Jewelry Business Insider:
Rena’s Exclusive Interviews with the Experts
Interview with Adam King by Rena Klingenberg
RENA: What is premium pricing, and what makes handmade jewelry worthy of that level of pricing?
ADAM: The easiest answer is to describe what premium pricing is not.
It’s not the simple act of raising your prices or charging more for your current offerings.
Premium pricing is only one component of a bigger “thing” and that being running a successful business that specializes in very high-end customized goods or experiences.
So, to ask “what makes handmade jewelry worthy of those prices” is really asking an empty question.
Being handmade isn’t an automatic sign of quality. It’s not enough for caring hands to produce something.
What if those hands aren’t skilled yet? Then you have handmade goods produced with a large amount of labor but the quality isn’t even close to where it needs to be for the maker to create a very good and consistent profit.
So, really the question to ask is “What’s it going to take for my work to exist and thrive in a high-end and exclusive market?”
And the answers need to make you very uncomfortable.
RENA: What kinds of barriers (personal and / or business-related) do jewelry artists need to overcome in order to charge and receive premium prices for their work?
ADAM: I don’t know the jewelry world at all, so I can’t speak specifically and honestly about what you face in terms of industry-specific challenges.
I can tell you what other talented true artists and myself have had to come to understand along the journey.
And that is that your perception of your work will most often be too high in the beginning when you’re still learning your way around.
But ironically, despite thinking too highly of the work, most people charge too little for it because they don’t understand one simple fundamental element – who the ideal buyer or client is.
So, from my experience, and the experience presented to me from my friends and peers, the first and probably most prevalent barrier to having an established successful premium business, is not knowing exactly who it is you want to be serving through your work.
And that avatar of the ideal client or customer needs to be as detailed as if you’re describing your closest friend, top to bottom and inside and out.
The second common barrier I’ve encountered, experienced, and observed is the grand idea of living out someone else’s successful path and lifestyle.
We all have business and personal heroes, but instead of simply examining their methods of obtaining success for themselves, it’s unfortunately far too common for people to subconsciously absorb the exact methods, philosophies, and even life goals of that hero.
Not only is this a barrier to one’s own personal form of success, it’s also one of the highest forms of betrayal you can commit to both your ideas and your desires.
It’s rooted in a lack of trust for most people.
Not fully trusting their own desires, inspirations, and past experiences to guide them in creating their own success in high end work from taking hold of their own opportunities that come their way.
RENA: If you were a jewelry artist, what specific action steps would you take right now to successfully move up to the premium pricing category?
ADAM: I’ve never been a jewelry artist, nor will I ever be one, so once again I can’t speak from that perspective.
What little I do know about the jewelry world, especially what’s termed as “hand made” is that it’s an increasingly overcrowded market whose barrier to entry is shrinking to almost zero.
So this presents both an opportunity and a problem.
The opportunity is that just about anyone with the creative ambition and an internet access now can bring their work to a portion of the world, no matter what level or style they work from.
This makes the hard part – getting started – incredibly easy and free of excuse. No one with a desire to test their abilities in the market has any valid excuses for not doing so these days.
You can literally have a site with your work on it up and running in less than an hour. So, that’s a major shift in how it used to be, and it’s a beautiful thing.
The problem with this is that you now have a market being flooded by less-than and average goods all seeking the same types of recognition and validation from buyers and individual customers.
So if you’re going to succeed you need to be the most unique out there and be either the cheapest or the most expensive that your niche market can access. Seth Godin is famous for saying that (paraphrasing) hovering in mediocrity is neither success nor failure – it’s laziness.
So, my advice is to spend the time that you hover in the middle ground (and everyone does, trust me) refining your core message for your work and your clients.
Get working on knowing and loving the “whys” for what you do, and create work that gives your clients the most unique and most fulfilling way of furthering their “whys” for living the way they do.
Second, get clear on the kind of business you want to run as a producer of exclusive high-end work.
How does that look? What kind of role do you have in that business? Are there others doing something similar and successfully?
If so, study them but not so you can make their path your own. Study their successes and methods to find out what deficiencies you have as a person and a self-employed member of society.
Because in the end, that’s all success really is – uncovering the deficiencies of yourself and your target market, and then creating superior solutions to counter the deficiencies.
And third, know the exact kind of client you’re going to serve best in this new expensive business of yours.
Get to know them better than you know yourself so you can instantly think like them as you design new work, get a logo, tweak your website, price your work, and even how you write your web copy.
Because if you construct a business that serves and delights this person, they will do the same for you multiple times over for years to come.
RENA: Adam, thanks so much for stopping by to share these insights on serving a high-end, exclusive market!
About Adam King:
Adam King is the author of Entrepreneurship At Your Own Risk and the co-founder of the new course that you’re probably not ready to join called Make Your Mark. He’s also a full time exotic coffee drinker.