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Handmade Jewelry Marketing Tips

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BeadStyle Magazine

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Updating Your Handmade Jewelry Line to Increase Sales

We all know it's important to always offer our handmade jewelry customers something new and unique. Plus, trends change requiring you to make subtle changes to your jewelry line. One of the best ways to offer a new look and take advantage of the trends is to subtly redesign some of your handmade jewelry pieces to give a fresh, updated look. You can then test market these redesigned pieces at shows to gauge the response before starting to produce them.

So, what changes can you make to your handmade jewelry line that won't destroy the integrity of your unique look and still add freshness to your line? Here are some ideas:

1. Try using a different metal or material in your work.

Previously, I was designing primarily sterling silver jewelry for our bead store until the trend started to favor gold. I tried producing a few gold filled pieces and found they sold rapidly. This resulted in a whole new profit center for my business.

You may also want to consider incorporating copper into your jewelry line. Every piece that I've ever made using copper has sold quickly and it's a great metal for redheads! Copper jewelry is also harder to find in the marketplace which gives you a competitive advantage.

If you're a beader and use primarily semiprecious beads in your necklaces, try adding a few ceramic beads with interesting glazed surfaces to your necklaces. These can really enhance and complement the semiprecious beads.

2. Add a unique clasp or ear wire to your handmade jewelry.

I believe a beautiful clasp can transform a piece from nice to extraordinary. If you can't find a clasp that meets your needs, there's always the possiblity of having a unique clasp designed and cast for your by a casting company. This could be your "signature clasp" which would further serve to brand your jewelry line.

If you're an earring designer, you know that an interesting earwire or post can really change the look of a pair of earrings. It's a quick and simple way to add newness to your jewelry line. Some unique Bali silver posts such as these, can go a long way towards freshening up your line.

3. Add a few interesting focal pieces that you haven't used before.

How about adding a small dichroic pendant or piece of sea glass to a necklace? A piece of textured metal with a patina surface would also make an interesting centerpiece to update your jewelry line. I also love the idea of using subtle sterling silver tassels such as these to add interest to a neckalce.The possibilities are endless. The point is to try something new but don't go overboard until you've test marketed. It's also important that anything you try be consistent with your overall theme or niche.

4. Try some new color combinations.

Keep abreast of upcoming color trends. Try adding very subtle touches of the new, trendy colors to your current jewelry line. Don't go overboard with this! You don't want to compromise your signature look, just give it an updated look.

5. Try expanding the types of jewelry items you offer.

If you've always sold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, try test marketing a few related items such as beaded watches, anklets, beaded rings, beaded hairsticks etc. One of my best selling items is a beaded hairstick that I market to hair salons. The trick is to make sure that these have the same signature look as the rest of your collection.


As you can see there are lots of ways to add "newness" to your jewelry line. The key is to introduce changes subtly and slowly based on the results of your test marketing. Shows are an excellent medium for test marketing new handmade jewelry pieces. When you display at a show, always take along a few of your test pieces to gauge the response. You may also want to test the market by listing a few of your new items on Ebay. This is a quick and easy way to get feedback on your new ideas.

The customer of today is more demanding than ones from the past. They seek out new and unique jewelry as a form of self expression. Be prepared to offer them something new on a regular basis and you'll be rewarded with increased sales. Thanks for reading. :-)

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2 Comments:

Blogger jennifer said...

When you say "signature look" or "consistent with your look," what exactly does that mean? Should all my jewelry look really similar? Or should it all go together?

9:41 AM  
Blogger Your friends at Beads Indeed said...

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for your comment. A signature look is a look that helps to identify the jewelry as uniquely yours and differentiates it from other jewelry in the marketplace.

A signature look can be defined by the type of materials your use. For example, jewelry made of recycled metals with patina finishes or jewelry made from anodized aluminum or gemstone bead necklaces with sterling silver accents.

It can be defined by the style of jewelry you make. For example, sleek, sterling silver sculptural jewelry with a sandblasted, matte finish or vintage jewelry which replicates the look of the 1920's. Remember that jewelry line 1928? It had a strong identity.

It can be defined by a unique color scheme. For example, a bright neon color scheme interspersed with black as a backdrop.

It can be defined by the fact that it's designed for a particular audience. For example, bracelets for babys etc.

It can even be defined by a unique component that you add to your pieces that no one else has access to such as a large, beautiful clasp which you've signed.

You should be able to look at your jewelry line and say:

I make _____ jewelry out of ______and I market to _____.
My jewelry has a _____ look.

If you can fill in these blanks with just a few words, you've probably defined your work and your market and you have a signature look. If it takes half a page to fill in a blank, you're probably not focused enough.

This doesn't mean that you locked into a box with your designs. It's fine to experiment and introduce some new components and variation into your designs. Just do it slowly, test market, and respond to the results of the test market.

Can you imagine what would have happened to sales if the 1928 jewelry company had decided to market contemporary sculptural pieces along with their vintage pieces? The marketplace would have responded with confusion and wouldn't have purchased. By the way, does anyone know whether the 1928 jewelry line still exists?

Kristie

5:19 AM  

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