Daily Wire Tip August 18: Learning How to Sell Jewelry

By on August 17, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
August 18, 2011


Dale, thank you for your tips and encouragement! I have been to many shows, but my jewelry simply does not sell. I get lots of traffic and many people comment on how beautiful my pieces are, but most do not even look at the price. I have had other artists tell me how nice my work is. I have asked for advice from other vendors on improving my booth, but they tell me it is welcoming and appealing. I am lost as to what to do. Suggestions? Thanks.

-Merry in Smyrna, Tennessee


Hi Merry, well it sounds like you have a good booth set-up and great product, but you feel like you are running a museum display with free admission! (Been there, done that, learned to sell!!)

My questions to you are: Do you engage the customer in a conversation? When you say "Hello" and they reply, "I’m just looking," do you reply with something like, "May I tell you what you are looking at?", and then launch into a conversation about a particular item, drawing them into a conversation? Do you have a special business card to give them offering a discount if they return to your booth before the end of the day? Do you have a photo album showing how you create your designs? How about a list of all of the possible birthstones that they may not be aware of? All of these tips and so much more are included in The Definitive Guide to Selling Your Handcrafted Jewelry. You might think about this as a very wise investment to be able to sell your work (that contains so much cost in supplies and time). I wish you good fall and holiday showings Merry!!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    August 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

    We all have pieces we love but seems no one else does. I started looking at what people are wearing…I live in the middle of the country and it takes a while for trends to get here so I don’t jump on that band wagon. I also have input from family..Granddaughter is wrapping pieces and I get her 17 year old advice..all that said engage in conversation and know that somewhere there is the right person for your pieces..good luck and keep smiling…

    • avatar


      August 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

      You are absolutely correct Margaret! Every piece has an owner – sometimes it just takes a while for the two of them to meet.

  2. avatar


    August 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Oh goodness, I know how you are feeling for sure. Been there and done that. Lord bless those “tire kickers” and be-backs” and museum visitors. Selling is hard. Personally I hate having to sell, I’d rather be creating. But, you have to bite the bullet and take the step forward and learn those sale techniques that will help.
    Having a positive attitude about your work is one important step. Being open and friendly to the public is another, no matter how you may feel inside. Building your own inner self reflects back to the public and greeting and showing is a good way to let them know that you know your materials and you don’t make them feel pressured while they look around.
    Dale’s reference to the Definitive Guide is a great starting place.

    Scrimshaw Mary

  3. avatar


    August 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

    While I have never sold jewelry (yet), I was in direct sales for 15 years. One thing which I learned quickly was to get the client (that’s how you view people — someone who is going to love and buy your product) get the client to “take ownership” of that piece of jewelry they are admiring. Like, the ring matches your eyes or it would be fun to wear to the beach or whatever. Engage them in conversation, it only takes a minute or two or 3 and then hone in on what they just told you. Its fun. Make them own it and then they have to buy it.

  4. avatar

    Coral Olsen

    August 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I think it’s also luck of the draw for selling. I ran my website for 4 years, refreshed it, added to it and never once got a sale off my website. I even tried to sell my designs on EBay to no avail. I finally gave up after spending a fortune on sterling silver, 14K gold and quality gemstones. I used only Swarovski crystal and none of this got me any sales. I wear my designs and have given most of my inventory away as gifts. I just don’t know what I did wrong. I have read most “how to” articles and followed those suggestions as well. I am an avid subscriber to wire sculpture and think I follow all recommendations. I have had no luck.

    • avatar


      August 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Hi Coral, from 1995 through 2008, my personal website was designed to “sell” my work. I only sold 5 or 6 pieces in all those years, but my website WAS a way to show people what I did. When I redesigned it as a “gallery” and information site with a newsletter and a blog (in 2008), I began getting more inquiries about custom pieces! So that is what I based my business on the Internet for and I only “sell” in person or at galleries and live shows now. However several of the WS Faculty members sell their work all over the Internet! These industrious ladies spend hours a day on their computers, posting on a variety of websites – they also have blogs and newsletters. Good Luck!

  5. avatar

    Susannah St. Clair

    August 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Merry.. wow, I could have written that out!! And I DO try to engage my customers, explain what the stones are. I often start with ” Thats a beautiful blouse (coat) necklace) etc…” Trying to get them talking. Talk they do.. but buy? Not much!! But then I think my venue is not perfect for my products. (Farmer’s Market) but even at other venue’s..not good. I keep networking but so far, haven’t come up with much. Everybody says, ” Do you have a website?” but all my friends that are doing a website ARE NOT SELLING OFF OF IT so I sure don’t want to waste more money. Part of it I believe is our VERY depressed economy. Hoping the Holiday Bazaar’s work better for me!! Best of luck!!

    • avatar


      August 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

      Yes Susannah, the venue you chose needs to match the price and style of your work. For example, I don’t think that most folks who attend a “Farmer’s Market”, flea market or yard sale are looking for jewelry to begin with – and if a piece catches their eye, they are not prepared to spend any amount of serious money on it! In these areas, I would recommend selling small items that are priced between $10 and $20 like headpin earrings and puffed heart pendants made from craft wire. BUT these places might be a good place to pass out brochures that invite people to call you for custom orders when they are ready, or to direct them to your website or another location that has your “better” line of work displayed for sale.

  6. avatar

    Cairenn Day

    August 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Another thing I would look at is your prices. I see a lot of new artists that price their work at Wal Mart prices. Too cheap and your jewelry will ‘scream’ mass produced in the Third world.

    I would suggest that you go and check out some books on marketing. One point that they often stress, is that the bargain shopper, is looking at PRICE only, whereas a more upscale shopper will consider a low price to be a disadvantage.

    Another thing to consider, is the ‘market’ for what you do the most of, over filled or filled by others. Strung beads are now a problem area. Lots of folks have a friend/relative that do that and some of them will only charge for the beads.

  7. avatar


    August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Dale,We sell at the Farmers’ Market but only trinket stuff..Little girls like to spend their money on little pretties..sometimes we take $20 items and always tell people where we are going to be so they can see more items…

    • avatar


      August 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Smart Margaret!! Keep up the great promoting!!

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