Creativity Tip: Great Artists Steal (and also can you sell what you make from tutorials)

Good artists borrow; great artists steal."

In the video I talk about Cat Bennett’s book, The Confident Creative and a quote that struck me from that book.

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” ~ Picasso

I go into detail about what that means to me.  As someone who teaches online, my hope that is you take what you learn from me and run with it.  Don’t create the jewelry exactly how I create it.  Use it as inspiration, learn techniques and create your own expression of yourself.

Be yourself.  Express yourself.  We want to see your expression in your own artwork, not a copy of what you saw someone else do!

When you’re first starting, it may be a lot of copying.  You may get exactly the materials I use and make exactly the jewelry piece I made.  But once you start learning and conquering techniques my hope is that you start changing it up, experiment, explore and find your own voice.

That brings us to a similar topic and one that has been on the minds of a couple of my readers lately:

Can I sell the jewelry I make from tutorials?

Before I say anything on the subject, I want to first say I am not an attorney and nothing I write here should be construed as legal advice.

I highly suggest that if this is a concern, you get some legal advice from an IP attorney (intellectual property) or copyright attorney.

If you look for answers to this question on the internet what you will find is a big mess and a lot of differing opinions.  Copyright law also varies country to country as well.

For Emerging Creatively Tutorials (me):

For all of my paid tutorials, eWorkshops, eBooks, eCourses, etc., you can make anything in any of those products freely without crediting me and do whatever you like with the the products, including selling.

(You’ll find that information on the sales page where you purchase the product and also in the PDF of the product itself.)

For my free tutorials (including any free tutorials you find on my website and ECT TV), you can make those for personal use or to give as a gift without any credit to me.  If you’re selling them, then you must credit me.

The tutorials themselves including photographs and instructions may not be distributed in any way.  You cannot give them away for free, you cannot resell them, you can’t use a single photo separately, and you cannot teach the techniques without my written permission.  You can share one photo of the finished product with a link back to my tutorial on your blog.  (And you can read all of my policies here for more details.)

Having said that, a lot of the tutorials I share for free are more techniques that basically are building blocks for creating jewelry.  So even though I have all those rules to protect myself, if it’s something like making a wire wrapped bead link, that’s something that tons of people do when making wire wrapped jewelry.  I completely expect you to use that technique without ever mentioning me anywhere whether you learned it on my website or in a paid eCourse.

Let me give you an example:

Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace

This is the Chunky Rose Quartz Necklace.  It’s a beautiful necklace that has unique aspects to it.  If you make this necklace following the step-by-step instructions and use all the materials I use ending with your necklace looking exactly like mine, then my policy would not allow you to sell that piece without crediting me.

However, if you learned to make a fun new wire wrapped link and then used that to make other jewelry that’s different than the necklace I showed you how to make, then I would say that’s completely acceptable!  Make it for yourself, your friends or even sell it.

That is exactly what I hope you do!  I hope you learn a technique and then make your own unique piece of jewelry with it!!

Now, as far as the tutorial itself goes, you cannot use the tutorial, my photos or words in anyway without asking me first.  (And yes, there are a couple of places that do share my tutorials and you may have even found me that way that do, in fact, have my permission to share my tutorials.)

Other places you may get tutorials from:

In most cases you’ll find that if you learn a technique and use it in a way that what you learned is just kind of a part of a larger piece, that there is no problem with selling those jewelry pieces.

However, always check first before selling.  Check the website or just send an email and ask.  (Frankly, they will be thrilled that you asked!)

A lot of people who sell tutorials do not allow you to sell the products you make from them.  Same with free tutorials you find online.

When you purchase a tutorial, it should say specifically when you buy it if it cannot be used to make things to sell.  You should see that before you actually purchase it.

How to actually credit:

Another question I had is how to actually go about crediting a person as the inspiration for the jewelry you’re selling.

Online:

Online it’s easy.  You can simply say the design was inspired by so-and-so and link to the tutorial.  You can do this wherever you’re selling:  your website, etsy, etc.

Craft Shows:

This is where it gets more confusing.  You may only have a little price tag and it’s difficult to acknowledge on it.

The best solution I can come up with is to make your price tag large enough to actually credit the person.

An alternative solution could be to make a sign and place it with those designs that inspired by a certain person.

Why?

I have seen a lot of discussion and people who get angry about, “Why do they sell or share it if they don’t want people to make it and sell what they make?”

I can tell you why I do.  I want you to be inspired.  I want to teach you techniques, show them to you in context of a jewelry piece and then you use it as inspiration to make your own new unique design.

I want you to express yourself and your own creativity and I want to help you learn techniques and tricks for you to be able to do that.

Like I said in the video, “A great artist takes inspiration from others but stays true to oneself.”  (Cat Bennett, The Confident Creative)

If you’re following exactly what you find in someone’s tutorial, step-by-step, sure, it can be fun and it’s an excellent way to learn for sure, but it’s not an expression of yourself.  And that is what we all want to see, especially if you’re selling your pieces.

I hope that inspires you to take inspiration from other people’s (and my) work and their tutorials, but to come up with your own expression from that inspiration.

Jewelry Business Tips: Multiple Streams of Income Part 5, Wholesale

Jewelry Business Tips

This Part 4 on a series of posts about multiple streams of income in handmade jewelry business.

What is multiple streams of income?  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.

Part 1 is here.  (An overview of multiple income streams.)

Part 2 is here.  (Selling online.)

Part 3 is here (Craft Shows)

Part 4 is here. (Consignment)

Jewelry Business Tip - Multiple Streams of Income Part 5, Wholesale

Selling Your Jewelry to Stores Wholesale

Last week we talked about selling jewelry on consignment, which involves dropping off your jewelry to a store and then getting a percentage of the sale when your pieces sell.

Selling wholesale is typically 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 and you no longer have to worry about having inventory out and about and not sold.  Your part of the transaction is over.

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.  However, you can definitely search out those opportunities at any point in your jewelry making career.

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.

There are lots of things to consider.  If you start getting a lot of orders, are you able to fulfill them?  Do you have a catalog or a line sheet that you can present to potential wholesale customers?  Do you make jewelry that even can be sold in wholesale?

One way to get wholesale orders is to do a trade show.  Trade shows are a big expense from the booth fee, designing your booth to traveling to the show, but they have a big payoff.

To be honest, I don’t have a ton of experience in the wholesale world, but I wanted to present it as an option to you.  If this is something that interests you, then I suggest you work out your pricing first so that you know it will be worthwhile and profitable for you.

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Jewelry Business Tips: Multiple Streams of Income Part 4, Consignment

Jewelry Business Tips

This Part 4 on a series of posts about multiple streams of income in handmade jewelry business.

What is multiple streams of income?  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.

Part 1 is here.  (An overview of multiple income streams.)

Part 2 is here.  (Selling online.)

Part 3 is here (Craft Shows)

and today is Part 4 (Consignment)!

Jewelry Business Tip - Multiple Income Streams Part 4, Consignment

Selling in shops on consignment can be a great way to get into stores and get your product out there, but it can also be very frustrating if you choose the wrong shop.

What is Consignment?

You’ve probably seen or been in a clothing consignment store.  That’s not what I’m talking about here exactly (although the idea is the same.)  These are usually boutiques or gift stores that sell handmade goods.  Often it’s a store that sells not just handmade, but a lot of different things.  Oftentimes it’s a jewelry store or another specialty store of some kind.

Instead of purchasing your items on wholesale, you’ll place your products in their shop for them to sell for you.  You get a percentage and the shop gets a percentage of the sale.  Typically, you will get a higher percentage than if you did wholesale.  (A general idea, and this varies greatly, is 60% to you and 40% to the shop.)

When I first started jewelry I didn’t even realize that it was possible to sell in shops.  I thought I’d sell online and at craft shows and that would be it.  Then as I did more and more shows, I started meeting people who sold handmade goods in their stores.  In fact, they came to shows to find people to sell in their stores.

Pros of Selling on Consignment

Selling this way is great if you’re just starting.  A lot of times it’s difficult to get wholesale accounts and this is an alternative to that.  There’s no risk to the store since they don’t have to put out any cash upfront.  It’s also a great way to get in more locations and thus find more customers.  Typically you’ll have your own tag on your item, so that tag could have your business name and website on it.

The split varies quiet a bit.  It’s normal in my area that it’s 60 for the artist, 40 for the shop, but I’ve also done 70/30 and I did 50/50 in shops that were very popular and I knew it would be helpful for my business to be there.  I also do a 50/50 split with a gift store that raises money for charity.  You have to figure out what shops are the best fit for your items and decide from there if it’s a good idea.

(By the way, I hear all the time, “If I would do that, I would lose money.”  If that’s the case, you’re not charging enough.)

Cons of Selling on Consignment

Your inventory is held up at a store and may or may not sell.  You could be selling it yourself.  (Of course, you don’t know.)

Someone else is taking care of your products.  They may not display it where you would like it to be displayed or caring for it the way you would like.  Your pieces could get damaged or stolen.

It may not sell at all and then you have to decide if you want to pick it up or let them try to sell it for longer.

It’s out of your hands as far as promotion and marketing of those specific pieces.  (This can also be a big pro for selling consignment if the person is good at promotion because you don’t have to do it!)

Some shop owners are really great about paying for sales.  Others are terrible about it.  I have one shop that would not pay me until I called and emailed a few times.  It was a terrible situation because the store was so cute and in a great location and the owner was a super sweet person, too.  It just was so frustrating dealing with the getting paid aspect of it.  It’s a business, so it’s kind of important to get paid.

How to Deal with the Cons of Consignment

1.  Have a very clear contract.  If the store doesn’t have one, find one and make it yourself for you and the shop owner to sign.  In it you should include how long the products will be there, what the split is, who is responsible for stolen items and damage (which should be the store since it’s completely out of your hands).  It should also be clear how often the store will be paying you for sales.  Commonly it’s monthly, but biweekly is pretty common as well.

2.  Always include an inventory sheet listing every single thing you’re dropping off when you drop off your products.  Take two copies:  one for the store and one for you.  Have the store owner sign your copy for your records.

3.  When you pick your inventory back up, check it against the inventory sheet and what you’ve been paid for to make sure everything is accounted for.

4.  Switch out inventory that is not selling with different inventory.  (Make sure to keep your records straight when removing and adding new products.)

5.  Check in at the store as often as possible.  Don’t stop in daily, but every couple of weeks would be fine.  Make sure your products are clean and in a place that they can be seen and sold.

6.  Keep accurate records of everything.  Know what you have where and for how long it’s been there.  Know how well your products are selling and what exactly is selling.  Keep stores stocked up with what is selling well.  Pull out things that are not selling well.  Check in with store owners to make sure everything is going well.

7.  Promote the shop as well.  I said above that the shop would promote themselves, but it’s nice to have a page on your website listing where people can find your products in person or to do a little blog post if you’re in a new store about the store.

8.  Communication is key.  If a shop owner has stopped communicating with you, it’s a bad sign.  Take it from me, go get your stuff.

Misunderstandings happen all the time.  You’re an artist, they’re a shop owner.  It’s really two different personalities in most cases.  I had a huge misunderstanding with a shop owner once who was very friendly and very pushy.  She didn’t listen to what I was saying and just kept pushing forward with what she wanted.  When she finally heard and understood the situation (which I had been telling her all along) it turned into a huge mess with hurt feelings and her taking it to the internet.

I am much more assertive now then when this situation happened.  I don’t think I did anything wrong, per se, but if it were happening now I would speak up and make sure she heard and understood me.  It was almost like we were speaking two different languages.

As long as you are clear, have a clear contract and check up and communicate with the shop owner, consignment can be a very rewarding way to bring in another stream of income.

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Jewelry Business Tip: Multiple Streams of Income Part 3, Craft Shows

Jewelry Business Tips

I wrote a post about How to Be Successful Selling Handmade Jewelry about a year ago.  That post gave an overview of some tips.

We’ve been talking about multiple streams of income!

Part 1 is here.  (An overview of multiple income streams.)

Part 2 is here.  (Selling online.)

And today is Part 3.

Jewelry Business Tip - Multiple Streams of Income Part 3

Part 3:  Craft Shows

I love craft shows and I love talking about craft shows.  I even have a Craft Show Tips eBook (just revised and re-released today!)

Why craft shows are great:

  • I always felt shy and lacked confidence in selling my products – until I started doing craft shows.
  • I wasn’t exactly sure who my customers even were – until I started doing craft shows.
  • My online sales picked up from doing craft shows.
  • I got my products in more stores from doing craft shows.
  • I got so many custom orders from a craft show that I eventually had to stop taking custom orders for a while to get caught up!
  • I have met so many friends and mentors from doing craft shows.

It’s kind of hard to believe now, but I used to be very shy (and I still often am.)  When you’re in the public doing craft shows you really have no choice but to get over it, even if it is just for the craft show.  At first it’s not easy, but it does get easier with time.

Doing craft shows put me face to face with my customers.  I could see them, learn about them and talk to them.  I found out what people were looking at and what they purchased.  I learned more about my customers and then I could figure out where to find them and that’s helpful for all areas of business.

I started selling online before I started doing craft shows.  I really started doing craft shows to help my online sales.  And it worked.  I started meeting people at shows who became long time customers who purchased from me everywhere I sold, including online.  Not everyone would buy that day, but I made sure to give them a business card and ask them to join my newsletter so I could keep in touch.

Craft shows helped me get several other of my income streams.  I met shop owners and eventually was selling in many different stores.  I would have never met the people who owned the store that I eventually had my own retail space in without doing a show.  I find out about more shows from doing shows as well.

A large portion of my sales are custom orders and I got most of the original custom orders from doing craft shows.  Often these people have remained customers and continue to make custom orders.

Some of my very closest friends I met doing craft shows.  Craft shows are amazing because you meet like-minded people there.  Not everyone understands what you go through to make your products, but these people do!

Ready to try a craft show?  The key to being successful is to be prepared!  My Craft Show Tips eBook will help you be prepared.  Learn more about it and purchase it here.

This is a brand new edition just released today!!

Craft Show Tips eBook

Announcement:

These Jewelry Business Tips will be continuing on Wednesday in combination with my Craft Show Tips posts.  You’ll get weekly Jewelry Business Tips and a monthly Craft Show Tip.  Sign up for the new combined newsletter here.  (You can choose to get just Craft Show Tips, just Jewelry Business tips or both.)

 

Jewelry Business Tip: Multiple Streams of Income Part 2, Selling Online

Jewelry Business Tips

I wrote a post about How to Be Successful Selling Handmade Jewelry about a year ago.  That post gave an overview of some tips.

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 below.

Jewelry Business Tip - Selling Online

Last week was Part 1, which was an overview of multiple streams of income and you can find that post here.

This week is Part 2, selling online.

Before we even start, let me say that this could be the subject of an entire class or even an entire website.  This is just an overview.

People come to selling online in different ways.  Some people start at craft shows and in person selling then then go to online.  As I mentioned last week I actually started online first on eBay and then switching to Etsy when it opened.

Etsy

Etsy is a great place to get started, especially if you don’t have much technical website knowledge.  It’s pretty simple and you can get started right away with very little cost.  However, I know that a lot of people think they can just pop their stuff up on Etsy and it will sell.  Etsy is a platform, which means like any other website you have to promote it and make sure people can find it with things like keywords and SEO, etc.  We dig into that in my Intro to Jewelry Business eCourse.  (Sign up below to be the first to know when this eCourse is running again.)

Etsy can be a place where you can refer your customers and then you have a website to put on your business cards and things like that.  You can use social media and have email updates (like my Jewelry Business Tips Newsletter) and refer people to it.

Etsy isn’t the only place online to sell your handmade jewelry, though.  ArtFire is another place similar to Etsy, but with different options.  And there are others.

Your own website

You can have your own website and sell your jewelry there.  Even if you don’t have a shop on your website, I think it’s still important to have your own website.  The great thing about having your own website is that when your customers come to it, they’re not distracted by anybody else’s products for sale.  They are there just to look at your handcrafted jewelry and that’s all they will see.

I’ve been blogging for a long time.  I blogged about things I knew my customers would like and then also showed photos of my work and work in progress.  I would let them know when I had new jewelry and different events and venues where they could purchase it.

How do you figure out subjects for your blog?  Well, you have to first figure out who your ideal customer is.  If you haven’t sold anything yet, you can guess.  If you have you can make a customer profile from what you know about that person.  Think about what you sell and why your customers buy it.  (I’ll be offering a free mini workshop on all this to my newsletter subscribers soon, so make sure you get on the list below.)

Photography

When you’re selling handcrafted jewelry online (or really anything) photos are very important, maybe the most important thing.  If you’ve sold in person you probably know it’s pretty easy to get a sale when people are picking up and trying on your jewelry.  Online you have to give them a similar experience through photos.  It’s so important that we spend one whole week on it in my Intro to Jewelry Business eCourse.  In fact, I will be re-releasing my eBook all about photography for handcrafted jewelry soon!

Descriptions

Another very important aspect is your description of your work.  Does your customer feel like they are there in person?  Have you provided all the important details?  Do they know why they should purchase your jewelry pieces?

I hope this overview has given you some ideas.  Make sure to sign up for my Jewelry Business Tips newsletter to get weekly tips in your inbox.  (Plus the free mini workshop that I’ll be sending to all subscribers soon!)

Sign up here:  (You can chose Jewelry Business Tips, Craft Show Tips or both)

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