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How to Sell Jewelry, and Where to Sell It
A profit center is a stream of financial reward that comes about in most businesses. But when WE are the business, we sometimes forget that there are multiple ways to create cash flow, other then just working a craft show and selling our handcrafted wire jewelry or any kind of hand made jewelry for That matter. . Frankly, a serious home jeweler should have a strategic plan laid out to create cash flow from his or her work.
I'm not talking about a business plan here. Let's face it---- business plans are great if you're EXXON or AT&T, or maybe if you're going to try to raise capital or get a loan from your banker, but in the real world of artists, the BIG, fancy-smancy business plans rarely work out. You cant plan on much of anything if your art doesnít develop beyond a bead ring! Let's look at a few profit centers that we can all use.
1) Gem Shows, Jewelry Shows, Craft Shows, Conventions, Etc.
These traditional methods of selling your work are the first line of defense for a starving wire artist and your show schedule should be planned with much care. Taking into consideration the time of year, I would much rather work 10 shows in October, November and December than 15 shows in June, July, August, and September. Not that the summer is a bad time, but traditionally, the big jewelry buying months are the ones preceding Christmas. Research your shows, choose them carefully, and lay out a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
2) Wholesale Accounts
No matter how well you're doing, a few wholesale accounts are like an insurance policy for your business. You can usually depend on them for regular orders, even if you have only a few of them.
About 10 years ago, when I was a little younger , I was working a show every weekend. Fifty-two weeks a year, never missing a weekend. Had many offers to get a few wholesale accounts, but passed them up because my shows were so good and I was having a ball working them. Didnít have time to sit around doing wholesale stuff! Well, I got sick (again) and ended up in the hospital without any income at all. Boy, do I wish now that I would have had just a couple of wholesale accounts to bring me through that period! I learned my lesson and soon after developed a few good wholesale accounts that I placed FIRST on my list of customers. It was regular income that I could really count on, rain or shine. I only had about three accounts But thatís all I wanted. Choose your wholesale accounts to fit Your lifestyle.
3) Home Parties
There is a lot of talk about home parties, but few artists do them on a regular basis, or with a regular mailing list. There is no doubt that this is one of the easiest ways to actually get to meet -- and become friends -- with your customers. BUT not doing the parties just once or twice a year. You should do AT LEAST six to eight home parties a year! And that's nothing, considering the top people in Mary Kay, Tupperware, Avon, etc. do five or six a WEEK -- and sometimes two or three a DAY! Itís very easy to make $500 to $1000 in just two hours at a good home party!
This is actually a foreign word to most wire jewelry artists. It is an avenue whereby BILLIONS OF DOLLARS are raised each year by companies that do only this. They are simple and profitable and you should learn how to do one, if you havenít already.
You can start at your local high school by selling your jewelry at a school event, or several events, and giving a small portion to the school, band, or whatever. Schools, organizations, and bands are ALWAYS looking to raise money for something, and its as simple as a phone call to set it up.
EXAMPLE: A student of mine made little bead rings in the school colors of the local high school and sold them to the students on a special appointed day. They sold for about $10 each and were about 900 percent profit. She gave 20 percent to the school and still earned over $1,000!
5) Press Releases
This is one of the most powerful FREE tools any home business can utilize. This is a simple email or print letter that gives NEWS to the local or national media. This means newspapers, newsletters, magazines, radio and TV. Whatís that, you say? You're only a home jeweler and there is nothing you could offer that the media would be interested in. WRONG! The "media" is made up of business people just like you and I who are constantly looking for something to write about or report.
If you donít have an event, make one! Let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
About five years ago, I was entered into a local art show and the date for it was approaching. Never to miss an opportunity, I sent out a very simple press release that said something like:
The Slidell Art Show will be held on the 4th and 5th of April at the Civic Center. Times are 9:00am until 4:00pm. Arts and crafts from all over the state will be exhibited, including Preston Reutherís 70 ct. blue topaz pictured here.(I included a picture)
I took an event, jumped on it, and really advertised it. I took the focus off of myself, but at the same time got my plug in. This release ran on the second page with a full picture of my piece and it never cost me a thin dime! (No, I didnít win first place, but I did get an honorable mention.)
6) One Man/Woman Show
You can do this anywhere -- banks, libraries, schools, art galleries, even your home. This is just a showing of a few of your best pieces, and yes, you can sell them! BUT it is mostly to show off yourself as an artist. After all, any promotion is good promotion..
Artists in New York do this all the time in empty buildings, Garages, galleries, store fronts anywhere they can.
If you know how to do a design that others donít know how to do, you can conduct a paid workshop! It doesn't matter if you've been making wire jewelry for one week, or for ten years. If you have knowledge that someone wants, then it is a saleable workshop. Perhaps you could do one a year, one a month, or whatever, and while you're at it, you can sell your participants tools, gems, wire. Most instructors require that you get those things from them at the workshop.
Despite popular opinion, if a design is copyrighted by the owner and contained in a book or video, you cannot produce a workshop, free or otherwise, without the permission of the owner! But many times you can get permission from the artists or pay a small fee for the use of the designs in your workshop.
8) Your Own Website
This side of the jewelry business is really taking off, and it doesn't take a $10,000 website to capture some good business and some faithful customers. Frankly, for about $50 you could be on the web, set-up with email, and with your own gallery and everything! Once you're set up, most of the promotion is strictly time, with very little money needed, but it is gonna take a little time to get a good selling position.
If you want to start right away for peanuts try thehandcraftedjewelrymall.com
9) Affiliate Programs
This ties in with your website. If you get a website, even if your jewelry is not exactly Tiffany's material, you can make enough to pay for the whole shebang with a few good affiliate links. An affiliate program lets you offer someone elseís products for a small commission. Such as web service, other jewelry and you can even put my banner up there and receive a small commission check on every sale that comes from your site
10) Online Auctions like E-bay
This arena is busting at the seams and many people are making more money on auctions than on their websites! It is truly a fine science, but you just gotta get in there and start selling. There are now over 300 auctions and growing. Many are FREE. You donít even need a website to sell on auctions.