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.