by Rena Klingenberg.
Do you sometimes look at the next level of making or selling jewelry – and wonder if you’re ready to take that step?
One thing I can tell you about “being ready” is that we often don’t feel like we’re ready for our next step.
Moving up to the next level of jewelry shows, pricing, clientele, materials, etc. can feel totally outside of your comfort zone.
But if you can look past your uncertainty and take that next step anyway, you will usually discover that you settle in just fine there.
And before you know it,
that new level is your new comfort zone.
Here’s an example from my own journey:
I daydreamed about selling my handmade jewelry for a long time, hovering on the edge of doing it – but afraid to take the first step.
I wanted to do it very badly, but it was so hard (and scary) to put myself and my creations out there!
So how did I finally step up to the level of starting my jewelry business?
A good friend forced me to do a jewelry table next to her, at her church’s Christmas craft show.
She had made some wreaths to sell, and signed both of us up for the show.
I told her I didn’t feel ready for it, and my jewelry wasn’t ready for it either – but she insisted I was more ready than I felt like I was.
Here’s what happened:
I was nearly sick from nerves, but I did the show – and I sold enough pieces that day to be thrilled with my results.
It turned out that my jewelry and I were ready after all.
And my jewelry business – plus a whole new facet of my life – were born that day.
It’s totally natural to think, “But I’m not ready!” whenever you’re faced with taking the next step in making or selling jewelry.
So when you get an opportunity you’ve been working for, or receive a bigger jewelry order than you’re accustomed to – or anything that takes you to your next level – just remember:
Even if you don’t feel prepared for this level of success.
You’re about to step up into
your next comfort zone.
And here’s something to consider:
Artists who wonder if they’re ready for the next step tend to be quality-conscious folks.
So the products and services they provide are often better than most of what’s currently available at that next level.
That means you’re more than ready. 🙂
I’d love to hear your experiences with “next levels”!
I’m definitely at that stage. And I find myself continuing to find ways to improve my jewellery and come up with new ideas before I put it out there online. That’s a good thing in many ways, but I think there’s also some perfectionistic part of me that’s holding back on putting it out there. I keep making “one more trip round the dining room table” (where my jewellery is laid out). 🙂
Gari Anne says:
I am going through this right now! Everything feels topsy turvy, yet exciting at the same time. For years I had wondered and thought how do I get in front of the right people who buy? Then I joined a group that is answering this question, taking me into new areas!
This is where I find myself as well. I get asked on a regular basis if I have an Etsy shop yet. I’ve got one, but I haven’t listed any items yet!
My goal is to get the shop up and running this week. Some good pictures and descriptions for 5-10 pieces and get going already!!
I needed this post. Thank you.
Tracy Rhynas says:
To anyone teetering on the brink of selling online, my advice is please, just do it!
I had been selling jewellery to friends and colleagues for a couple of years and after some strong urging from a close friend, I decided to check Etsy out. I set up a shop front, and just to see how it all worked I loaded one photo, and not a very good one at that, of one necklace and added a short description. You have never seen anyone more surprised, and delighted, than me a couple of weeks later when someone bought my “test photo” necklace! (I did also panic because it was an old photo and I was not sure I still had all the necessary pieces in stock – but luckily I did, phew!) 5 months on I have had 27 sales and am loving my new online outlet. During this time I have also vastly improved my product photos and descriptions to a point where I am now proud of my shopfront. I have also ventured into blogging and have a facebook page. I have met a lot of lovely online people and my jewellery is going to places I can only hope one day to go to myself (a package went off to Moscow this morning!) Online and loving it!
I had been making jewelry for family and friends who then urged me to sell my jewelry. I didn’t think my jewelry was good enough but eventually decided to try selling on Etsy. Needless to say I was thrilled when I had my first sale on Etsy. Now, fast forward a few years when I lost my job. I had always wanted to try selling at craft shows so now I had that opportunity. Why not get a business name and do craft shows and home parties/open houses too? Although it is a lot of work, I absolutely love doing craft shows. You get to meet so many people from all over the place. Last year I started selling my jewelry on another website which has worked out very well for me. I also started experimenting with stamping metal jewelry. Most of my jewelry has been with gemstones but I have been wanting to move on to making other types of jewelry such as pmc and metalsmithing. If finances permit, I hope to do these this year.
Tried Etsy and was a bit nervous I wouldn’t know how it worked if I sold something right away. Only sold the odd piece and cheap ones at that, cost me most of it in delivery charges, underestimated that too. Now on Felt and “The little big markets ” but still not selling very much but in store it was flying out the door. Shame the store wasn’t paying me so needless to say I don’t stock them anymore 🙁 Facebook gets some likes on pics but doesn’t equate into sales.
( Vintage Inspired Jewellery)
michele dupree says:
I relate to the comments made by Tamara. I also am a bit of a perfectionist. However, I realize that this has held me back in some situations in my life. Now that I’m working towards selling my handmade jewelry, I find that I can get overwhelmed by the thought of the business end of it. What to do and when. I worry if I will be tech savy enough to manage a website, and business savy enough to handle the financial end of it. Rena, I have taken many notes from your sites. I am grateful that you are so gracious to share what you have learned. Right now I am working on improving my craft. I’ve been taking some classes in wire wrapping and metalsmithing.
Hi, I have just started to make jewellery, but more in the tiara range for weddings or proms and pageants. So far I have made 2 test pieces, which I like, so I have put these on Facebook on my time line to see if there is any interest. So far, not a great deal other than a few likes and one lady in the USA was waiting to see photos of the 2nd piece. However, my thoughts were that if I don’t advertise them, then how can I sell them. I have looked at many photos of hand made tiaras and also ones that I’ve seen in shops and I can honestly say, that some of those aren’t that great but they seem to sell. My personal feeling is that…if you don’t try, then you don’t know what or who is out there, waiting for your unique style. Don’t worry about every one else.. just have a go, you have nothing to loose but everything to gain.
Jim Davis says:
I started my ETSY shop a while back and find that I seem to learn new things, or come up with new ideas daily. The evolution of my ‘brand’ and my style are still a work in progress, but I am confident that I am heading in the right direction, and I just need to be patient as things unfold.
Sergio Lalaian says:
I started to create unique, artistic and one of a kind jewelry pieces last year. I am primarily work with high-end boutiques and exclusive home shows. I come from Fine Arts background and was and I am a digital illustrator. I use all the techniques that I learned in my art education to my jewelry making. I call my jewelry pieces artwear and currently working on my new image called artwearbyGioser. I love making jewelry and sell them in an appropriate venue. I found out a major key to success is to know who you are and who your clients are.
Angela McDougall says:
I really enjoy your newsletters, and find them ever so helpful!!
I read them and dont feel so crazy in the head for the way i feel, the way i think, the questions/doubts i have!!!
THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING YOU, and helping all of US out there going for the DREAM!
Pamela squires says
May 6, 2014 at 1:26 AM:
I love reading your observations and thoughts. I have been making jewelry and collecting and selling antique jewelry which I love! Prior to making jewelry I was an executive in a national healthcare org. I had to take a medical leave in 2002, then became disabled with severe Crohn’s disease. For the past 12 yrs I have seen my jewelry as a hobby. My low self esteem and doubt did not allow me to claim myself as a true jewelry artist. I have done several shows and have done well, but something always holds me back…the not good enough thinking. Actually it was just yesterday that I made the firm decision to stop trying to go back to my old career and embrace my god given gift of creating jewelry. So I am officially a jewelry artist, thanks to all your heartfelt suggestions and writings! I am still disabled and I have a new career, jewelry artist..now that feels right!
Big hugs to you all!
STEPHANIE JORDAN says:
Hi, I am so glad I came across this post, because that is were I’m at right now. I want to have home parties and I’m so worried that it won’t turnout right ,no one will come, I won’t have what anyone wants. My friend and mentor says I’m ready because she watches me when I interact with people about my jewelry. My critic has been trying to talk me out of doing this for two months. I want to do it the last weekend in October. First it was my husband doesn’t want me do it in our home, and when I talked to my friend about it , she said it’s your home too, and besides this way it will be all about you. Then my critic said your house is not built right for the flow. I said I ‘ll be okay. We have a great room and kitchen together. Then the critic said “what about parking? I said when people come to my neighborhood for other events they find a space. So the Holy spirit led me to your website for help with my flyer, thank you for being there. I’ll let you know what happened. I said to my critic if no one else is there God will be there.
Anyone who says “you can’t do it” or continually throws out Negative criticisms is the ONE person to LEAVE behind in your DUST! 🙂 Your talent is God given, and your creating is your fulfillment of His gifts to you.
I started out selling my jewelry, on a wing and a prayer, with my own self doubts ( we all have them 🙂 ), and just kept on showing up, at shows, at parties, started teaching classes, started having “wine and jewelry” parties, and WOW! Now I am a jewelry designer, and people actually buy my jewelry and wear it!
I always, always wear my own jewelry, YOU are your best advertisement, and I carry pictures of some of my designs on my phone ( always ready!), and business cards, and if someone wants more information, I ask for their email address and write it down ( along with a note or 2 about our conversation) and then send them pictures of what we were talking about. If I don’t have what they want, in that color, bet your life by the time I send them the picture, I do!!
I have an “Exclusive” email list, my customers get first peek at anything I make, and I find myself with sales coming from various avenues and sometimes from people I don’t even know ( although they get added to my email list then too).
I have met some of the Greatest people, and everyone that gets added to my email list is Special to me. I keep a contact list ( address book), with notes- where we met, who referred them, WHAT they have bought or expressed interest in, favorite colors, styles, etc. I call them my “cheat” notes. I don’t email often, but when I make several new items, I email to my list first and get those orders fulfilled as fast as is possible. They are a great sounding board as to general interest, and I know what to make more of to take to shows, or what NOT to make. I ask them for their opinions, and if they respond (no matter what is said) I always email back and THANK them for letting me know their valuable thoughts.
Not everyone is going to like Everything you make, and that is OK too. Keep an open mind, and heart, and you will find your path of creation opens up wider and wider with each passing day.
I still have a LONG way to go, I LOVE every minute of it!