Friday, October 30, 2015

So, I have some jewelry, how do I sell it?

Making jewelry might just be the easiest part of the jewelry business... Really, the thought of mining for diamonds or gold... and the sales of jewelry are the two hard parts... and probably with modern equipment? It might just leave the sales as the hardest part.
For the individual that creates a piece of jewelry, it might be a long and hard road to selling. Many avenues are available, especially with the advent of internet sites such as Etsy , Zazzle, and Joyous, in which to sell jewelry or other hand crafted wares. Many prefer the face to face transactions that can be found at art shows, faires and craft shows. One of the larger events is the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show, a two day event held in Atlanta, Georgia at their new home at The Atlanta History Center. Featuring jewelry artists from around the country, the show provides a gathering place for some of the most innovative and inspired craftsmen.

You say you don't want to try to make it into a High Art show? no problem, there are craft shows and fairs galore! A quick look on the internet garners a hundred different shows, The site, ,has a plethora of craft shows, Music Festivals as well as art shows.
Still not feeling it? Local businesses sometimes allow vendors to set up a table in their extra space, for a fee usually, but if you know someone that has a business, and has a bit of extra space, and are not in their busiest sales time of the year, you can approach them with an offer of a percentage of the sales or an out and out offer of compensation for allowing you to set up a table with a sampling of your jewelry.
Family and friends are great in spreading the word of your jewelry prowess. If you give or sell someone a piece of jewelry, say a necklace. Give them a few cards with your particulars to give out when they are asked about the piece. Many people stop and admire a nice necklace or a fanciful bracelet. Make it a habit to wear your own jewelry, and to carry extra business cards. You are your own walking billboard.
Family and friends are also a great source for lending space for a booth... remember the days of Tupperware and Avon parties? Why not have a party in the theme of this tried and true method? Many people do this with mass produced jewelry, but the attraction of hand made, one of a kind jewelry is a huge draw.

Faires and festivals are always looking for vendors. Art shows, galleries, are all places to start with. Booth costs vary from festival to festival, some are free, others can cost hundreds of dollars, but generally are worth the money. There are many drawbacks to showing your work in a faire or festival and some trade shows.
If you are doing an outdoor show, you probably need a tent, or some type of covering. It gets miserable in the open especially in the middle of Summer. Tables are a necessity, and can at times be rented from the venue, but not always. To look a bit more professional, table coverings are a must. Neat, tidy table cloths, that do not drag the ground, nor are they too short, should be used, or some type of covering that will not distract from the jewelry.
Spring Booth setup
If your tent is dark, lighting is sometimes necessary. My booth is always dark, no matter where I have it, so I always have lighting. That means having electricity. If you are at a show that does not provide electric outlets (which are an added cost usually) then you will have to provide your own, which can be a bit tricky. Generators will give enough power usually to light a tent of about 10x10feet. Anything bigger and you need a larger generator or two... which can get noisy. There are times when you may want to forgo having light, which means you need to forgo the sides of the tent. I like to keep my tent walled... simply because It helps me feel a bit sheltered. I have this problem being out in public places, in crowds... I really need to have a retreat to be able to be 'away' from the crowds. Also, I use the walls to hang items for sale. If I didn't have electricity, I'd have to go without the walls because it is simply too dark.
I have seen people that have replaced their tent tops with lighter tops, even one made from burlap, which let in a lot of light... but they miss the point with the reflective properties of the tops that come with tents... They keep out light, or mostly uv light. You can and will burn if you do not have that protection.

Long story... but it is noteworthy...

Brick and mortar shops...

If you want to start your own business, and have a small inventory, can't wait to open the business... brick and mortar... there are a few items to stop and think about...
Can you afford to open the business? Do you have a good financial plan in place? Do you have something to fall back on if the business doesn't take off right away? Most people that open their own stores will have a solid business plan, they have taken into account their pay, the amount for the building, utilities, insurance, all the things that go along with having a store... including the fact that you will have days that are busy, and you will not be able to sit down at the bench for hours at a time. This can be hard on a person that needs to be at the bench. If you have schedules and commitments for pieces to be ready, you have to be able to sit down and actually do the work... Can you hire someone to help?  If you do, can you promise them steady employment? Will they need to work part time or full time? Can you provide the insurance you need to? What about vacation and sick leave? Can you depend on family and friends to help? Will you be able to sustain your business and even grow it?
Do you have health insurance?

No matter what you do, going out on the limb and starting a business is a daunting task, but it can be done... and can be fulfilling.
Take the time to actually look into what it takes... and remember, you can!

enamel on steel with crystal eye and acrylic collar

enameled copper, silver, glass beads and acrylic charm bracelet

felted bib necklace

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