What idea to invest in first?

by Random.
(Random Acts of Jewelry)

I haven’t been doing this long so my money is low and ideas are many.

I’m trying to prepare for this summers festivals and possibly my first party I’m just wondering what I should invest in first when I get the little bit of money that comes my way.

Should I spend the little money I get on:

*Display (longterm stuff that will last a while not just what I can scrounge up)(I don’t even have a sign)

*Lighting (currently relying on whatever is available)

*New idea pieces (I have a pretty full inventory at the moment but new ideas are new ideas)

*Photography ( getting quality pics of some of my pieces)

*Packaging and wrapping

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  • zoraida says:

    If you’re concentrating on doing shows, I would invest in starting with the presentation. A few nice displays, table covers, a few props make a huge and professional impression. Of course you need pretty business cards or post cards (preferably with images of your work). If you’re thinking of selling online or even if you just want to keep a portfolio, get a fairly good camera!! A large banner is great for outdoor shows as well. You can get a beautifully printed, vinyl one free or very cheap at Vistaprint.

  • Lisa Yang says:

    I agree with zoraida. Your presentation at a show is just as important as your jewelry. Get the minimum number of display items you need to make your jewelry look great. See if there is anyone you can borrow lights from. I would not make more jewelry unless it can be presented really well. Good Luck!!

  • Anna says:

    I set-up my ‘booth’ in my house as a dry run and learned a few things:

    *my 4ft. tables would rise to chest level (the higher the better to see) but they needed weights on the legs to be stable

    *the extra height meant more cloth…a king size flat sheet under an oblong tablecloth was the economic answer

    *prints, no matter how pretty will compete with your jewelry (neutral solids let your work shine)

    *add height and interest on your table with something (there are some great suggestions on this site, like wrapping shoe boxes and making tree branch earring stands) because you can’t see flat surfaces from behind a crowd

    *decide how you will package your jewelry when sold (in a bag it can tangle, individual boxes can become costly, and handing it over loose means they could lose something and expect a replacement

    *transporting the jewelry can be tricky for the same reasons mentioned above, so you may need to research and/or practice storage options

    *time yourself setting up and setting out because most shows limit the time available for set-up (some allow up to 3 hours but that makes for a really long day with break-down too)

    *think about payment…cash means you need to make change, checks require a bank transaction and trust but can really up your sales, and credit card acceptance takes planning, access and fees but also can increase sales


    If you need to, you can make your own sign with punch-out letters and posterboard, and ‘frame’ the edges with scrapbooking strips. An outdoor venue means you will probably need to buy some portable tables and you may have to attach your sign to the cloth (with pins). Some indoor spaces offer table rentals, and some booth locations do not have wall space, but I take tacky strips, just in case I can post my sign on the wall (without leaving a mark).

    It helps to have each item priced as some customers will not ask, but you could have ‘areas’ where everything is one price-as long as you can recognize the items as it can get tricky when busy or a customer forgets where she found it. You can collect the tax or figure it in to the price, but keep records either way.

    The whole experience is a learning process- take notes on what worked and what didn’t, walk around and see other booths for ideas, and try and have some fun!

  • Tammie E says:

    Hi ‘Random’ I agree with Anna above on almost every point she mentioned.

    I only started doing shows last year and a LOT was trial and error. (I’m still in some trial & error stages LOL)

    I suggest these basics.

    #1 Business cards are a MUST.

    #2 Neutral display colors. I started with colors but ended with white, black and khaki/tan as my display colors.

    #3 Research online (here at JMJ too) for displays using Thrift Store finds. There is so much you can do with old CD racks, window screens and and a can of black spray paint to make a cheap, simple and attractive display set ups. No matter how you start, you will evolve as you see what works best for you, so start inexpensively.

    #3A – have a mirror for people to look at them selves, if you can get them to try it on, it increases your potential sales.

    #4 For transporting I started by using 2 big fluffy beach towels, like a jewelry roll. I lay them out flat and place the sets on it spaced out, them roll it up and transport them in an old suitcase. I have graduated to some beautiful left over khaki faux suede sections I had left over from a couch re-do. In a pinch I can just unroll it on a table and there is an instant display.

    #5 Practicing set up is huge & take pictures so you can critique yourself. What looks good in your head may not work when you view it with a critical eye.

    #6 I accept checks, just make sure to have a phone # & DL , then photo copy it when you get home, BEFORE you deposit it, in case it does bounce you have all the info. I have never had a check bounce and it does increase your sales.

    #7 Try to relax & enjoy the ride. Good Luck 🙂

  • Tamara says:

    Hi Random,

    If you want to work on some new ideas in jewellery design, maybe you could rework an older piece that you’ve done a while ago. I’m always seeing ways I can improve pieces I’ve made a while back. Or go to a thrift store, garage sale or flea market and see if you can pick up some new goodies to play with really cheap.

  • Random says:

    Thanks everyone….Just an FYI, I’ve done about 10 shows over the last year and I’m pretty organized…. My display is ok and neutral but lacking a polished look and a decent sign, I would have done something about this already but couldn’t  since the shows were mostly unprofitable and I didn’t plan well…..live and learn…. I have a plan now but no money…. I have a great camera but I  want to invest in a table top studio for really great pics. And I’m planning some new technique pieces but I’m lacking in the necessary supplies…… I just have so many ideas and need to know which item on my list is the best investment.

    Oh an I’m not interested in doing Internet stuff yet… just shows and hopefully parties. And I accept credit cards now just haven’t had a profitable how with it yet.

    Thx again for all the great tips.

  • Jeanine says:

    There are some great tutorials online for making your own light-box – that and an inexpensive tri-pod are all you need for great pics. But, if you’re not selling online then you don’d need that…
    If your inventory is full, then concentrate on your set up. Banners at Vista, as mentioned above, are very inexpensive. And I’ve gotten many ideas from this website for inexpensive displays.

    Finally, when money is low always reconsider your pricing. Don’t sell yourself short and undercharge for your hard work.

  • Jeanine says:

    Just checked out your Facebook page. There are no pictures of your jewelry! OMG – do it!

  • zoraida says:

    I agree with Jeanine!! You absolutely must post photos of your jewelry on facebook. I liked your page as myself and facebook.com/artzjewlery (yes fb misspelled it and I left it that way)
    Hope to see some photos of your jewelry soon.

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