6 Ways to Find Your Uniqueness in Jewelry
by Judy Ellis
Today I want to borrow a concept that marketing professionals talk about all the time; they call it a USP. It's not a shipping method: it's called a Unique Selling Proposition, and a lot of successful small businesses have it clearly defined when they start making money - or they think they do.

Your USP is what makes your business unique and you, to your customer. It's what makes you, you, as a jewelry designer. Here are 6 ways you can identify what makes your jewelry unique.
Do you pay attention to customer details? Are you the jewelry-maker who always remembers your clients' birthdays and special occasions, her favorite stones, her preferred style? It's a great idea to keep a customer card on file for not just custom orders or ring sizes, but also the dates that are important to your customers. Even though your August-born client may be buying Christmas gifts from you, she may be tempted by a peridot ring you show her, now or near her birthday.
Do you have a unique product? In your area, you may be the only wire artist for miles! Online, however, there's stiff competition. Marie of SuperiorAgates is an example of a unique wire artist online: she creates wire jewelry from the agates she cabs herself, found in her own back yard! (Lucky!) If you cut your own stones or make your own lampwork glass, this is a valuable thing that is interesting to your customers. Is your business dedicatedly nickel-free? Do you offer a lifetime guarantee? Do you specialize in remaking clients' old jewelry into new, wearable pieces? There are several unique products and services, even within wire jewelry, that you can explore.
What do you do with your proceeds? Several of our customers donate a portion of their profits to charities, such as animal rescue organizations, children's charities, local organizations, and medical research. Do you make donations through your wire jewelry business? Your customers may value knowing how you contribute to groups you believe in.
Do you have a unique style? Are you a weaving and coiling, a sculpting, or a traditional wire jewelry artist? Again, with wire jewelry, you may be the only wire artist for miles - but you are still unique within wire jewelry. As an artist, express yourself through your jewelry, and then take a step back. What connects your jewelry? Is it the way you finish wire ends - in spirals, rosettes, trimmed close, swooped away? Is it the top-of-the-line gold filled and Argentium wire that you've polished to a gleam to match the sparkling druzies you wrap? Is it the liver of sulfur antique finish you give each piece? Of course, make sure this is something you love. If you hate the smell of liver of sulfur and the whole process of antiquing, don't become known for your antiqued jewelry! Discover the commonalities in your pieces and play it up.

This can also include whether your jewelry has a Modern, Art Deco, Steampunk, Victorian, Asian, or Southwestern feel to it. What draws you to that style of jewelry? Including more information about the time period or culture you're paying homage to will give your customer the feeling that they've stepped inside a whole other world, and you've given them a piece of jewelry and a new experience, as well.
Similarly - do you use stories to sell your wire jewelry? While this works well online, when you can tell a story for much more time than at a crowded craft fair, you can try it anytime you sell your work. I found this quote especially inspiring after looking upon a blister pearl: "All art is autobiographical: the pearl is the oyster's autobiography." (Frederico Fellini) What a story in a nutshell!
Do you know your stones inside and out? Being an authority on the materials you use is a unique treasure that not every artist has. You read our Gem Profiles with interest, but you already have a few gem books on the shelf. Maybe you can instantly recite the history and location of the stone you wrapped, or maybe you know the metaphysical uses of stones by heart. From my own experience, I sold my first pair of earrings to my yoga teacher; she had picked out a pretty pair featuring purple fluorite and was considering buying them. She asked what the stone was, and I replied "Fluorite," and there was an awkward pause. One of my classmates immediately came up and said, "Fluorite! That will be perfect for you, I know you have a lot of decisions coming up ahead. Fluorite is great for concentration and making decisions. This is the perfect stone for you." Sold! I immediately resolved to either have a story or to "know something" that I could talk about for each piece that I made.
While you may not have officially decided or written out your Unique Selling Proposition, it's important that you investigate it and keep your mind open to it. It is an ongoing process to discover what you offer to your customers, and it will pay off for you in the end. However, try not to leave it up to your customers to decide what kind of jewelry artist you are: decide for yourself, and then present your work. What one customer thinks of you may not be the image you ultimately want to present. When you find the unique qualities of your jewelry and your business, you can build on those strengths, and further establish your jewelry-making style and skills, and attract the appreciative customers you're designing jewelry for.

Happy Jewelry Making!


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