and did very well on the
second. Yes! I will only do shows were the shows are juried and only artists need apply.
Sharon (Wannabe Beader)
Some where in Texas