a profitable market niche
by Rena Klingenberg.
Anytime you sell jewelry gifts, you’ll do well if you include a great selection of nice under-$20 items.
People need to shop for nieces, aunts, teachers, babysitters, friends, secret-Santa pals, co-workers, graduates, stocking stuffers, etc. – and quality jewelry items in this price range can fill these gift-giving needs nicely!
Here are some success tips for maximum profits in the under-$20 niche:
You’ll Benefit from the Higher Volume of Sales
Never underestimate the size of the under-$20 gift market, because your volume of these sales can REALLY add up!
It’s a huge market segment, and one that’s very easy to sell to. Even at a slow show, you’ll be making sales if you have items that cater to this market – especially whenever the economy takes a downturn so that people have less to spend.
Can You Really Profit by
Selling Jewelry for Less than $20?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s not unusual for many artists to earn their booth fee and then some, just by selling high quality, under-$20 jewelry gifts.
You’re NOT reducing the prices on your higher-priced jewelry and selling it at these lower price points.
Instead, you’re creating a different line of nice but quick-to-make jewelry from your less expensive components.
These are jewelry items that net you a good profit when priced under $20.
So what kind of jewelry makes a nice gift, sells well for less than $20, and is still profitable for you to make? Consider some of these:
- Inexpensive bead earrings
- Adjustable small rings
- Surfer-style chokers (16″ to 18″ long) of bone, horn, and stone nugget beads, spliced with rubber tubing
- Simple bead rings
- Small quartz crystals freeform-wrapped with a little bit of wire
- Unisex necklaces with sliding adjustable knots
- Teen chokers with one cool bead of glass, clay, or tumbled stone on a cord
- Copper bracelets
- Simple colored pearl earrings
- A sterling silver charm or pendant on a leather cord
- Toe rings
- Jewelry in local school colors
- Petite earrings for little girls
- Jewelry that’s themed to your region
- Jewelry that makes use of your leftover beads, findings, and scrap wire
- A “bargain basket” or trunk of marked down jewelry – people love to rummage through a bargain bin and find a steal on buried treasure!
Dichroic glass artist Cindy Cherrington of CC Creations displays a treasure chest labeled “Rainbow Pieces – FREE Satin Cord with Purchase”.
“This is where I sell my scrap dichro pieces that have been refired to all sizes and shapes with a glue-on bail,” Cindy says. “These pieces all range from $6 to $25, based on size. There is literally something for everyone, starting with the smallest budget. Rest assured, at a slow show, this will always make my booth fees!”
What a great idea for profiting from scraps and leftovers!
How Low Can You Go?
Believe it or not, it can be profitable for you to sell items that are priced below $10. Just how low can you go and still make a good profit?
Well, I have a line of mini Swarovski crystal post earrings that sells like hotcakes at $8. They cost me just over $1 each, so I earn nearly $7 every time I sell a pair of them. At least 75% of the people who buy these mini earrings say, “These are perfect for my niece!” – and many customers buy them for several nieces at a time.
These little earrings do an excellent job of filling the “niece niche”. They’re a high quality item at a very affordable price – and they’re a perfect gift for girls.
I can very quickly sell a dozen of these niece earrings and net more than $80 in profit.
Can you sell items priced even lower than these earrings and still turn a nice profit? Definitely! One reason is because under-$7 items can be irresistible impulse purchases.
Nicky Stade of Forever Friends Jewelry says holiday jewelry shows are “a good time of year to offer low-priced stocking stuffers or gifties – items like keychains, bookmarks, purse charms, etc. People at our parties usually pick up a few jewelry items and then a handful of these small things for friends, co-workers, secret pals, and so on,” Nicky says. “These things are usually $5 to $7 each, so the perception is that they are inexpensive, but they add up quickly to boost your sales!”
With a bit of creativity you can come up with some really profitable designs to offer at low prices.
For maximum low-priced success, think “simple” – the simpler the design is, the quicker it is to make and the more people it will appeal to.
An Amazingly Profitable $3 Jewelry Item
I consistently sell a very high volume of an extremely profitable $3 item at my shows.
What is it? It’s an almost ridiculously simple, adjustable toe ring / pinkie ring that takes me less than two minutes to make. (See my tutorial for this item – Wire Wrap Rings.)
And the supplies (usually pieces of copper or brass wire left over from other projects) cost me about 4 cents per ring, depending on metal prices.
When I turn around and sell one of these rings for $3, that’s an astounding markup of 75x, depending on the metal type! I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing else in my jewelry inventory that I can mark up that much!
Yet people feel that $3 is a very reasonable price to pay for a well-made, handcrafted ring in copper or brass, and they sell briskly.
In one hour I can make about 30 of these simple little rings, at a total cost of $1.20 to me. Then at my next show I can turn that $1.20 into $88.80 of pure profit (30 rings x $3 = $90. Then $90 – $1.20 = $88.80) when I sell the rings.
Even if you lowered the price to $2, that’s still a 50x markup. However, as always, be careful of setting prices so low that customers perceive the item as “junk” instead of as a valuable handmade piece.
And again, be sure anything you sell at these lower price points costs you practically nothing in supplies, and is VERY quick to make.
Otherwise it won’t be profitable for you.
A Tip from Walmart:
Position Your Impulse Items
by the Checkout
Walmart and other major retail stores have spent millions of dollars on merchandising research. You can bet that if they cram their checkout aisles with tons of low-priced impulse items, it’s because their research shows that’s the most profitable location to put them!
Next time you go to one of the big retail chain stores, notice what they stock their checkout aisles with, and how they display it – you might get some ideas.
At your jewelry shows and parties, try positioning your own impulse purchase items right where your customers will be standing as they pay for their items or wait in line to check out. They’re already in buying mode, and it’s easy for them to toss in a few extra $3, $5, or $7 items while they wait.
Nicky Stade agrees, adding that one of her customers “pre-paid for a $50 custom order, and then before she checked out, she grabbed four bookmarks from the table to add to her order (at $5 each, it bumped her order up to $70!)! That’s an extra $20 we might have missed had we not offered something simple like that.”
Double Your Sales by Offering
Another strategy for selling a lot of your high-profit, low-priced items is by offering your customers a “two-fer” special – that is, a little better deal when they buy two of the item instead of just one.
For example, beside a display of bracelets you can have a sign stating “Surfer Bracelets – $15 each, or two for $28”. People are very motivated to buy that second item to get the price break, especially at gift shopping time.
Your two-fers can do especially well when grouped nicely in a container such as a treasure chest, small basket, tray, etc. where people can rummage gently through them. Have a clearly written, attractive sign attached to the container stating the regular pricing and the price break.
In my experience, most people go ahead and buy two instead of one when they see two-fer priced items – which is a neat way to double your sales.
“But I’d Rather Sell
More Expensive Items”
Of course you can sell mid- and high-priced jewelry too – and you certainly should, if that’s part of your jewelry business plan.
The under-$20 gift market doesn’t need to be the focus of your entire jewelry business. But it’s such a profitable and easy market to sell to that it’s worth considering ways you can create at least a few products to serve this niche.
A line of lower-priced jewelry gifts can fit neatly alongside the higher-priced items in your booth and in your marketing scheme if you choose.
Many customers will buy pieces in both price ranges, while others will gravitate to just one of your price ranges.
Some jewelry artists do very well by building their entire business on serving the under-$20 jewelry gift market with creative, profitable, low-priced items.
Some want to focus on this market a little more, and some a little less – or even not at all. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your jewelry business and your particular market.