by Chelsea Clarey.
The tastiest food in the world is presented on fragile bone-china plates by chefs. A beautiful woman might choose an evocative perfume.
These details aren’t the main event, but they’re part of the whole experience.
We can think of our written jewelry descriptions in the same way.
While the piece itself is the main focus, a well-crafted description results in a polished, harmonious experience that reinforces the desire to buy.
However, part of creating an experience is making sure every element – every word – contributes to the overall “feel” we want. Phrases that don’t contribute to that experience must be omitted to make the best possible impression.
The phrasings are used this way:
- to illustrate that the item is literally unlike any other
- to impart a sense of high quality and individuality, whether literal or not
- to imply that the object does not and is not intended to meet conventional standards
- to instill an understanding of the difference between this item and a department-store trinket of the same category.
“One of a kind,” which you’ll also see hyphenated (one-of-a-kind) or abbreviated (OOAK), is a phrase that many jewelry artists have strong opinions about.
Some feel that all handmade jewelry is by definition one of a kind, while others think the term should be reserved for items that would be literally impossible to copy.
I fall somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum, but I definitely do feel that the phrase’s meaning is starting to suffer.
“Unusual” is even more bland. It can be how we describe a delightful work of art, or Aunt Jenny’s signature 7-Up turkey gravy that you dread all year long – and it’s hard to predict which connotation your reader will have in mind.
Notice the ways we commonly see these occur, and how they fail to support the needed idea:
- “This one-of-a-kind experience will give a lifetime of vacation memories.”What about the experience is one-of-a-kind? Is there a private tour guide for each participant? A different route every time? Maybe you get a personalized souvenir?
- “Unique musical performance for your event.”This one is a little alarming, isn’t it? Is it the songlist that’s so unique, or is it the pennies-in-a-tin-can percussion section? Or is it just a normal cover band that keeps getting told how unique and special they are?
- “Unusual accessories for Gothic nightlife.”Even if these accessories really are something different and interesting, we’d never know it from the copy; “unusual” is just used far too much for products that one can’t really pinpoint anything truly unusual about.
- “These sweets have an unusual flavor, unusual ceramic beads.”I used to love primrose hard candies. One man’s unusual is another’s everyday, and the word is seen so often for quite ordinary mass-produced items that even that meaning pales. Besides, remember those Harry Potter Every Flavor Beans that you could get at bookstores for a few years? Unusual, weren’t they? Enough said.
Not only are these words overused to the point of meaninglessness, they can even be perceived as negative descriptors.
For text that imparts a little more magic to the design it describes, try replacing or embellishing them like this:
- Instead of “one-of-a-kind earrings,”try, “Since I use hand-collected beach pebbles to construct this design, each pair of these earrings I make varies from every other and is naturally one-of-a-kind,” or maybe “You’ll never see these earrings sparkling in any ears but your own!”The first is much more informative and explains exactly what you mean by the often-abused line, and the second has more personality and pep while expressing the same idea.
- Instead of “Jewelry as unique as you are,”(and I apologize to the 36,700 jewelry businesses who use this as their tagline, according to Google). . . try “Jewelry intended to make you stop, look twice and think,” or for a more direct sales style, “Each piece I create is made from start to finish with a creative and artistic soul in mind. Is it you?”Each suits a different tone of business, but each breathes new life into the sentiment in a manner that allows your customer to identify with the jewelry and want to own it more.
- Instead of “Unique and unusual charm bracelets,”try “Peculiar Neo-Victorian art charm bracelets.”This is the place to reach for your thesaurus: “peculiar,” “eldritch,” “antic,” “fantastical,” “wild” and “wicked” are all exquisitely evocative words. Pick one that meets your particular artistic vision to give your readers an immediate clue as to what sort of themes they’ll see in your body of work.
- Instead of “Made from unusual patterns,”try, “My necklaces are hand-created with symmetrical beadweaving patterns that very few bead artisans use in their work.”This creates intrigue and provides information about your process at the very same time!
With this level of polish in your site copy, buyers see wording as fresh and different as your designs.
Such beyond-the-ordinary text can help open their eyes to how innovative, refreshing, singular, or utterly without compare your jewelry really is!
Author Chelsea Clarey of TangoPig Jewelry Creations is a jewelry designer who gravitates toward bead and wire jewelry because the simple techniques have infinite artistic applications. She specializes in reusing vintage components in stylish one-of-a-kind designs.
Be sure to keep up with Chelsea on her TangoPig Jewelry Creations blog.
Good for selling, but….
When it comes to tag lines and headings, you need something snappy, quick and the fewer words the better. For example, my business tag line is ‘always elegant.’ It conveys my ‘brand promise’ to my customers. Another one, this time as a sub-heading in my brochure, is ‘as individual as you are.’ Yes, they’re cliches. Does that mean I have to get rid of them? Then, ‘I doth protest.’ Does anyone else have an opinion?
Oh, thank you for addressing this! Every time I see the word “unique” I literally cringe and I’m beginning to feel that way about OOAK.
And if you think yours are truly different than 10,000 others, make sure they really are!
by: Here Today Beadworks
I agree that most of us use overused words in our sales copy… however, if we are trying to be found in a google (or other) search, do we not have to use common words? OOAK or long form is one of the words I search with, and I assume so do many others. How to balance the two ideals?
Generally, I like to use the more common words as tags for the item or Web page, while the “meat” of the description I much prefer to make sparkle. And making a description unusual (there it is again — hmm — unconventional!) doesn’t mean it can’t be pithy and “snappy” anymore! I tend to focus on longer wordings in these articles, but your best friend when writing descriptions is thesaurus.com!
Admittedly, cliches are cliches for a reason, but their place in selling doesn’t have to be as all-encompassing as we often make them.
Thank you so much I am new to selling and as I was reading through the descriptions I was thinking so far so good then I found my one of a kind cliche. I was loath to use unique as it is bashed to death. I felt one of a kind was much the same. However I like many others have been lured by the the key word searches. It didn’t feel right when I was doing it and as I love writing creatively I believe I can produce something much more descriptive and something that is more me. I was a little worried about being to flowery but I think I can compensate as each piece is given a name so is pretty self explanatory which perhaps gives me more scope to be more descriptive else where. Thanks again these posts have been so helpful and have really got my creative juices flowing about making changes to my website. Wicked!!