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Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285795 12/27/06 10:22 PM
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Tigress Offline OP
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I've been making silver wire�wrap and gemstone bead jewelry for years now and (to give myself a pat on the back) I've gotten pretty good at it since those first attempts. Like many crafters I'm hooked on my hobby. I spend countless hours (not to mention dollars) on my jewelry making. However, I don't have any way to sell it or anything. I was wondering if anyone has ideas for selling your handmade jewelry and if it really ever pays to try and set something up online.... Bascially I'm trying to sort out in my head how I can pay for my jewelry making habit, and reduce the amount of finished jewelry I have packed away in my house.
<img src="/images/graemlins/rolling.gif" alt="" />

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285796 12/28/06 04:48 AM
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Hello Erica,

Yes, There is a way to turn the hobby you love into money.
You already have a product so the hard part is already done. If you to this link: http://www.webbusinesswizard.com/app/?af=402631 and click on the "GOLD KEY" You can download a Free report that will show you everything you need to get started. The report is free and will point you in the right direction.

Robin Robinson
WAHM

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285797 12/28/06 09:52 AM
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Erika,

I've been selling jewelry that I make for some 20 years now. First, wear it, every day and don't hesitate to tell people who admire it that you are willing to sell the things you make.

Do craft fairs. Go to the classiest craft fiar in your area and, for once, pay more attention to the displays than to the work. Take a notebook along to write down inexpensive display possibilities. The magazine Sunshine Artist has a huge list of fairs with the information you need to decide which ones you want to do, including your chances of getting into them. You will need slides and digital pictures of your work to apply to the juried shows, and you should only do the juried shows, because otherwise you will be competing with buy-and-sell and that really doesn't work for makers.

In pricing, don't charge less than is necessary to pay yourself at least minimum wage for the time you spend on the work. Pricing less will make you unpopular with the other folks trying to sell their work, many of which are already trying to survive on it.You want their good opinion because they will be your teachers of how to operate at craft fairs. It also has the effect of "teaching" the public to undervalue handwork of all kinds. Handskills that are so undervalued are soon not practised at a high level anymore. Why should a young person make the effort to learn a skill if they can buy similar work for very little?

I have not had my website very long and have yet to sell a piece of work from it, but it has been useful in other ways. I have had enquiries about custom work and have had a place I could refer people to for pictures of work, for my resume, and so forth. By the way, I did it myself after a 12-hour community course in Dreamweaver. It still needs work, and you have to constantly update and change a website to continue to get visitors, something that I've fallen down on lately, but it has deffinitely been worth having. One thing it does is to motivate me to make progress in order to update it.

Good luck.

DJC in Norwich, UK


www.donnajcarty.co.uk
I welcome comments on my website.
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285798 12/31/06 09:57 PM
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Hi Erica,

I agree with DJC as far as wearing and showing off your jewelry. I've only been trying to sell for the last few months and my few sales have come by word-of-mouth.

My website has been online since Oct. with no sales. After investing the time and work in the website construction, I'm now working on SEO. Much more difficult than I ever imagined. I see that you already have a music site so you have connections online. That should be a real asset.

My next step is approaching boutiques and galleries. I am been working on increasing my inventory right now. In the past I sold paintings through galleries so I know they expect stock to be replenished when it sells. I can't bring myself to do the art and craft fairs anymore so am hoping the other approach will work.

Let us know what works for you.

Patsy
www.oxalisjewelart.com

Last edited by oxalis; 12/31/06 10:01 PM.
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285799 12/31/06 10:54 PM
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Try eBay first. The traffic to their site is huge. All you need is a camera. Setting up an account is easy. You might want to get a Paypal account first so people can pay you.

Instead of crafts fairs, try trade shows more targeted to your audience--wedding shows for example, or motorcycle rallies, or arts festivals--whatever attracts the people your jewelry is suited for.

Check to see if there are any consignment places in your town--sometimes there are consignment stores that feature work made by local artists and craftspeople. They'll put your items in their stores in exchange for a consignment fee.

Also try small businesses like beauty salons, spas, boutique shops and so on.

You might try looking at my SOHO site here at BellaOnline for more tips and hints in getting started.

Good Luck!

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285800 01/01/07 11:45 AM
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I disagree about selling on E-bay. You cannot get the prices a maker needs to get on E-bay. E-bay attracts bargain hunters, not appreciators of the hand-made and the skills of the hand-maker. I've heard that Etsy may be somewhat better, but a better web outlet would be Guild.com.

Trade fairs are usually more expensive to do that craft fairs, and a lot of the business is wholesale, so they will also expect lower prices than you may be able to offer.

If you do consignment, visit the store often to see if your pieces are actually displayed and displayed well. The consignment agreement should be written and clear as to where the risks lie and what happens if the shop goes down and under what circumstances pieces can be marked down in price.

Gavoskin.com (i think I've spelled that right. It can be googled with jewelry and orchid since that used to be the name of the group) contains excellent information on the business of making and selling jewelry.

DJC in Norwich, UK


www.donnajcarty.co.uk
I welcome comments on my website.
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285801 01/01/07 07:58 PM
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Donna, I think we're talking in two different ballparks here. My understanding from Erica was that she wanted a way to support her hobby more than anything. I make earrings for myself and also sell them to friends & associates, but these are $5 earrings. It's a hobby, but there is a market out there for that kind of jewelry.

It's like art--some people want something inexpensive to go with the furniture and some people want to invest in art.

Your work is definitely art and I agree, probably not for eBay. I looked at your website and I love your work. I won't hijack this thread, but if you'd like some suggestions on getting more traffic and making more sales, contact me.

I also understand your comment about not undervaluing the craft and the products. I worked in food and beverage where they just about coupon themselves out of business. But, earrings that take me maybe two minutes to make are nowhere comparable to your beautiful pieces that obviously take much more time and thought and are therefore worth much more money.

Anyway, what a great conversation. I need to address value and pricing for my readers--I've avoided it because it is so subjective, but maybe I can come up with some guidelines (and exceptions).

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285802 01/01/07 09:10 PM
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Bella,

Your points are well taken. I think we need to see some pictures of Erica's work in order to suggest prices. There are sites on the web that well wire-wrap jewelry, and I believe there are even some discussion groups centered on that type of jewelry. Ganoskin! (darn that wrong spelling above) has one, I think. These are places she could see how much similar work is going for. Wire-wrap is one of those types of jewelry that can vary from the two-minute variety to art jewelry level.

Thanks for your offer to help me with site suggestions. I will private message you.

DJC in Norwich, UK


www.donnajcarty.co.uk
I welcome comments on my website.
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285803 01/05/07 12:26 AM
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I think all of your suggestions are great.

Erica, is that what you were saying - that you mainly want to make the hobby pay for itself - or do you want it to grow into a profitable business?

I recently reviewed a newer book on the topic of selling jewelry, which I really liked - maybe you would find it helpful:

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art31333.asp

It can be very difficult selling handmade jewelry, for a number of reasons. The best thing to do at first is probably brainstorm and write down your goals, then discuss them with other artisans - even on the internet like this. I've found networking to be the most helpful resource so far.

Chris


Chris Franchetti Michaels, BeadJewelry.net
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285804 01/05/07 06:32 PM
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Thanks for all the input <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Unfortunately I don't have access to a digital camera at the moment, so I can't post pictures of my work (I believe someone had mentioned that). Obviously if I wanted to sell online the camera becomes a requirement, but I haven't gotten that far.
And yes, mainly I would like my jewelry making hobby pay for itself. Having a bit of profit would be welcome, but I'm not looking to make my living with this. I'm going to see if I can find some good craft fairs in my area to begin with. Another thing I always have trouble with the few times I have sold my jewelry is pricing. I never know where to begin! Generally I'm using sterling silver, swarovski crystal, and natural gemstones (like garnet, onyx, amethyst, jade, etc.). I'm going to work on getting photos so maybe I can post some examples here.
Also, I took advice of some discussion posters and made a few pieces of jewlery specifically for me to wear and show off my work <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285805 01/05/07 08:13 PM
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Hello - firstly a couple of thought about pics:- do you have a film camera? You can get photos on cd as well as printed in a lot of places, or original photos scanned.

The other thing is does your library have a scanner? Scanners are great for jewellery as it shows up all the detail. I've noticed a lot of sellers on Ebay and Etsy scan their work. Even if not for a long term solution this would give you some digital images!

.... and as for pricing - phew! One tricky subject! I look on Etsy and Ebay at some items and I know that I could never compete - the sellers are hardly covering cost of materials let alone their own time. There are two factors - what it costs you to make and what the market will take. You then have to work out whether you can make and sell what you want in the middle of these two points.

I too reiterate the point about making sure that your pricing is fair - to you as well as your customers! I firmly believe that everyone should cost in their time or at least an element of it! If they don't want the money for themselves then give it to charity - however don't devalue yourself or your work!!

Good luck!!

Kate

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285806 01/05/07 08:41 PM
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Thanks <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
My dad actually owns a photolab, so I could get prints (either on CD or not) fairly easily, but I take crumy close-up photos lol <img src="/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> I never thought about simply scanning a piece of jewelry.... interesting short-term fix. I think I'll have a go at it now.

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285807 01/05/07 09:07 PM
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I have posted an article on pricing that might help you jewelry-makers. It's a general article, but I think the principles are the same.

Here's a link if you're interested: How to Set Prices article.

Hope this helps!

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? lol #285808 01/05/07 10:59 PM
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Bella,

I've read your article, and in general, I agree. There are two other things though.

In figuring time, you mentioned only the time involved in making the product. But there is a lot more time that goes into selling your work. Time spent designing, choosing and ordering materials, record keeping, photographing, going back and forth to galleries and shows, time spent actually selling at shows, time spent putting your pieces up on E-bay or Etsy or whatever, time spent writing press releases or anything else related to selling your work.

The other thing is figuring out your costs of producing items. I never, or almost never, make the same item twice. Counting up how many seed beads and how many yards of thread go into each item is just not practical and the total would be insignificant compared to the labor, not to mention the time that would be required to keep such records. So the only things I count up are hand-made glass beads, precious stone beads (even semi-precious beads are inexpensive), and silver if I use a lot of it.
Fine jewelers are different. I've seen them work over a drawer that collected the silver and gold dust from sawing or filing to be melted and recycled and design pieces to use the small bits of metal from sawing. The ones I know usually keep track of the costs of any stones, checking them off as they use them, and of the metal as they buy it, but mostly price on the basis of the design and making time, aside from stones and the weight of the piece. This is for originals. If a piece is later cast in multiples, you can do the kind of calculations you have described.

DJC in Norwich, UK


www.donnajcarty.co.uk
I welcome comments on my website.
Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: DJCNOR] #288685 01/21/07 06:40 PM
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It's been a while since I last posted here saying I would put up a few pictures of my work. Anyway, I tried to scan in a few pieces of jewelry today (just placed it on the scanner). Obviously it's not the best way to tell what my jewelry is like, but hopefully it'll give an idea for those that asked and were curious. I have so much, so I only grabbed a few samples from the top of my box......


Swarovski crystal/sterling silver wire, chain, and toggle




garnet and sterling silver




sterling silver wrapped around dark blue niobium with amethyst seed beads.




swarovski crystal and sterling silver

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: Tigress] #288914 01/23/07 12:30 AM
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Very pretty! I began selling jewelry on etsy 7 months ago - in addition to selling to friends and family. I've had a little success there - you have to self-promote and spend time on bringing in customers. I also do well when I donate an item or 2 to a charity auction - I include business cards with pictures. Home parties are also VERY profitable for me. Moving up to the next level will be to get my own web site, and start approaching boutiques and stores to see what will happen - this is a bit of a big step for me, and I'm working my way to it slowly.

When I first started on etsy, I scanned in my pieces (lots of my listings still have scanned pictures). I lay the item on the scanner and back it with a piece of felt or scrap booking paper in a bright color and then crop. It worked great, and it looks like your pictures are well on their way. More recently I'm using a digital camera and a lighting tent to diffuse the light. The pictures are FAR superior, but I haven't seen a difference in sales, so go figure.

Good Luck to you!
-Nina Gibson
www.ninadesigns.etsy.com

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: ninadesigns] #289767 01/28/07 07:17 PM
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I have been hearing that beauty shops are a good place to sell your handmade jewelry.


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Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: Photo Jewelry] #290212 01/31/07 06:18 PM
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Hi all,
I'm new here, been lurking a while and decided to join. I've been making and selling my artisan jewelry for the past 7 years on the Internet and also "getting it out there". It takes quite a while to get the whole thing to a point where it is a self sufficient income, doing it as a hobby or sideline is easier since you are not depending on it for your bread and butter. Between my jewelry business, plus my marketing and design businesses, I am self supporting and work from home.

On the Internet, you need a website presence, as artisan designed work put on eBay is consistently undervalued and with the fees, not a cost effective venue UNLESS you sell items that are over $25.00 ~ and then you still need to watch your bottom line. I've heard that on Etsy things tend to get buried. I don't know that for a fact as I personally have no need to sell on any other venue than my website.

On the Internet also you need extremely diligent and constant SEO done on your website as artisan jewelry is an over-saturated field with high competition. You also need steady marketing to have your name out there in sufficient quantity to gain the desired exposure in the search engines both through distribution and high page rank. It's quite alot of work, however worth it, and it's a bit pricey to hire a professional to do it for you if it is just a hobby and not your livelihood.

As far as in the "real" world, everything everyone said here is true........ you absolutely must wear your jewelry everywhere, and discretely bring up the topic that you are either self employed or an "artist" and people will be quick to ask you what you do. What works best for me is to casually respond that i create jewelry, etc. etc.
Be prepared to let people examine whatever it is you are wearing they are very quick to see your quality.

ALWAYS carry well designed business cards with you, so that you never miss a chance to hand them out.

Check out craft shows, fairs, juried shows, all in your area, and work the shows. This gains you valuable experience as well as exposure.

Also consider doing home jewelry parties. This is a great way to "have fun with the girls", get exposure, and reward your hostess so that she is willing to host your jewelry parties again for you.

It all takes a great deal of thinking, planning and work, but in the end, it's extremely rewarding.

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: JewelryCollectiblesDesign] #302836 03/27/07 10:42 AM
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Etsy is a great place for a beginner. I use it as a place to "park" my items and make it easier for friends and family to see what I've done lately. I don't make a ton of sales yet, but I haven't really had time to promote properly.

I have noticed that in one week of listing, that my items average 3 times as many views on Etsy as they did on Ebay! You want to talk about buried, nothing gets buried faster than artisan jewelry on Ebay.

Personally, I think that Etsy is worth it just for the forums. 99% of the people there are really sweet and helpful. (Just ignore the 1% snark!)


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Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: Rivkasmom] #304374 04/02/07 05:12 PM
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We at www.wigjig.com have some helpful tips on chosing a price for your piece. Here is a link to a page on our site that gives that information. Basically, to begin with some people feel that three times the cost of your materials is a good way to start. Here is the link.
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Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: Rivkasmom] #307241 04/15/07 06:04 PM
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it's absolutely true that on ebay jewelry gets buried. the jewelry market is so over-saturated and no better place as an example for that than eBay. then again, eBay does NOTHING to help their sellers.

i'm glad to know on etsy the environment is a good one and that the traffic is better, plus the forums are nice. like i said i had only heard what i heard, and usually one hears the negative about a venue before the positive.

i also utilize a Squidoo lens as a traffic venue. it's completely free and although you do have to put work into promoting, it is a good atmosphere with all the tools available to put up as much of a display as you like.

promote whatever venue you use in your blog also and make sure the blog gets syndicated. nothing brings in good traffic like a well designed blog.

Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: JewelryCollectiblesDesign] #309514 04/25/07 08:19 PM
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Hi
I have just started on etsy but I think it is a pretty good venue. eBay is horrid.
did someone develop your blog for you or did you do it yourself?


Jewels by Anastasia
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Re: Making jewlery.... how do you sell it!? [pics] [Re: jewelsbyanastasia] #309621 04/26/07 12:07 PM
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Hi, I recently decided to go back to doing beadwork. It used to be a real passion but I set it aside for working on the computer (both are hard on the wrists and fingers) I used to sell my bead work and I agree that wearing it is a great advertisement-also where you wear it. Going to craft fairs, etc to check out the offerings is great but also if you have on your own stuff, people ask about it. I was very flattered last year when I went to an upscale pow wow wearing my bead work and several people asked me if I had a booth there!

I would suggest too you check out the forum on Bead and Button. There is a huge community there and selling work is much discussed. It's at www.beadandbutton.com

I haven't tried creating a website with my work but I agree that seo is very important. Also, on the bead and button forum you can add a sig and photos of your work there as well. It helps with the traffic.
Joan

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