What did you find to be the best way to sell your jewelry? I'm looking for those of you that don't own shops or have big biz...more hobby style jewelers. Also, reasonably priced items too (say <$50). What items have you sold the most of...bracelets, necklaces, rings? Other?
Well, I think the majority of us fall into that category. :)
I would have to say that the majority of items that I sell are in the under $50 range (especially in the past year) though I do have some items more expensive than that, and they do sell also. It's pretty evenly spread between necklaces, bracelets & earrings. I try to have a good selection of everything because you just never know what people might want.
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I'm a hobby jewelry designer also, as a home-based business. Although the vast majority of my bracelets and earrings are under $50, most of my necklaces are over $50 because I used top quality materials. I've been selling probably for 3 years now and my clientele has slowly grown. The third quarter of this year has been my best quarter yet in jewelry sales. You just have to find your niche in the jewelry market.
I've found the best way to begin selling my jewelry was to sell to friends, family and co-workers, and they will spread the word to other people whom you don't know. Then there are craft fairs and art shows, where you rent a booth space, but you'll have to make a small investment in jewelry displays. There are many places out there on the internet that sell jewelry displays reasonably. Then there are on-line storefronts where you can sell your jewelry, places like Etsy and Artfire, where only hand-made items are sold. I wouldn't bother with eBay. Their fees are too high and there are way too many people trying to sell their handmade jewelry there. Your items will get buried in the search pile. Been there, done that!
I hope this information helps!
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I actually have found that selling locally can work too. Most of my pieces are a little more than $50 but I have searched out little art shops and such. I try to find places that match my jewelry's style, have little in the way of jewelry and have a good rate. I sell in one pottery gallery that is 60-40 and another shop at 70-30. I tend to find that my earrings sell more than anything, necklaces next and last would be the bracelets. I don't make very much but in the long run its been a great experience AND its a good little supplimental income. I will say that even if your stuff is in a shop you will do better if you are still promoting it. We have alot more say with promotion in the little 70-30 shop and we have gotten alot more business but the 60-40 we have no say and haven't had much luck. I really think this shows that you have to promote no matter where you are. We have also found that gift shops where there is alot of out-of-towners tends to be better for sales. Personally I like being able to take my pieces, display them and leave it up to the shopkeepers to do the actually selling and taking taxes. Makes my life easier.
For me I think the most has been bracelets. Simple little stretch bracelets sell great at the craft shows around here. Earrings are great too because they can be so reasonably priced.
I did sell quite a few of the little focals on plain black cord or leather last year too!
Have a great day!
I am definitely a Hobby type. I think that most of my sales are dumb luck. I like to bring in my creations every once in awhile to show my coworkers & sometimes they want to buy something, which wasn't my intention.
My most recent sale was when I brought in all the various bracelets I made last month. My friend picked out one that did remind me of her color & style and she bought it right then ($40). She's been wearing it alot since she got it.
I do well with my purse jewelry also. I started those as gifts for my children's teachers & nieces, and again when I brought them to work I made some sales ($15/2 for $25).
I never plan on selling things so for me it just happens a few times a year
MelindaB ~ Juneau, Alaska USA
When you dream ... what are you wearing?
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I've sold quite a bit over the 15 years I've been making jewelry to people I know or people they know, at a couple of consignment shops, at a couple of shops who used to buy my stuff outright, at shows and at home parties, but the most success I've ever had was selling $5.00 earrings at a truck stop once in Portsmouth, NH between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I must have sold 250 to 300 pair of them to those truckers who didn't have time to do much shopping. I spent the entire month making earrings, LOL...
Other than that the home parties were the best sellers for me, then shows depending on where and when. Earrings under $20.00 used to be the biggest sellers, then necklaces at around $50.00 to $70.00. The absolute best sellers for me other than the trucker's earrings have been pendants I set with very cool stones like Arizona turquoise or USA picture jasper on beaded necklaces, also cameos. I've sold several pieces of turquoise done this way for over $100.00 each.
But nothing recently except a little at our last show. Somewhere along the way I sort of lost my inspiration to sell things. I am getting it back because of Billy, working with him is a pleasure and it's good to have someone to do this with, it's inspiring. I think it will take us a little while to really get going, but we hope to have some income from this eventually, at least by next summer I hope. Sooner would be better. Life has been a bit rocky lately for both of us but it's improving.
Since I do mostly beadwoven or bead embroidered jewelry, I don't have very many pieces for under $50 - even the Swarovski crystal earrings I make sell for $75-$80 per pair. Last year, I had a whole box of "leftover" necklaces, bracelets and earrings from when I was doing mostly strung jewelry and I put them out on my tables at my farmers markets and they flew off the table - even the pieces that were priced at $65, $70 and $85.
This summer I made a nice set of display boards for my high-end bead embroidered pendants and beadwoven necklaces and they went like hotcakes. I was amazed. I had one woman purchase a $165 piece from me and place an order for a custom necklace for an additional $135, and then there was another customer who purchased one $155 piece from me only to come back the next week and purchase a second $135 piece! It was insane - I never figured I would do so well with them, so now I know I have to spend the winter making a lot more of them for next season.
That said, I also have a line of fused and lampwork glass pendants, bracelets and earrings and those range in price from $10 for a pair of small dichroic glass studs all the way up to several hundred for a necklace made entirely from lampwork glass and gemstone beads. This summer, I could not keep enough of those $10 studs in stock - I was making 3 dozen pairs every week! I'm hoping to have the same problem once the holiday shopping starts.
So I guess to answer your question, it depends on where and when you are selling. I was amazed at how well my $100+ necklaces and even my $80 earrings went this summer. And I was so pleased that apparently people were so satisfied with the quality that they came back for more!
Good luck! Let us know how you do!
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That's why it is called the present." -Kung Fu Panda
Your sales story is a beaded jewelry designer's dream come true! Thanks for sharing your story of success. I hope that this success continues for you.
Jen, that's an amazing story, thank you for sharing it with us! Will you share a little more detail about the display boards you put together for your high-end pieces? I have a little shop, and I'm constantly looking for new and better ways to display things.
Peridot, before I opened my little shop last May, I sold my jewelry primarily at our biannual craft fairs, by special order, and from people stopping by my home wanting to shop for jewelry (which was always awkward and a lot of work because I didn't keep my jewelry displayed, it was stored on velvet display boards in their stacking trays inside a cardboard box). The craft fairs, by far, was where I sold the most jewelry. I'll agree that earrings are the best sellers, then bracelets, then necklaces, then anklets and rings. A large percentage of my customers like to buy matched sets, especially bracelets with matching earrings. I also tend to sell a bit more simple strung jewelry than elaborate woven designs, probably both because their less expensive and many customers simply prefer simpler jewelry. A huge factor in my business has been how jewelry is displayed -- no matter how gorgeous your jewelry is, if it's poorly displayed, it won't sell. Hope that helps you!
Well, I'm mostly a designer/teacher so I don't exactly make things to sell but I have samples and prototypes that I do sell. I've sold out of the trunk of my car, at small art fairs (where the booth fee is $50 or less) and to friends.
Personally I think party plan is the way to go...that's how I sold my hand knits in England. One of my students has been doing quite well she's selling to salons...some buy her things outright and mark them up for their profit, some take them on consignment. One of the salons just bought 2 dozen pairs of earrings and the gal is recommending her to a local spa....she may get better prices there. She does mostly stringing....she likes to be able to put things together very quickly.
I'm joining a local art association who have a really nice gallery and they say jewelry flies out of there. They don't have any bead weavers so hopefully I'll do well. I'll also be teaching classes there with my kits.
peridot09:What items have you sold the most of...bracelets, necklaces, rings?
I give away more than I sell, but earrings go faster than bracelets in my sales, although I did have two females [ one 13, and the other 31++] both wanting the same bracelet -- I ended up making a second one.
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While I haven't had much experience with selling lots at craft shows, what tends to sell are earrings, and other lower-priced things like rings and stretchy bracelets.
Online, my new line of what I call 'shimmerstone' jewelry sells steadily; about one sale a week. I transform simple flat marbles into 'magical objects' by custom colour coating. Each one has a little fantasy story.
I have yet to make much more than my booth fee back at shows, but that's either because I took only cash or picked a show with the wrong audience.
Handmade jewelry, beaded beads and more available at my NEW location, bonanza.com/booths/BrightCircle
Promoting is tougher for me, much tougher, in terms of word-of-mouth. I live in a very isolated place, so I have no friends, nor does my family. I have one boss and no coworkers. But I have a a couple repeat customers from my online fans on Deviantart.
I'm so glad you started this thread. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses and I'm learning a lot.
I started selling jewelry in June at a new craft show that a local coffee house started. (No booth fee for the first year - it couldn't have been more perfect a place to start!) A friend and I invested in a 10' x 10' tent and set up on folding tables with drapes used as table cloths to display our work. We did okay and received an pre-approved invitation to a large juried show that will run next weekend. It was a huge leap for us to spend $125 on the table fee but I have high hopes for the sale.
In the meantime we've done a few fundraiser shows (we give back 10% of the sales - and our pieces are marked up to reflect that) and craft fairs and had hit or miss success. One thing that worked really well was an event we did for a non-profit group I work with (providing interior design services to worthy groups - our first project was a local free healthcare clinic) where we gathered a group of designers who were supplementing or replacing their income with their crafts (I fall in the later catagory) and sent out invitiations to the 2 large Interior Design associations in our area. We marketed it as a way to help local designers, 2 good causes and support the local economy. I cleared about $350 from that show. People knew they were helping out fellow designers, our health clinic client and our non-profit group. It was a win-win-win situation and went over very well. We had 1 purse, 1 pillow, 2 jewelry vendors and held it a local designer accessories showroom that had just moved into a new space (which was excellant exposure for her) and we netted around $500, which was split 50/50 between the non-profit and our health clinic client. Not bad for 3 weeks preplanning, 1 group event where we prepared a few warm and mostly cold hors dovres, and 2 -3 people spending about 10 hours each preparing flyers, press releases, etc. The event was so well received it will be a biannual event and we've had people asking to be involved (both crafters and corporate sponsers) next year.
Now, we're starting a local craft consortium (of sorts) where a group of us will market together and offer to do fund-raisers, or other shows, as a group. We ensure there is no direct competition for sales (1 pillow vendor, 1 jewelry vendor, 1 ceramics artist, etc.) and will try to target people who want to increase Michigan-based or locally hand-made items. We're just starting to put it together, but I'm very excited about it for next spring and for home sales this winter. I don't know that we'll ever manage it, but I hold out a small hope that maybe we could negotiate reduced table rates at shows for the group.
BTW, It was very helpful to hear about the split on sales for work sold in small stores and galleries. Right after Thanksgiving I"m going to market my work to a couple of the more affluent, locally owned clothing stores. I'd appreciate any feedback people have on this as well.