Monday, February 18, 2013

TOP 6 Tips to Making Jewelry that Sells! The plain and simple truth!

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Top 6 Tips to Making  jewelry that sells

We women love jewelry! We love the way it makes us feel when we look at it, when we wear it, and when we make it.

If you are married, what do you think when you look at your wedding ring? Most likely you're taken back to two memorable events in your life; the day you were proposed to by the love of your life and the day you said "I DO!" to the love of your life.  Or maybe you have jewelry with birth stones?  Perhaps those are representative of your kids, your mom, your grandma.  Not only does jewelry adorn us and bring out our personality, but it also is a way of keeping precious memories alive.

We buy and wear jewelry because it has an emotional connection.

I commonly receive emails asking for advice on two different jewelry making topics:

  • What jewelry making tips do you have?
  • How can I sell my jewelry?

I have lots of jewelry making tips.  Recently I published a new video maximizing your metal findings by on coloring them with markets and inks. Take a look at my video

If you're not having any problem selling your jewelry, then don't read on - you're doing great and keep on doing what you are doing!  Rock on! However, if you are one of those who is beating your head against a wall because you have had limited success, then it's time to take a hard look at some of the following tips.  I  try to be nice when offering these tips, but I really don't sugar coat it.

Look for Jewelry Making and Design Trends

  •  Take a break from "making" jewelry and spend some time browsing the internet for ideas. Don't limit your browsing to jewelry making sites.  Google phrases such as  fashion magazines, browse online clothing stores such as Chicos, Cache, Boston Proper some of the higher end stores and see what styles they are offering. Browsing your local craft store will also give you an idea on what type of jewelry making is popular.  Now ask yourself, is my style gone out of date?  If it has, don't worry, just revamp it - it's not a lost cause!

    • Currently, I am seeing an trend in vintage jewelry findings and design.  I've also seen leather bracelets and cording becoming more popular in the market. So, why not combine the two? I did! - Below is my leather cording I made from Kudu leather from my safari trip to Africa. I combined it with my vintage findings and I think the results are quite stunning.  
    • I've also seen a trend towards making a variety of items like wallets, purses and jewelry with duct tape!  People do like fun and unique jewelry too!

Follow Color and Fashion Trend Forecasts

  • Search for PANTONE Spring 2013 or PANTONE Fall 2013.  You're likely to find a color forcast similar to the one below.  

    • So why design with these colors in mind? Maybe these aren't your colors. However, if you're making jewelry to sell, these are the colors that you will find most popular in the current fashion trends.  It may sound like a no-brainer, but wouldn't you want to have jewelry designs that match the colors of clothing that women are buying and have in their wardrobe?  Always look at the future color forecasts and plan accordingly.  If you have these colors in mind, you can stock up on good deals for supplies whenever they may come along.  

BE Unique - Be Original

  •  If you've ever been to a craft show or even a jewelry related show, you'll know that jewelry making booths are a dime a dozen.  And think back how many times you passed by a booth because of one of two things:
    • The overall booth design just didn't capture your eye - a few ideas on selling at arts and craft shows here
    • Or, been there - seen that! The jewelry looks like everyone else.
  • Has that happened to you? Are you one of the vendors that this is happening to?  If so, just take an honest and constructive look at what your offering.  This is business, not a personal reflection on you or your work.  Here's my advice:
    • Are you unique?  A lot of people, kids included, can string beads onto a wire, or headpin and create a pair of $5 earrings.  This equation equals - not unique - dime a dozen - people pass by except your friends.
      • If this is the case, it's time to peruse the internet for current trends and think outside the box. Can you change that boring one strand necklace with a focal piece in the middle to a multi-strand necklace with added texture such as chains, cording, more unique beads? Think Think Think! Remember this is business - not personal.
    • Who is selling jewelry and what type of jewelry are they selling, whose booth is packed? Chances are they are selling unique one of a kind pieces.  Perhaps they are selling jewelry made from antique silver spoons, copper and metal jewelry that they've made themselves, found object jewelry, jewelry mixed with common components but mixed with uncommon things to create texture?  This equation? Unique + Stand out in a crowd of other jewelry booths + People in your booth = SALES.
    • This advice is valid whether you are at a craft or jewelry show or whether you sell online.
    • Finding your Niche

      A niche is just a small segment of something larger.  For instance, making jewelry out of spoons is a niche of a larger jewelry making topic. 

      To be unique, you need to find a niche, something special, something unique.  If you are making jewelry and trying to please everyone, you are taking the slow boat to china!  The fact is, you are NOT going to please everyone, you just want to please SOMEONE and have that someone tell SOMEONE who tells someone and on and on.

      So who are you selling to? Is it the person who likes really big, gaudy, out there kind of jewelry? Are you designing for the business woman who needs something to accent her business sense.  Are you using only high end supplies?  

CONNECT - There are two ways to connect:

    • The personal way: Getting to know your clients and sharing stories - I share a bit about my personal journey in my latest book - Art + Life
    • The business way:  Getting their email addresses and contact information for later promotion.

  • Let's talk about personal just in brief:  This is especially effective at shows where you do have personal face to face contact with your potential client.  Say hello, smile and be friendly.  Take notice of them personally - love their earrings? compliment them?  Do they look handmade? Ask them if they made them?  If they did - talk about it, if they didn't ask them about the story of where they purchased it?  This opens up conversations, leads to personal connections and showing personal interest in the client.  This doesn't have to be a long drawn out conversation, but if they like you and feel a connection to you, they are more apt to buy from you. 
  • Now the business side, you've made a connection or maybe just a brief passing, build for future business, by asking them to sign up for your email newsletter.  Almost always they will.  Give them a business card with your ALL of your contact information - email, social media, website etc.  Again, building a connection, though this is more on the business side of things.  
  • Build a blog - I can make a whole website out of this topic of self promotion for creative people, but In short, get a blog, journal your creative journey, share photos of your work, you just never know who is out there and waiting to discover you!  

Have multiple price points

Without opening up a can of worms here about how to price your work because it depends on so many unique factors, such as where you live, the cost of goods etc. I want to give you this food for thought. 

While you don't want to try to please everyone, you do want to please the majority in your niche.  I believe it makes good business sense to have a range of prices in your work.  I offer my jewelry designs between $20-80 a piece.  You too want to have a mix of price points.  Most people will have $10 to $25 to spend on a piece of unique handmade jewelry.  Fewer people will have $50 and fewer yet $80 and up.  

It's the smaller, lower cost items that will keep you paying the bills while the larger priced items really add to your sales at the end of the show or month.  It's okay to have a $5 line as long as it's simple, quick and easy to make.  It's not okay to have a $5 line if the materials plus your labor is more than $5.  Only you can decide.  The point here is to have multiple price points so that you can help out those who are on a limited budget but do none the less appreciate your work.

You'll often notice on shopping channels that they have $10, $15, $20 and $30 price points - it' works!

I hope you find this rather lengthy blog post helpful.  If you do, kindly share it with your friends, pin it to pinterest and leave a comment below.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I have been designing for three yrs for friends and family. My goal this year is to begin selling my jewelry. I have been researching the best ways to start. This post is extremely helpful! Thanks again!

Angi Mullis

Unknown said...

Hi Angi,

I am so glad that you found it helpful and happy to share these tips with everyone.

If you haven't already, please subscribe to to the blog so that you don't miss any posts. I'll be sharing more tips for creative businesses in the future too!
Oh - and please share a photo of your jewelry with me! I'd love to see what you make! :)

Wishing you lots of success!
Linda :)

Sam Gibson said...

These are some great looking jewelry pieces. My wife & I are going to be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next month. I want to get her something really unique and original. I'll also need to get a jewelry loan.

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