Jewelry Business Insider:
Rena’s Exclusive Interviews with the Experts
Interview with Tara Gentile by Rena Klingenberg
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:
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. She’s the author of several popular digital guides including her latest on the relationship between personal art and money, The Art of Earning.