Jewelry Grab Bags: Everybody loves a bargain!

Β© by Janet Davis; all rights reserved.

Wire-wrapped Swarovski crystal by Janet Davis

My name is Janet Davis and I am the owner / operator of my own small jewelry business, EarArt ‘n Things.

I have been making and selling jewelry for several years.

I started out using plated findings as most of us did when we first started making jewelry, but within a few months I moved on to sterling silver and gold-fill findings.

I also use semiprecious gemstones, leather and suede and other found objects.

Over the past three years, I have added to my jewelry sales by making up what I call Jewelry Grab Bags, and I usually sell these bags around the holiday season.

Carnelian necklace by Janet Davis

My Jewelry Grab Bags consist mostly of jewelry that I have not sold over the past year.

I make jewelry all of the time and not everything sells at my home shows or other craft shows.

I will usually rework the more expensive pieces, and throw the other pieces into a drawer or plastic bag to later put in my Grab Bags.

I used ziplock bags, and I put the price of the bag on the front. Using ziplock bags lets the potential customer see exactly what’s in it.

I price my bags starting at $10.00 and go up to $30.00, but there have been times when I have had bags priced up to $50.00.

I usually have about 100 or more bags, and each bag has 2 to 4 items in it. At least one item in the bag is the value of the bag, and the other pieces are lower priced.

For instance, a $30.00 bag will have one $30.00 item and at least two other items valued around $10.00, $15.00 or $20.00, so the customer can purchase a $30.00 bag and have $60.00 worth of jewelry.

Copper neckwire set by Janet Davis

When my customers see the Grab Bags they usually buy two to three bags, and there have been times when I have sold out of my Grab Bags before the show is over.

I also allow my customers to swap out one item in the bag that they don’t like, but they can only swap out with a bag that is the same price as the original bag.

I did a home show a couple of weeks ago and two ladies bought seven Grab Bags each, totaling about $270.00.

I also did a craft show and sold eight bags with a total price of $140.00 to one person!

So for me, this is good because I am getting rid of a lot of old stuff and making money.

I’ve had customers who are looking for inexpensive jewelry to give as gifts, so when they see the Grab Bag prices they are really happy.

The bags usually consist of earrings, lower priced bracelets (i.e., stretch bracelets), copper pieces, some inexpensive fused glass pendants (i.e., with silver plated bails), anklets, inexpensive watches, toe rings and kids’ jewelry.

Some bags may have all earrings, or 2 pairs of earrings and a bracelet or necklace.

Janet Davis Murano glass jewelry set by Janet Davis

Grab Bags can also cause a jewelry frenzy!

I’ve seen five or six ladies clustered around the Grab Bags, most with several bags in their laps and having a good time going through the bags and exclaiming over their finds.

You may have a customer who only has a limited amount of money to spend, so that customer may buy one or two Grab Bags instead of not buying anything at all.

They may not have been able to afford a more expensive piece, but they could afford a $20.00 Grab Bag so they don’t go home empty-handed, and I’ve made a sale where I might not have if I didn’t have the Grab Bags.

So, if you have lots of jewelry extras, try putting together Jewelry Grab Bags and start making big sales.

Selling Grab Bags has helped me to get my jewelry inventory under control and I hope that it can help you too.

Author Janet Davis of Ear Art ‘n Things has been creating and selling jewelry for several years. She does chain maille, wire wrapping, stringing and fused glass.

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  1. Tamara says:

    This is a great idea, Janet! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great idea Janet. I only have a website so I have to put my thinking cap on to do something similar on my website.
    Any ideas anyone?

  3. This is a great idea. I will definitely try this at the next craft show that I do. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I like this idea. My earlier designs will find a buyer using this technique (I hope!) This is worth a try. Much easier than taking the piece apart and using the components for new designs.

  5. What a fantastic idea. Dah moment for me. Thank you for sharing, some of us just don’t think of something simple and easy when we are looking at older stock. Will have to try this soon.

  6. Great idea! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  7. Great idea! Do you use transparent bags for this or?

  8. Great idea. One to try for sure. It beats breaking up old stuff that hasn’t sold.

  9. I have the same question as Lissie…brown craft bags or transparent? I tend to think “Grab Bag” as a surprise!

  10. Great idea as a last effort to sell that “unsellable” jewelry. It sounds better than advertising a “studio clearance” especially since some shows don’t allow any sale/clearance signs. Definitely on my list of things to try!

  11. Thanks for this wonderful idea!! i’m going to start gathering our older items and start making those grab bags.

  12. I don’t do fairs or shows (though I am still trying to get into a venue for an exhibit) but I am going to think how I can do this online. Maybe through my etsy shop?

  13. I have a question: do you keep original price tags on or do you tell them what the prices were before you grab-bagged the pieces?

  14. WillieMae says:

    Wonderful idea Janet. I love your pices and the name of your business. Much continued success.

  15. Lissie & Cat – Janet does say “I used ziplock bags – lets the potential customer see exactly what’s in it”. Does that answer your question?

  16. What a wonderful idea! I am going to try this at my next show for sure. I am also going to share your idea in my handmade craft group on LinkedIn where that exact question came up recently in a discussion i.e. what’s everyone doing with old stock. Wish I had thought of it myself but I will give you the credit!

  17. Dallareese Pennie says:

    What a super idea, I am definately going to use this at my next show.
    Thank You

  18. I need help with this! Well… I gave it a try. I spent a few hours putting 3 items in a clear snack size baggy. I labeled the bag with items SKU #, total retail price and sale price (approx.40% off) and put them in a cute wicker picnic basket to browse through. I put a sign at the top of the basket – GRAB BAG 3 Items per bag 35% – 45% off. In 4 shows I sold only 1 bag. Some people pick up 1 bag and immediately move on, most don’t give the basket more than a passing glance. I’ve taken it off the show table for now – it was taking up too much space for not selling.
    Anyone have any suggestions on how to change how I’m doing this to make it work better?

  19. Kathy Joyal says:

    Janet…Do you leave the prices on the individual items for the buyers to see? And have you found that a certain price sells better?

    It’s too bad Jeanne your “goodies” didn’t work. I would think a flat price on the bags works better than a sign that says 35-45% off. When some jewellery stores have sales that are 50% off…35% doesn’t always really mean that much.
    I plan on making just a sign that says “Grab Bags” or “Christmas Grab Bags” for my Christmas markets shows. I’ll put one sign flat on the table and another on the handle of the basket. 2 signs are sometimes better than 1.

  20. I must have not been very clear about the labels on the clear baggies… each bag had a label “GRAB BAG” with two prices: “Retail Price” total price of the 3 items and the “GRAB BAG” total price. The sign on top of the basket said:
    3 Items per bag
    35% – 45% off
    Perhaps I should just leave off the % part of the sign???
    Any other thoughts?

  21. Beverly Holman says:

    A great idea. I had considering this for some time to move my old inventory. I am happy to see that it works. Going to try it at my next show. I thought the idea of a “grab bag” was the surprise. Not seeing what you got until you open it.

  22. This is a great idea! I’m going to give it a try at my next show. I’ve got jewelry I want to move on. I think this is better than putting it on sale.

  23. I love this idea! If I may add another idea for getting the “old” stuff out, I have a sale basket (think this was Rena’s shared idea some time ago, actually!) that offers everything for $10. Mostly old earrings that have not sold well. This bin always does well – at least covers my booth fee at most shows. I sell on Etsy as well, ( and just recently opened another jewelry shop there where I offer everything at $10.( I have not really had a chance to market this bargain shop much yet, so only one sale so far,but I’m hopeful that it will take off! Right now it’s mainly items that have overloaded my inventory, but if it works out, I know I can figure out some quick-to-make items that can still bring some profit at this low price.

    Meanwhile, good luck to everyone in the new year with your jewelry sales! And THANK YOU RENA for your wonderful newsletter, where we can share ideas – and your own generosity in sharing your own ideas with us! Your bracelet buddy idea has been a real keeper on my table!

  24. What a great idea!I just love it!
    I do something like Pam suggested with her sale basket.
    “Sale Items” are like magnets. I have a “Sale Tray” and depending on what the original price might have been, I make everything either $5 or $8. I find that $10 (no matter what the item might be) is still too high a number. I usually make back at least the cost of the table. And I don’t put any originally high priced items in.

  25. Hi Janet,
    This is really a good idea. Thank you for sharing it!

  26. Pamela Maring says:

    Thought of a way that a website “grab bag” might be workable, one where the Ziplock baggies might not be available to tempt customers … sell a necklace at $XX.00 and offer a “grab bag surprise” for a nominal amount extra, like $3 to $5. Contents could be a couple pair of earrings or a bracelet that may even be color or stone compatible to the purchased item. Mention that the grab bagged items are discounted from 40 to 90% off the original price, and of course, “suitable for gifts”.

  27. What a great idea. Have been thinking about how to move some old inventory and didn’t want to do a “sale”. The grab bag idea is perfect! Thank you for sharing.

  28. Catherine Franz says:

    I’ve been doing something similar for earrings only (from the previous year) for the past couple of years with just 1 item per bag for $5 with a $15 pair of earrings in them, or $3 with a $10 pair of earrings in them. They sell like hot potatoes, especially during the holidays. I like the idea of multiple items. I don’t think I want to place my necklaces in there though. Too bunched up. My necklaces are much more expensive and if they don’t sell one year, they sell the next (or I revamp them into two necklaces and cut the price a little but make more than the previous one item sold for. Maybe another idea will appear from this wonderful conversation and brilliant additional ideas presented. Thank you everyone! Thank you Rena for starting this conversation.

  29. Jane Petersen says:

    I love this idea! Just tried to reduce my inventory by having a garage/jewelry sale but nobody came. So I packed it all up again. However, the grab bag idea sounds wonderful, and I’ll try it at my next show. Thanks so much for sharing your cool idea!

  30. Karen Robison says:

    I have also used this idea for findings and beads I know I will not use or no longer like. I marked them as $5 in a party bag where you could not see the items but made sure people knew it was a bargain. Many little girls are starting on their jewelry making journey and liked getting the bags.

  31. That’s a great idea, Karen! Thanks for sharing that! πŸ™‚

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