by Barb Everett.
First of all, thank you so much for responding to my previous post. It really helped me in locating other places to purchase much needed beads and beading supplies.
Here is my last “stumbling block” : )
I am including some photos of a few of my favorite pieces. I need your honest feedback. Does this look like I have what it takes to make money from selling my jewelry?
I was thinking about posting it on Etsy in an effort to get feedback from them as well. What are your thoughts on that?
I just want to be as sure as possible before I really start investing time and money into this business or maybe I should stick to creating pieces for family and friends as gifts.
Your feedback is appreciated.
Honest Opinions are Needed
It is hard to predict what will or won’t sell. I suggest you try a few indoor fairs around Christmas and test market your pieces. Talk to the visitors who stop at your table and see what they like. Start small and grow your business as your sales grow. Etsy also a good place to start but you will have to do a lot of online marketing to drive visitors to your page.
Selling your work
by: Paul Mattson
You’ve asked the 64 million dollar question !
First , you are good enough . There is no question. I’m not the artist but the husband of the artist … and I’m not nearly as sensitive .
I’ve spent countless hours marketing my wife’s work mainly on Facebook . I went so far as working with Facebook and Artfire and with their contribution developed a page on Facebook which you or anyone reading this can post your work …
It’s called ArtFire Business Page
The concept is to promote small business in jewelry across America .
Do you have a web Site ?
If so , always leave your http://www. info wherever you post.
Remember these words :
” Nothing Happens but First a Dream ” then go out in cyberland and capture the heart .
That’s not how it works
We don’t get to decide if you have what it takes. That’s for your customers to decide and you won’t give them the chance to do if you don’t offer your work.
Post it! List it! Offer it!
If it takes off, great! If it doesn’t, fiddle with it. Change something. Wash, rinse, repeat until you’re successful (however you define that) or you’re ready to move on to something better for you.
it depends on you
Starting a jewelry business is hard. You never know what will sell but simple seems to sell best but people love to admire my more intricate fancy pieces which draw them into my booth. There is a lot of start up cost displays, tables, table clothes, etc, etc, booth fees, lots of time taking pictures, marketing your site, telling everyone about it, I started small with just having a jewelry show in my home for all my friends, and it is still my biggest easiest money maker, I send out post cards and email invites to all my friends and give them my online store info with some sort of special. I usually only get a few people that come but they buy a bunch of stuff. Especially if it is before christmas, My mom got everyone jewelry for christmas and then I got some more orders from her when my sisters mother in law wanted some of the jewelry… Then when people at chuch want something jewelry related they come to me… So I end up doing custom stuff throughout the year. Just start small and see how you like it. Doing booths is hard and in this economy sometimes really hard. I have done some shows where nothing sold..no one else sold anything so luckily I knew it wasn’t me. But you have to really stick with it and try different venues until you find your audience and fit.
A few comments
by: Dianne Culbertson
There are several factors that made it easier for me to make sales when I began. Pricing is of course one, but the big one for me was the photos. Find more intersting ways of displaying your work, espcecially if you are going for Etsy. Cruise around Etsy and Artfire as well as other online venues and get creative with your photos. Remember, it is that first peek that sparks interest!
Take a look at jewelry similar to yours. How are they priced, what do the descriptions say? Rena has many great articles on talking up your designs so dig deeply into this website, there is a lot of information!
Jewelry design has taken me places in technique that I never imagined, and often swore I would never go! If this is your passion, follow it. Don’t try to do what is popluar now, go with your own heart and imagination…those are the only things stopping you. Be sure your work is secure and you are using good quality materials. They do not have to be fine silver or gold but be sure you are getting good, strong, well made materials and remember the clasp is just as important as the piece.
Good luck to you! I look forward to seeing more of your work!
by: Chris @ Natural Reflections
In my personal experience (I have been making and selling approx 3-4 yrs) the best place to start is a craft fair during the holidays. I personally aim for the shows that are less expensive like around $30 – $50 that way if you do not sell much you are not out a lot of money. I have had good years/shows and bad years/shows and usually share my booth with a friend that also makes jewelry. Personally I try to make a variety of styles in order to appeal to different age groups. If you do decide to go on Etsy make sure your pictures are clear and feature your jewelry clearly. One thing I recently found out when I sold my first piece on Etsy was that I did not have my PayPal set up to receive my payments, you may want to see how to do this ahead of time (mine took a few days to verify). Good Luck and enjoy!
Taking a simpler route for more traffic
I agree with the post about making your photos more interesting. One thing that is particularly important is being able to see the colors used in the pieces.
Do keep in mind that some folks aren’t into chip jewelry, some are. What may be the best route for gauging interest and sales is going a different route from Etsy or Artfire for starters.
I would try offering the pieces on eBay first. It’s a heck of a lot easier that creating a lot of inventory for jewelry/craft shows. Both Etsy and Artfire have their own hoops to jump through and having your work featured on a site where there are a lot of “over-the-top” designers who do just crazy complicated work can be a bit intimidating at first. While I think I make rather pretty jewelry, I would be intimidated competing for attention on “artsy” sites.
With eBay, you can make your pieces available for auction as well as setting a “buy it now” price on the items. EBay will give you a broader exposure to buyers, especially now when buyers are looking for Christmas gifts.
Exposure is what creates sales – and you’ll get the most bang for your bucks in the easiest way possible. A lot of the general public aren’t into the specialty markets. They will find your work on eBay, and you can post as many or as few pieces as you would like because you aren’t setting up a “store front”.
I wish you well in your jewelry sales. Rock on
Photographing your Jewelry
by: Sharon Harris
There are so many things to consider when taking that big step to sell your jewelry to the public. You are wise to seek information and advice so that you know what’s in the water before plunging in.
I’m going to stick to one subject, photographing your jewelry. Whether you are going to be selling on-line or in person, having clear well lighted photographs that show off your designs is critical.
You’ve probably already visited many of the jewelry websites and studied their photographs. You might have noticed how detailed and “up-close” they are, with bright colors and easy to see details.
For example, often there are several photos that show off different parts of a necklace. In addition to a couple of pictures that include the entire necklace, there may be a close up of a pretty clasp, one to show the beauty of the pendant and how it’s attached, or to point out unusual bead patterns.
A common problem for many of us when we first start taking photos of our jewelry is to put the piece in the middle of a space much bigger than the piece and include the whole space in the picture. The result is that our jewelry looks very small and the fine details can’t be seen. Cropping can help, but generally a better photo will result if we fill the camera’s view finder with the jewelry and visually frame it with a small border area around it.
An expensive highly technical camera is not a “must have” to take good photos of your jewelry. There are lots of small digital “point and shoot” cameras for under a hundred dollars with the close up capacity needed for photographing small objects. Taking jewelry photos using a camera without that “macro” feature is frustrating to impossible.
These are just a few basic ideas for taking jewelry photographs that will sell for you. There are many excellent articles and suggestions on the Internet to provide you with more technical details. You’ve probably already found many other jewelry artists who will generously share their wisdom and experience with you.
With luck, determination and belief in yourself, you will be successful in the jewelry marketplace.
Developing your creative style
When I first started out I did the same as you, Barb, which is a great place to start – creating pieces for family and friends. I wore my jewelry everywhere, and as I started receiving requests, and positive comments from friends, coworkers, and even strangers, I knew I was on the right track.
There is some great advice in posts above about testing your pieces at small fairs, which is the next step.
I feel that developing my own creative style and signature technique was an important part of my success. For example, my customers have told me they “recognize” my pieces when they see someone wearing them because they have a certain look, feel, and style to them. As you explore your creativity, remember what makes your jewelry different from everything else – you – and strive to express your passion and individuality in your pieces.
It takes allot of passion and perseverance, and there are bound to be bumps in the road (even mountains) along the way. How you handle those bumps/climb the mountains will give you your answer to whether you have what it takes.
Best of luck!
Don’t be afraid
Find your style, concentrate on what you do and feel most comfortable with first. Then Evolve and step out of your comfort zone. There are no FAILURES only learning experiences.
Sometimes you have to let your medium speak to you. I work in a mess!!!! No matter how hard I try to be neat, it never works; but, more then once I’ve found a design just staring me in the face!!!
Most important HAVE FUN!!! I firmly believe that creativity is born from fun and enjoyment in what you do.
Sharon you said ‘there lots of small digital “point and shoot” cameras for under a hundred dollars with the close up capacity needed for photographing small objects’ Would you mind sharing what camera’s these are? I too, am looking for a an inexpensive, easy to use camera.
An even simpler approach
I agree with all the other comments.
If you aee not quite ready to take the plunge, try wearing your jewlery and giving some pieces
to people as birthday and holiday gifts. You will get some of the feedback that you want. Then you will get people asking you if you made what you are wearing. Posting on Facebook is also easy too.
You never know
I have always worked with small beads, never the big chunky ones. I bought chunky beads. It took me awhile to figure out what to do with them. I made 3 necklaces, and then I thought no one would buy them, because, I wasn’t sure about them. In the first morning of the craft show, they all sold. I have noticed this with other things I made, some I wasn’t even going to put out, but they sold. You may not be sure about your jewelry, but you may be surprised about what others think of your jewelry. You never know.
You can sell it!
Yes, you can sell your jewelry. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to get started. You can get all kinds of free business items at VistaPrint. Their shipping is kind of high, but you still come out ahead because of all the stuff you can get. Priority would be business cards. Get some and then when people compliment your jewelry, hand them a card. Drop one in business card fishbowls and hang on bulletin boards at restaurants, give some to the teller at your bank to pass around. Post a few items on ETSY. It is only 20 cents. There are also a lot of user friendly free websites where you can set up your own site. Even though I have items on ETSY, I refer people and have on my business card, my website (I don;t want potenial customers seeing other jewelry on ETSY and liking it better…) The bottom line is to set up your web site and then get the word out for people to find you. By the way, don’t forget Facebook and Twitter. Good luck and I know you will do well.
So many factors!
There are so many other things to consider aside from what your jewelry looks like, and how well it’s made.
Are you someone who likes to sell? Do you have a sales personality? Are you organized? (There’s a lot of paperwork involved, even if you do just a couple of craft shows a year!) Are you willing to grow and expand beyond what “everyone else” is making?
Selling jewelry is a HARD business. I’m being a little harsh because it’s not all “plop stuff down on a table, sit behind it in a chair all day, and sell the tar out of it”. Test it out at a small show this fall/holiday season to see how you do, and learn from your experience.
What I’ve Found
I’ve been making and selling jewelry (among other items) for a no. of yrs. In this present economy (and with the market – bazaars, art fairs and such – totally inundated by jewelry designers) I’ve found a unique pair of good quality earrings will always sell before necklaces or bracelets. Women (at least here in the PNW) are also going more for lighter weight necklaces, so your jewelry looks just fine. As others have suggested, try some local fall/holiday bazaars first. If you know enough people perhaps having a holiday home show featuring other kinds of gift items would be a good idea.
I will admit I doubt I would make enough money just selling jewelry in today’s economy so I also make unique handbags/totes, pouches, headbands, photo cards and prints. A variety of items, a variety of prices – I’m bound to sell something!
MyCoraBella, your pics are awesome!
by: Luann Udell
Tracey, you were one of the few commentators to post your website, so I checked out your photos. Awesome! You should write an article for Rena on photographing jewelry. I want to be the first to read it! :^D
It can be a hard road…
Anyone can sell anything these days – it depends on what your aim is!
In general, I think it is REALLY important for everyone to continually work on their skills base.
Make sure that your workmanship is the best it can be and continue to work to improve on it, try out new things and expand your designs. Make sure your materials are of good quality. All these things will help make your jewellery a more desirable thing and when backed with a good reputation even better!
All that being said, do be aware that the jewellery market is saturated – at all levels.
If you sell at a show the jewellery category is the first to fill up and if not contained, a lot of shows will be 2/3 jewellery. Many little shops already have jewellery on display and everywhere you go will see a little bit of jewellery for sale. That is ALOT of competition – you have to make your jewellery stand out!
Apart from a lot of competition for the jewellery “dollar” there is also the economy to consider. If you can sell $5-20 items you are going to be in the “I can afford to spend this and spoil myself” purchase place, but I am seeing and hearing a big barrier in the US economy to higher value purchases. This can make it hard work to sell a sufficient amount to make money from it.
I think most of us started out making it as a hobby and being grateful for the opportunity to express our creativity in this way and thrilled when anyone purchased it. But going from that to a money MAKING venture is a long, hard slog.
If you are prepared to be in it for the long haul, to be alternately disappointed/thrilled, to back up your work with a guarantee, to keep working at your skills and designs, then you will get there – but don’t be surprised if it takes years.
As many have mentioned already – start small and see how you go and how people react to it and take it all one step at a time!
Jewelry Photo Question/Cameras
by: Sharon Harris
Hi Marlene, Thanks for your question about “point and shoot” cameras for jewelry pictures. I have a lot of faith in Sony, especially the Cybershot series. I bought my husband a DSC W310 last year that I have used for jewelry when I have low battery on my other camera. You can get one on the Sony website, refurbished, for $99.00. I also use a Canon Power Shot (a bit more expensive).
There are hundreds of digital camera reviews and brand comparisons on the Internet . You might try to Google “point and shoot digital cameras with macro” to find them. I also always check Consumer Reports before I buy a camera. You can look at their magazines at any library if you don’t subscribe to it. If you would like to see some of my photos, I have a few here in Rena’s Gallery and my website is posted with them.
With a little research, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a relatively inexpensive camera that can take beautiful pictures of your jewelry.
Thanks for answering. I am one of those people who are very, very challenged when it comes to electronics, computers etc.
It has to be super easy!!!
I’ll look into this. thanks and have a great night/day!!
Set yourself apart
by: Lynn Ballinger
I’m going to be honest here…..while your jewelry is pretty, it looks like a lot of other jewelry I see everywhere. When I first started making jewelry many years ago, it was so exciting to string some beads on a necklace and actually make something wearable! But, as I made more and more, I realized that I was doing something that a million other people were doing. Nothing distinguished my jewelry from anyone else’s.
I started working on developing my own voice, and slowly began making jewelry that was unique and apart from the crowd.
You can have great photographs, wonderful marketing strategies, hard work, effort, exposure in different venues, all of that. And you MUST have all of that! But I’ve learned that you also have to create something just a little bit different than everyone else’s. Otherwise, you end up cutting your prices just to sell, because your customers can buy a similar product at a cheaper price.
Best of luck to you!
Left out my website
After reading Luann’s comment, I realized that it would be helpful to include websites with our responses.
Mine is www.ballingerdesignstudios.com
Standing out from the crowd
When I was starting out making jewelry, I was still in the gifts phase and the “I don’t have to buy this stuff; I can make it on my own” phase. I made many beautiful bracelets from chip beads similar to the ones you pictured.
When I went on to sell my jewelry, I ended up going with wire-wrapping instead of beading, but here’s some advice based on how I would have gone about selling beaded creations:
Stand out from the crowd. The jewelry you have is beautiful, but not unique. I think you should still sell pieces like that, but as lower price points. For your higher-end collection, make pieces that you alone could have come up with, and more importantly, that nobody’s seen before.
Are you kidding me?
Yes, You have what it takes.. I think you wanted to know if your jewelry is good or not and I say it’s great.. You have talent.. Now all you need is confidence and a plan.. Never give up what you like to do…Now get out there and sell it!!!
Don’t let any one or thing stop you.. You Go Girl…
Find your selling niche
Your work looks lovely! Now to find a place to sell. I’m not familiar with etsy and for me the most difficult selling places have been online.
My first sales where at a local art group exhibition that I was a member of. The next successful place was at a Cafe. I only had a small board but over the summer I would occasionally have one weekly sale. Depending on where you live Market stalls can be wonderful. I don’t make enough money to pay for a table where I live.
I’ve now got my fingers crossed as I’ve been offered a place at two local art exhibitions in October.
I love Rena’s ‘black book’ tips. Take your jewelery everywhere. I’m going to try that next!
To Janet, I love what you said, very upbuilding and encouraging.
More close-up photos
by: Barbara J
Now that you’re committed to making lovely pieces, get busy and do marketing on internet sites to drive people to them. They all have huge possibilities for bloggers, forums, etc. Your photos need to be top quality and to show your pieces close up in order to compete on these sites. Take a look at successful sellers’ pages to get more ideas. Bite the bullet and get a camera with at least a macro feature and learn to use it well. No need to buy a really expensive camera or a reflex. Another idea: I find your necklaces lacking color or brightness which could be improved by adding findings of silver or other metals. Lastly, a tip I’ve learned from having booths at fairs is to stay out in front of your booth and engage people in conversation. Be proactive; nobody sells by sitting behind the table and waiting for it to happen.