by Rena Klingenberg.
When I first started putting my jewelry out to the public, I wasn’t prepared for compliments on my work and didn’t know how to respond.
So I’d reply awkwardly, “Oh, uh, thank you!”
I realized that I needed to learn how to accept compliments on my jewelry with grace and appreciation.
So I started studying how
other artists responded to compliments
at art shows.
I heard many professional artists doing something that I really liked, and I adapted my own version of it:
When I receive a compliment on my work, I accept it by saying sincerely from my heart, “Thank you.”
Then I add a brief sentence with some interesting, non-salesy information about my jewelry in general or the specific item that attracted the compliment.
That way the conversation
doesn’t end at “thank you”.
Instead, your response will encourage the other person to ask a question or say something more.
You can practice a few phrases you might say, so a nice reply will roll off your tongue naturally.
- “Thank you! I love creating ways to make sea glass wearable.”
- “Thank you! The center of this pendant is actually a vintage earring from the 1950’s.”
- “Thank you! I used two different chain maille weaves in this bracelet.”
- “Thank you! I love designing big, bold pieces of jewelry that are also comfortable.”
What do you say when you receive a compliment on your jewelry?
(And if you’re from a culture where it’s considered more polite to deny a compliment than to accept it, I’m also interested in hearing how you respond to compliments on your jewelry.)
I often respond the same way. I’ll say thank you, then add a comment. Or sometimes I’ll say thank you, then say “I appreciate the feedback.”
Thank you for this Rena! I also get very shy talking about my work. The last few shows I have done I have made more of an effort but still I think practicing and having a few ideas prepared is a very good idea. Just what I needed without having conciously thought about it 🙂
carmen gonzalez says:
What I usually say is “thank you, I create these necklaces”and I am always asked if I sell them.
Mary Wong says:
What insightful and simple advice, Rena. You can tell what a novice I am as I simply say “Thank you. I have a shop online.” and hand them my card (after fumbling around in my purse). Kinda of awkward. But the beauty of talking about an aspect of the piece to engage the person is elegant. Thank you!
Sandy Kane says:
Such great advice, Rena! I believe people who don’t make jewelry are fascinated by those who do. I try to say a bit about the process, or inspiration behind something I’m wearing. It’s good to be enthusiastic but not too ‘sales-y’ or sounding like a commercial. Maybe talk about the special components, color, how they catch the light, or if they have special meaning.
Sheila Davis says:
I always say “Thank you…I made it! And I made the glass beads also.”
People are always amazed and usually ask for a business card.
Sometimes I get a bit humbled about my work, but when I receive compliments, I always thank them!! Then proceed to to talk about the piece, and how I made it, especially my spoon or fork rings.
Thank you for this post. I’m at the point where I’m starting to wear some of what I’ve made, so very timely & good because I have never been good at accepting compliments in general 🙂
Joan Kraus says:
I say, “Thank you. I just finished this piece today and appreciate the feedback!”
Nicole Green says:
It’s not much, but I usually say, ” Thank you. I appreciate you saying that.” or “Thank you. That means a lot to me.”
My go-to response is, “Thank you! I’m happy with how it turned out, but it’s wonderful to know others like my creations too.” Often this turns into a discussion of jewelry-making, my back story, and if/where my items are available for sale. I try to have business cards close by just in case the discussion leads toward sales. I sometimes also give out cards while telling folks they can see more of the techniques I use (and teach in local classes) on my website.
“Thank you, it is one of mine.” That usually gets them asking more. It happen just this past Sunday at church.
Anita Campbell says:
I’m usually guilty of just saying thank you and leaving it at that. My daughter is encouraging me to add “Everything is handmade by me.” I still don’t know what to say to those who bluntly come out with “I can get that at WalMart.” or “Why are your prices so high?” With that last question, I try to explain what goes into that piece, but usually the body language is already “Don’t care – your items aren’t really worth the money.” – which really tends to discourage me.
Would really like a good (but polite) comeback to the WalMart one.
Anita, I haven’t had the Walmart comment, although a friend of mine got something similar. I think it was a stage whisper as the customers walked away from her booth: “We can just go to Walmart and buy beads to make that ourselves.” This was after they looked at a piece with lots of locally made lampwork beads, btw.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything polite that you can say because there’s just no point. Someone that rude won ‘t understand a polite response and you don’t want to be rude because you never know who’s listening. I think “Okay” is a fine response. Or you could add, “I’ll be here at the show until the end of the day if you don’t find what you need there [ie at Walmart].”
I’ve had people comment that they could get something for less elsewhere and I just respond with “Okay.” I’m not going to lower my prices (I’m running a business, not a charity!) and there’s no point in discussing it with someone who would say something so rude. I have had people ask why certain pieces cost so much and I explain how many hours the piece(s) took to make and the quality of the components. If they can’t appreciate the time and talent that went into it, then that isn’t my customer. Any time someone has made a comment like that, I’ve soon sold the piece to someone who was perfectly happy with the price!
Just know that there are people who will appreciate your work and know its value. The ones who don’t, well, they aren’t worth your trouble. Just be polite and let it go.
Jicsi’s Jewellery says:
I found this so difficult when I first started putting my jewellery out there too!
From friends saying nice things at the very start (which was often met with a straight denial) to customers when I started taking my work to shows etc.
I’m getting better at accepting compliments on my jewellery now though and also try to follow up my “thank you” with something fun/interesting about the item too. When I’m desperate my fail safe is usually “It’s one of a kind” which is usually good enough!
I still struggle when strangers compliment my jewellery though, like if I’m wearing it out and about, it always seems to come so out of the blue and I just mutter an “oh uhm thanks”
I need to work on that!
Laura Wrzeski says:
When complimented I say very sincerely “thank you SO much; I really appreciate the encouragement!”…Which is the truth.
I then say “have you seen wire-wrap jewelry before?”…or “I did make these pieces myself and used real stones (pointing to various beads/carvings and telling the customer what they’re made of).
Laura Wrzeski says:
Anita/Jicsi’s Jewelry re. “I can get some beads and make it myself” or “why are your prices so high?” This answer covers both issues:
“High quality materials are quite expensive and usually are not sold at Walmart” .
Sometimes I add (a bit disingenuously) “I bet you will make something beautiful; wish I could see what you come up with!”
cheryl m kaplan says:
I say…thank you, I made it. I have a jewelry business. Check it out.
Natasha Burger says:
“thank you, I had lots of fun making it” and a comment on the components used “the center bead is vintage” or “the copper wire has a non-toxic antiquing” or whatever applies. Even though I usually sell at Farmers markets where handmade is the norm, and my signage says handmade, people are often surprised that I made everything and it often results in a reevaluation (and maybe sale) of my product