by Rita Juhlin.
If I had one wish . . .
I would wish that the Buying Public would understand what fabulous jewelry our home based jewelers are creating.
Each piece, one at a time with heart and soul combined as the piece comes from a thought then formed, molded, twisted and polished.
No matter what the general news report, the fact is that overall sales are slow in a good number of industries.
From National Jeweler’s:
“U.S. jewelry sales down at QVC
Multi-media retailer QVC’s U.S. revenues grew a slim 3 percent to $1.2 billion in the first quarter, with jewelry sales slipping while sales of electronics, beauty and accessories climbed.
QVC ranked No. 6 on National Jeweler’s 2010 list of $100 Million Super sellers.”
I read, here on this site, the frustration and disappointment from our home based jewelers about sales or rather the lack of sales.
Then I read that QVC’s revenue grew “only” 3 percent equaling $1.2 billion and I roll my eyes.
The questions of what should I do or what can I do is no easy task to answer but sometimes I think we all need to wrap our heads around the basics again.
Most of us have the ability to produce some pretty fantastic jewelry. However, those who want to make a business out of making jewelry seem to be falling painfully short in the area of the business end of it.
Are you really committed to succeed? A good balance of all aspects of business, I believe, is required.
My forty years of business experience goes back to those basics I mentioned like a “business plan”, goals and budgets, etc. I doubt that most home based jewelers have a line of credit for their business but that does not mean that you don’t need a budget.
The one and very important part of business is marketing, and no, it is not as much fun as creating jewelry, but it’s required and it takes an enormous amount of time. Being driven enough to spend the time and effort is required.
Branding is great but if no one knows about you the branding will do no good.
There is a great deal of time and expense on creating business cards, banners, displays or logos for branding. But . . .
- Are you listed in every directory imaginable on the web?
- Do you update those listings?
- Do you Google or Bing your business name weekly?
- Do you list yourself manually on search engines and then update those listings?
- Do you list your products on The Find?
If you want to be seen, you need to be everywhere.
What works for one does not necessarily work for others. If you go through this web site you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas and suggestions.
I’m not reading about the successes as much anymore; like the one about setting up a table at a small café and selling all kinds of jewelry, much to their surprise. That success took some extra effort and commitment.
Focusing on sales rather than focusing on creating jewelry can be quite a challenge. I know there are home based jewelers who are having success at some level.
So, let’s hear about it! What worked for you?
Private Stock Jewelry
Rita Juhlin’s Home Based Jeweler’s Showcase Blog has been created for Home Based Jewelers Only. The Blog will give the public a great place to view the amazing talent of jewelers who handcraft.
Thanks Rita for a really thought provoking article. And you are right, so many of us complain about lack of sales, but when other companies can grow in this climate (and yes, I know they have huge marketing $$), there is hope for us yet. I once watched a documentary called ‘The Powder and the Glory’, is was a doco about Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, and how during the depression when money was scarce, their business bloomed – all because of red lipstick. There was no money around, but women still wanted to be beautiful, and lipstick was cheap. I think a lot can be learnt from that documentary. Times are tough, todays woman still wants to be beautiful and a good piece of jewellery will last. Times needs to be spent marketing to psyche of the times.
by: Paul Mattson
For lack of a better phrase America is tuned in and buys into Corporate America with the fast talking cheesy smile that says My product is the best when its not .
The mentality in marketing is things go better with Coca Cola and because I’m coca cola ” you should be too ” … The consumer is brainwashed because corporate America and their flashy advertising campaign aims for the heart and when you’ve captured the heart you’ve captured the person . Their advertising budget hammers it in .., over and over again until we believe it must be true .
I watched a jewelry giant hammer it home with ugly and expensive art from a famous celebrity last night and I wanted to open the window and scream ” I can’t take it anymore ”
Thank you for the great information. It is very useful ! Wishing the best of luck to everyone in their jewelry business.
Help! I’m a listing dummy!
Thanks for the great advice Rita! I have to admit I’m a listing dummy. Maybe there are others like me who: 1)don’t know how to find the web directories to list on; 2)Re: Googling or Binging our business name – is the purpose to check how we’re doing or does it help advance us in their listings? 3)not sure what you mean by listing and updating ourselves manually on search engines – do you mean something more than just our business name?
Many, many thanks to you or anyone else who can help!
Marketing for free
by: Sue Conway
I agree that marketing is just as important as the jewelry.
Over time, I have found that I do best selling person to person instead of on the internet or through a shop. So, I do art fairs, Whole Foods events, and a few other venues.
At the venues, I listen to feedback from the customer like what they are looking for: colors, lengths, etc. I make changes to my jewelry because of these requests for the next show.
As far as marketing, I keep a clipboard to collect e-mails for up-coming shows. I only ask the people that I believe are buyers to sign up. I write down their e-mails for them because most people have bad handwriting. I blast an e-mail 2-7 days before my next show and include a few pictures of what I just made. I tell them the time, date, day, address of the event, and a line or 2 about the new things I’ve been working on. I include my phone # in case they can’t find me and my booth number and a picture of my booth.
The other artists can’t figure out why my booth is slammed, when they are sitting around waiting for customers. I make sure I remember what the customer bought the last time and try to build from the previous sale.
This form of marketing is FREE and it works. I am a working artist and I live off of my jewelry sales. It can be done and it only costs your time.
I hope this helps!
Make Your Marketing as Fun and Creative as Your Business
Thank you for this excellent insight, Rita, and for starting this discussion!
I remember in the first few years of my jewelry business, it was so much easier to just sit down at my jewelry table and let myself get absorbed into making more jewelry, and avoid actively working toward selling what I’d already made.
What finally got me started with marketing my work was a pretty serious need to recoup the money I’d spent on jewelry supplies.
But once I’d sold a few pieces of my jewelry, I realized that marketing can actually be a very fascinating and absorbing creativity in its own right.
I think if we view it as a different creative facet of our work, marketing can really become more fun, more interesting, and easier to do.
Think of any of the tips or stories shared on this site that made you go, “how clever is that!” or “what a cool idea!”
Just as one example, in my same newsletter issue that features our discussion here, another tip that’s also getting a lot of positive feedback is Tara Hutchinson’s The CUTEST Marketing Tip Ever.
See? Tara’s marketing tip is creative, clever, and fun. And a very effective and memorable way for her to connect with current and prospective customers.
Use your creativity to make your marketing creative, fun, and painless.
Sue also shared some FANTASTIC tips above here – thank you so much, Sue! And with her strategy, at every event Sue does, her “snowball” keeps rolling and getting bigger.
And Naomi – thank you for mentioning the documentary on Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden finding a way to create a booming business in an era when folks were certainly moaning about “these economic times”! I love applying the lessons of people from other fields.
Thanks so much again, Rita, for sharing your valuable thoughts and tips – and for always getting us to wake up and think!
by: Rita Juhlin
I did an experiment with my friend’s site, Overstocked with Rocks. She wasn’t getting any traffic via Bing. So I went to Bing and Binged her site name, the site didn’t come up. I Binged again and about page three there was a blip.
I Binged the site every day a couple times for a week and finally the site came up and we started to see some traffic. If search engines don’t pick you up on their own you have to let them know you are there.
Other search engines crawl the “big” search engines and that’s how some come up with their listings. I was surprised to see some of the other traffic sources that showed up on Millie’s traffic logs after doing all the binging.
You can list manually on every search engine and directory you find. I find them by searching for them. Somewhere on the site you will see “submit site” or something close to that and follow the links, fill in the blanks and submit. You don’t have to list every where in one day and often times sites are manually reviewed before they are listed and it can take weeks to show up or even get approved. List on one site a day for a two or three weeks.
Sue has taken the steps to maximize the foot traffic at her shows and hang on to those great customers. Since some home based jewelers can’t go to shows or pay the fees, the Internet is their way of doing business and it is not easy. It takes time to get noticed and some serious effort. When you do get traffic make the most of it.
One a month, Millie now checks her site on several search engines and then clicks on her links to make sure the link goes to where it is suppose to. Interestingly she found that when we redesigned her site some of the old pages were listed and went to an error page. The only solution for that was to put those pages back up and make those pages redirect.
Hope that helps you Ms. Anonymous, by the way you are not a dummy you are just inexperienced.
That was exactly what I needed! Thank you so much, Rita. Now all I need is the time to do it all! But I can see how worthwhile it will be Thanks again for sharing your expertise. P.S. Your website (and your jewelry) is gorgeous!
Thank you for that interesting Bing strategy, Rita!
What I’m doing for sales
by: Karen Z.
My advice is, if you’re going to do craft shows, check them out first. That may seem like common knowledge, but I didn’t understand the full impact of it till I did a lot of worthless shows last year. I was anxious to get my business going, so I “threw money” at any show I could get into. I wasted a lot of time and money. This year, with very little funds left, I decided to spend more time checking out shows FIRST. It already saved me $60 at a show where 1/3 of vendors had jewelry, and several people told me (and it was at the end of the day) that they hadn’t made their booth fee. So this year, I am doing fewer shows and instead focusing on consignment. It took awhile, but things are starting to move. I did a trunk show the day before Mother’s Day and sold a few pieces. I KNOW I should do more marketing thru the internet, but can’t seem to get the energy and mindset to do so. I am full time caretaker for my mom, and find it hard sometimes to focus on business issues. But I do read the comments and ideas here, and it helps! Thanks to all the contrbutors, and to Rena for making it available to us.