Stingy Clients

by Julz.


I started making jewelry for sale after I learnt a few tricks in beading. I was a resource person for a beading workshop for a couple of months and started my own business when it ended.

I have a relatively large client base but the problem is the price they are willing to pay.

I try my best to use inexpensive supplies so I don’t make a loss. I don’t make a loss at all but I feel I’m wasting away my potential by making simple inexpensive pieces.

I really love making creative pieces but I find myself limiting my supplies and time just so I don’t make jewellery that won’t sell.

Any ideas to calm me down?



Stingy Clients Abound
by: Janice

I run into this all the time. In my jewelry I only use natural stones, sterling silver and have fine silver, brass and copper focal pieces.
This makes my jewelry quite a bit more than most others at craft shows I attend.
I have decided that I want to keep making what I find satifying for me, not for all clients. I make sure that someone seeing my jewelry knows what they are looking at by informational signs or by my discussion with them as they are looking. I let them know they are buying a piece that will last a lifetime and not a season.
I don’t make as much in sales as some other vendors at times, but have much more satisfaction. I am have found more places that appreciate and sell my type of jewelry.
I guess in the end you have to find your niche and be happy in it. At this time in our economy we are all “tweaking” our businesses.
Good luck finding your niche.

by: Julz

Thanks Janice. 🙂

Stingy, or just watching their pennies?
by: Barbara

I agree completely with both your experience, and the comment. It’s a learning curve for you and your clients. Sure, you’ll lose a few clients along the way, but you will also gain new clients who appreciate finer, better-quality work, and who are willing to pay for it — and they will be the repeat customers, not the ones looking for cheap and bargain stuff, which they can find anywhere. As one store-owner said to me, and I’ve probably mentioned this elsewhere on this site, “When buying gifts, husbands don’t want to look cheap in front of their wives. They WANT to spend more.” Obviously, the quality/worthiness has to be there, but I’ve found it’s absolutely true. People don’t want to look cheap because, if nothing else, what is that saying about what they think of the person they’re giving a gift to?

I made a sale a month ago to a girl in her early 20s looking for a birthday gift for her friend. She told me she had about a $50 budget, and was dithering between two PMC leaf necklaces, one $45 and one $85, but then her eye was caught by a sinuously elegant lily leaf necklace that was $95. She went for the lily leaf because she said her friend was worth it — and added that one day she’d be back to buy something for herself. I told her I envied her friend.

Another way to look at higher-quality, higher-priced jewellery is that people tend to buy things by proxy. The gift-giver is really telling the recipient what they, the gift-giver, would really want to receive themselves.

I’ve been selling my jewellery for just over two years, making jewellery for three, and in tracking three Christmases’ worth of sales the absolute number of sales have gone down but the per-piece price has gone up with a net increase in dollars. Not a whole lot — we are still in a depressed economy and I’m nowhere near making a profit — but the results do show me that there are people willing to buy a better-quality, higher-priced item when given a choice.

The trick of course is to find each other. But the most important thing is to educate yourself and the customers you have, tell them all about the stones and the properties that make your materials more expensive — sterling silver versus plated, which wears off; A to AAA-grade stones versus D-grade, broken, chipped, off-centre drilling, poor colour; if you use copper, use pure copper, not plated — and have samples to show people the difference. I guarantee they will be impressed because everyone has a jewellery box at home filled with things they can’t wear because they look so shabby, thus why YOUR pieces are keepsakes for a lifetime because they’ll last for a lifetime, not something bought to match seasonal colours and toss.

Listen to your customers, ask them what they’ve always wanted but could never find/afford. Tell them you can try to make their wish a reality. We’re in the happiness business, and, sappy but true, a happy customer is a return customer.

It’ll happen for you. I promise!

Barbara MacDougall

by: susanna originals

You didn’t say how you were selling – are people coming to you or are you going around with samples or pictures?
The people you are selling to are obviously happy buying plated with glass as long as it’s pretty but a little psychology and education might be in order. Have a second set of samples with you (if that’s how you’re doing it) beautifully wrapped and don’t open it. When your customers ask what you have in it, just say, “oh, you wouldn’t be interested in those; that’s my heirloom quality line.” Or something like that. Each special piece should have a signed business card with it (one of my best customers taught me that – he said every artist should sign their work!). It should also have a little card with all the “ingredients.” That’s another thing my customers have taught me, that, especially when they’re buying a gift, they love having a little card with the name of the piece and the fact that it has sterling or argentium and the name of the stones or the fact that it is real Swarovski crystal.
People will want to see your top-of-the-line pieces and when you explain why they are more expensive, for all the reasons others have commented, you will start making sales for gifts at first and go on from there. Good luck!

stingy clients
by: Laurie

I like to use higher end materials too and am really not interested in using anything else. My solution has been to come up with my “bread and butter” line. I come up with earrings, anklets and pendants that use minimal materials and labor time. Because they don’t take as much material and labor, I don’t mark them up quite as high (usually 2.5x my base cost). The volume of sales makes up for the lower markup. The constant income from this line allows me to create other more creative and expensive pieces. And, because I have money coming in, I don’t worry about having that higher end piece in my inventory longer.

I should also mention, that I gear my inventory to the type of venue. I know which shows bring out the big spenders and I fill my table accordingly
Good luck 🙂

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