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 Tips: Business Plan

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.

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.

Jewelry Business Tips:  Business Plan

Business Plans

By a business plan, I’m not talking about the kind of business plan you need to get loans or funding.  I’m simply talking about making a plan for your business so you know where you are and where you’re heading.

We will deep very deeply into this subject in the Jewelry Business eCourse and you’ll get to submit me your business plan for my review and suggestions.  (And you’ll even get access to my Scrapbook Business Plan Workshop which isn’t available by itself anymore.  Which is great if you want a more creative way to plan your business!)

Today I want to give you an overview of things you’ll want to consider when planning your business.

– Why?

First you’ll want to consider why it is you’re starting a business at all.  What does it mean for you or the larger community.

– What?

What exactly are you selling?  You’ll want to also know your style and be able to precisely describe it.

– Who?

Who are your customers?  Describe them as completely as possible or who will they be if you haven’t started selling yet.

– How?

How does your product fit in with your customer’s life?  Is it a gift, a treat for herself?

– Mission Statement.

Write a mission statement about your business.  Be as clear and direct as possible.

– Where have you been?

Where have you been with your business?  If you’re just starting your business, what is your background?

– Where is your business heading for the next few years?

Come up with a plan for the next few years.

– Marketing Plan.

How do you intend to market your business?  Social media?  Advertising?  And what social media platforms and where will you advertise?

– Pricing.

What is your pricing plan?  (I plan to talk about this in more detail in a future article.)

Do you have a range of prices?

– Financial

What are your start up costs?  What materials and tools do you need?  What inventory and supplies do you need to get started?

– Promotional Calender

What holidays affect your business?  How will you promote your business.

Ready to dig in deeper and finally start your jewelry business?  Register for my Jewelry Business eCourse.

You’ll get personal feedback for every single step plus a one-on-one 1 hour consultation with me.  Get all your questions answered and let me guide you through getting started.

Click here to learn more.  But don’t delay because I can only take a limited number of students because you’ll get so much personal attention.

Jewelry Business eCourse