How to Sell Your Jewelry in The New Economy

Jewelry Business Insider:
Rena’s Exclusive Interviews with the Experts

Interview with Tara Gentile by Rena Klingenberg

Interview with Tara Gentile by Rena Klingenberg

Tara Gentile, a thought leader on the New Economy.


RENA: Briefly, what is the New Economy, and how is it different from the Old Economy?

TARA: The Old Economy is the long-lived Industrial Age and the short-lived Information Age.

That economy was based on looking at workers as commodities. Corporations could create slots for work and then insert disposable workers into those slots to get the job done.

Jobs were defined by clear cut work weeks, specific task expectations, and skills generally learned by rote. They came with steady paychecks and suitable job security.

These are the jobs that our parents & grandparents had. They are the type of jobs most of us trained for. Or they are the types of jobs we vowed to avoid!

A growing number of economists are now discussing our current period of difficulty as a transformational period between the Old Economy and the New Economy.

It’s not the Great Recession. It’s the Great Transition.

The New Economy is defined by a more whole view of human potential, profit, and productivity. It’s less top-down and more bottom-up.

It rewards true innovation and has no patience for competition based on incremental improvement.

It’s also more self-determined – you are responsible for your own value to the market since you can’t rely on being inserted into an appropriate “job.”

I call the New Economy the You Economy because “you” have the power in the economic system-to-come.

As a consumer, you have the power to tell businesses, governments, and communities what you want.

You have more access to channels of communication and production than ever before. As a business owner, you have the power to produce just about anything you can imagine.

You can market and grow that business for a ridiculously small investment.

In the You Economy, you are in control.


RENA: How should home-based jewelry artists align their art and business with the wants and needs of New Economy / You Economy customers?

TARA: Both your art and your business should align with the 3 touch points of You Economy commerce:

  • connection
  • experience
  • meaning.

Jewelry may be an accessory, an adornment, or even a splurge but it has the ability to bring these touch points into mind for the buyer and wearer.

Connection: People want to feel a connection to other people, their communities, a special cause, or just the things they buy.

Mass-production and unthinking technology has created an epidemic of disconnection and isolation for most people.

Products that sell well in the You Economy point out how they connect rather than disconnect.

Experience: Consumers value the experience of what they buy. This could be reflected in the purchase itself (i.e. excellent customer service or custom finishing).

It can also be reflected in the experience a customer has when she wears a piece.

Meaning: In the You Economy, we’re all looking to find deeper purpose and meaning in our lives.

If you can connect your personal deeper purpose and meaning to the jewelry you create, you can forge a connection to your customer’s purpose.


RENA: If you were a home-based jewelry artist, what specific actions would you take right now to sell your jewelry in this economy?

TARA: First, I would differentiate!

It’s one thing to make jewelry as a hobby and create pieces within your skill level or a particular style that you like. But if you’re serious about selling jewelry, you need to make your product line as unique as possible.

Ask yourself WHY someone would buy your jewelry instead of hers, or hers, or his. If you don’t have an immediate answer, dive deeper into your creative and production processes to more fully exercise your own unique perspective.

Second, I would develop a direct communication strategy that highlights YOU as unique, human person and how YOU inform every aspect of your business.

Use a blog, use Twitter, use Facebook, use email marketing (please, use email marketing!) – however you want to do it is fine. Just be sure to let the human side of your business shine.

Share your thought process, share personal experiences that tie back to your creativity, share your passion.

Third, I would ask my customers for feedback.

I would nail down exactly what value (in terms of connection, experience, and meaning) they’re receiving from my jewelry.

How does it make them feel? Do they behave differently when they wear it? Do they get compliments and how do those compliments make them feel? What needs does it fill?

Understanding what is REALLY happening for your customers is the secret sauce for understanding how to communicate with potential clients.

Use that feedback to tweak product descriptions, marketing communication, even product photography!


RENA: Tara, thank you for stopping in to sharing your insights on selling handmade jewelry in the New Economy!

About Tara Gentile:

Tara Gentile is a thought leader and creative business coach redefining commerce as the creation and distribution of meaning, connection, and experience.

She brings creative thinking to branding, product development, and marketing that incorporates both strategy and high touch design. Her approach to business in the You Economy resonates with MBAs, PhDs, and graduates of the school of life.

She writes frequently for the Daily Worth, Design*Sponge, and Etsy. Bestselling author, Jonathan Fields, named her blog a Top 22 Single-Voice Business Blog of 2012. Sheโ€™s the author of several popular digital guides including her latest on the relationship between personal art and money, The Art of Earning.

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  1. fab insight nto the New Economy – I try and have recently had moderate success

  2. I didn’t know there was a name for how I’ve been marketing myself for umpteen years, and now making and selling jewellery.

    Believe me, the “I can buy that cheaper at Waaaaaaal-Mart” customers aside that we all hear from ad nauseum, these are the reasons people have been buying and continue to return to buy from me these past four years.

    It’s great to have it articulated, because I think all of us who hand-craft or paint or sculpt have already been doing this and instinctively understood/understand the concept, but having it put into words validates our efforts in the face of the Old Economy we still live in and which quite often views us with hostility and suspicion.

  3. Cathy Stewart says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. I only make one of a kind jewelry so I say if you don’t want to see someone else wearing it than buy from me.

    I never make the same thing twice. I am always challenging myself to do something new.

    It is fun to hear people say that they really like my pieces. I think a good piece of jewelry makes you feel good. Kind of like a hat. It lifts you up. We all need to be lifted up! Cathy

  4. The concepts of connection, experience, and meaning that Tara discussed exactly matches up with the jewelry I’m making and trying to sell.

    I craft jewelry with a faith message or theme by way of silver message beads and Christian-inspired symbols. I am so encouraged by what she offered in her interview, thank you Tara!

    It means that maybe my ideas are not so crazy after all, that they came from a place that probably fits with how other women want to express themselves through jewelry.

  5. I’m so glad to hear how Tara’s insights are resonating!

    One statement that particularly struck me was, “It’s not the Great Recession, it’s the Great Transition.” Tara, you perfectly put into words something I had been feeling for a long time.

    Over the past 3+ years I’ve heard so many people talking about “these economic times” with a sense that they’re waiting for the economy (and everything else) to go back to how it was before.

    But during those 3+ years technology and other factors have changed everything so radically that the clock can’t be turned back to pre-2008. So it’s up to each of us to spot the tremendous opportunities opening up now.

    Thanks so much, Tara, for helping us understand our New Economy customers and the wealth of new opportunities that are closer than we think.

  6. I love the idea of the Great Transition, vs Great Recession! What a positive, hopeful way to view our changing times. We have all had to learn something about adapting and adjusting. My own 2011 sales were definitely up from 2010 – and I sure hope this trend continues this year!

    I think we’ve all had to dig deeper, be more creative, in order to ride this out. This has definitely been true in my own family, and the creative outlet of making jewelry has been not only helpful and therapeutic, but made those “worry” days a little less worrisome. Creating is a tangible thing, sometimes almost a Zen place we can go with our art. The air is becoming fresher – I am anxious and hopeful to see how this year’s craft season turns out. Great Transition, indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Random says:

    I’m just starting out and only have one repeat customer so far, a co worker of my dad’s, other than family whom I give jewelry to.

    I’m still finding my niche and artistic aesticic. After a life altering experience finding who I am as a person and an artist is difficult. Perhaps always learning, always improving, always searching for new techniques is my niche.

    Now waiting for shows to come around is the hardest part ( I can’t travel very far from home for shows)

  8. Kathie L says:

    What an Uplifting, Insightful, Concise Revelation! WOW! What an exciting opportunity to be part of this “Transitional” Evolution! I love it: “The Great Transition!!!….” The You Economy! That is a PERFECT description of 2012!

  9. Great information! I struggle with social media and need more information on email marketing. Also, vivid jewelry descriptions that show the “WOW” factor is a challenge.

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