I’m Improving, But I Still Have Questions

by Dan Santersero.
(Pueblo, CO)

Hey everyone! I made a post here some time ago – Help – Starting a Jewelry Business Right Out of High School.

I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing and improved on.

Wire rings by Dan Santersero  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

My first set of ring designs for sale.

I’m still more or less fresh out of high school, and I still don’t have a job. So I’ve mostly been keeping to myself, getting new materials and tools, experimenting, coming up with new designs, etc.

I had a small breakthrough about a month ago, I sold a bunch of rings to a shop downtown called The Ten Spot, but I haven’t really heard back since. I’m still excited though.

Wire ring by Dan Santersero  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Experimenting with celtic-ish weaves. This one is called “The Celtic Embrace.”

I take my rings with me in a little 36 slot glass top display case to open mic night once a month at a popular local cafe.

I’m having some trouble, however.

I haven’t really sold any that way yet, but the vibe there is perfect, they hang up a lot of art from the community, they also do live art, and they allow artists like me to sell things we bring with us at our leisure.

Wire ring by Dan Santersero  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

My first attempt at hand twisting wire and making a ring with it.

I usually sit by the entrance, across from their main counter where they take orders, and the place is generally packed. So its not like people aren’t seeing my work.

Is there a particular way of sitting and acting to get people to sit down and have a look?

I’m usually sitting upright and drawing in a small sketchbook, should I sit at attention and smile for like four hours? Where else can I sell pieces?

Wire pendants by Dan Santersero  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

A collection of miscellaneous wire wrapped pendant experiments.

Now that that business is out of the way, what do you guys think of my designs? I can’t seem to find similar wraps on Etsy at all. With maybe the exception of the twin hearts.

Are my designs unique and interesting? I particularly like my Heart Swan ring. Which is your favorite?

Dan Santersero
Santersero Jewelry

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Comments

  1. Hi Dan, it’s nice to hear an update from you. Your wirework is looking great!

    Regarding getting people to interact with you and your jewelry – you don’t need to sit at attention, but you do need to look open and ready for friendly conversation with passersby who stop to look. If you look too involved in something (sketching, reading a book, looking at your phone, etc.) people won’t want to interrupt you.

    Why not make some of your wire rings or other wire pieces while you sit at your table? People love to watch an artist create with wire and other jewelry elements – and they especially love to watch the artist make a ring (or other jewelry) for them! You can draw a crowd with your demonstrations, which can lead people to be interested in all of your other jewelry – and they will probably also ask questions about your work. All of which is good for sales and developing a fan base!

  2. I like the look of your rings, Dan, especially the Celtic Embrace!

    Along with Rena’s suggestion that you bring a few pieces to work on while you hang out I suggest you find a place other than across from the order counter. Most people who go to the counter are focused on their orders and will not see you and you may be lost in the crush of people if the place is packed. Get there early and stake a claim to a table!

    A place midway between the entrance and order counter would be optimal. You could also have a sign that says “I do custom orders” or something to that regard.

    I designed my own website with Wix.com. For the first several years it was free to me as i didn’t have a store connected to it. I had my email on the website and a place where people could message me from there with questions. I finally connected a store this May as I am doing larger and higher-profile shows. In my medium (chainmaille) I find that Etsy is over-run with this particular jewelry and the pricing is all over the place.

    Best of luck!

  3. I like your work. You can be proud of it. I do think that you should try to engage people in conversation as an opening to your jewelry. Sometimes, all that is needed is a smile and nod of the head. You could talk about the jewelry pieces, pick one out and put it on a finger or offer it for them to try. You could also remind them that each piece is handmade and adjustable. I’d probably take just a couple of each design rather than lots of the same style to display. You can keep more in a pocket or box. Good luck!

  4. I agree. Definitely don’t be drawing, reading or playing on your phone. Work on a piece of jewellery that’s easy to pick up and put down and fast to produce and doesn’t require a lot of tools, findings. When space is at a premium, I do wire-weaving that I keep in one little bag. I’ve often sold jewellery half-finished — I show people what I’m working on at that moment, and many times people have asked if they can buy it. I finish it to fit them precisely and they walk away so happy. If it’s going to take more than a few minutes to finish something and they say they’ll come back, absolutely do not be shy about asking for full payment up front. Get a contact name and phone number and give them your card. I can’t tell you the number of people who are halfway home, then remember they were supposed to pick something up from me.

    Also try to fit your products to the style of the particular venue/event theme/patrons’ age/budget.

  5. Your rings are beautiful. Your work looks flawless. Keep moving forward!

  6. It looks like you’re off to a great start with your jewelry, and it’s nice that you’ve been able to find a venue that doesn’t charge you for space while you are getting going. One thing I would suggest, because you use your hands to create your jewelry, and also to photograph your jewelry, that you make sure your hands are always clean and your nails neatly trimmed. When I do photos that show my hands, if I notice they aren’t clean or well kept looking, I either crop my hands out, photo shop them, or retake the photo. I always try to present my best side!

  7. Catherine Franz says:

    I learned not to place multiple of the same ring out even if they are different sizes. People like unique and have told me, because I did the same years back, that if I display one to get them to begin a conversation or I with them on the ring, I can mention I have other sizes available.

    I love buying other jewelry artists rings but I even get turned off when I see a row of the same.

    Hope this helps. The others gave you some great advice as well.

  8. Alice Roberts says:

    Dan,

    I especially like the Celtic Embrace and the twisted knot ring. There are lots of online tutorials to expand your line especially for impulse buying, the adjustable rings are probably the answer to sizing. However, if you have sized rings, your display already takes that into consideration, I would vary the qty of rings on display, too one or two of a design, and keep other sizes labeled with type of wire, etc info on each tag and in a separate container, so as your design line expands, you will be able to show more designs in a limited space. You should definitely add the suggestions from others of displaying a table sign, and a business card holder or stack on the table for people to pick up and take that has all your contact information. Also demonstrations of your work in progress as you are sitting there working on pieces. That would generate interest in you and your products and provide a conversation starter. I agree, don’t sit by the door or next to the order station. You might want to expand to wire wrap bracelets or design pendants to vary your line and add things for you to make at the table as something you can sell. There are designs for pendants that can be used with leather or cord necklaces that can be used to display the pendants. There are lots of ideas you can modify to be totally wire rather than involving stones or beads if those aren’t your thing. Rena has some large findings that are pendants, and these can also have additional enhancements added, like coiling, or weaving between the wires. Check out her web tutorials. Weaving patterns are also available on jewelry videos on You Tube, and there are wire bracelets that can be woven with 5-9 wires that are really great looking pieces of jewelry, and could be enhanced with or without beads. Good Luck to you. You have a lot of initiative to be doing this at your age, so I think you will be successful in whatever endeavors you decide to do. Acquire the knowledge from the free sources available to you, and gradually expand your jewelry line. You definitely show talent for this. Good Luck!

  9. sandy schaneman says:

    I agree with others. If you have ten identical rings sitting there, I won’t buy one. However, if you have ten SIMILAR rings, I will stop to look at all of them. Also, keep in mind that there are thousands of artists trying to sell wire jewelry. Your chances of being noticed are better if there is something unique about your work.

  10. That’s so cool!

  11. Joyce Rafferty says:

    I agree with the others that I would be working on a ring at a table. Your Celtic embrace ring is gorgeous! I’d suggest keeping your inventory in a three ring binder, with plastic pages for either baseball cards or coins. (Rena has an earlier post on this) that you can bring up and show interested buyers. Best of luck, your talent will bring you success!

    Joyce in Seattle

  12. Deborah Kelly says:

    Your work is wonderful, and is bound to get better the longer you keep at it! You have good instincts…just follow the good ideas given here, and do what’s most comfortable for you…you definitely have what it takes to be a success!

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