Probably you started making handcrafted jewelry just for fun as an outlet for your creative energy. At some point you realized you could make some extra money from your hobby and began selling your handmade art bracelets and earrings. After that point, you also need to think like a business person and create designs that fit into a niche market in order to have a successful handmade jewelry business.
The most important factor in running a successful handcrafted jewelry business is innovation. Creating your own niche market within the niche is going to be your key to success. Everyone can put beads on an ear wire and say they make handmade earrings, but without your own creative touches you will not be able to build a successful business.
Retail stores are filled with mass produced jewelry so you have to make your jewelry unique, something that appeals to everybody and at a reasonable price. You need to create a demand for your designs with different techniques that you will become known for and that will set you apart from the competition. Creating your own niche within the handmade jewelry market is that something special whether you incorporate historical motifs or brilliantly colored gemstones it is up to your creativity and individuality.
Even if you just go to local craft shows you have probably noticed several other people trying to sell handmade jewelry. It is a very competitive marketplace whether it is craft shows or on the internet. You need that extra something that sets you apart from the rest. Once you find your special something you have to constantly be updating and showing your personality in each piece. Making matching sets of handmade earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces will increase sales dramatically.
We have been making handcrafted jewelry for almost 30 years and still find that we are constantly thinking of new designs, techniques and styles. Every business needs to evolve with the marketplace and fashion trends. Listen to your customers and get their ideas because it can lead you in new directions that you never thought of before. Do not think of it as criticism of your work but encouragement to try something different. You do not have to have just one style; you can have many unique jewelry styles incorporating your creativity that could open new marketing opportunities. If you are hesitating consider it a custom order just to see if it works or not. Experimenting has never been a bad idea and you can get some surprising results or it can lead you in another direction entirely.
First of all, let me just say that we have been making handmade jewelry for over 25 years. We have had a store, sold at craft shows, mall shows, wholesale gift shows and have a website. We have sold at retail, on consignment, wholesale direct to stores, orders taken by sales reps, jobbers and distributors as well as online. We have started with nothing and built our handcrafted jewelry business one step at a time. Honestly speaking, to those people who think they are able to jump right to the top of the ladder, you need to crawl before you run the marathon.
Every business needs a solid foundation and must be gradually built to achieve success. There are very few who have the financial means to start at the wholesale jewelry level. Wholesale gift shows are expensive, requiring a great selection of unique jewelry and needing professional looking displays so it is not something for those just starting out.
This being said it is my humble opinion that craft shows are the best way to build an enduring handmade jewelry business. Local shows tend to be less expensive and are a good way to get those first sales. You will perfect your booth display and learn what customers actually want. You will get the experience that will enable you to move onto the next step on the ladder.
Eventually you will need to travel to juried arts and crafts shows. The best shows attract tens of thousands of customers and are difficult to get into especially for handmade jewelry artisans but are well worth the effort once you are ready. Displays need to draw the attention to your booth and you should have something for everyone. Different price ranges and styles so that no matter where you are your sales will be strong.
Along the way you will likely run into some store owners who would like to buy your work to sell in their stores. Have a wholesale price in mind when you are pricing for your retail sales. Also whenever you are traveling have samples ready to show to stores and galleries on the way. Sometimes it is difficult to get up the courage to go into a shop and sell your work, but it will become second nature. If the manager or owner is not there be sure to get contact information and you can call them later.
Once you have a good cash flow established and have a great selection of unique jewelry designs you will be able to venture into wholesale jewelry and gift shows with confidence. Wholesale shows that focus on handmade gifts are the best but most shows have a handmade section as well. Wholesale gift shows are the mainstay of our business. Major shows attract qualified buyers from across the country and internationally.
Internet sales whether your own website or an online marketplace are easily set-up with little expense but success online requires a great deal of time dedicated to social networking. We consider our website as an online catalog to make our customers ordering easier and as such it is wonderful. Everyday we get inquiries from all over the world that would never have been possible before the internet. It takes time to get noticed with so much competition but once established it can be very successful.
Be positive and don’t get discouraged or frustrated, the handmade jewelry business can be demanding at times but it can also make all your dreams come true. It is a great creative outlet as well as bringing in some extra money when you are first starting out. Over time you will be able to expand your business according to your own needs.
As handmade jewelry artisans we like to focus on making handcrafted jewelry, not so much the selling of it. But in order to continue to making our artisan jewelry and doing what we love, we need to be able to sell it at a price that we make money. It is very important that handmade jewelry artists learn how to price their handmade earrings and handmade bracelets correctly to be able to sell handcrafted jewelry quickly and at a profit.
There is no single approach to pricing your handmade jewelry. What you will be able to sell your handcrafted jewelry for depends on a variety of factors, such as your ability as an artist, the demand for your style of work, how well established you are and many more. If you are just starting out or if you have been creating handmade jewelry for a while and you are looking to start selling it, there is no need to worry about all the factors. Focus on the cost of materials and the time it takes to create each handcrafted jewelry piece. There are strategies and pricing structures that you can put in place to build a customer base and gradually increase the perceived value of your handmade jewelry.
We would all like to start out selling our unique handmade jewelry pieces for hundreds of dollars but the simple truth is that without demand or a designer label it is not likely to happen. However, as a new handcrafted jewelry artisan just entering the marketplace you have the unique opportunity to establish buyers who can grow with you, perhaps into avid collectors of your work. And the simple fact of the marketplace is that collectors mean demand and demand means increased sales as well as heightened prices for your work. But before we get too carried away, take a step back and look at how we can price our unique handmade jewelry to get to this point.
As an entry-level handcrafted jewelry artist, you need to look to sell to entry-level buyers, which will inevitably mean entry-level prices. And again, these prices can depend on the particular market you are looking to sell to and the type of unique jewelry you are trying to sell. You will need to do some research, find some similar handmade jewelry artisans in your area or similar handmade jewelry pieces for sale, and decide what the common price points are. It may be very low, under $20 or for more elaborate styles above $50. Either way, you need to find a reasonable price point to start with depending on the cost to make the handmade jewelry piece and the amount of time it takes to create. Nothing is written in stone, if you find certain handmade earrings and handmade bracelets are selling quickly, you could raise your average price on those items and lower the prices on the slower selling pieces.
Once you have sold your first few handmade bracelets and handmade earrings, you should be starting to create a customer base. This does not necessarily need to only include people who have purchased your work, you may have come across people who are genuinely interested in your work that you could include in your customer base to market your handcrafted jewelry to in the future. The idea here is not so much to focus on selling your handmade jewelry now, but to establish ways in which you can continue to sell your unique jewelry in the future.
Make sure you align your pricing with the current target market you are looking to sell into. Knowing who your customers are is very important. The age range directly influences pricing strategies for your handmade jewelry. If you are making funky, bright colored handmade bracelets for a younger person then your prices need to be lower than if you are making sophisticated handmade earrings for the 35 – 50 age range. Younger people usually have less money so you need to make the price reasonable.
You do not need to continue selling your handmade jewelry at the initial price points you establish. Remember that as your customer base grows larger and with customer loyalty for your handcrafted jewelry the demand increases, your average price point for your handmade earrings and handmade bracelets can also increase. Also take into consideration that the more experience you have making handmade jewelry the quicker and more cost effective you will be able to create each handcrafted jewelry piece. Once you have a great line of profitable handmade jewelry you may want to expand into the handmade wholesale jewelry market and begin to wholesale jewelry to gift stores and handmade shops.