I Love Making Jewelry, But Just Nervous to Start a Business

by Julia.
(Cairo, Egypt)

I am from Tucson, Arizona, but live between Cairo, Egypt and India with my husband.

I use natural materials from both countries to create my jewelery.

I have sold it for years to friends and friends of friends at parties.

Now I want to sell it to galleries, and boutiques back in Tucson, Arizona – but I am nervous about the failure factor and the rejection of shop owners.



Getting past the fears
by: Rena

Hi Julia,

I completely understand your hesitation to get started. Putting yourself and your personally designed creations “out there” is a challenging step – but it’s easier than you think, once you begin to take action.

Also, fear of getting started often stems from not having enough information about how to do whatever you need in order to achieve your dream. If you don’t have any idea of what to do, the whole project seems much bigger, harder, and scarier!

So for starters, please read my tips on Approaching Shops and Galleries with Your Jewelry.

From that article, you can map out the steps you need to take in order to research and contact galleries and boutiques for carrying your work.

Now let me take a moment to respond to your two fears:

* The failure factor – There are only two ways I know of to “fail” at a handmade jewelry business:

1) By failing to take the first step and get started:

We creative people have a tendency to hover on the edge of something we truly desire – afraid to take the first step and bring the dream crashing down. I experience this inertia all the time in my own life.

The best cure for this is to learn everything you can about what you need to do (as I just mentioned above).

Then make a list of small, very do-able action steps – and fulfill at least one of these small action steps each day.

Now you’ve just eliminated the “failure to get started”!

2) By failing to learn and evolve after you get started:

Any kind of creative venture involves experimenting, learning what works, and then evolving based on what you just learned.

Now for your other fear:

* The rejection of shop owners – I’m sure you know that it would be extremely unusual if every shop a jewelry artist contacted said “yes”.

And when they say “no”, it’s not the end of your jewelry business – nor is it a personal rejection.

Plenty of shops (and customers) have said “no” to my jewelry. And plenty of others have said “yes”. But no one has ever said or done anything terrible to me when they said “no”.

You can read my personal strategy for getting past the fear of rejection from shop owners and customers, in Overcoming Shyness in Selling Your Jewelry.

And consider it this way – I think of it as a blessing that NOT everyone wants my jewelry – I couldn’t possibly make enough jewelry for more than a tiny fraction of the world’s population anyway! :o)

Now regarding your plan for boutiques and galleries:

Have you considered trying for shops and galleries in some of the charmingly artsy small towns within an hour or two’s drive from Tucson?

Tucson visitors (and many locals) love to make day-trips to towns like Tubac, Tombstone, etc. You may find lots of additional opportunities (and lovely gallery owners to work with) by also exploring these possibilities.

And don’t forget to research local hotel and resort gift shops for selling your jewelry. See Dalia Costa’s great tips on Selling Jewelry to Hotel Gift Shops.

Whatever you decide to do, Julia, I know you can do it! We’re all pulling for you, and looking forward to hearing about your progress!

the rejection sting goes away
by: pat barden

you know your stuff is nice–not everyone will like it–based on personal taste–not iffing its actually nice or not.
you are proud of your stuff–proud of yourself.
iffing the first gallery owner says–nah, thats not our style–it stings–but it shouldnt kill your pride–certainly there is some corny-new-age line out there–take pride in the fact you tried, eh?
start eazy–this is what i did–i found a shoppe–i sent an e-mail–stating id like to know iffing theyd like to have my things at their shoppe–and i sent along my website, so theyd have an idea of my style, my prices–before trying to set up an appointment–
they turned me down, stating my jewelry was beautiful, but they werent looking to carry anything but what they already had. it sucked, it stung, my heart sank–and it was all electronic. no face to face rejection–but rejection.
iknew what it felt like.
after that–ihave no problem just calling people, shoppes, and even just stopping by.
iget rejected all the time. idont care.
id rather get rejected than–and this happenes a lot–call us in a month or so–or–stop back by after the season.
that i hate.

Call Reluctance
by: Rita Juhlin

Call reluctance is one of the most difficult things to over come in sales. It doesn’t matter if you are selling insurance or jewelry. Mustering up enough self confidence doesn’t come easy for many people.

Those who don’t suffer from call reluctance don’t have any fear of rejection because they don’t have thin skin, they don’t wear their heart on their shirt sleeve but they do know the rewards of ignoring any feelings of self doubt.

Some people just do it afraid because they know they don’t have anything to lose and everything to gain. That old question “what would you do if you knew you would succeed?” comes to mind.

Take a deep breath, put a big smile on your beautiful face and go for it! I promise you won’t die.

I love making jewelry…
by: Nancy Abron

Hello nervous,

I too am really afraid of the unknown, but I know what I have designed is helping me and that keeps my head up in knowing someone else can spiritually benefit as well. I have just received a rejection letter from a shopping channel on my design, at first I was upset at the thought of why they did not see the message? then I went back to my original page on helping my jewelry partners come up with a limited edition of my design in Rose Gold (that tuns the color to pink) with a portion of the proceeds going to Breast Cancer awareness for the month of October, the owner of the jewelry store that carries my design has been in remission for breast cancer for four years.
I had to take a step back and ask myself if I am a failure just because a major market failed to accept what I have, or am I going to focus on what is really important- helping others (which was my original intent). I started this business by accident, but I have to remember getting out of my own way and exposing myself to others that may or may not see my vision is part of the game- unfortunately. Please keep going!- And I say this for the both of us!

In all Sincerity,

-Nancy Abron, “Less Than Perfect Angels”

I’m not just nervous, I’m scared too !
by: Lorrie@AmaTxGifts.com

I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting my own handmade jewelry business for the past 3 years. I’ve got several items made up, and have started making a web site on mysite.com and bravenet.com. However, I haven’t sold any of my jewelry yet, because I’m afraid of failure, and ending up in a financial “hole”.
I have spent the past year in Business Administration classes at a new college here in town, so I should be able to handle the bookwork, etc. I am planning to work part-time mornings in an office, while devoting my afternoons and evenings to my business.
Now all I have to do is grow the “cajonas” to JUMP ! Please pray for me… 🙂

The Other Side.
by: Millie.GotRocks

Let’s look at the other side, the store owner/buyer’s situation. Sometimes there are very good reasons for not accepting more inventory. It just may not have anything to do with your jewelry, and certainly not you.

Store owners have to look at the whole picture, your style may not fit, the type of jewelry you are offering may already be overstocked, and the store may be getting ready to close. There could be many reasons that your jewelry isn’t accepted.

A friend of mine creates beautiful wire wrapped semi-precious cabochons. The pendants were not accepted at a store because the owner made an agreement with the store next door that sold cabochons and stones, go figure!

I believe somewhere in the archives of this site someone once said “Get over yourself”. That may seem harsh but really, sometimes we sound like we are selling ourselves rather than our products.

Maybe you need to take a friend with you for support, or maybe you need to thoroughly check out the store before you make your offering. What ever you do, get started, the first one might be the hardest but it will get easier when you have a better idea of what to expect.

Millie \o/

Heard NO but went back. for YES
by: Anonymous

I also have the fear factor. I wanted to be in one shop and got a NO on email. I went to one of their competators who said yes! After having my jewelry in their shop for a while I went back to shop A and told them I have been selling in shop B and wanted to set up a meeting with them about carrying my line. They met with me and now are carrying my line!! They said the fact that I said B was carrying it made them take me more seriously and that is why they met with me.

Sometimes you even need to go back to the ones that say no. I didn’t die the first time and even tried for a second time and they are one of my biggest sales!!

I also sell on Artfire.com and they are having a promotion to sign up before 10/1 and only pay $5.95 a month to sell for a PRO account. Great place to sell on line, great features and easy set up.


hold your nose and jump
by: Barbara

Hi, I started putting my jewellery in stores just before Christmas last year, and it’s been an education.

First, yes, I was rejected out of hand at two places in the little town where I live, and I was devastated. But at the third place, a brand new, higher end artisanal craft store, the owner LOVED my stuff (I make silver leaves, she’s a gardener = an ah-hah moment for me).

Last Christmas they sold out of my stuff not once but twice. (At the same time, I made a big fat zero in sales at the two Christmas craft markets I did, so go figure…)

But, y’know, on the other hand, I could’ve sat at home after the first two rejections worrying about someone rejecting me yet again…

As other people have said, the reasons the stores reject you has nothing to do with you personally or your jewellery. You need to separate your ego from your jewellery.

Note also, to get into the store I did, I had to agree not to put my stuff in any other local stores, which you’ll find is a common request. You need to go around, make a list of the stores you think would fit your work/style/price range and start at the top in order of preference. Exclusivity is a marketing tool for the store and benefits the craftsperson. Potential customers can’t leave saying they want to compare prices at another store, the way they do in a mall.

If you sell at both craft shows and stores, it is good policy not to cannibalise sales from another location by undercutting yourself. Have a premium line primarily for stores and higher end craft shows and a “diffusion” line for smaller craft shows and markets, made with less costly materials.

You are a business. Stand tall behind your work and your workmanship! Ask business-like questions.

Do some research first before putting your jewellery in a store. Spend some time in the store, walk around, watch what people are looking at, look at how things are displayed (highlighted in cases, jumbled up with everyone else’s stuff?).

If a store tells you they can’t sell something at the price you’ve set, it’s not putting you down. It’s their reality because they know their clientele and their own costs that must be covered (staff, rent, utilities).

That reality is called “real estate”. Your jewellery will take up “real estate” or space in a store. If a store doesn’t think they can make enough profit through sales to cover that square foot or so of real estate, then they won’t be able to take your jewellery, even though they may love it.

Look at alternates to stores. Look at linking up with local businesses to make corporate gifts, or maybe themed items for special interest clubs…

It’s so interesting becoming a business, all the things to learn.

Good luck,

I too am not confident
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone,
I have been having the same challenge.. The question “What happens if i do succeed?” After months of watching an expensive boutique in a upmarket shopping centre, comparing her stock and prices. I finally got the unction to ask the owner if she would have a look at my jewellery and let me know if she would consider placing them on consignment in her store. To my surprise, she said yes and a week later she made her choice and ordered particular colour too. I do appreciate the comments. Its great encouragement.

You go gal!
by: jewellerybypriya.co.uk

Any creative business is hard work, but if it’s your passion then you need to be pro-active and go for it! I’ve just recently graduated and am trying to exhibit/sell my graduate collection, as they’re not commercial pieces I was told that galleries would be the best option for me, so over the weekend I sat down and called all the galleries in my local area, unfortunatly most said no for one reason or another, but what it did do for me is help promote my work by networking, as I sent them the link to my website. So hopefully this may eventually bring a positive outcome.

I love making .But Just Nervous to start a business
by: Ross T Nugroho

Dear Julia,

Why nervous? You have had already your business, since you had sold for years to people, personally. That’s great.

If you can make a sale to the end users, of course you can offer it to boutiques and shops too.They all are still the same human being (like you).Use the same approach you had used when you sell to the direct buyer.

Nervous? That’s normal feeling. But,sorry, perhaps you are not just ‘nervous’, but you are growing the negative thinking, suspicious, you are afraid, you are scare to death to be reject, and you are scare to feel be humiliated if they say NO. Especially if you have social status level.

Dear Julia,
If you still insist to sell you jewelry to boutiques/shops, you have to put away all kind of ‘nervous’.

Sell ‘yourself’ first,with confident,sincere and honest,without suspicious,then sell your creation.

As a stranger for them, you cannot go instantly in front of their nose and directly offer your great creations.

There’s must be an “opening” talk, a pre-introducing of each other.”Sell” your self first.If they had like you,they would like your offer as well.(As long it’s worth to their line of business).Better if you have the ‘testimonial’ of the wearer/buyer of your jewelry.

Dear Julia,
Making business is alike you are running your routine life. There are accepting and also rejecting. There are people love you so much, but there are people who don’t want you. There’s time you succeed, there’s time you fail, even ruin. That’s normal. So why be nervous?

Remember,you come to them not to bother them, but to give them a new collection of great works.
Put in your mind that,You are going to HELP them.(NOT they should help you).

Visit them (several time) as a customer who will ‘seeing around'(but not ‘spying’ them). Try to get closer and be friendly to the seller, the manager and owner.
Try to find out if your style /price of your jewelry are worth to their collection.And what are they looking for from new supplier.

Briefly,soon you will become no stranger anymore to them, and the process of your selling will run naturally.Without nervous or suspicious.

If someone cannot accept you work, it doesn’t mean you work are not pretty,or they don’t like you.In the moment perhaps there’s 1001 reasons inside them that they cannot tell you.Don’t be suspicious.So,someday visit them again.

Perhaps you think, it’s so complicated and too long process.Yes, business need process.
May you ask your self? How long have you ‘waiting’ to push out your nervous? Years?

Dear Julia,
Positive thinking,optimistic,sincere,big smile and big heart.
Wearing your collection.

Action now.

With Love,
Ross Nugroho

I love handcrating jewelry
by: wanda harper

Hi i love making jewelry and have my own designs but a little affraid of making it happen, i’M STILL Researching and learning about webpages and domains names, I am from Brooklyn, Newyork

selling to stores
by: Barbara

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I wrote my response here. The economy is now just crawling out of that massive pit, and sales are crawling up ever so slowly, as well, but the trajectory is definitely UP.

As advice to the last poster, also check online groups specific to your niche as they are filled with people from all over the world who have been doing this for years and have a ton of accrued knowledge and advice. I just joined Wire Wrap Jewelry on Yahoo a few weeks ago, as an example, and have “met” some wonderfully helpful and encouraging people.

With 20/20 hindsight, my advice would be to start with a blog. They are free, and you can post all kinds of pictures. It seems like so many more people whose work I look at have only blogs to sell their works, rather than websites which if you’re a beginner are going to cost more money and time than maybe they’re worth at this point just to maintain. Online time-sucking maintenance is your biggest enemy.

For fun, get yourself a page at www.deviantart.com just to show your work. I get comments from all ages and interests on my work, especially the silly stuff, and it’s almost instantaneous because no matter what time it is where you are, there’s going to be someone somewhere in the world online at that moment who will see your piece the instant you post it, and “collect” it, “fave” it or “comment” on it. It’s a lot of fun and you sure realise that you can never ever predict or second guess who your audience will be.

Good luck with that. Starting out is such fun. Then comes the slogging!

Re putting jewellery in stores and galleries, a year after my last post and fruitless pounding on doors, I am now getting gallery directors approaching ME to put work in their gallery gift shops, not the other way around. It’ll happen. But you have to get better and better at what you’re doing. I cringe when I dig out something I made a year or two ago. I’m always, always learning new techniques and refining my skills. Many of my suppliers are always asking to see what I’m working on, so I’ll even take works in progress to get their feedback. They’re the experts, they’ve been in business their whole lives and I’ve been doing this for, what, three years now? Every single time I see see this one particular bead seller/spectacular jewellery-maker, he gives me a new tip, the next step as it were, to help me. Other online suppliers showcase works made with their beads and one of my US suppliers buys my finished work back to put on her website/give as gifts.

These are the things to keep in mind when you’re frustrated and fed up and broke because the rent is due and the truck broke down and you desperately need more supplies to make more stuff and did I mention fed up…???


by: Rena

Thank you so much for your original comment and your update! I’m thrilled to hear about the things that are happening for you now, that have resulted from your getting out there, connecting with people, and trying things till you find out what works best for you. Great tip on DeviantArt, too – I know that’s a really active / interactive community.

Thanks, Rena
by: Barbara

This has been and continues to be a must-read whenever your newsletter shows up in my inbox. I drop everything.

It still amazes me that I never ever expected to be making jewellery. The original plan was to make PMC pendants for other people to use. Now my place looks like an explosion in a bead factory. Check the photos from about two months ago on my blog to see what that looks like.

Actually, if anyone is looking at how to set up a studio, Ganoksin.com has a section for people to submit photos of their workspace/studios. http://www.ganoksin.com/exhibition/v/BenchExchange

Everything from Mr/Ms OCD Neat Freak to… explosion in a bead factory.


marketing of jewelry
by: rita

dont lose heart even in these times of challenges its only making you a stronger person , and inwardly you are being renewed day by day. For these challenges are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.or my friend just break the wall.and move foward in all you do

rita nkechi

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