Daily Wire Tip June 20: Resources for Jewelry Selling and Marketing

By on June 19, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 20, 2011

Question:

What were some of the most creative marketing ideas you came up with when you started doing shows? Or what things have you seen at shows that definitely didn’t work?

-Sheraton in Palm Beach, Florida

Answer:

Hi Sheraton, oh my goodness! In February 2010 I wrote about my very first show experience in the Free blog article titled Wire Jewelry Display and Booth Ideas. I have some stories about what has worked really well, as well as those that didn’t (like the trailer full of "that used to be a display idea once"). That article has my stories and experiences of what I have changed over the years, along with some suggestions for those who are just thinking about, or to give fresh ideas to those who already are, selling at shows.

Offering ideas that may inspire those of you who wish to sell your work in other venues, in May 2010 I wrote another free blog article titled Where to Sell Your Wire Jewelry. Here I share my experiences about Theme Party ideas, running Fund Raisers, and basically how to have fun selling your work to those who are interested! Both of the articles I have linked to also have many helpful comments from our readers.

Of course, if you really want some major knowledge, from myself and very experienced members of our Wire-Sculpture Faculty, I would recommend that you bite the bullet and make a minor cash investment by purchasing The Definitive Guide to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry. Although those few customers who are as experienced as I am only found a couple of new ideas, most folks have been extremely pleased with the information the WS Faculty and I have compiled into these 3 very full DVDs – and the included book Mitzi McCartha wrote for us, Wire Java, includes a wealth of pricing ideas, along with worksheets for extra help.

Most of what will work for you will be based on your personality and how you choose to sell your work, as well as what you like to create and the market you find that your work appeals to. My final advice is to have fun making what you like to make, and don’t fall into trying to fill the current fad, because this path will more than likely end up costing you both money and sanity.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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8 Comments

  1. avatar

    Robin Burns

    June 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Dale, that last bit of advice might be the best! I find that once you’ve perfected the techniques needed to produce “what’s hot” and stock enough for a show, the next big thing has already come along. It might be worth making a few pieces that cater to current fashion, but people are looking for something unique, well made and enthusiastically sold. An artist’s own favorite pieces are likely to be best sellers. They tend to be the ones that are easiest for the individual wire worker to produce at quantities sufficient to create a well-stocked display. If there are too few items available folks will walk by unless they are really under the spotlight.

  2. avatar

    Mary

    June 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Robin hit it right on the ole nail’s head. Creatively made, uniquely different and the artist is proud to have made it, to display and even explain to a possible customer. People who jump of the fad band wagon end up finding themselves stuck with inventory they can’t sell because the fad has come and gone. Be original, be creative, and have your techniques down pat and your workmanship will speak for you and you will become known for that difference that makes your work stand out amongst the crow.

  3. avatar

    Jesse Bateau

    June 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    In reference to this last thought, on the jewelry-makers favorite pieces likely to be best sellers, it may turn out to be the opposite. I made some of what i thought were beautiful Christmas bracelets, and actually other hand-made jewelry artists also admired them as well. But I didn’t sell a single one throughout the season. They consisted of brightly colored red and green jade beads, and at the ends there were rondelles that looked like candy cane candies. The bracelets had dangling from them beautiful hand-made Christmas ornaments of Santa Claus faces, Christmas trees, snowmen and other things of the season, all wire-wrapped so nicely into place. And the most common comment? “I would have liked it better if it didn’t have all of that stuff hanging all over it”. So though they were works of art, I didn’t sell a single one.

  4. avatar

    Rockland Rocks

    June 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Robin’s remark about an artist’s own favorite pieces are likely to be best sellers is absolutely true. I have sold quite a few necklaces right off my own neck. I’ve even tried setting a high price just so I wouldn’t have to sell my most favorite pieces, and have at times been amazed at what folks were willing to pay. It doesn’t hurt that I tell the buyer I don’t like to make the same thing twice, so they know they are getting a unique and original, hand-crafted piece.

  5. avatar

    CherriesOnline

    June 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    When the ‘Pandora-type’ bracelets came out, I thought, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?”…now I’m fighting the urge to splurge on large-hole beads…hoping I can cash-in on this fad. Augghhh!!!!
    Finding one’s niche is key…as unique and skilled as we all may be…our pieces can still sit unsold.
    Recently, I was an art festival and the table next to me was selling all her pieces at $10 a pop…sold a slew! Guess what? Most of her items were purchased pre-strung and mass-produced.
    I tried to un-curl my lips while she was extolling about how wildly successful this venue was for her! How can we compete against such odds?

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      June 24, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Yes Cherries, this has also happened to both me and most members of the WS Faculty. Unfortunately some promoters don’t care what their vendors sell, as long as they (promoter) get their money for the booth space. Now there are some promoters who do run a good juried show and want to make sure everything really ‘is’ handcrafted, but they don’t know handmade from 3rd world catalog stuff, so now the question is: do you tell the promoter? I vote YES! as a ‘courtesy’ to the promoter of that juried show that specified only handcrafted items. This is why some promoters ask for photos of their vendors showing them in the process of creating their art form. If the show will allow ‘buy-sell’ items, then it is proper for you to purchase a few to sell yourself, just to get folks to your booth to see what you really do (and to cover your booth fee while you are educating people).

  6. avatar

    Robyn

    June 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

    To stand out from the booths that sell items that they’ve bought from a catalog, I always bring along simple projects to work on. It occupies my time when things are slow, and even just having a pair of pliers and a spool of wire on the table has made people comment on my work, ask questions about how I learned my craft, and so on. People are curious, and I’ve found good conversation often leads to sales.

    I also make a point of asking a show organizer if they only allow handmade art/crafts or if they allow re-sellers (I’ve seen Mary Kay at one show and was pretty surprised). It helps me pick and choose the right venues for me.

    I also find that whichever piece I’m wearing at a show, people want it. I guess there’s something about seeing a piece “in action” that draws people to it. We are our own best advertisers!

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      June 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Excellent comment Robyn – another thing to think about when choosing shows is: if people have to pay to enter the show, they are there to purchase!

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