by Rena Klingenberg.
Overcoming shyness is a roadblock for many creative people. Do you dream of selling your jewelry, but find yourself too shy?
Here’s how I conquered my shyness and got my jewelry business going.
Don’t Be Stopped by Shyness
or a Lack of Confidence
This article was inspired by a question I hear often from jewelry artists who dream of selling their work, but are too shy to actually do it.
A question from Remona expresses it very well:
“I launched my jewellery collection with friends for the first time (I froze when I had to talk). It was an exciting day – out of 20 people that attended at least 18 people purchased a piece of jewellery.
But the excitement and motivation since the launch has gone completely and no one has booked a party or placed an order. How do I overcome my lack of confidence to approach shop owners and new clients?”
And here’s my answer, to Remona and all jewelry artists who are too shy to sell their work:
Marketing is a Necessary Part of
Selling Your Jewelry
It’s important to accept the fact that selling anything requires constant marketing.
We may have the occasional friend or relative asking to purchase a pair of earrings to match a dress, or a bracelet they can give as a gift.
But if we want to sell our jewelry on a regular basis, we need to be constantly making people aware of our jewelry and where they can purchase it.
Although I may sound brave in writing, I’m quite shy in person and on the phone – and I do know how you feel.
It isn’t easy for anyone to promote the things they’ve created – and I know that shyness or a lack of confidence can make it even harder. So let’s deal with that first.
Too Shy to Contact Shops and Customers?
When I first set out to sell my jewelry, I kept procrastinating and finding excuses to postpone the tasks that felt scary to me (such as phoning shops to make an appointment to bring my jewelry by, or requesting a booth application from a show promoter).
A wise friend who noticed my lack of progress told me, “the biggest hurdles are the mental ones.”
Fear puts up roadblocks that have as much power as you give them.
And the first step to conquering one of these roadblocks is to pinpoint exactly what you fear.
When it came to marketing my jewelry, I tended to make mountains out of molehills, and I vastly over-dreaded things like approaching a shop, or requesting a show application, or talking to a potential party hostess, or following up with an interested customer – to the point that I just could not make the contact with them.
What’s the Worst Thing
that Could Happen?
I finally asked myself, “What am I dreading? What’s the most terrible thing that could happen when I try to sell my jewelry?”
And I decided that the very worst thing that could happen was that the shop, customer, or show promoter might say “No.”
I gathered my courage and made the connections I had to make.
And sometimes people did say “no”. But no shop owner or customer has ever yelled at me or done anything terrible when they said “no”.
So even though a negative answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear, I discovered that it was actually pretty painless – nothing like the brick wall I had turned it into in my mind.
That realization was very empowering.
Naturally not everyone will say “yes” to carrying your jewelry in their shop, accepting you into their show, or hosting a jewelry party.
But with each marketing effort you’re still making progress; you may have to get through a few “no’s” to get to a “yes”.
You Can’t Take the “No’s” Personally
First of all, not every piece of jewelry you make will suit the taste of every person on the planet.
And that’s a good thing, because designing jewelry that’s intended to please everybody results in generic-looking jewelry that appeals to nobody.
Be unique, and you’ll have a market.
And accept the fact that some people will be wild about your unique jewelry, while others won’t.
But usually a negative response has nothing at all to do with you or your jewelry.
A potential party hostess’ finances may be tight, or her home may be too small. She could be dealing with a difficult family situation, or going through a tough time at work.
For a shop, it may be the wrong time of year to add more inventory, or their sales may be slow, or they may be overstocked with jewelry already (which are not good situations for your jewelry business anyway).
Ask the “no” people whether they can recommend anyone else (or another show or shop) that may be interested in your work.
Often these people are glad to help you with a referral even when they can’t buy your jewelry themselves.
I’ve acquired some excellent customers and discovered great new shops this way. So you may even turn a negative into a positive!
People are really very nice to jewelry artists – in fact, they tend to admire your skill and think quite highly of you.
How to Be Comfortable
When Presenting Your Jewelry
Now let’s focus on a do-able strategy for being comfortable when you present your jewelry.
If you froze up during your first presentation experience with your friends, then don’t have a “presentation time” or games when you do jewelry parties.
Instead, set a party up as an open house, where people come and go during a specified time period, and you simply interact naturally with people individually or in small groups as they look over your jewelry.
Eliminate the part that worries you, and play to your strengths.
Are you nervous about approaching shops and galleries?
I used to be, until I realized that the store isn’t doing me a favor by accepting my jewelry; instead, I’m doing them a favor by offering them a unique line of jewelry art that their customers won’t find in other shops.
That boosted my confidence, and made me able to talk to them about the beauty of the stones I use and the originality of some of my one-of-a-kind pieces.
Are you uncomfortable with actually selling your jewelry to individual customers at shows or parties?
At one time I was certain that was something I would never be able to do – and I know you can’t be any shyer or less confident about it than I was!
All you have to do is change your focus, and here’s how:
The Secret to Overcoming Shyness
with Your Jewelry Customers
The secret lies in realizing that you’re not pushing people to buy your jewelry.
Never think of yourself as a salesperson, because you’re not.
You are a creative person who helps people with their problems. You’re blessed with the ability to solve people’s problems regarding accessorizing, gift giving, and anything else related to jewelry.
For example, your potential customers are wondering things like:
- Which pair of earrings would be best for this Fall?
- What should they give a teenage niece for her birthday?
- Would a longer or shorter necklace length look better with their black sweater?
- What do you have that would be a real pick-me-up every time they wear it?
- What on earth should they give their wife for an anniversary gift? (Providing the solution to gentlemen’s gift-giving needs can be a great way to sell a lot of jewelry!)
These people are interested in your jewelry, and feel extremely relieved when you can help them out with a great solution.
So just smile and focus on providing helpful solutions – and feel how good it is to help people!
Decide that above all, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Every time you get out there and do a show or jewelry party, or pick up the phone and make a call to contact a shop or customer, it gets easier. And it’s incredibly empowering to actually do it!
If I was able to overcome shyness and build a successful jewelry business, then I know you can do it too – and I wish you a long and fulfilling jewelry career! :o)