Is Making Duplicates Good Business?

by Jackie Davidson.

jmj-question-mark-green-on-lavendar-500x500-jIf I make an item that generates a lot of interest and sells quickly, what do you think about making a duplicate to sell at my next show?

I don’t claim to sell “one-of-a-kind” pieces, but do people expect “one-of-a-kind” from hand-crafted?

If I come up with a great design, I often make variations on it with different beads and colors, but sometimes I’d like to make a duplicate. Often people express interest in buying items that sold already, too… That, obviously, requires making a duplicate.

I’d appreciate hearing what you all think! Thanks!

Jackie Davidson

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  • Carol M says:

    Hi Jackie, I’ve been selling my jewellery for about a year now and I’ve had the same ‘problem’ (of course it’s great if people love your work right away!) I sell through Folksy and they have the option of listing numbers of items so you can list more than one of an identical piece if you like. Actually I tend to make individual pieces, although I might do the same piece in a different colour, a long version instead of short, different focal bead etc. Or you could do ranges of pieces – similar styles, colour schemes, beads etc. but each piece slightly different. I think it’s fine to make duplicates sometimes, especially if you’ve got more than one outlet for your work (e.g., websites and local craft fairs) – customers are less likely to meet someone else wearing ‘their’ necklace!

  • Rosanne says:

    I have also wondered about this question. For now, I’m thinking that if a piece is not to be duplicated, the price should reflect it. I think of my work as being a lot of variations on basics with dups thrown in when I really like making the same thing or there is demand for it. When I look at jewelry in the upper-end catalogs, I don’t see any notes other than quantities limited or that the item received may vary from the photograph because of the materials used. If I made a piece of jewelry that I couldn’t reproduce because of unique components, that would be a part of its story—and I would price it accordingly.

  • Diane says:

    If you are not claiming to have all one-of-a-kind pieces, I see no problem in duplicating pieces. I prefer to make each piece unique, sometimes very similar with slight variations, but that is because I get bored easily. But I have done this with a fewl pieces that sold right away, I made another, it sold right away, and I made another. I don’t sell online, just at a local shop. I usually don’t put duplicates out at the same time, but once it sells, I will replace it.

  • Armande says:

    I do make duplicates but not endlessly, only a few. They are usually not exactly the same because I ran out of a particular bead or finding. For that reason I no longer show my sold pieces on the website because then people ask for it and I have no way of getting those beads again.
    Plus I get bored easily… that too.

  • Jackie Davidson says:

    Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments/advice! I truly appreciate and consider all of your words of wisdom.

  • I think as long as it’s obvious that it isn’t OOAK, to reproduce it. I make chain maille so my weaves are duplicates. But I also make OOAK pieces, and they can obviously see that that is the only one. I actually don’t like to make the same thing over and over, but like you, I have some fast sellers that I do make more than one. A particular bracelet that I make, I make at my shows, all in different colors, and people can order any color and I make it for them right there.
    So If something sells for you and you don’t mind making several of them, I say go for it.

  • Cynthia says:

    “One of a kind” and “handcrafted” are not synonymous, so I think if you are selling your jewelry as handcrafted, it is fine to make duplicates. And besides, if it is handcrafted, there are bound to be subtle differences from one piece to another.
    I had a hot selling pair of earrings, so I made another, and they sold quickly too. I have now made them at least 5 or 6 times. The materials are now exhausted, and I can’t make them again, so they were a “limited edition”. Unless you are looking to get into wholesale production, I’d limit the number of duplicates.

  • pallavi says:

    i have 2 ranges. one of a kind and pieces that i repeat. the design and price dictates what piece falls in which category

  • Wanda says:

    Hi Jackie,
    So far I’ve only made one of a kind pieces for sale at craft fairs and consignment. However,I have taken “special orders” for pieces in which the buyer wanted the same style,but different beads. I stress to those customers that because the items are hand crafted there will be subtle differences(as opposed to machine-made pieces,which are identical) and they are fine with it. Use your discretion: if you have a piece which is very popular,you can offer it in different colors for instance. Basically,whatever works for your business,go for it.

  • Jim Horth says:

    I have both types of jewelry in my booth – I have pieces I’ve duplicated (and sometimes display more than one of them so customers know right off it is not one-of-a-kind), and then I have pieces that I point out are one-of-a-kind. I believe it’s important to have both – the one-offs (I often call them) are technically custom and the price is usually more than my production pieces. The production pieces are usually at the lower end of my price range. In particular, I have two bracelets that I note a significant portion of the sale goes to benefit an organization; although I’m growing tired of them, I must admit I’ve sold nearly thirty of them.

  • Kym Kinnison says:

    If a piece is selling and you can duplicate it then you would be crazy not too as this is your bread and butter that allows you to make your one-off pieces. I have two ranges, the limited edition and the one-off, and as I too get bored very easily, I make sure my limited edition pieces are made in a small enough quantity to stop me going mad !

  • Pam says:

    I too, have both. One item that calls for duplicates is holiday earrings, such as Christmas tree earrings or snowmen in Swarovski crystal. These are pretty commonly found at many jewelry tables, but I’ve noticed that most people make them just a bit differently from others, and they are always good sellers in the fall.

    On the other hand, my wire wrapped cabs could never be duplicated easily, as each is a process, and I never know how each one will end up looking when I start making it! 😀 I also do wire crochet necklaces, and although the basic bead/color/texgture scheme might be similar, there are always some variations in components – mostly because I use many different beads, and often won’t have the exact same selection available twice.

    Except for the holiday earrings or other little impulse-buy items, I try not to display two (very similar) items at the same time.

  • Dawn says:

    I make mostly freeform peyote jewelry. I came up with a basic earring style that is very popular so I started making 2 pr of earrings to match every necklace or bracelet I make. I was losing sales because some people wanted a matched set and I had already sold the matching earrings. Now I can display the matching pieces together and also have extra to put in a big basket display.

  • I design and create Chakra gemstone bracelets. The have been super popular on my website. I have stretch bracelets, button closures, magnetic closures, & leather ladder wraps. I am going to my first show in September…i am so excited. I have made a ton of bracelets and also keychains, earrings, & wire wrapped rings. I think most folks like to see a lot of an item as long as their is plenty of variety. 😀

  • Beverly Holman says:

    The jewelry I design is considered as one-of-a-kind and is stated on my business cards, but if requested I will create a duplicate but I do stress to customers that if I do create another one, the design is different. Most of the time I can not get the beads again and if I can, the jewelry design would be different. I say go for it, if that was sell.

  • Debbie Rothman says:

    I also make mostly one of a kind pieces … pieces that generate a lot of interest, make duplicates and sell them as limited additions.

  • May Olson says:

    If someone is willing to pay extra for an exclusive I feel that it would be worthwhile to you and your pocketbook but if not then make more of the same and sell them. A pattern looks different in various colors and beads used anyway.

  • Sandra says:

    I try to never duplicate a piece. I will make variations, for example peyote stitch cuff bracelets: same pattern but different color scheme. Now I’ve just started hand stamping jewelry this year, I have had some requests for a duplicate, like a ring for example…since I hammer the blanks by hand, they aren’t exactly the same, I don’t mind & so far I haven’t had any complaints. I agree with “handmade/handcrafted” does not necessarily mean OOAK, I think it’s whatever you prefer to make & what your clients are asking for that are the most important factors 🙂

  • zoraida says:

    I’ve often had to create duplicates or variations of a design to accommodate customers. There’s nothing wrong with that even though my designs are usually one of a kind. It is business after all and not mass produced. I’ve made many sales on one or two designs and don’t regret it. Those same customers have since returned with special requests and I’m happy to please them.

  • colette says:

    I have seen many customers go into high end jewelry store and buy something millions already have and it’s still selling years later. Don’t put some much stress on your self sell what works. sell what sells

  • My best customer was so thrilled with her last purchase that she asked me (half jokingly) not to make another one like it. Ouch, hard to do since it was a really nice design but I feel I have to honor her request and avoid making the exact same pendant. Actually, that’s not hard since the stones I use are one of a kind and I’m not capable of duplicating most of my designs. Would be boring too! I’m known for my one of a kind creations so why should I change?

  • Stephanie Thompson says:

    I sell my jewelry in a “high-end” town close to where I live. A few months ago I got a call from the gal that owns the shop. She had a very loyal customer ask about a pair of earrings that a friend of hers bought from the shop, that I made, she wanted a pair “just like them”. So she asked me if I could make another pair for her, of course I said yes! It was a guaranteed sale! I made two pair from the same design, one “just like” the first, the second I made twice as long. The customer bought both! So yes, under certain conditions make duplicates!

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