Subscribe in a reader Handmade Jewelry Marketing Tips: January 2007

Handmade Jewelry Marketing Tips

I'm going to help you market your handmade jewelry more effectively. Learn how to sell and make a generous living making and selling jewelry.

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Location: United States

I love to help other people be successful on their own terms. If I can help someone start a successful business they ENJOY, plus show them how to market it, I will have done my job.

BeadStyle Magazine

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Marketing Handmade Jewelry & Helping A Good Cause

Hi everyone! I just want to let you know I do appreciate all of you wonderful readers out there! I'm always open to feedback and suggestions and will be glad to cover a topic that you feel is important. You can always email me at

Here is an idea that can help you not only promote your handmade jewelry but help out a good cause at the same time. Do you have a local charity that you feel passionately about? Why not contact them regarding a co-marketing venture?

You could work with the charity in one of several ways. One possibility is that you could sponsor a special jewelry event night with your charity of choice. On that evening, you would display and sell your handmade jewelry for several hours at a special fund raising event sponsored by the charity. A portion of the proceeds of every item purchased from you at the event would be donated to the charitable organization. You could even bring in a few artisans whose work complements your own to exhibit at the event also.

The charity could advertise the event through their venues so there would be few upfront costs on your part. It could be made into a gala event complete with refreshments and door prizes. Such an event may very well attract the attention of the press which would be excellent public relations for your business. Hint: You may want to send a press release. :-) There could be a silent auction of a piece of your jewelry for charity which would help to further brand your handmade jewelry. This sounds like a fun and painless way to sell some jewelry and get a "warm, fuzzy feeling" from helping others.

You could also approach this idea from an online perspective if you have a website or an online jewelry gallery. Create an agreement with the charity that all purchases made by their supporters within a certain time frame will result in a percent donation to their cause. The charity could publicize your gallery address in their newsletter and encourage members to purchase from you to help their charitable cause. You could require them to use a number or letter code in their order so you can track which orders came from the charity and give them their portion.

If the above arrangement works out well, you could contact other favorite charities and repeat the process. You could also make it a twice a year regular event with each of the charities. This idea alone could keep you quite busy if you worked with a number of charities. Plus, I think many charities would appreciate the opportunity to be able to raise funds without significant upfront costs on their part. A true win-win situation!

I hope you'll give this idea a try and let me know how you do with it. :-)

If you're looking for some more great ideas for marketing your handmade jewelry, you may want to take a look at this magazine. Lots of practical, easy to implement ideas from someone who knows their stuff. The author is the marketing director for Lapidary Journal, Step-by-Step Beads, and Step-by-Step Wire magazines. Maybe I shouldn't be promoting my competition, but I want you to have all the advantages that are available to you. :-)

Have a great day. :-)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Could Your Handmade Jewelry Business Benefit From an Email Newsletter?

We all know the importance of building a mailing list and keeping in contact with our customers. As the internet marketing gurus always say, "the gold is in the list". Well, let's take it a step further and think about how your handmade jewelry business might benefit from publishing a newsletter.

A newsletter would allow you to keep in close contact with your customers while at the same time providing them with something of real value. Your customers may love you and your jewelry but if you don't keep your name in front of them, they may forget about you and what you have to offer. A well written newsletter will refresh their memory and increase your sales.

What could you include in your email newsletter:

1. Tips on how to store jewelry
2. Tips on how to clean and restore the shine to jewelry
3. How to prevent tarnish
4. How to choose handmade jewelry to suit your personal style
5. How to choose handmade jewelry that flatters your facial features
6. How to start a handmade jewelry collection
7. How to make minor jewelry repairs
8. How to determine the quality of a piece of jewelry
9. Update your jewelry wardrobe without spending a fortune
10. Fashion & jewelry trends for the season
11. Jewelry gift ideas
12. Plus lots more!

You may think there's not much to write about, but once you get started the ideas will just flow. (that happens to me with this jewelry blog!)

In addition, you can also include:

1. The next date and location of your next show.
2. Update on new handmade jewelry pieces you have for sale.
3. Any sales specials you might be running.
4. Reminder of upcoming holidays that might be suitable for giving jewelry as a gift

Of course, you would include a link to your website or online gallery in the newsletter so your potential customer can quickly and easily access your offerings. You can make it much easier by using an autoresponder system to send out your newsletter automatically. This will save you loads of time and energy. Here's an interesting article that you might want to read called, "Do Your Customers Forget About You?".

Why not get started writing that newsletter today? Your customers will love the free information and you'll love the additional sales the newsletter will generate!

Would you like to receive an additional jewelry marketing tip every few days by email? If so, email me at and I'll put you on the list. The tip will be short and sweet and will give you additional secrets and ideas that won't be revealed in the blog. I promise never to share your email address with anyone else. There's enough spam in this world.

Thanks again for reading! Have a productive day.


Monday, January 29, 2007

The Handmade Jewelry Designer Who Turned It Around

Today, I want to share with you a real life example of a handmade jewelry designer who was able to significantly increase her ability to sell handmade jewelry by making a few simple changes to her marketing strategy. It illustrates how a few minor alterations in your marketing plan can often produce big results.

Patricia has been designing and making handmade jewelry for the past 2 years and she's quite good at what she does. Her jewelry has a wonderful organic, natural look with clusters of semiprecious beads and finely polished woods enhanced by touches of sterling silver. She has refined her line so that has a consistent theme that is uniquely her own, making it quite easy to brand.

Patricia's primary means of selling her jewelry is via jewelry/craft shows and word-of-mouth referrals. She does do some limited marketing and wholesaling to local boutiques and galleries in her area. She sells very well at the craft shows she attends which shows that there is a strong market for her handmade jewelry. Her chief complaint is that she doesn't receive enough orders in between her regular shows and there are a limited number of shows for her to attend. She came to our store seeking guidance on how she might increase her sales.

After talking to Patricia, we discovered several potential avenues that Patricia could use to both reach new customers as well as increase sales to her current customers. At the time, Patricia did not have an online presence and didn't want to take on the responsibility of managing a full website. She did have a professionally done business card with her contact information and a tag line which described her unique jewelry concept. Here are the changes we made:

1. Patricia signed up to display her jewelry on an online art gallery. She needed a gallery that was slightly higher end since her jewelry sells at a higher price point due to the expense of her materials and the unique appearance of her line. (I'll eventually be adding photos to this site, so I can give you some visual illustrations). We chose this gallery for her work since they were relatively inexpensive, offered a free trial, and actively promoted their artists via the search engines.

2. We redesigned her business card by adding a photo of her one of her most beautiful, "showstopping" pieces and then added the URL of her online gallery in bold print at the bottom of her business card.

Now when Patricia attends craft shows, she can hand out her business with her showstopping piece prominently displayed. This serves to remind customers of the unique nature of the jewelry she offers and further brands her beautiful jewelry line. They can then take a close look at her entire jewelry line from the comfort of their own home because she was smart enough to include the URL of her online gallery on her business card. Does this result in increased sales? You betcha!

When a customer makes a purchase of her handmade jewelry, Patricia hands them her photo business card and shows them the link to her online gallery. She lets them know that they can find many more handmade jewelry pices in her gallery and gives them suggestions on additional items that might coordinate with their current purchase. After hearing her suggestions, customers will often access her online gallery the same day and will make an additional purchase.

PLUS, Patricia has each customer sign her email book so she can send them periodic emails to remind them that her jewelry makes the perfect gift item for that special person. Of course she includes a link to her gallery.

AND, she leaves her photo business card with her gallery link everywhere she goes. The showstopping photo on the card is a strong motivator for potential customers to take a closer look at what she has to offer.

Patricia couldn't be happier! Her sales have increased in a big way without her spending any additional time marketing her jewelry which leaves her more time for design and production. She's decided at this point to hire a person to help with production while she starts to gradually build the wholesale end of her business. She can direct the boutiques that are interested in her line to her online gallery, essentially having it to serve as a "wholesale showroom" of sorts.

This illustrates that a few simple changes to your handmade jewelry marketing strategy can often have a very significant effect on sales. Maybe it's time for you to reassess your own marketing plan. Are there a few simple changes you could make to increase your sales?

Hope everyone has a fantastic week. :-)


Friday, January 26, 2007

Handmade Jewelry Burnout? Has it ever happened to you?

Good morning! It's the weekend again and I hope you're going to get a chance to relax and unwind. That's exactly what this post is going to focus on today. I hope I'm not getting too far off topic but I do think it's relevant to your handmade jewelry business. If you have a chance, give me so feedback as to whether this type of post is helpful to you. I want to offer the topics that you're most interested in so I can better meet your needs. :-)

I know most of you work hard in your handmade jewelry. You worry about finding new markets and selling enough jewelry and all the day to day mechanics of making your jewelry business a success. I think you will be more productive in your jewelry business if you practice some simple principles to give your life and work more balance. Here are some ideas for helping to keep you sane in the sometimes not so sane world of handmade jewelry design and marketing:

1. Play some inspiring, classical music while you work on your handmade jewelry designs. Not only will this simple exercise relax you, it will also stimulate your creativity and open your mind to new ideas. If classical music is not your style, try listening to new age music which has a similar effect on mood and creativity.

2. Several times throughout the day, stop your work, close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Try to live in the moment without obsessing about the future. Let your mind go blank and experience the current moment. When you open your eyes and return to work, you should feel more refreshed and invigorated.

3. Once a day, stop and take a 30 minute walk, weather permitting. On your walk, don't be focus on what else you need to accomplish for the day, but instead observe the beauty and wonder of nature. Nature is an infinite source of jewelry design ideas. If you see an interesting leaf or piece of foilage, let it inspire you to create. One of my most interesting designs came from being inspired by an acorn.

4. Stop for a coffee or green tea break twice a day. Flavor your coffee with the syrup of your choice as a special treat. This is your reward for the hard work you've put in on your jewelry business. You deserve it! Also, consider the additional health benefits of drinking green tea.

5. Make your handmade jewelry workspace beautiful. Include favorite photos, art posters and prints, sculpture etc. Bring nature indoors by adding plants and some vases of your favorite fresh flowers. When you feel your stress levels rise, stop, take a deep breath, and breathe in your beautiful surroundings. You'll feel relaxed and ready to be productive again.

6. Subscribe to a service that provides you with motivational quotes and stories on a daily basis. Read these quotes, understand them, and incorporate them into your daily thought patterns. Read motivational literature written by people who have achieved success and put these principles into ACTION. All the reading in the world won't help if you don't take action. Another good way to increase your productivity and motivation is to listen to motivational audiobooks. Audiobooks are so convenient as you can listen while working or while you're in your car. Over time this simple practice can have enormously beneficial effects on your psyche causing you to be more productive and, in the long run more successful.

7. If all else fails, consider taking a mini vacation. Sometimes you need the rejuvenating effects that a complete escape from your jewelry business can give you. A day trip to another city or an outdoor excursion can be just the prescription you need to reignite your productivity and motivation.

Hope you'll try incorporating some of these techniques into your own busy schedule. They're guaranteed to banish the winter blahs and set you back on the path to productivity.

Please let me know what you think of this post as it's a bit different that the posts you're accustomed to. I don't want to deviate too far from the central topic of handmade jewelry marketing if it's not helpful to you. I also wanted to let you know that I won't be posting on Saturdays and Sundays since readership tends to drop on those days. I'll be back bright and early on Monday morning with more jewelry marketing ideas. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do Your Potential Customers Really Know Who You Are?

Hi everyone! I was just thinking about the importance of letting your potential customers know how your handmade jewelry is different from that which is mass produced. After all, that's the big advantage you have over the department stores of the world. The department stores can certainly undersell you by selling handmade jewelry at rock bottom prices, but what are they actually selling and how does it differ from what you're selling?

Most likely your local department store is selling a piece of jewelry that was mass produced in a factory overseas with low quality materials in an impersonal environment where the primary focus was on keeping costs down and fulfilling orders as quickly as possible.

In contrast, your line of jewelry was designed and planned in all of it's intricate detail by you, the artisan. You dreamed and planned until you came up with a unique design that expressed your inner vision while still keeping with the needs of the marketplace. You sought out the highest quality materials to create your vision and then lovingly handcrafted it to the highest standards. Now shouldn't your potential customer know this? Would this not play at least some role in their decision to buy from you over the department store down the street?

Your customer may not realize the above unless YOU tell them. So how do you convey this message:

1. Have a 6 second marketing message that you convey to your potential buyer when she
enters your booth. Suppose you create a line of vintage jewelry using vintage components. When a customer enters your booth, instead of saying simply "Hello", you might say, "Hello, I'm ______ and I recreate the past in metal. If I can show you a special piece of jewelry, please let me know". Your potential customer now knows that you're the artisan and she knows exactly what you do. You only have a few seconds to capture a customer's attention. Make sure you use that time.

2. Spend some time developing a portfolio of photos of you, the artisan, making your unique line of jewelry. You can place this photos in a pretty photo album and take it with you to craft shows for customers to peruse. I would have text below the photos describing each step that goes into creating your handmade jewelry. This personalizes your jewelry for the customer and further distinguishes your line from those which are mass produced. You could even have a poster produced by your local copy shop showing the steps you take in creating your jewelry line which you could display at craft shows.

3. Display any publicity you've received such as newspaper articles and magazine articles that describe you as an artist. This further connects the customer with you and also increases the value of your jewelry in their eyes.

4. Have a sheet available in your craft booth that describes what handmade jewelry is and how it differs from mass produced jewelry. I'm in the process of designing a sheet like this along with a variety of other sheets and forms that are useful to jewelry designers. I'll most likely be making these forms available for a very low fee if there is a demand for them. You would be able to use the forms to meet you needs and also alter them as you see fit. You could use them online as articles as well as distribute them in your craft booth. If you'd be interested in a service like this, let me know.

5. Ask your customer's opinion. Ask her what she likes about the design element you used to create that distinctive necklace your customer keeps admiring. Not only will you learn something about what your customer is thinking, but you'll further reinforce your role as the artisan who handcrafted the piece she admires.

6. If you sell at craft and jewelry shows, make sure you attend the event and directly sell your handmade jewelry. Don't hire a salesperson to fill in for you. The customer wants to know that their purchase came from your hands. Who better to represent your line than yourself?

7. Consider signing your handmade jewelry pieces if at all possible. This further differentiates your work from mass produced items and gives your item more value in the eyes of the consumer.

If you do at least some of the above, you will give your customer more reason to purchase from you rather than your department store competitor down the street. There's no need to fear your lower priced competitor as long as you educate your customer.

There's an interesting newsletter I came upon recently on how to successfully sell jewelry. You may want to check it out here.

I hope you have a happy and productive day. :-)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Turn Your First Time Customers into Life time Customers

Good morning! I hope 2007 has been a successful year for you so far. It'll be spring soon with lots of opportunities to sell your handmade jewelry via craft and jewelry shows. Plus, Valentine's Day will be upon us before you know it. Time to start marketing your handmade jewelry as Valentine gifts. (we'll have a posting about that soon). By the way, hearts are going to be a very strong motif this year in jewelry, in general, and will still be a strong trend even after Valentine's Day.

I wanted to let you know about a little technique that can help you turn a first time craft show customer into a life time one. You may already be doing this, but if you're not, it's important that you start. As you already know it costs much more time and energy to gain a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Your existing customer has already shown that she loves your handmade jewelry by purchasing it. She can be your customer for life if you know how to follow up with her.

Here's a suggestion and a plan you can follow to gain that life time customer:

1. Get a pretty, rather large decorative, blank book from a craft store that fits with the theme of your jewelry display. I suggest a decorative book because you want to have attention to detail. No cheap drugstore notebooks allowed. (You wouldn't do that anyway, just need to be sure). You want the pages within to be lined.

2. On craft show day, take this book with you and place it by your checkout area.

3. When a customer checks out after purchasing a piece of handmade jewelry from you, ask them to leave their email address so you can keep them informed of any special promotions in the future. After the customer has signed the book, you may want to make a quick note beside the entry as to what type of item they purchased.

4. After returning home from the show, type up a short email similar to the one below:

Dear ________ (this can be personalized using an autoresponder that fills in the name)

I am pleased to have met you at the craft show yesterday. Thank you so much for your purchase! I hope you'll enjoy wearing your new jewelry creation by ________ (name of company or artist). Your jewelry was carefully handcrafted with extra care and attention to detail to give you a piece that should last a lifetime. I derive great pleasure from making jewelry for nice customers like you! If you should ever need a matching piece to go with your purchase, please let me know. I do custom orders and will be happy to fulfill your request, if possible. Please keep me in mind the next time you need a gift or a custom design for a special person. With your permission, I'll keep you on my mailing list and will inform you of any special offers. Thank you again for your purchase! It's much appreciated. :-)

__________ (Your Name)
__________ (Company Name)
__________ (Website address)

5. I would use an autoresponder to send this message out to your list after every show. The autoresponder will automatically fill in the name of the recipient and can even personalize the email based on what item the person bought if you set it up that way. You can also set it to do automatic mailings and updates to your customer list based on your needs. It's a huge time saver. I've tried alot of autoresponders and the best I've found is this one. Their customer service is absolutely second to none!

6. I would do periodic mailings to my list to inform your customers of new offerings, special promotions etc. I would also do a mailing around gift giving seasons such as Valentine's Day and Christmas. Just don't take it overboard and offend your customer with too many mailings. It's important to remind your customers every once in a while that you're still out there. Believe it or not, they really appreciate it from the feedback I've received.

By doing the above, your customer list will grow and grow and grow along with your handmade jewelry sales. Plus, your sales should increase with less effort on your part. As they say in the mail order business, your customer list is like gold!

I hope you have a happy and productive afternoon. Talk to you soon. :-)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Handmade Jewelry Trends 2007

Even though it doesn’t feel like spring in our part of the country, it’ll be here sooner than you think! How will you be modifying your designs to accommodate the upcoming fashion and jewelry trends?It’s good to be knowledgeable about emerging trends that may affect your market, but be careful not to alter your signature look too drastically based on them. You have your own unique artistic voice and you want your customers to see that. Isn't that why your customer buys from YOU rather than the department store down the street?

Here are some of the upcoming jewelry trends forspring 2007:

Color Trends

We’ll continue to see black as an important color but for the spring it will be combined with various shades of white and opal to give a strong, contrasting look. Gray also emerges as the new neutral for the warm weather, although it will be a softened, subtle grey. Other important springtime colors include midnight blue, imperial purple, mango, pale pink, rosy coral, lime green, canary yellow,various ocean blues, and chili pepper red along with pale coffee brown.

Stone and Bead Trends

With the above color trends, we can expect to see stone and bead choices follow the color lead. Expect to see gemstones take center stage especially tanzanite, peridot, chalcedony, blue topaz, sapphire, and aquamarine. You’ll find these gemstones paired with a variety of pale gemstones in shades of clear and white such as crystal and diamonds. A beautiful look but bit high end for most people’s budgets, huh?

On a more affordable note, semiprecious beads will be important with the big winner being icy and white quartz paired with a variety of other light colored semiprecious stones. You'll see the emergence of leopardskin jasper as an important element in jewelry, complimenting the upcoming emphasis in fashion on animal prints. Beautiful and affordable opal sea glass will take center stage especially when paired with other pale beads to give a light and airy springtime look. Following the prevailing color trends, lapis and amber will be important semiprecious stones for the spring. Turquoise wll also be a much requested look with the continuation of the Southwestern theme which started this winter.

The Naturals

The organic look will continue with wood, horn, bone and shell beads being particularly popular along with semiprecious beads in natural shades. These beads will be strung on natural shades of leather and accented with bold, textured metal beads. You’ll also see more feathers incorporated into necklaces for an interesting and unique look. The southwestern trend which ushered in the cowboy look this winter will continue into the spring. Following this trend, expect to see a variety of leather focal pieces and leather jewelry accented with natural components.

Pearls and Mother of Pearl

Freshwater pearls and mother of pearl are expected to make a splash this spring. These will be incorporated into several different types of designs. You’ll see mother-of-pearl combined with shell to give a look that’s straight from the seashore. Another interesting look will be freshwater pearls combined with vintage glass components and lace to make a romantic,Victorian statement. Quite some contrasting looks this spring!

Charms and Other Motifs

Charms and components engraved with words will continue to be popular as women strive to make a statement with their choice of jewelry. Of particular significance are charms with a nature theme. You’ll find insects and flowers of all types strung on to leather cords, ribbon and lace. Also of importance are charms with a dragonfly, bug or butterfly motif. Expect to see heart charms take center stage particularly around Valentine’s Day. As part of the continuing southwestern trend, you can expect to see charms with a western theme including a variety of horse and horse themed charms.

Hope this gives you some idea of what’s upcoming inthe ever changing world of jewelry trends. Remember to use them wisely. It’s always exciting to see what’s new for the season! Have a great day!


Monday, January 22, 2007

Finding New Niche Markets for Your Handmade Jewelry

Hi everyone! As you've probably figured out by now I'm really big on finding niche markets for your handmade jewelry. It's so much easier to identify and target your market when you sell to a focused group. Plus, your niche market is usually very eager to buy when they find that there's a product line "just for them". I hope I'm not beginning to bore you with this niche stuff. If so, just let me know and I'll try to give you a break. :-)

I wanted to give you some ideas for new niche markets that you can approach and sell your jewelry. You don't need to necessarily design a new jewelry line to approach this markets. It can be as simple as adding a silver charm to a necklace or bracelet in a motif favored by your niche market. You could also give it a new name which appeals to your niche market. Here are some ideas:

1.Do you have a ballet studio in your area? Why not add a silver ballerina charm and some Swarovski crystals to one of your bracelet designs and market it as jewelry for dancers. Expand into necklaces and earrings. Ask the ballet studio owners in your area if you can set up a display with your items. Offer to give them 20% commission on every item sold. On recital night, why not see if you can set up a booth in the front where the production is to be held and sell your ballet jewelry! I should think this would be a big hit with both parents and the dancers.

2.This is one I'm going to try in my own area as soon as I have time. We have a large veterinary clinic in our area devoted entirely to the care of cats. (that vet was thinking niche too, huh?). You could add a few cat charms to your designs as well as cat beads. (I've seen some in semiprecious stone) and market them at veterinary clinics devoted to cats. How about approaching cat rescue organizations with your designs? This would be an excellent fundraiser for them. I've noticed at our bead store that people gravitate towards cat designs.

3. How about modifying one of your designs by adding a football charm and a few cheerleader charms. Approach a local school's cheerleading coordinator and see if they'd like to use your "team spirit bracelets" as a fundraiser. I'm sure every cheerleader on the squad would love to have one also. :-)

4. I've seen some really nice nurse charms with nurse motifs, stetheoscopes etc. which could easily be added to your designs to create "the spirit of nursing" jewelry. An added benefit is that nurses tend to love jewelry. When I used to round at the hospital, the nursing staff would always ask when I was planning to bring in my jewelry to sell. You could possibly sell your nursing jewelry in hospital gift shops or you could find a nurse who's interested in making some extra money and have her sell to the other nurses at her hospital or clinic for a 20-30% commission.

5. Do you have a zoo in your local area? Most zoos have a gift shop of some sort that carries a variety of animal motifs. Why not modify your designs to include some animal charms and market your new "zoorific" jewelry to the zoo gift store? I'm sure they'd love to have some unique handmade jewelry that other zoos don't have access too. Of course, if you have a website, you could sell to zoos all over the country.

6. How about modifying your designs to reflect a Christian theme? There are Christian bookstores all over the country that would be a good market for this type of jewelry, not to mention local churches who might be interested in using your handmade jewelry for fundraising. You could use silver cross charms and other Christian symbols in your pieces.

7. How about marketing to local civic organizations, sororities, and fraternities? If you have access to a local engraver, you could buy some metal engravable charms and have the name of the organization engraved on the charm. Add some beautiful beads along with the name charm and create a beautiful line of handmade jewelry customized for their particular organization. Just make sure to check with the organization to make sure you're not in violation of a trademark infringement. This could also be used as a fundraiser for the organization.

8. Spring will be here soon and the gardeners will be out in force! You could modify your jewelry by adding garden motifs including charms with a fruit, vegetable, flower, or gardening utensil theme. These would likely be quick sellers at your local gardening supply store or nursery.

These are only a very few of the many niche markets that await you out there. You might want to get out your telephone book and look through the yellow pages to see what others you can find. When I come upon new and interesting ones, I'll let you know.

If you're interested in selling more handmade jewelry at home parties, you might want to check out this book. Lorri really shows you all the details you need to know to be successful in this business. Home party businesses are doing very well right now and with more people staying at home as opposed to shopping at the malls, this concept is destined to explode. She also gives you a good bonus with Ebay marketing tips and ideas on how to build an Ebay empire.

As usual, thanks for reading. Have a great afternoon. :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Words & Phrases That Sell Handmade Jewelry

As promised, I'd like to give you a list of words and phrases that you can use in your auction descriptions and sales literature to help you sell more handmade jewelry. This is a continuation of yesterday's post so if you missed it, here it is.

Now that we know the marketing power of words, let's put them to use! I would print out this list and keep it by your computer to use when you're writing your sales copy:


Here's a list of phrases you can use in your handmade jewelry marketing literature:

You'll fall in love with
Just the right touch
Indulge yourself
Museum quality
Finely crafted
Limited edition
A delight for the eyes
Will last a lifetime
With panache
All the rage
Classically designed
Enduring quality
Custom designed
Refreshingly original
Unlike any other
Transcends time
With a twist
In a class by itself
Expertly crafted
One of a kind

Obviously there are alot more words and phrases that can beautifully describe your handmade jewelry. When you think of one, be sure to add it to your reference list. This will make it much easier to write your ads.

Here's an example of how you might use this list to write a description:

"You'll fall in love with this refreshingly original sterling silver necklace expertly handcrafted by me in my Roanoke, Virginia studio. The fiery redtones of the centerpiece are exceptional and give the piece a mesmerizing glow. This refreshingly unique design is limited edition with only a few pieces crafted per year. Indulge yourself in this exclusive, limited edition design and experience beauty that will last a lifetime."

One way to get ideas and words for describing handmade jewelry is to visit some of the online catalog sites that sell jewelry. You can also get ideas by looking at exceptional Ebay auction descriptions. As I come upon these, I'll post them for you to see in the future.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. We'll be taking another short trip this weekend so I won't be posting again until Sunday or Monday. This time we're heading to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. If I have a chance, I'll visit some jewelry stores to get fresh marketing ideas for future posts. Thanks for reading. :-)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sell More Handmade Jewelry on Ebay Auctions & Stores

Good morning everyone! I want to get back to giving you some ideas for improving your online sales of handmade jewelry. If you're an Ebay seller, you'll find this to be helpful. Even if you don't sell online at all, you will still benefit from incorporating these ideas into your promotional literature.

When I first started selling my handmade jewelry via Ebay auctions and later in Ebay stores. My sales were lukewarm at best. Oh, I sold some items but I certainly wasn't happy with my performance. I decided to go back and take an objective look at my listings and try to see it them from the point of view of a potential customer. Well, guess what? I didn't like what I saw! Oh sure, all of the relevant information was there that a buyer might need to make a decision but there was nothing else! No personality, no sparkle, no voice. Just bone dry, dull information.

The truth of the matter is that people buy on the basis of emotion. How much emotion are you going to arouse with a cut-and-dry bare bones descriptions with just the relevant facts? Yes, you still need the relevant information such as type of metal, stone, dimensions, etc but you also need a little sparkle to make the potential buyer really WANT your item.

One resource I would highly recommend to you if you're interested in improving your copywriting skill is this fantastic resource on making your words sell. By the way, there's loads of free information on this site that will help you with your handmade jewelry marketing. I can't recommend it highly enough.

How can you add more sparkle and personality to your writing?

1. Give a little history about the item you're selling. Do you design in a particular style that has historical interest? For example, if you make jewelry with a vintage theme, you could talk about the role this type of jewelry played in history, how it was worn, who wore it, and why it was so popular. At one time I was selling hatpins with a vintage look on Ebay. This gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about the history of hatpins. For example, did you know that back in the late 1800's hatpins were judged to be potentially lethal weapons and banned in some states? This is an intriguing fact that a potential buyer might want to know. Actually the history of hatpins is quite interesting and makes for good rainy day reading if you ever have some free time.

2. Talk a bit about what motivated you to create a particular handmade jewelry piece. Customers love to look inside the mind of the artist or designer to see what motivated them to create a particular design. It gives the jewelry meaning and takes it from just being another pair of earrings to a unique work of art. I just read a trend article that suggests that the current consumer is less interested in owning alot of extraneous things and would like the things that they do choose to buy to have meaning. Give you handmade jewelry item some meaning by letting the customer see inside your mind for a brief moment. Tell them how and why you designed a particular jewelry piece. This is a great way to keep them reading and, hopefully, motivate a purchase.

3. Add a few emoticons to your descriptions. If you don't already know, an emoticon is a keyboard character that represents a particular expression or feeling. For example, the
emoticon :-) is a smiley face which suggests a very upbeat and positive connotation. When appropriate, use an emoticon to symbolize a positive emotion or thought. They can help to add a bit of personality to your handmade jewelry descriptions.

4. If you have an opinion about a particular handmade jewelry design, share it with your potential customer. For example, you might have a description like this:

"This is one of my favorite pieces! The texture of the airbrushed metal contrasts so beautifully with the smoothness of the stone cabachon. When you stand in the light you can see the exceptional veined pattern of the stone. I think it's one of the most interesting pieces I've offered in recent months"

5. Offer suggestions on how to wear a particular piece of handmade jewelry or how to coordinate the piece with a wardrobe item. For example:

"This stunning onyx and sterling silver necklace will go beautifully with the little black dress in your class that needs that special touch of refined elegance"

Give your customers ideas! Not everyone has an innate fashion sense and may need your suggestions and guidance to feel comfortable purchasing.

6. Add some adjectives to your description. After you've written your auction description, go back through and see if there are places where you can add some descriptive adjectives to give sparkle and personality to your writing. A few well placed adjectives can really liven up a description. By the way, in the next post, I'll be giving you a list of descriptive jewelry adjectives that help to sell listings. You can print the list out and keep it beside your computer to use when you're writing auction descriptions.

Well, the morning's almost gone! Time to get some more work done. Hope you have a fantastically productive day. :-)


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Two Simple Handmade Jewelry Marketing Tips That Works Overtime!

Today I want to tell you about two handmade jewelry advertising ideas that were very inexpensive but gave a fantastic return.

The first idea is very simple. You've probably seen the metal pins or badges with sayings that people sometimes wear on their lapels. They have a metal base and pinback along with a clear front that houses the wording. Here's a photo of one so you'll know what I'm talking about custom badges . I had one of these made when I was on the craft show circuit. Mine simply said, "I Will Make Custom Designed Jewelry for You!" I wore this simple pin against a black jacket to every craft show I attended as an exhibitor. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of responses I received from this simple and easy to implement marketing technique. I would usually receive at least an order or two at every show as a direct result of wearing this pin.

You could take this idea one step further and wear your advertising pin when you go shopping, to the grocery store, run errands, essentially everywhere you go. When you're standing in line somewhere waiting to pay, don't be surprised if someone asks about your pin and you can follow up by handing them a business card advertising your handmade jewelry business. You DO keep those with you at all times, don't you? If so, give yourself an A+ for a job well done.

The second idea will really work overtime for you. I have used this technique to advertise our bead store with much success. I had a car decal printed with the name and phone number of our store as well as our website on it. I placed the decal on the back window of my car. Here's how the decals look when applied: custom car decals. I got the largest size since I have a large car with an rather tall and broad back window. You may be able to use one of the smaller sizes if you have a compact car. You could have yours imprinted with the name of your company, a statement that you make jewelry, your website, and telephone number. For example:

Company Name
I Make Custom Jewelry for You!
Website Address
Phone Number

I still have my decal on the back of my car that advertises our bead store. I would estimate we get 15 calls or visits per week on the basis of that decal alone. Plus, after the initial decal purchase, there's no ongoing cost. It's essentially free advertising that works for you without any effort on your part. As you carry out your daily activities, you're telling the world that you can provide them with custom handmade jewelry.

If you'd like to take it a step further, you could do what one enterprising lady has done in our city. She has covered her automobile with beads and gemstones along with painted sayings about beads. She makes quite a statement when she drives down the road which attracts much attention. I still haven't mustered up the nerve to take it quite that far as of yet. :-)

The take home message is this. You should always be on the lookout for inexpensive ways to advertise your handmade jewelry. There's a world of buyers out there for your jewelry, but they first have to know that you exist! Don't miss an easy opportunity to let them know.

Thanks again for reading and I hope you have a fantastically productive day!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Handmade Jewelry Trend Watching Can Be Fun!

I have an unusual assignment for you that should help with your handmade jewelry marketing. Don't worry you're going to enjoy it! The next time you have a day off, I'd like for you to schedule around 4 hours of free time to complete the assignment. Here are the details:

1. The night before you plan on completing the assignment, gather together a notebook and a writing pen. Also take along some business cards as you routinely would. Opportunity can arise when you least expect it.

2. Find the largest local shopping mall in your area that's close to a large bookstore. (Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books a Million). It's even better if the bookstore has a coffee bar.

3. Wake up early on the morning of the assignment so you can be at the shopping mall when it opens. Be sure to wear some of your handmade jewelry. You never know when someone's going to inquire about your jewelry and want more information.

4. With notebook in hand, start at one end of the mall. Pick out the first store that sells jewelry and head inside. Survey what they have to offer in the jewelry department and how it's displayed. What color metals are being emphasized? Is color a big feature or is most of the jewelry in neutral shades? Are most of the jewelry pieces large, small or somewhere in between? How large and long are the earrings? What types of clasps are you seeing on necklaces? Is there an underlying theme that could signify a trend? What are the price points?Which items have been marked down? Is there a particular piece that really catches your eye? Ask yourself why and if it would be relevant to your own work. You may want to make some notes in your handy notebook.

Now, see if you can find a store clerk. You came early so she shouldn't be too busy to talk. Plus, she'll be flattered that you value her opinion. Ask her what items seem to be selling the best in the jewelry department. Then ask which items are the slow sellers. Why does she think this might be? Inquire as to what customers are asking for that's not currently being stocked? If she wonders why you're asking all of these questions, tell her you're doing a study on trends in jewelry sales and marketing. Make note of her responses when you leave the store. Consider leaving a business card if it seems appropriate.

5. Head to the next store and repeat the above procedure. Be sure to spend a little more time in the larger department stores since they tend to be a barometer of what the public wants at the current time. Also, peruse the clothing department briefly making note of color trends on clothing items for the forthcoming season. Make note of sleeve lengths, collar lengths, whether the fabrics have alot of detail as these can affect the type of jewelry people will wear. For example, if vibrant prints are in style, people will tend to wear more subtle jewelry and avoid chunky, detailed jewelry.

6. You should have a notebook full of notes at this point. You may want to stop for a quick lunch break at the food court. While you're there observe the people around you. What type of jewelry are they wearing? Make note of any trends that you see in your trusty notebook.

7. After enjoying your leisurely lunch and people watching, it's time to head to the big bookstore.

8. Once you reach the bookstore, head straight to the magazine department. Start a stack of bead and jewelry magazines, as well as the latest fashion and celebrity magazines. (You may want to do this in increments as you might attract attention with that many magazines!). See yesterday's post for some magazines suggestions.

9. With your stack of magazines, head to the coffee bar. Order a delicious hazelnut latte from the barista. If you're feeling guilty about the calories after that lunch, ask that it be made with skim milk and sugar-free hazelnut syrup. It tastes almost as good!

10. Flip through your magazines as you sip your latte. Look for and make note of trends that you see. What are the celebrities and fashion models wearing? In the beading magazines are most of the projects centered around a particular style or technique? Are there any unusual pieces that catch your eye? Make notes in your ever expanding notebook.

11.After finishing the magazines and your latte, it's time to head home after an enjoyable day of handmade jewelry trend analysis. Over the next few days when you have some free time you can review your notes and analyze how the current trends might fit into your own work.

Caution: Just because a trend exists doesn't mean you alter your work based on that trend. As we discussed previously, it's important to be AWARE of trends so that you can make subtle adaptations based on demand. You should always have your own unique voice and niche that makes your handmade jewelry special.

I would recommend doing the above assignment four times a year. It's a great way to keep abreast of the handmade jewelry market!

When you do the above assignment, send me an email and let me know what you learned and if you enjoyed it. Have a great afternoon. :-)


Monday, January 15, 2007

Keeping Up with Handmade Jewelry Trends

We all know how important it is to keep up with jewelry trends if you're in the handmade jewelry business. It certainly would not be in your best interest to be selling bright, colorful neon designs in a year when the trend screams black and white! Not that you want to completely alter your jewelry line based on trends since you have a unique voice of your own which is why people buy from you. If they wanted strictly trendy, mass market jewelry, they would buy it at their local department store. BUT, it is important to be aware of jewelry trends so that you can make subtle changes to your line based on demand.

One of the best ways to keep up with handmade jewelry trends is to follow the styles shown in magazines particularly the ones being worn by popular celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Beyonce, Nicole Kidman, and others. Celebrities that are currently starring in an important film are particularly important to watch for trends. The Oscars and other award ceremonies are also good sources of impending jewelry trends. Good excuse to take a little break and watch T.V, huh?

Today I thought I would give you a list of the magazines I read to follow jewelry trends. Many of the following can be found in your local bookstore while others may need to be ordered online. I've tried to include links (when available) for ones that may need to be ordered. Some of these magazines have actual beading projects while others have photos of finished jewelry to inspire you and give you an idea of what's being promoted to the public. Here we go:

1. Bead and Button Magazine

Includes lots of very sophisticated beading projects and patterns with a particular concentration on seed bead designs. If you make higher end, one-of-kind jewelry designs using seed beads, you'll want to subscribe to this magazine. Most of the designs are not for beginners and there aren't alot of jewelry trend or marketing articles. It's still a beautiful magazine that you may want to subscribe to and collect. I can't imagine throwing a single issue away!

2. Bead Style

In addition to some nice beading projects and patterns, this magazine has an excellent synopsis every month of jewelry trends. I buy it strictly for the jewelry trend section since it tends to be so helpful in regard to handmade jewelry trends. The projects and patterns tend to be simpler than Bead and Button with less emphasis on seed beads.

3. Step by Step Beading

This is another magazine with a variety of beading projects designed for beginner to intermediate beaders. Doesn't really have a regular trend analysis section like Bead Style. There's not much emphasis on how to market your work. I don't subscribe to this one, but I do look at it periodically in the book store.

4. Crafts Report

An excellent magazine that covers high end craft marketing. It gives you ideas and suggestions for marketing and selling handmade crafts of all types including jewelry. Also gives ideas for show displays, presentation as well as covering the business of crafts and how to maximize your profits.

5. Ornament Magazine

A gorgeous full-color magazine covering the world of high end, one of a kind wearable art. Covers jewelry and fabric artistry about equally. You won't find any projects or instruction here, just lots of inspiration from the beautiful full color photos of objects created by top designers in their fields.

6. Accessories Magazine

This magazine is designed for retail stores to keep abreast of trends in accessories. It covers accessories of all types including hats, gloves, scarves, belts, jewelry etc. It does do a fairly in depth look at jewelry trends several times of year. Nice color photos.

7. Jewelry Craft

Includes a variety of jewelry projects, most of which are geared toward beginning beaders. Includes some articles on jewelry marketing and highlights various jewelers who have been successful for their work. I wouldn't buy this magazine for the projects but more for the marketing articles and profiles of successful jewelry artisans.

8. Somerset Studio

This magazine is designed for collage artists, not for jewelers, but it's a fantastic source for inspiration with it's color photos of collages. It's sure to inspire you to create!

9. Art Jewelry

I adore this magazine! It's full of interesting jewelry making techniques. Included are articles on PMC, silversmithing, using patinas etc for more advanced jewelry artisans. Beautiful color photos. A great resource for new techniques and ideas. If you're a jewelry artisan who wants to expand your repertoire of techniques and get fresh new ideas, this magazine is for you. Not much emphasis on marketing.

10. Lapidary Journal

This magazine is a nice resource for handmade jewelry designers who use gemstones in their designs. Each issue includes several instructional projects for beginning to advanced jewelry makers. Most of the projects involve some soldering and metalsmithing knowledge. It's a good magazine for finding suppliers of semiprecious beads, gemstones.

11. In Style Magazine

This one is easy to find at your local bookstore or newstand. There are usually several pages of fresh, new jewelry designs and the featured celebrities are usually wearing interesting jewelry. Good for keeping up with trends. Nice photos.

12. Celebrity Magazines of all types.

It's always a good idea to peruse some of the popular celebrity magazines to see what's currently trendy. Good ones are People Magazine, In Touch, US, and Lifestyles. These are usually clustered together in one section in the bookstore. I wouldn't necessarily subscribe to any of these but would periodically monitor them for trends.

13. Fashion Magazines of all types

Fashion magazines are always good to find out what's up and coming. Some of the best are W Magazine (usually ahead of the curve relative to the more common fashion magazines), Vogue, and Bazaar Magazine. Again, you don't necessarily need to subscribe, but keep them on your radar.

There are lots more magazines I could recommend and will keep you abreast of them in the future. I don't want to give you information overload. :-) If you want to find some interesting magazines in the fashion, jewelry, and beading areas, try searching by keyword at the sites below:

Save on Jewelry Magazines!

Jewelry Magazines for Less!

By the way, I'm going to give you an interesting assignment to do that relates to magazines tomorrow. Don't worry it'll be lots of fun! That's all for today, folks. Thanks again for reading. :-)


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Other Options for Selling Your Handmade Jewelry Online

Hello everyone! I hope you're having a great weekend. We drove to Washington D.C. yesterday which is a fantastic shopping mecca! I was hoping to explore some boutiques that carried handmade jewelry, but we were too pressed for time. :-( I believe that you can learn alot about how to market your handmade jewelry line by browsing stores that carry unique artisan jewelry. I'll be giving you a fun exercise to try that relates to this soon. Stay tuned!

Today I want to talk about a few options I know about for selling handmade jewelry online. There are lots of craft and jewelry malls out there that are potential options for you but I'm going to stick with the ones I know about. We've already talked a little about how Ebay and Ebay stores can help your business. If you missed that post you can find it here.

I've had experience selling handmade jewelry both in Ebay stores and on in an online art and craft mall. I'll discuss several other craft malls that I investigated during my research. I actually emailed some of the sellers on these sites to find out what there experiences had been. This can be an excellent way to screen a mall before you get involved. Most of the sellers were very accomodating and eager to share their experiences.

Here are four online options for selling handmade jewelry:

1. Ruby Lane

This site is very nicely laid out and even has a separate section for selling jewelry called appropriately enough "Jewelry Shop". When you access the jewelry shop area, you'll find around 17 pages of jewelry stores listed which is alot of competition although not all of the jewelry is handmade. There are lots of sellers of antique and vintage jewelry who buy their items from estate sales and don't modify them in any way.

If you access a particular seller's store, you can click on the "view shop profile" which has a crown symbol beside it. When you click on this, you can find out how long that shop has been on Ruby Lane as well as their Ruby Lane rating. The Ruby Lane rating is useful in that it's based on how many items the seller has sold. If you compare their rating with the length of time they've been on the site, you can get a rough idea of how many pieces they sell on a daily basis. There is a key at the bottom of the shop profile page that tells you how many sales a seller has to achieve to gain that particular rating. There's a platinum, gold, silver, and bronze level.

When I emailed some handmade jewelry sellers regarding their Ruby Lane experiences, I received a variety of both positive and negative comments. Some mentioned that they thought the fees were a bit high. When I investigated the fee structure, I found it to be a bit complicated and cumbersome. There is a listing fee of 30 cents for each item as well as a monthly maintenance fee based on number of items in your store. In addition, there is an initial setup fee of $50.00 per shop and an ongoing advertising fee of $20.00 per month. These fees can really addup!

Despite the fee structure, I did have sellers tell me that it was worthwhile for them. They do have a variety of promotional tools available to you to help you draw traffic. Due to the high fee structure and initial setup fee of $50.00, I'm not sure they offer a huge advantage over an Ebay store, although you may be able to sell your items for high prices on Ruby Lane since buyers are likely less bargain conscious.

2. Yessy Gallery

I have sold on this gallery and have had feedback from several other sellers of handmade jewelry who opened a gallery here. I found that I had quite a few sales from this site although I did some self promotion which probably helped. I spoke with several sellers on this site who said that their sales had been better here than on some other online sites, including Etsy.

Fees are quite reasonable with an annual fee of only $59.00 to sell with no additional commissions on any jewelry sold from your site. There is a 10% processing fee if they pay through the Yessy payment system. In addition, they will give you a 14 day free trial so you can see if their site will work for you. Setup of your gallery is quite easy and can be done in 10 minutes if you have your photos ready to go.

One disadvantage to this site might be that it's not designed exclusively for jewelry sales, which is also true of Etsy and Ruby Lane, but for general art and craft work. This means that buyers reach the site looking for a variety of different types of crafts which may dilute out some of the traffic for your purposes. I would recommend signing up for the 2 week trial and see how much traffic you get to your handmade jewelry listings or just visit the site and have a look around. You can access it here.

3. Handcrafted Jewelry Mall

This site offers to set up an online jewelry store for you starting at $24.95 a month. Payment processing is handled through Paypal. The site appears to be straightforward and simple to use although I find that their homepage and many of the artisan jewelry stores lack impact when compared to some of the stores I see on Ruby Lane and Yessy. Most of the store backgrounds were in stark white which did little to play up the jewelry photographs. I did like the fact that the site is focused on selling only handmade jewelry so you have a targeted customer base.

When I emailed some sellers regarding their experiences at the Handcrafted Jewelry Mall, I found that several made negative comments. Some said they had been on the site for several weeks and did get some traffic to their listings, but few or no sales. Several other sellers said they had had decent traffic and were optimistic that sales would eventually follow. When I visited the site there were 100 stores listed, but some of them appeared to be empty with no jewelry listings. This makes me a bit apprehensive! Did these sellers have so few sales that they've removed their listings? I would proceed with caution on this one since they don't give you a free trial period.

3. Etsy

Etsy is another site for selling arts and crafts of all types. It calls itself "the place to buy and sell all things handmade". Sign up for this site is free with no initial setup fee. To list an item, you pay a 20 cent listing fee as well as a 3.5% commission. The fees are a bit more reasonable than Ruby Lane but not as competitive as Yessy who charges no commission on sales with the exception of payment processing. The site appears simple to use with the listing process being simple and straightforward. Listings remain on the site for 4 months. The layout of the site is attractive although it lacks the artistic flair of Yessy and Ruby Lane.

I was able to get feedback from several sellers on Etsy. Most of them did report sales although they have been somewhat sporadic particularly over the past few weeks. I haven't personally sold on this site but I may give it a try in the next few weeks so I can give you more details. I like the fact that the listing process is so straightforward and there's little downside to giving it a try since there's no initial setup fee.


I would probably recommend giving both Yessy and Etsy a try initially since there are no up front fees to pay. Yessy give you a free trial and Etsy charges a relatively reasonable listing fee for each item. I would consider Ruby Lane only if you're willing to make a longer term commitment and produce a larger volume of jewelry to meet the higher fee structure. For the Yessy 14 day free trial, click here.

If you've had any experience selling in online craft malls, please feel free to comment on the blog or send me an email. Hope you have a great Sunday! Thanks for reading. :-)


Friday, January 12, 2007

A Unique Way to Market Your Handmade Jewelry Locally

Hi all! I'm going to make this post rather brief since we're heading out of town again this weekend. This time to Washington D.C. I hope to be able to check out some boutiques that carry handmade jewelry and, possibly, talk to some store owners to get some new marketing ideas. I'll let you know what I come up with. I won't be posting tomorrow, but will try to follow up with you on Sunday.

Today, I'll give you a break from the online marketing information and tell you about a unique idea for marketing your handmade jewelry and design services locally.

I know that many of you do custom designs. If not, it's something to consider. The manager at our bead store has his own business doing custom jewelry designs. The response has been so great that he has a waiting list of customers requesting necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. You definitely need to charge a premium for custom designs since it's more labor intensive and may require that you order special beads or findings. It also helps to have a portfolio of color photos of your work to show customers so they can visualize and communicate to you what they want you to design.

Anyway, the idea for marketing your custom design jewelry service is this:

1. Start by making a list of boutiques and small clothing stores, hair salons, bridal salons, and gift stores that sell handmade jewelry.

2. Construct a card that describes your custom jewelry design service. I would make the card about double the size of a standard business card. Purchase a card holder for your new card from a Staples, Office Depot or other office supply store.

3. Gather together your newly designed card, portfolio, and standard business cards to take along with you to the stores listed in #1. I would make an appointment before approaching store owners out of courtesy to them. They're often busy and may not have time to meet with you if you approach them randomly.

4. After showing the shop owner your portfolio, let her know that you're willing to do custom work for her customers that may be looking for something for a special occasion or one-of-a-kind piece. Offer to give the shop owner anywhere from 10-20% of what you charge the customer for any design work you do through her store.

This idea will likely appeal to the shop owner. She probably has lots of customers who come in and are unable to find exactly what they're looking for in the jewelry department. If that customer walks out the door without buying anything, she's lost a sale! You're giving her a second chance to offer the customer EXACTLY what the customer wants. Plus, it makes her boutique seem even more exclusive if she offers such a custom design jewelry service. It just may be a win-win situation for each of you.

Bridal store owners could potentially be an excellent source of orders for you since many brides need jewelry made for her entire wedding entourage. This can be quite lucrative and lead to many more orders by word-of-mouth. This is also a good niche market on which to focus. Brides and their bridesmaids always need jewelry and often want something uniquely special that they can't find in the stores.

I hope this idea is fruitful for you! I'm going to sign off now and get ready for tomorrow's trip. In the meantime if you'd like some good ideas for selling handmade jewelry at shows, take a quick look at this ebook. It's full of tips and ideas for selling more handmade jewelry at shows. It also comes with three bonus books, one of which shows you photos of successful jewelry show booth setups. A good read. :-)

See you Sunday!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Handmade Jewelry Marketing Through Ebay Auctions and Stores

Hello again to all! I hope your sales of handmade jewelry are doing well. Sometimes it can get discouraging when no one is buying but don't let yourself be discouraged. Our bead store is very slow right now as it is every year in January. I used to drive myself crazy worrying about this but I now see it's a seasonal thing. Buying tends to occur in cycles. If sales are slow for you this time of year, use the time to do some planning for your spring jewelry line.

Yesterday we talked briefly about Ebay auctions and stores. Today, I want to discuss some techniques and strategies you can use to increase sales of your handmade jewelry on Ebay. I won't spend too much time on this as I know not all of you are Ebayers. If you're not an Ebayer, you may want to give it some serious thought as an additional market for your jewelry. In addition to being a potential source of sales for your handmade jewelry, it can also be a valuable tool for building your customer list. If you'd like to find out how to get your Ebay business going quickly and easily, you can view the excellent free resources on selling published by Ebay University. To access them click here. Here are some strategies that worked for me when I sold on Ebay:

1. Optimize the title of your auction or store listing.

The most important thing for you to include in your title are the keywords that people use to find your listing. I see too many auctions where people waste valuable title space using descriptive words and adjectives and, even worse, words like "look" and "wow". You need that space to include as many keywords as you can to capture as many targeted buyers as possible. For example:

Handmade onyx wire wrapped sterling silver bracelet!
Beautiful silver bracelet! Great Buy! LOOK!

Which listing do you think is going to get more viewers? The first one includes the relevant keywords that a buyer might search for while the second has alot of extraneous words that aren't relevant to searches.

It pays to do some research to see which words your buyer uses to search for items similar to yours. I'll tell you about some tools that can help you do that at a later date.

2. Pick the right category.

The best category for your jewelry is not always the most obvious one. Let's say you make a line of bracelets for dog lovers that incorporates dog charms into the design. Most sellers are going to assume they should list their items under a bracelet category. In actuality they will most like they will draw a more targeted group of buyers by listing under a dog collectibles category. It's even better if you can list under a particular dog breed. For example, if you make bracelets with Poodle charms, you would list under Collectibles: Animal: Dog: Poodle. In fact, this would be an excellent niche jewelry line to promote on Ebay. You could even publish a newsletter through Ebay stores that highlights funny Poodle photos interspersed among your Ebay listings for handmade jewelry. I'll bet this would be a hit!

3. Give your descriptions some personality

You want to always include all of the relevant information such as type of metal, type of stone, dimensions, type of clasp, what it's strung on etc. It also helps to add some suggestions on how to wear the particular piece of jewelry you're selling. Let them know how beautifully it would coordinate with that little black dress for an evening out on the town. Describe the sparkle of the crystals on that Austrian crystal choker. In other words, give your description some life and personality. Remember, buyers purchase on the basis of emotion. You want to paint a glowing picture that will make them want your piece of handmade jewelry.

4. Always include a professional looking photograph

In fact, you will probably need at least two photographs showing your handmade jewelry piece from different angles. I'm not going to go into alot of detail on this. I'll cover a whole post on this topic in the near future. Suffice it to say, you photos need to be crisp and clear with as few shadows as possible. I don't recommend adding a fussy background or alot of props as this can detract from the details of the piece itself. People sometimes use these crutches as a substitute for poor photography. It's best to master the art of taking a clear that really plays up the beauty of your piece. When I cover this topic in the future, I'll give you some equipment recommendations that helped me to improve my photographs.

5. Research before listing your item

You want to have an idea of the demand for your handmade jewelry piece as well as what similar items have sold for in the past. One way to do this is to do a keyword search for the item you're listing. For example, you might be selling a pair of sterling silver and jade earrings. In the search box on the main page, type in "sterling silver jade earrings". When the listings come up, look in the far left hand side along the yellow column and check the completed auctions box. A list of completed auctions will show up. In the top right hand corner of the listings, look for a drop down box that is labeled "sort by". Check the box that says "price highest first". This will give you a list of completed auctions and how much they sold for ordered from highest price to lowest. This is very useful information as it will help to determine the demand for your product as well as how much you can expect to receive if you list it. More on this later.

6. Make it easy for the buyer to pay

I would try to give my buyer as many payment options as possible. I always accept cash, money order, check, and Paypal. With the jewelry market being so competitive on Ebay, I think it's almost mandatory to accept Paypal. Around 70% of my buyers used Paypal to pay for their purchases. Paypal does charge a small fee for each transaction but the increase in sales it provides makes it well worth it.

7. Use Ebay to develop your customer list

Each person that purchases from you through your Ebay listings can be added to your email list for future marketing campaigns. If you publish an email newsletter so much the better. A newsletter that informs and educates your customer is one of the best ways to let them know you're still around and have beautiful handmade jewelry available for them to purchase. You could also do some little extras. For example use an autoresponder email program to send a Happy Birthday card to customers on their special day. I guarantee they'll appreciate it. An autoresponder is also a great tool for publishing the newsletter we discussed above.

So much more to say and so little time! Let me know if you'd like to get into more detail on Ebay selling and online selling or if you'd rather me cover more general jewelry marketing ideas. I always appreciate your feedback. Have a great day. :-)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tips for Selling Your Handmade Jewelry Online

I'm going to devote the next series of blog postings to selling your handmade jewelry online through auctions, Ebay stores, online malls and via your own website. We'll start with a discussion of Ebay marketing and then proceed to alternative online sites for jewelry sales. We'll then launch into building and getting traffic to your own handmade jewelry website. Sound good?

I've had some experience selling both via Ebay auctions, stores, and via an art mall. Due to time constraints, I haven't been able to do Ebay auctions or stores in the last few months but plan on using Ebay stores to promote some handmade beads and pendants in the near future when I've hired more coverage for the bead store. I've also surveyed a number of other Ebay jewelry sellers and will share what I found out from them over the next few posts. I know there are lots of questions about selling online so we'd better get started. :-)

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Ebay. I love the way the high traffic brings in jewelry sales but dislike the constant fee hikes. Having sold both via auction and through Ebay stores I know that it can be a great market for handmade jewelry. BUT, in order to be extremely successful, you need to think of Ebay as another tool in your marketing arsenal. Don't expect to be able to post your handmade jewelry without doing a bit of self promotion. This is especially true of marketing via an Ebay store. My Ebay store sales were modest until I started using some easy to implement techniques to drive traffic to my store. We'll discuss those in more detail over the next few posts.

When comparing Ebay auctions vs. Ebay stores, I much prefer the store format. Auctions tend to be much more labor intensive and subject to price depression. Bargain hunters tend to gravitate toward the auction format in an attempt to get a deal whereas store buyers tend to be more motivated and less price conscious. Ebay stores allow you to set your own fixed price and, thus, maximize your returns which is a big advantage over the auction format where the market determines the selling price. Another big advantage to the store format are the promotional and tracking tools they provide free with an Ebay store. These tools if purchased separately would cost more than the price of your monthly store fees.

Ebay auctions can be a great tool for driving traffic to your Ebay store. I found that when I listed jewelry auctions, traffic to my Ebay stores would increase by several times. I found the best strategy was to list around ten Ebay auctions weekly for the purpose of driving traffic to my store. When I did this, traffic counts to my store listings would often as much as triple. I've talked to several other handmade jewelry designers who have Ebay stores and they have confirmed that this strategy works well for them also.

An Ebay store can also be a useful tool for directing traffic to your website. Although Ebay won't allow a direct link to your website from auction or store listings, you can include your website address in the "About Me" section. Surprisingly enough, people actually do read this section and will often follow through with a visit to your website. It's important that you have some price consistency if you plan on cross promoting between your Ebay store and website. Customers won't be very happy if you sell at a discount on your website relative to what they paid in your Ebay store. I do recommend offering a 10% discount on items purchased directly from your website. If you do this, people will often bookmark your site for direct purchases in the future.

Another way to drive repeat traffic to your store is to use the power of email marketing. An Ebay store account gives you the ability to send out professionally designed promotional emails to your customers to trigger repeat purchases. I found this tool to be quite helpful in building a mailing list and increasing sales of my handmade jewelry. You can send out a newsletter showing new handmade jewelry items, sale items, specials etc and can even include a photo of your auctions and store listings.

In my experience, customers particularly like educational newsletters that teach them something. For example, if you sell jewelry with semiprecious stones, you could send out an informational newsletter on the origins and meaning of particular stones. Interspersed throughout you can have links to your current Ebay auctions of store listings. Customers will come to look forward to your newsletter as you're educating them as opposed to trying to sell to them.

Another Ebay store tool that's quite useful is the keyword search analysis. This tool will show you what keywords customers typed in to reach your auctions or store listings. This will help you to fine tune your auction and store titles. For example, if a significant number of viewers typed in the words "handmade bracelet" to reach your bracelet listing, you'll want to consistently include this term in your auction or store listing title when you list a handmade bracelet for sale. Sometimes you'll be surprised at the keywords people will use to reach your items and by putting these keywords into titles, you can see a significant increase in traffic.

I hope I've at least given you an introduction to Ebay stores and how they can help you sell more handmade jewelry. I'll continue to give you ideas for marketing your jewelry on Ebay over the next few posts before we move on to selling on other online venues. Thanks again for reading. :-)


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Unique Way to Market Handmade Jewelry to Clothing Boutiques

All of the retailers I have spoken to have emphasized that they love to carry items that are unique and original. Ideally they would like to have items that no other local store carries. I know this is true in regards to our bead store. We spend so much time trying to find hard-to-find beads and components and it can be a real challenge!

Well, here's an idea that will help the retailer find her unique items and will help you to market your handmade jewelry. Why not become the designated jewelry designer for a clothing boutique?

I would first locate a higher end, independent, women's clothing boutique that carries eclectic and somewhat artsy clothing. What type of jewelry could you design for this market? Make note of your ideas and approach the owner to set up a meeting.

Upon meeting with the owner, let her know that you're a jewelry designer who can design jewelry to coordinate perfectly with the clothing she offers in her store. You can make items for her to sell that no other retailer in town will have and can make them in the materials she wants and at price points that will work for her.

Offer to make a few samples of jewelry items to coordinate with some of her offerings. Once she's seen the samples and realizes the power of what you have to offer, you can sit down and go into more detail regarding what types of pieces she'd like for you to make. You could even offer to make a custom hangtag for the jewelry that's private labeled with her store name.

Your boutique owner will benefit from having her own private labeled, customized line of jewelry for her store while you'll have the advantage of having an ongoing market for your handmade jewelry. You could even offer to provide a custom jewelry design service to her customers which she market through her store.

I hope this idea will get you to think about other creative ways for you to market your handmade jewelry to local retailers. I'll have more thoughts on how to market to local retailers in the near future.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Another Fun Way to Sell Handmade Jewelry

Hi everyone! It's the start of a new week filled with opportunity. Be sure to start the beginning of the week with a list of goals that you want to accomplish to help grow your handmade jewelry business. This will help you to stay focused. Focus can sometimes be a challenge for the creative mind!

Here's an idea for selling your handmade jewelry that can be very profitable. If you live in a city of any size you probably have several large businesses within close proximity to you. I would approach some of these businesses along with some samples of your jewelry and ask if you could display your jewelry during lunch hour. Many businesses want to keep their employees happy and would like for them to stay in the building during lunch hour as opposed to leaving. They may be quite happy to allow you the privledge of setting up a display table to show and sell your jewelry.

I had a bead store customer who did this at a local insurance agency in our city. She did extremely well and was invited back for a second showing due to the popularity of her jewelry. She has since sold her handmade jewelry at several other offices with excellent results. This can be particularly lucrative around the holidays when women have limited time to leave work and get their holiday shopping done.

Many women who work in these buildings will truly appreciate what you have to offer as it represents a nice diversion from their daily work routine and gives them a chance to shop without leaving work. You may be able to set up a regular monthly schedule for displaying your jewelry at certain offices. The workers will come to know your schedule and will save their gift purchases for the times you're going to be there. You can build up quite a following by having a recurring display of your jewelry in the same office.

Do you need to pay the office for this privledge? This will vary. Many offices will allow you to set up free of charge but it doesn't hurt to offer them a small commission on sales. Be sure to approach them in a professional manner in clothing appropriate for an office professional.

For display, I would have a simple setup that can be quickly assembled on a single table. Be sure to have props to elevate your jewelry as you never want to display jewelry on a flat surface. Bring along a pretty notebook to collect names/addresses along with email addresses. If you publish an email newsletter, ask if they'd like to sign up for it. (this can be a great way to build your customer list). You may also consider bringing along a box of pastries or other special treats to have available for your potential customers to snack on. This always adds a nice touch and will help to promote good will.

If you give this idea a try, let me know how you do! Have fun today. :-)


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Do you sell your handmade jewelry to retail stores?

Hi everyone! We just returned from our out-of-town shopping trip yesterday. I'm excited because I was able to talk to some owners of fashion boutiques about what they look for when they purchase handmade jewelry from artisans for their stores.

I found out that they are quite interested in seeing the works of jewelry artisans particularly if the artist is doing a unique type of jewelry. They all emphasized that they are looking for items that are of well made, of high quality, and uniquely different from what you see in the department stores.

Retailing your jewelry through boutiques and other specialty stores can be a winning situation for you because:

1. Your jewelry gets excellent exposure as it's on display throughout all the hours the shop is open.

2. It frees you up to spend less time on marketing and more on designing and producing jewelry.

3. It provides a showcase for your work. When someone asks about a piece of handmade jewelry you're wearing, you can refer them to the store to view what you have to offer.

4. It's a good market research tool. Displaying your items in a retail store will give you a quick way to find out what is selling. You can also test new ideas and designs relatively before investing the time and money to make multiples.

When I spoke with shop owners here are some of the things I learned:

1. Retailers want unique and interesting merchandise that will help to set their store apart from the mass merchandiser.

2. Once a retailer establishes a relationship with you, they want you to check back frequently to restock items that have sold. One common complaint I heard was that jewelry artisans will display their items in the store and not bother to replenish items that have sold in a timely manner.

3. Retailers are particularly interesting in locally produced jewelry. They like to feature local artisans to show their support for the surrounding art community.

4. They like jewelry that tells an interesting story or has a strong theme that fits in with the store's merchandise mix. A descriptive hangtag that tells the motivation behind the jewelry line is a real plus.

5. They would love to have an exclusive on a line of artisan jewelry. Of course, this isn't always practical for you as it would limit your retail sales in that area to a single store. I would only agree to this if the store proves to you that it can sell very high volumes of your jewelry.

6. They want you to approach them in a professional manner armed with marketing materials and samples. They prefer to see you by appointment as their store can require their full attention at times.

Always be on the lookout for new stores that could be a market for your handmade jewelry. When you find a potential store, look around carefully at what they have to offer. Make sure your jewelry is a good fit for that particular store. For more information on finding retail outlets for your jewelry, I'll refer you back to this blog entry:

I'll have lots more information on selling your work to retail stores in the near future. Have a great Sunday. :-)


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Do you use beads in your handmade jewelry?

Today's post will be very brief as my husband and I will be going on an overnight trip to Richmond, Virginia for a little rest and relaxation. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to check out some of the stores that sell handmade artisan jewelry to get some ideas to pass along to you. :-)

In the meantime, if you use beads in your handmade jewelry line, you may want to read the list of creative ways to use beads. This was published on our bead store website. Here's the link:

It may get your creative juices flowing so you can brainstorm ideas for expanding your own jewelry line.

Also, I'd just like to remind you when you go out today. Make sure:

1. You're wearing a piece of your own handmade jewelry.
2. You have a stack of business cards in your purse.
3. You have a brochure or flyer with you to leave in strategic places if the opportunity arises.

I hope I'm not starting to sound like a broken record. :-)

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with more ideas and tips. Have a great weekend!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Using Home Parties to Market Your Handmade Jewelry

I want to spend some time talking about home parties as a way to sell your jewelry. There's actually quite a bit to discuss here. If you're interested in this particular area, you may want to be sure to follow along over the next few days.

Home parties are big business these days! Did you know that the home party business was almost a 30 billion dollar business in 2004? Even some of the larger, more traditional retailers have jumped on the home party bandwagon.

Home parties can be the perfect medium for selling handmade jewelry. Why is this so? A home party gives your potential customer the chance to touch and try on your pieces. No other form of marketing will gives such a direct, tactile encounter with the product. Plus, a home party is selling in a fun and relaxed environment among friends. Your potential customers feel comfortable buying in such an setting. They also avoid the traffic and hassles of making the trip to their local mall to shop. It's the ultimate combination of shopping, socializing, and entertainment!

When I was in college, I earned extra money in a home jewelry party business for a jewelry line called Lady Remington. I'm sure this line is now defunct but at the time it was quite lucrative. Although the jewelry was a bit overpriced for costume jewelry, it had a ready market. Once party participants tried on the jewelry pieces, they were often sold. Plus, many wanted to host a party themselves once they found out they could earn free jewelry that way. Those jewelry parties paid for alot of textbooks!

A friend of mine who hosts jewelry parties for her own handmade jewelry has been extremely successful with this marketing method. Her sales average around $800 per show. She is well established but it shows the potential for this market. Her holiday boutique shows are particularly well attended at which time her sales often triple. We'll talk about holiday boutique shows in more detail at a later date.

There's also the potential for making money through hosting custom jewelry parties. You would bring your beads and findings to the party and allow your customers to design their own pieces. You would then put them together while they wait. Be prepared for lots of jewelry making! It might be a good idea to bring along an extra person who can help with the jewelry assembly in case you're overwhelmed. People love the idea of having a custom jewelry piece designed just for them.

To make your home party business a success, you're going to want to recruit other people to host parties for your handmade jewelry. Once your participants see how fun the parties can be, they'll be enthusiastic about potentially hosting their own. Plus, they're going to want some of your jewelry either free or at a discount.

How might you best compensate your party coordinators? You could use one of the following methods:

1. Free handmade jewelry of their choosing
2. A special designated piece of jewelry that you've picked out.
3. A percentage of sales
4. Merchandise credits

I really like the merchandise credit option the best. This allows your hostess the flexibility to choose her own pieces which makes her happy and you're not having to give up a percentage of your profits.

Here's a general outline of the steps you might go through to host a home jewelry party:

1. Select a friend or acquaintance to host your jewelry party. Have her compose a list of potential party attendees along with addresses and phone numbers.

2. Send out invitations to your the list about 2 weeks ahead of time. Make sure the invitation emphasizes that the party is being hosted by the above acquaintance and that there will be friends, food, and fun. Make the invitation festive and compelling.

3. Have your hostess follow up with a phone call to the list 7 days ahead of time for confirmation. You should have at least 10 people at a party to make it worth your time as well as the time of your hostess.

4. Have a small portable display prepared to show off your jewelry. I would recommend having a display that allows the pieces to be elevated. You don't want to display jewelry items flat on a table. (We'll talk more about this later). Get to the party 1 hour early to set up your display and handmade jewelry pieces.

5. As the guests start arriving greet each one warmly and sincerely.

6. As the party opens, present your hostess with a piece of jewelry to thank her for hosting the party. Let the other participants know that they too can host a party and get free handmade jewelry of their own.

7. Start the party off with an icebreaker. When I was with Lady Remington we would play a brief game at the opening of the party with the prize being a piece of jewelry. This is a great way to get people in a buying mood.

8. Introduce people to your handmade jewelry by telling them a little bit about yourself and your jewelry. Show them your display and allow them to pick up and try on the jewelry. Have lots of mirrors available!

9. As people explore your jewelry, circulate around and make suggestions on how to wear your pieces.

10. Stop for a refreshment break.

11. Wrap up the party by writing up orders and packaging people's purchases.

12. Include one of your cards and brochures with each person that shows how the customer can host their own handmade jewelry party. Let them know verbally as they checkout that they can get free jewelry of their own by hosting their own.

13. Have a book available for participants to fill in their name, address, and phone number. You need this information to potentially contact people in the future who may want to host a party. Try to get one of the guests to commit to a future party. (without being pushy, of course)

14. Always thank your party participants and the hostess for sponsoring the party.

14. Stay around and help the hostess tidy up a bit. Tell her you'll be glad to host another party with her in the future.

Now we have a basic outline of how to start out in the home party business. We'll go into more detail tomorrow. In the meantime, I want to recommend to you an excellent resource on running a home party business by someone who's been there and has been successful at it. This book will show you:

1. Little known secrets for getting new customers to book parties
2. New jewelry party format ideas
3. Unique ideas for growing your jewelry party business
4. How to design effective party invitations
5. How to create marketing materials
6. Plus much, much more.

She also gives you a variety of bonuses including ebay marketing tips and a logo pack for help in designing a logo for your handmade jewelry business.

Here's a link to more information:

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. :-)