The holiday season has begun and we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Holidays. We know that for many people this is the busiest time of year for selling handmade jewelry retail. Many of you are probably already set up in a shopping mall for the Christmas season. Now you only need to focus on making sure that your display jumps out at customers and draws them in closer to see all of your fabulous handcrafted jewelry!
When we displayed our work in the shopping malls we always had the same type of display so we could easily adapt to the space provided by the mall management. Our basic display was 4 x 8 foot tables and sometimes the mall will provide the tables so you do not have to worry. Most spaces are 10’ x 10’ but some can be wider or longer and you can easily arrange the tables to fit the space. This gives you the inside area of the space for working as well as storage under the skirted tables.
We always had navy blue skirts with white table-top covers. White always makes everything stand out and attracts attention to your display. We built staircases and risers to display gift items in groups and add interest to the booth. Boards or frames are a great way to display dangle earrings (we covered the boards with fiberfill and white fabric). It is important to make everything accessible, people love to touch the earrings and hold them up to see how they look. This brings up two points for you to consider. The first consideration is always having a mirror on hand. The second is making sure to pay attention to every customer and have a clear view of the entire display for security. We didn’t have too many problems but better safe than sorry.
One of the most important factors in retail sales is friendly service. There were many occasions that a conversation early in the season led to sales in the last week. So do not get discouraged early in the season when people look and ask questions just to walk away. Always treat everyone as a friend and valued customer, mall walkers have to buy gifts too.
Whether participating in craft shows or selling at the local shopping mall people love to see that you are the artisan. Even if you sell other peoples jewelry as well, seeing you working in your booth is a great way to attract customer attention and increase sales.
Christmas shoppers love a deal even if it is a free gift box or a dollar off if they buy more than one pair of earrings or a matching handmade bracelet. I never forget the time a nice lady bought a $ 9.95 Christmas tree ornament for the Secret Santa exchange at work. I had engraved on the back of it for free, it took a minute. She came back a week later and bought 12 more, which I happily engraved for her again. By the time I finished engraving her ornaments there was a queue of people waiting with purchases in hand.
This brings us to another very important marketing strategy. Always have work to do during the slow times. Just like craft shows, people like to see that you are the artisan even if you are sorting beads, cutting out some of your jewelry pieces or attaching ear wires, working at your booth will attract people to see what you are doing and create interest in your artisan handmade jewelry.
One of the most important parts of exhibiting your handmade jewelry at craft shows is preparation. Everything needs to come together perfectly for the show to be a success. It takes planning and proper execution that comes only with experience.
Design your handmade jewelry booth for quick and easy set-up and tear-down. Displays that fold together, stack or pack in well fitting boxes will decrease damage and reduce the amount of time needed to pack and unpack. Plastic containers and waterproof covers are a must if you are participating in outdoor craft festivals.
We always displayed our handmade earrings on padded boards or in frames that could be packed as they are with many earrings so we did not have to individually package each pair. We grouped the earrings into sections and included the price so we were ready to start selling handmade jewelry. We covered the entire board with sponge to prevent any damage to the earrings and put into thick plastic bags so just in case an earring fell off it was always in the bottom of the bag. Depending on the booth setup the handmade earrings board had either a hook for hanging or a hinged support for table top.
For handmade bracelets we had wood cases made to hold the bracelets upright perfect for display and easy to pack 20 bracelets at a time. Each tray held a different style of cuff bracelet in the full range of designs. We actually came up with the idea from doing wholesale jewelry shows. Each space was labeled with the handmade bracelet code number to make restocking much easier as well.
Handcrafted necklaces were bulked packed as well in a roll. Get a piece of material that matches your display, velvet is excellent, and make a necklace pad, attach the necklaces with u-pins, set up the distance between each necklace so that it is attractive and then carefully roll the fabric from the top down to pack up. This works well for chains with pendants. Roll from the side for bulkier necklaces.
Handmade rings were displayed in ring trays. There really is not anything better than the standard foam ring displays that are available from wholesale suppliers. Cover the display with sponge and plastic bag for added protection.
During the last hours of the craft show when it slows down, replace any sold items so your handcrafted jewelry displays are full and ready to go for the next show. Handmade earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings should have their own boxes for extra stock which can be restocked in between shows knowing that your handmade jewelry displays are full. We stapled the bags of the same designs together so it was easy to see which designs were running low.
For many years we traveled to outdoor craft fairs and art festivals. It is a fun and exciting way of life. There were however several times that the weather did not cooperate and quick packing was necessary. By setting up your booth display in a way that items can be packed and unpacked quickly you will not only save time but avoid costly damage to your handmade jewelry. It takes years of experience to learn how to display handmade jewelry at craft shows to make the best impression on your customers.
Decorating your Christmas tree for the holidays can be pleasant and exciting rather than nerve wrecking and expensive. This is more true if you start early investigating the different types of unique Christmas ornaments your family can make together.
Many of these handmade Christmas ornaments can be made with minimal expense for the needed supplies to make your tree personalized and unique. Never underestimate that there are many different ways to decorate your tree, by using your imagination and a little patience you can decorate your Christmas tree with pride. A new tradition can be created and joyfully experienced by deciding that each year you will add a new type of handmade Christmas ornaments to decorate the family tree.
A good place to begin adding to your Christmas tree decorations is with the left over wrapping paper products from last year. Unused or partially used rolls of wrapping paper make new decorations a snap, especially if you’re on a limited budget for this season. Paper can be measured to any size you desire, and then folded into the designs of your choice. Some popular shapes are stars and delicate fan shapes. Attach to the paper by gluing a brightly colored ribbon, and if desired hang a hook through the ribbon. Also, beautiful origami nature shapes such as birds from left over holiday paper are another option.
Old greeting cards can be used to liven up a Christmas tree. Simply cut the back off the card and hole-punch at top and add a ribbon, and cards may be cut into different shapes and a light weight frame added to set it off too. Other crafty type projects can be created using Christmas cards by saving Mason Jar type lids which have a flat underside. Cutting and gluing felt can be placed on the underside along with a beautiful card holiday scene, and add some yarn around the edge of the top and hang on your tree.
Other craft ideas which are especially fun for kids are mixing flour and water and using a cookie cutter to create the holiday shapes. Ginger bread cookies can be hung on the tree along with some stringed popcorn or construction paper chains in place of the traditional metal garland or icicles.
Another type of beautiful handmade Christmas tree ornament is made from tin. Supplies for making them can be found in a home supply and repair store, or a craft store. You will need snips for the tin, and a specialized hole-punch to make the decorative holes for the design. Thin sheets of tin are not expensive and can be bought rolled or in single sheets. This type of Christmas decoration would probably work best for older children due to the fact that a certain amount of hand strength is needed for cutting and the use of sharp tin.
Handmade Christmas ornaments can be made from plastic craft balls. These balls have hollow clear design allowing for painting on the outside of the ball and inside. Painting the inside is as simple as filling it with paint and shaking. Allow twenty four hours for drying. Stencil design patterns or free hand painting allow for any holiday scene to be painted on the outside. Dating your handmade Christmas ornaments is always a good idea too. You are creating a precious memory.
There are many ways to make handmade Christmas decorations for your tree. You can even add handmade jewelry designs. Most craft stores carry kits to make Christmas decorations, but you can buy wire for handmade jewelry and string your own beads. Kids can make cute ornaments for the tree by using precut foam from a craft store too.
Whatever type of handmade Christmas ornament you decide to make it is a sure bet that along the way you will make a lot of good memories from interacting with family or friends, you may even find a lot of personal fulfillment by reminiscing about Christmas days of yesteryear. Handmade Christmas ornaments mean that you care about adding a personal touch to the holidays.
Our Christmas tree is filled with photo-frame Christmas tree ornaments, one for each year for each child. Not only are they beautiful they remind us of when the children were young. Traditions and keepsakes are a treasured thing that are passed down to those that come after you, so make sure to experiment, be creative and have lots of fun handcrafting an ornament that you will be proud to hand down and display on your tree this Christmas season.