Hi All -- such interesting info, thanks for sharing! I've noticed that quite a few of the forum "regulars" have online shops like Etsy & Artfire, etc. I've been selling only locally through a consignment shop with 3 locations - but toying with the idea of setting up for online sales. Do you find that you sell more online vs. local shows or shops?
~ Tess ~
Jewelry usually sells MUCH better at shows than online. Customers can interact with the jewelry at shows, therefore have a more immediate connection. There is also more of an 'I must have it NOW' mindset, whereas with a website there's more of an 'I can return later and get it' mindset.
As for shops, I've had no more than one sale a month from having jewelry in shops. But I've known people who had far more than that. It depends on the area and demographic, I suppose. One thing though--go for consignment or sell wholesale to the shop. NEVER rent shelf space. I did that once. It was $55 per month, with a 6-month minimum. I did not sell a single piece from the shop during that entire time. And back then I was paying for the shelf space with saved-up allowance and babysitting money! Not a pretty picture.
Handmade jewelry, beaded beads and more available at my NEW location, bonanza.com/booths/BrightCircle
I agree with Jess-I sell way more in person than online. I've had 2 sales in the entire year I've been on ArtFire, but I look at it more as a place that customers I've sold to in person can go to see my work any time (not just when I'm at a bazaar), or for people who have received something as a gift to go, etc etc. Since being a military spouse means moving a lot it's nice to have someplace where people know they can find me any time. If other people happen to stumble on it and buy something, that's great too.
ArtFire Studio & blog | Gallery
I don't have tons of experience, but I'll share what I have. I've done one home show and one church bizzare and both seemed to do pretty well. The bizzare was maybe 20 vendors, and three of us were selling jewelry, so I thought I wouldn't do well at all. One vendor was selling "fun/costume" jewelry that she purchases some where and the other was selling from a party sales company. It was pretty jewelry. Despite that, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that people were really intrigued that my jewelry was handcrafted and that became a good selling point. I'm not sure what people consider a successful bizzare or home show, but I thought I did pretty good at both.
I think sales were pretty evenly distributed among jewelry types (earrings, bracelets, etc.), although I have a lot more earrings than bracelets. I'm working on a website now and have no idea how that will go. Hope that helps a bit
mobility and activity-tolerance problems that make it hard to accurately predict
my production level, so I do mostly custom pieces as opposed to multiple items
for craft fairs, shows, etc. I am also
privileged to live in New Orleans.
Specific advantages: 1) Weather is almost always nice so there are
always people out and about without heavy clothing to hide their jewelry. 2)
Lots of people with quirky, individualistic tastes. 3) Friendly people who don’t
hesitate to compliment strangers on their clothes, jewelry, etc and ask where
they bought them. 4) Simply the best place in the world to live, especially if
you’re a Saints fan.
advice for anyone is to always carry business cards,
promotional materials, and even a thumb drive containing pictures of your work.
Always, always, always be ready to generate a sale. Opportunity can present itself in strange and
surprising things that have served me well:
1) If you’re out of the house, always
look nice and wear your creations. I can’t
tell you how many times I’ve sold a piece right off my neck or wrist or ring
finger. If you can have friends and
family members wear your stuff, make sure they have your business cards to hand
out as well. Jewelry looking good in the
real world advertises itself.
2) Take a picture of every piece you
make and keep at least a digital image with you. I missed an opportunity to
easily sell $500.00 to $1000, worth of jewelry in an hour or two, which is when
I made this rule. I was at Home Depot
the week after Thanksgiving, wearing a beautiful silver, lapis and crystal
lanyard that held my keys. The clerk
complimented me on the piece and when I told her I was a jewelry designer
(Sub-rule: always refer to yourself as a jewelry designer; it fosters both respect
and envy, the true basis of consumerism.) she asked if I had pictures of my
work with me. Seems that the Christmas
shopping and were doing catalog and internet shopping in the break room during
their off-time. She playfully told me
that my lanyard would have been put to better use holding a thumb drive with
pictures of my work and contact information.
She said she could have printed it on the spot, posted it in the break
room (which apparently always had at least one potential customer on break) and
even parked me in a nearby spot for people to make orders then and there. I never realized what a convenience it would
have been for them. And I thought I was only there to buy an extension cord.
3) If you’re selling at a local event,
check out the mascots, colors and uniform policies of the local high schools as
well as college and professional sports teams.
The uniform policies dictate what type of jewelry can be worn at school,
so pay attention. The cutest dangle
earrings featuring a school mascot will not sell if uniform policy restricts
earring styles to studs (safer in the event a fight breaks out….Who knew??
Unfortunately not me. Anyone want to buy
some cute bulldog dangle earrings?). Also remember that teenagers are the
demographic with the most disposable income. And sports fanatics will search
for anything depicting their favorite team.
Ever since Katrina, and especially this year, every fleur-de-lis in the
city of New Orleans has sold instantly. Here’s a market for everyone: We are now
and for at least the next year or two are experiencing a shortage of anything
related to the 13-0 New Orleans Saints! It’s almost as though we are living our
lives begging for people to sell us anything with a fleur-de-lis. I
know I spoke loudly, but really, all or your stuff like this will sell out here
in a flash. And with this year’s team headed for the SuperBowl, there’s
probably a national market just as large.
(I didn’t see any forum rules against excess celebrating in the end
4) Don’t underestimate the need for
functional, attractive jewelry for professional women, and don’t underestimate
the “Monkey see/Monkey Do” factor. The 1st
time I a friend of mine wore an
exquisite lanyard to a civic board meeting, I got so many requests, I refunded
her the price of her own lanyard for bringing in the customers. That’s when I realized that all my beautiful
young nieces make great jewelry models—they’re more than happy to get free
jewelry in exchange for bringing in some orders.
5) Your price point can be raised by any
number of cheap or free value-added options.
I nice silk or velvet gift pouch can increase your price by as much as
25% or more, especially if it denotes commemorating an event or charity. Example, “During American Heart Association
month, we will include a beautiful red velvet pouch with your purchase.” A brief note personalizing the item or giving
it mystic qualities can do the same.
Ex. “Garnet is January’s
birthstone. It is said to bring mental clarity to the wearer and act as a BS
meter…yada, yada.” And as always,
include your contact information. At
every craft show I’ve attended, cheap jewelry in a box has sold more quickly
and at higher prices than finer jewelry on a hanging rack. Just like tuna salad finger sandwiches at a
wedding reception disappear faster than the most delicious shrimp beignets. Go
6) Offer incentives for repeat
orders. Frequent flier miles, in a
manner of speaking.
7) Every locality has at least one stage
production a year, even if it’s the high school drama club production of “Our
Town”. Here’s how to generate sales, increase your publicity and capitalize on
people’s philanthropic urges. It also helps the charity, so don’t feel so
slutty about it. Envision this in the
program: Authentic Period Reproduction Jewelry
by Marie St. Claire. Jewelry from
this production will be auctioned after the last performance with 15% of purchase price donated to the -----theater/school/whatever
to help finance much needed stage renovations.
You could even put in a teaser like, “What could be a better graduation
gift than the actual necklace worn by your daughter in the senior production.”
8) Keeping in mind that most of my
business is custom work, this is the easiest way to generate repeat sales and
its absolutely free. Devise a record keeping
system to remember who your customers are, what they bought, for whom they
bought the piece and any special occasion for which it it purchased. I’ve made sales well over $100.00 each with
one phone call or email. It goes
something like this: “Hi, Sue, this is Marie St. Claire. I just got in a new
shipment of midnight sun star sitara (it even sounds more elegant than blue
goldstone) and since your mom’s birthday is just around the corner I thought
you might be interested in a pair of earrings to match the necklace I made for
her at Christmas. Here’s a picture of the new stones and a brief sketch of what
I had in mind. Include attachment. Send.
Not only are you marketing your work, but you’re giving Sue the opportunity to get
mom the perfect one of a kind gift with just one email reply.
Sorry this post is so long, but, I don’t get out much! And it’s been fun talking
with ya’ll. Geaux Saints!!!!
Bon Chance et Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulle!
(Good luck and Let the Good Times Roll!)
That's some very good advice Marie! I need to get busy and load some pics of my jewelry on my iPhone-the perfect marketing tool, apparently.
BTW, sorry to see the Cowboys beat the Saints. I was really hoping to see 2 undefeated teams in the Super Bowl this year. They're still having a great season.
I have only made sales through family members that took my jewelry to work. I'm widowed, retired and don't really want to start a 'business' . I'd just like to make enough to continue to buy beads and beading supplies to support my habit LOL Seriously, I knit (some what simple things) and have crochetted for years. But beading helps me through the rough grief times. It's slow and Zen-like as a meditation for me.
I am enjoying reading how others are selling their jewelry.
Wow! What great advice in all these posts! I suppose I'd like to eventually sell but right now I am just having fun creating.
Great advice for the present and for the future!
Necklaces definately, I always include a pair of earrings with each necklace - my prices range between $45 to $125 and I sell primarily by comission. I started by making a piece for my son's girlfriend to wear (she's in college, lots of contacts) gave her my business cards and asked that she have people contact me if they were interested in something similar (I only make one of a kind jewelry). The others items that sell vary, very few bracelets but lots of purse bling/charms. I' ve also sold quite a few pieces right off my body - someone comments on how much they like it, I tell them it's for sale and ta-da a sale! I always hand out business cards and try to get peoples email addresses so that I can send out pictures of things that I think they might be interested in. And of course relatives, friends, co-workers but mostly word of mouth.
Thanks for bringing up this post again Andrea. I was commenting above that I should put pics on my phone, and now there's an iPhone app for my Mobile Me gallery, so now I do have all my gallery pics accessible from my phone. I can even email them from there as well. iPhones rock! Now all I need is an app for my ArtFire studio and I'll be set.
After the story of the beaded badge lanyard, I carry a jump drive with pictures of my work on it.
Good for you! When people see you wearing one, you can see the light bulb go on over their head. If one of your customers wears it to a Board of Directors meeting, expect more orders. Someone else commented that she is carrying her jewelry catalog on her I phone. That also sounds like a good idea, but I don't have one so I don't know if you can print from it' however. from what I do know, it seems you can email the entire catalog to someone on the spot. I'm sure if you choose the I Phone alternative for sending/printing your catalog, wearing your keys or work ID on the lanyard still has the "I never even thought of having a pretty one" lightbulb will still go off, and you can do the I phone thing to show them what else is in your repetoire.
Happy jeweling and best of luck.
In past years, I only sold at flea markets (only in summer, rains too much for outdoor markets in this area in winter) with my earrings and little vial necklaces doing the best.
A couple of years ago, I found a litlte shop that agreed to buy $300 worth of my stock outright. Mostly small pendants, rings and a few bracelets, all running under $100. She them marks the pieces up at her discretion. The deal I struck with her is that whatever didn't sell, she could return to me, and I'd replentish that stock. A swap out more or less so that her stock didn't go stale, and so I could sell those pieces that didn't move in her store to a better market. When she runs low on stock, she buys more from me! It's a GREAT deal really. We both win.
I also post pictures of ALL my work on my Facebook page with prices and let people know that it's for sale... and, I either let them know that they can purchase the piece at the store. Or, if the piece isn't at the store, then they can buy from me. I've been surprised by how well Facebook has worked. I get e-mail from friends of friends etc... wanting custom pieces or because they saw something a friend sent to them.
Mostly, this is how I sell my lower end pieces. And, my rings are some of my best sellers at the under $50 price point. . I have an idea to market some of my higher end pieces into some gallery shops. Since I'm a beadweaver, many of my pieces are in that $200-$600 range and those pieces don't sell well at the little shop I'm currently selling through. I'm working on putting together a slick tri-fold brochure that I can send to the galleries (or drop off) and use those mailout's to make appointments with gallery owners/buyers. I think it might be a more effective way to get their attention than to just walk in with a case stuff. I'll let everyone know if it was a successful effort. haha.
It's great to read all of your responses! I haven't really sold much of my jewellery, but I raised over $1000 by raffling off two of my beadwork necklaces for a charity called the Smile Train. Most of my sales are to family and friends, but I get many compliments on jewellery that I wear out. I think thats a great idea, and also a good way to advertise your skills! Great job everyone, and keep beading!
I thinking knowing what the rest of the market is like is a big part of it. What people are wanting, and what they are willing to pay for it. Then set up is the number two if they can't see it how do they know they want it.
I go to rodeos for the most part, and chunky, shiny, and stone is , well liked. plus odd balls. #1 seller is little bracelets and necklaces, all under $5 on elastice cord for like girls. After that chunky necklaces for $30-$50. Beaded rings under$2, boys necklaces $5 with broncs and such on it. I have found a few shops, and I am looking for more, for the things that don't stirke a fancy at the rodeos. On top of that I'm thinking about a site. right now this is more of a hobby, but I'm shooting higher then that.
sons buying for mom are my number one, teen girls are number two.
Jocelyn aka Jp