by Jody Lanham.
I make jewelry too (surprise?) and I sell it (usually) at art festivals/craft shows and at some inside markets near where I live.
My observation has been that at some shows I notice artists/craftspersons who also make jewelry simply sit and construct all during the event, never get up and join the potential customer, never talk to them or engage with them until the time of sale.
Yet they are selling consistently and from what I can see it is a lot of the same thing, strings of this and of that, just different colors more or less. It’s all laid out in neat rows or hanging in neat displays, uncreative and uninspiring, and setup in less than 30 minutes.
Then there is me with my 2-hour setup, usually similar in design to the last time but never the same, unique and fetching, highlighting my most eye-catching pieces. I spend a good amount of time up and readjusting, straightening, a little rearranging, and engaging with customers when they venture “in” (depending on booth arrangement) to my “shop”.
Yet while they will say the pieces are very unique and very beautiful I often do not sell as much as I would hope to or believe that I “should”. Not as much as the vendor with the non-unique collection.
OK admittedly my prices may be higher but then there is a lot of work, time, and materials in most of my creations. While I try to price reasonably and probably less than the pieces are really worth, I am not going to “give” them away.
I try to rationalize that the show I am attending is not attracting the right kind of customer for my designs. But sometimes that isn’t a realistic observation. I often cannot see what the roadblock is to better sales.
I know that the “right” jewelry will sell itself and sometimes I engage less with that theory in mind, and I also know that sometimes a sale will be made BECAUSE I have engaged with the customer, who might otherwise have walked off with nothing.
What is happening? Have others of you experienced this confusion and frustration? If so any insights and suggestions?
I have vowed at some of these disappointing shows that I will never sell my jewelry again, never even make it again!