I wrote a post about How to Be Successful Selling Handmade Jewelry about a year ago. That post gave an overview of some tips.
Since so many people have asked, I have decided to teach an online Jewelry Business eCourse! It starts on March 2, 2015. It’s a 5 week course with videos, worksheets, audios and PDF eBooks designed for you if you’re wondering how on earth to get started selling handmade jewelry. (Registration is open!! More information here!)
Each Friday I’ll be bringing you a free tip right here on the blog or you can sign up to get a weekly Jewelry Business Tip in your inbox here.
You might be considering starting a jewelry business or perhaps you’ve already started one but haven’t been making as much money as you want yet. Is it because you’ve put all your eggs in one basket (as the saying goes)?
There are certainly people who are Etsy superstars or have a lot of success doing just craft shows. However, I have found that most people reach the income they desire not in just one way, but by having multiple streams of income.
What does that mean?
It’s a combination of income generating activities. It will mean different things for each individual depending on what you want your business to be and your life circumstances. For me, it meant that I sold online, at craft shows, in a retail space, at home parties and in shops. For you it could be a different combination.
I’ll be talking about each possible income stream over the next few weeks. But today I’ll give you an overview.
This is actually how I started selling my handcrafted jewelry. I sold first on eBay and then on Etsy when it started. You might have your own shop on your website. It’s probably best to do that because you then have total control. When you sell on Etsy, it’s simply a platform – someone else’s website. They make the decisions on what your shop looks like, etc.
Having said that, Etsy is a great place to get started. I actually help you step-by-step through the process of setting up an Etsy shop and your first listing in my Jewelry Business eCourse because if you are new to selling online, it’s an inexpensive and easy way to get started. You can get started right away without waiting for a website designer or doing all the research you need to do to get started. You don’t have any excuses to get started.
Plus the fees are very inexpensive on Etsy.
I love craft shows. I think they are such a great way to get started selling jewelry. You get to meet your customers (and the people who look at your jewelry) face-to-face and get their reactions.
They are a lot of work, though, lugging your jewelry, displays and tent somewhere, setting up, selling all day and packing back up again.
Finding the right craft show for your particular customer is really key to being successful at craft shows. That and being prepared. I help you get prepared and come up with a plan for selling at craft shows in my Jewelry Business eCourse.
Selling in Shops – Consignment
Once I started doing craft shows I started meeting people who sold handmade goods in their stores. They mostly did consignment when I first got started. That means they place your items in their shop and they only pay you if it sells. Your items don’t belong to them; they still belong to you.
You split a percentage with the shop. 60 percent to the artist and 40 percent to the store is the typical split in my area, although I have had 70/30 and have done 50/50 in shops that were very popular or if it was raising money for a charity. The terms vary as well as far as who is responsible for theft, etc.
We tackle this subject in Jewelry Business eCourse. At the beginning of the eCourse you’ll figure out who your ideal customer is and where to find them. That will help you figure out what shops might be a good fit for consignment.
Selling to Shops – Wholesale
Selling wholesale is more desirable than consignment because when someone makes a wholesale order once you fulfill the order and get payment the transaction is complete. The jewelry now belongs to the store.
Although I did have some wholesale orders at the very start of my business, I would say it’s much more typical that you get wholesale orders the more time you’ve been in business.
The key to being profitable is to make sure that you set up your pricing correctly from the beginning so you can offer your products at wholesale prices. Typically you offer wholesale at a 50 percent discount when a customer reaches a certain threshold in their order. You do not have to do the 50 percent discount, but it’s kind of expected in wholesale.
You probably have been to an antique co-op. There are different vendors selling their antiques. It’s becoming more and more common to have art co-ops as well.
I was involved with a co-op store for years. It was similar to an antique co-op, but this store had art, handmade and antiques.
I paid a monthly rental for my spot and then the store took a small percentage of the sale of my products each month.
Some co-ops require you to additionally work there a certain amount of hours per week or month as well.
It is a wonderful way to get in retail with less risk.
When you start selling you will likely start getting requests for custom orders pretty quickly. Even if you haven’t started selling you might have already had these requests.
A significant portion of my income came from custom orders, especially around the holidays. People love to give personalized gifts.
Remember, if someone asks you to do a custom piece you don’t have to do it. If it’s not something you feel comfortable doing (or even can do) or they’re asking for colors or a style that you don’t think would work, you can say no or maybe even suggest something different.
Home parties are a lot of fun and they are much more profitable than craft shows or selling in stores. The people who come are specifically coming to buy your jewelry. Most people will buy at least something small even if they don’t buy a lot.
I have had these in my own house, in my friends’ houses and in family member’s houses. It’s just like the other home parties you’re used to. (Like for Tupperware, etc.) You have a host (or you can do this in your own home with yourself as the guest), they invite their friends and provide a snack/drinks and you sell jewelry. You can do a presentation or not. It can be a formal time or more open house/drop in. I’ve done it all and it all works.
If it’s your close friends and family, they’ll probably do this for you at no charge, but I would still give them a thank you gift (or gifts) of your jewelry. If it’s someone you don’t know as well, a friend of a friend, etc., you can set up a program where they can get a percentage of the night’s sales in jewelry.
(And of course this is something we cover in Jewelry Business eCourse)
Think about where your ideal customers are and then start showing up in those places. At first you’re doing research, but then you can start to strike up conversations with people. Maybe there’s a salon that would be a perfect place for your jewelry. Ask the owner about it. Maybe they would purchase wholesale or maybe it would be consignment.
I hope this overview has you started thinking. I’ll get more specific in the upcoming posts! If you’re ready to make a specific plan with help from me, I invite you to join my Jewelry Business eCourse! Registration is limited so I can give one-on-one help and it closes on March 1st.