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Biz Talk - Self Promotion

Hey Neil…would you write my promo’s for me…nice verbal
skills! I am impressed and I want to buy that sunset!


I responded to this thread yesterday-- but that was about talking
to people at art fairs. That is, when the person comes to me. Going
to a gallery or shop is another thing altogether, and I find that
enormously difficult. "Fragile ego" just about covers it. You are
really putting yo 

I can so relate to that, Noel. I have no trouble at all at shows, and
after twenty years of doing panels and lecture demonstrations at
science fiction conventions, I now have no trouble talking to rooms
full of people. But I do almost no wholesale, and part of the reason
is that I’m simply not comfortable with gallery owners.

I had enough bad experiences, when I was trying to do wholesale, with
people who seemed to have the attitude that they were God’s gift to
the art world and I was just one more expendable jeweler. I finally
decided to concentrate on shows, where I was comfortable and did

Maybe it is a fragile ego problem, and the CD suggestion is one that
I will implement if and when I decide to try it again. But I am
reluctant to put myself though all that again, unless there’s some
compelling reason to.

Janet Kofoed

Good Grief!! Aren’t we hard on ourselves!

I attended the MJA show in NY a few years ago and my favorite area
was the design section. I met jewelers who are at the top of the
heap artistically and successfully. The first booth I walked into
held the most breath-taking and beautiful jewelry! Crafted
perfectly, and I have seen these pieces on the pages of top fashion
magazines! As I was gazing at one astonishing display, a gentleman
spoke to me about the pieces I was looking at…it was the artist
himself…I was stunned. Why? This man was there to promote his
craftwork and to sell it. We tend to put them into the stratosphere
of “untouchable greatness”. I think this is what prompts some folks
to go ga-ga at shows or stores and to pay exhorbitant prices for
not-so-good products. they bought it from the artist “him/herself”.

I have done art fairs and walked around looking at jewelry. I have
seen sublime creations for very reasonable prices and I have seen
14K gold “designer” band with a cubic zirconia priced at $1200.00!!
There is no sense to it. We all have something to offer…any
creation will be attractive to someone. I am not a superb jewelry
designer…I am pretty good at the style I have developed and I have
my cstomer base. We can’t be all things to all people. There are
some pieces of “jewelry” that I cannot believe someone at the design
show produced…mink ‘puffs’ with a gem in the center on a rubber
cord…sold like hot cakes…flash in the pan. You have to decide
where you want to fit and go for it!!! FEAR (false expectations
appearing real) will be your downfall…I know from personal
experience. We will put everything we can think of in the way of
succeeding because of FEAR.

So break out your crafted pieces, your mistakes, your magnificent
works and go for it…we are with you 100% of the way. We have all
been there. ps…anyone out there who has no fear issues I would
really like to hear what it is like for you and why you are NOT


Hi Marta,

Happy New Year to you (a bit belated, but who’s counting?) Since I’m
primarily a gemcutter (although I also do custom goldsmithing for
private clients), my experiences may not be completely identical to
yours, but I’m willing to share them with you and our fellow
Orchidians, just the same. As with you, I grew up in an environment
that didn’t exactly foster exhibitionism (to put it mildly). My dad
was an orthodontist who, like most doctors of his day – that is, in
the days before it was acceptable for doctors and dentists to plainly
advertise their services – was all but terrified of the notion of
anyone broadcasting his or her accomplishments, so the message I
received was, “Do your best, and be extremely competitive in terms of
quality, but always make sure that it’s someone else who says you’re
good at what you do, not you.” (In fact, I doubt I’ll ever forget his
reaction to my first use of the words “Master Gemcutter” on a
business card.) So, as you can imagine, I spent the first half of my
life simultaneously doing backflips to get ahead, while trying not to
attract too much attention – which, if you Then, some twenty-odd
years ago (back when when I was into the whole coffee-and-cigarettes
routine), I noticed that one of the diners I’d frequent for my
constitutional coffee guzzling session had these neat little sugar
packets with witty adages printed on them. Two of them caught my eye,
and their messages hit home with the ferocity of a flaming meteorite;
all these years later, I still recall them vividly:

  1. “He who has a thing to sell, and whispers softly in a well, is far
    less apt to reap the dollars than he who climbs the tree and


  1. “Experience is a wonderful teacher: it enables us to recognize the
    same dumb mistakes we made last time, the next time that we make

After years of doing the proverbial “bang head on table… stop…
realize it doesn’t feel good… repeat” in the marketing end of my
business, I saw these sugar packets and thought, “There must be some
way of setting myself apart from those run-of-the-mill lapidaries who
subscribe to the ‘zip-zap-zoop’ school of production gemcutting, so
that future prospects and clients won’t confuse my work with
theirs!”, and began to study what unique aspects I and my
craftsmanship offered.

With those two adages firmly in mind, I bought a cheap, calibrated
14x10mm “paper plate special” Citrine pearshape with a huge window
and sloppy cuttting at a local rock & mineral show, then designed and
cut an identically-sized gem to my specifications and standards of
make, and placed them side-by-side in a little glass Riker Mount
case. When that was done, I went to my computer and printed out a
little label, which read, “A Tale of Two Citrines: Would someone you
love prefer to wear THE RIGHT STONE or whatever’s ‘left’?”!
Thereafter, each time someone would balk at my higher prices for a
given sized or shaped gem, and tell me how much more cheaply they
could buy a so-and-so of such-and-such size, I would trot out my
little showcase, place it on the counter before them, and ask them
one very direct question: “If you were having a pendant made for your
mom’s birthday present, and you not only knew full well that she
would be showing it off to all of her friends, but that they would
all know that it had come from you, as wello, which stone would you
want mom to wear?” (And then, regardless of how terrifying or
anxiety-ridden the pregnant pause that followed might be, I’d bite my
tongue, and wait for them to either agree that the stone was far more
beautiful than anything they’d seen, and pull out their wallet, or
come up with an objection I could calmly and rationally counter, with
yet another reason why they should own and take home whatever it was.

If you’re a goldsmith, rather than a lapidary artist, what I’d
suggest you do is keep an eye out for a shoddily-made piece of crap
on one of the cable TV channels, which has been done in a style
similar to whatever you do – although built so poorly that it’s
unlikely to last a year – and invest in it, as a similar
"demonstrator". Then, if you have a retail shop, you might take out
an ad, somewhere, inviting people to come in for their “free
jewelry-quality lesson”, in which you’ll take the time to educate
them about the differences between “price” and “value”, without any
obligation, whatsoever, on their part. If you do just these few
things, I’d be willing to bet you’ll have more business on your hands
than you know what to do with, in very short order! (And whether or
not you do, please be sure to let us all know how that works for

All the best,

Douglas Turet, G.J.,
Turet Design, LLC
P.O. Box 242
Avon, MA 02322-0242
Tel: (508) 586-5690
Fax: (508) 586-5677

And speaking of clothes - The Clothes Make the Man is not an idle
concept. Assertive clothing makes for an assertive person. 

I BIG second this John!

One of the things that used to irritate me the most were the
crafters that went to markets dressed in sloppy (sometimes grimy)
sweat pants and a baggy T-shirt or sweat shirt. To top it off they
sit in a lawn chair lower than the table with their product either
reading or gossiping. Later they would come by and ask how sales were
and gripe about poor sales.

“One time, before we moved, and I was all shy (early teens), I said
to myself, “This time I’m going to be outgoing.”, and I did it. I
just reached out my hand and said, Hi, I’m John, how ya doin’? It’s
not a new concept, it’s called re-inventing yourself…”

Another thing we have in common is re-inventing myself. Only I did
not move to a new city with new people to deal with. I was once told
that if you fake confidence when you first start meeting people you
will eventually BE confident. I thought they were nuts but tried it
anyway and found that it does work. Also I taught myself not to take
everything that people said about me to personally as it was just
THEIR opinion and I could (and did) choose to not live down to their
opinion. It was very scary at first but eventually lead to developing
a thicker skin.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


I am so very proud of you, and as a long time personal friend, I can
attest to the validity of your statement. I know you to be an
incredibly talented faceter. Your ability and creative designs are
way beyond the curve. May the Force be with you.


Hey Neil...would you write my promo's for me....nice  verbal
skills! I am impressed and I want to buy that  sunset! 

Sure thing. Ya kno, I’ve been wondering how to combine writing and
jewelery, this may be it. A new career slant? maybe I’ll write for
other people?
For Sale…Promos…a dollar a word…expect very loooong promos

Hi, Michaela,

The rest of your plan sounds good though, it's just that the
follow-up visit to the shop should be a "mandatory" result on such
an ambitious strategy - and not be left to a possible "yes" by

So, are you saying that once an “intended victim” is chosen and the
images and materials mailed, I should just show up unannounced and
hope the managed/owner is available? Oh, I don’t think so. If they
are not willing to give me an appointment, they are not
impressed/interested, and I’m not going to waste my time (or
theirs). My work is not for everyone.

Or is there a third way I’m not thinking of?


Hi Elaine,

Thanks for the critique. More pictures right away on the website is
actually one of my goals. I had meant to fix that long ago but never
got around to it. As for my logo (the crying baby), I’ve got more
compliments on that than on my jewelry. Believe it or not, people go
nuts for it, so much so that I trademarked it. I guess I really don’t
have any questions for the thread. It was more an oportunity to vent.
I get very frustrated with myself over this particular hang up. It
felt good to hear from other people who are going through the same
thing. I wanted to add my two cents to the mix so others struggling
with the same problems would not feel so alone. It’s encouraging.

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs

Self Promotion!!!! 

As a Leo, many folks can be assured that I am a Lion!!! I wear my
own creations (I think I am a pretty good designer). Have had people
say, “Oh that’s gorgeous,” I thank them and say, "It’s for sale."
Amazing, that is how I sell most of my creations, besides custom. My
creations are to show and tell, and will go bye bye someday. I have
seven students and tell them not to be afraid to sell themselves.

I don’t sell at shows - don’t like them. Recently I had a Gallery in
Taos ask me for my things while showing them to my hair stylist. That
was pretty exciting. Making more for them at this time.

At a bus stop in Jerome, AZ, which was just loading tourists, a lady
came up to me and told me how she liked the necklace I was wearing,
again I told her it was for sale, off it came, $$$$$s, and she
boarded the bus, with my card, also! While shopping at Lazy Boy one
day the sales lady commented on my earrings - same thing. Off they
came, $$$$$s, and I came home and made another pair!

I am having a ball in retirement, (31 years for DaimlerChrysler)
taught all the while I was working, and knew what my next career
would be - teaching and making handmade Silver/Gold/PMC-(Certified)
one of a kind jewelry.

Just grab the bull by the horns and relax!


You are correct about reinventing yourself, such as how to dress in
public. This is 2007 and its always a time to start refreshed at the
new year. To evaluate oneself and set new goals.To determine what
steps to take and in what order. I would like to begin with
Confidence. I work as a sales rep for a sterling silver company out
of New York. I ended up with four states as my territory. I work on
commission only with me paying my expenses. There were four types of
jewelry, marcasite stone, plain and chains. This was a lot of
Jewelry to carry. They were to call prospective customers and set the
appointments and if they didn’t buy i would cold call. I learned a
lot from this experience. All they can say is NO. Then go down the
street and sell to someone else. Just a little back ground info to
understand that confidence alway sells. These are some steps I have
taken. Go an have your LOGO designed with business cards. Go to a
trophy shop and have an acrylic block engraved with the LOGO and your
name. I now have a line in a Jewelry store with my LOGO and name.
Website is up but not finished. You need a website to promote your

I have gotten this far with this year. I plan on having other stores
carrying the line this year. When the weather warms up I will be
going to the Market down town and display there. There I will be
getting recognized as a local,designer jeweler. I am hoping to
schdeule some shows as well.

I would like some feed back on any Ideas please.

Eric Coleman

There's a lot at risk....what if they say no? what if they laugh at
me? what if they say the dreaded 'thank you' and just walk away? 

I have been watching this thread for a while and can really offer no
words of wisdom greater than you all have. Early on when I started
making jewelry it was just to do something different with my rocks,
then I started buying mountings to put them in and finally making my
own mountings for my stones. As with anyone just learning a new skill
I was seeking re-enforcement to my new activity from outside family
and friends. I had taken a piece I thought was pretty darn good, good
finish, nice design, smooth, well balanced in aspect and color. I was
really happy with it. I was showing it to someone at a craft fare my
sister talked me into doing with her (she beads) when this lady
walked up looked at the piece and the rest of the items I had on
display and said “My step-dad does stuff like this, but he makes
nice things.” Here it is 3 years later and I still can’t let that
comment out of my head. Laughing, walking away would have been nice.
It was probably a month before I could work on anything again and it
was a year before I tried another craft fair. I still pickup rocks no
matter where I go, I still cut them, polish and mount, and I do craft
fares with my sister again. I found that really, I was doing it
because I liked what I was doing, and I would continue even if no one
else liked it, I was really creating for me because I liked the

The point being, there will always be someone out there that now
matter what you make, will not like it, your task is to find the ones
that do.

Like Noel said, “age helps”.


Thank you Neil,

When I see a blood red sunset, seeping into to the dusk between
earth and sky, I want to capture that moment in precious materials
so you can hold it, own it, command it. which version makes you want
to read on?

You have inspired me to rewrite what I was using as an artist
statement. I am getting more calls for a statement and was using more
of a “this is how the process works” than an artist’s statement. And
yes it is in the third person. I am happy to have my toes stepped on
if it means improving my marketing, craftsmanship, etc… (Anyone
know where I can get some steel toed sandals?)

Just another thought on self promotion. Local newspapers are always
looking for special interest stories. It can’t hurt to call, ask to
speak with a reporter and say “this is what I do, wouldn’t it make a
great story”. I have had a few articles written about me and they
help. The last article got amazing results, people actually came to
the show to look me up because of that article. I know it is another
way to get a “no” but if you’re in sales, as most of us are, we have
to go through allot of "no"s to get to a yes.

Cande Toner

PS: I found this article really inspiring:,21770,1571347,00.html

After following this thread for a while, I’d like to make a couple
of comments.

I’ve always been “outgoing” and have done quite a bit of public
speaking. And I used to be a marketing professional. There is a huge
difference between marketing/publicity and sales. I am great at the
former and really hate the latter. I think shows are a special case,
since I am very comfortable doing them. IMO, they bear no resemblance
to displaying your work to a gallery owner and getting rejected.

I am all for using the services of professionals. A publicist
doesn’t try to set diamonds–unless that’s her hobby. A sales rep
doesn’t do ring repair (unless ditto). Why should jewelers believe
they have to do it all? I worked for writers and psychotherapists.
The latter, in particular, tend to be introverted. That’s part of
what makes them good at what they do. Why should they torture
themselves? Why should you?

Nevertheless, I think it can help to get a couple of good books on
marketing and publicity and see if you take to it. I don’t know any
good books on sales, since it’s not something I ever wanted to learn
about. My strategy was to have my stuff out there in the
community–at benefit auctions, etc.–and let the gallery owners come
to me. But then, I was really small potatoes. (If I had grown too big
for this, I would have done wholesale shows, not tried to be my own

One more thing: when I was a book publicist, I also hoped to write
my own book. My fantasy was that I would write under a pseudonym,
because that was the only way that I could imagine being my own
publicist. Someone once told a client of mine that I was the best
book publicist he had ever encountered: “enthusiastic and persistent,
without being pushy.” No way I could have maintained that style if I
had been publicizing myself. But I could have done it if nobody else
knew what I was doing. So… I wonder if some of you might benefit
from creating an alter ego. Just a thought.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US

I’ve been skimming this thread with the self-confidence that I was
immune to the disease of shyness. After reading Augest Derenthal post
I had a quick look at her web site and the 1st thing that struck me
was her extensive use of the third person. I looked at her jewellery
and thought that they were very nice, but way under priced. I was
thinking that she should at least triple (or more) the price, box
them very nicely and put her name all over them. Not a bad idea to
remove her continuous reference to her low prices since she wasn’t
competing with anyone else, They where exclusively her work and If
she didn’t value them, then nobody else would either.

With this though in mind I read Neil’s Post; “It’ clear the writer is
the artist speaking about his/herself in the third person” I realized
that I was deceiving myself. I also was guilty of using the third
person extensively.

For years I always wrote in the third person, Even my biographic
material was written by me in the third person. I remember one of my
masters asking me years ago why I didn’t write in the first person
and the feeling of insecurity that the idea of writing in the first
person gave me. I tried it a few time and just couldn’t pull it off.
Finally I adopted the idea of drafting everything in the third
person and then rewriting it With “I”. Boy was that uncomfortable.
And I have designed, created and sold over 60 million dollars worth
of my own work. I created some of the rarest jewels every made. For
the last 12 years every piece that I made was presold: paid for in
advance and delivered late. Usually the collector had very little
idea about what they had bought and besides I would change it as I
worked on it. I missed their birthdays, anniversaries and
Christmases, yet they still bought more pieces from me. I’ve created
pieces that have sold for nearly 1,000,000. dollars and hundreds
between $30,0000 and $100,000. most without any big stones. Each was
original, and yet I still have a problem with the “I” word. This is
why I refer= to myself as a Jewelmaker, and think of myself as a
designer. For the last few years I’ve been thinking of just putting
my name on a new gallery and I’ve begun signing everything more
boldly. Will I ever get comfortable with the first person, do I need
to? I don’t know, maybe that why I put so much into my work, maybe it
the work that is important, not me. I’m proud of my work, I would
like to be a perfectionist, but I haven’t got there yet.

One thing about these posts, they sure make you think. By the way
Augest I really like your work.

Dennis Smith - Jewelmaker

Hi Dennis,

Thank you very much for your insightful comments and for taking the
time to look at my work. I never really thought about writing in the
3rd person verses the 1st. When I designed the website, I wanted it
to feel as if someone else wrote the text and I did only the
jewelry, like I had some big burgeoning business and was simply too
busy to write about myself. LOl. Crazy, right? Perhaps I should
rethink my prices. Part of my philosophy includes pricing things
affordably so most people can buy them. I guess by that I mean,
people like me. Perhaps there is too much “me” in the businesss part
of this. I think you are right about the prices. I know people who
are poor as church mice that still go out and buy designer purses
that cost hundreds of dollars. Point taken! Thanks so much, Dennis.

Congratulations on all your success! I enjoyed reading your post.
It’s inspiring.

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs

a lady came up to me and told me how she liked the necklace I was
wearing, again I told her it was for sale, off it came, $$$$$s, and
she boarded the bus, with my card, also! While shopping at Lazy Boy
one day the sales lady commented on my earrings - same thing. Off
they came, $$$$$s, and I came home and made another pair! 

While I agree whole heartedly about wearing what you make and having
the ability to promote yourself and sell it on the spot.

I do draw the line with earrings.

I dont know about you, IMHO that is totally disgusting. Nothing like
handing over a pair of earrings with ear funk all over them. Those
with pierced ears (and other parts of the body) can attest to this.

PLEASE do not do this, 1) its unprofessional, and 2) its just nasty.
Lets take another look from a different viewpoint…the rings I
have in my nipples…would probably fit some peoples ears, now would
you feel comfortable putting those things in your body after they
have been in mine?

On a somewhat related note…dont let people try on earrings
either, lord knows if they have some sort of flesh eating bacteria
residing in their lobes just waiting to be passed onto someone else.
Holding them up to their ear will give them a good impression of how
they will be.

Sorry bout my little rant, but this really squicks me out.


I guess this falls under the topic of self-promotion and sharing of

I have written an article on making powder separation molds for
LAPIDARY JOURNAL. The article has been split into two parts. Part I
is in the current January issue and Part II comes out in the next
February issue. I’m afraid that you need both parts. Part I focuses
on the preparation and making of vulcanized plugs and begins the
actual mold making process. Part II continues the mold making

I was also asked to do something very short having to do with
soldering. So in a few months, most likely the June issue, I’ll have
a short article on making soldered ear wires. This article covers
some simple techniques on soldering jump rings to wires to make
shepherd’s hook ear wires and using tweezers as heat sinks.

Probably should have spoken up sooner since the January issue may
now be unavailable.

Donna Shimazu

Another thing I learned in the last couple of years that sunk in
this time (though I have heard it before I didn’t really “hear” it).
You cannot control anything anyone else says to you nor about you,
you can only control how you act towards what was said.

So what does that mean? If someone says something unpleasant about
your work think about it: if the person appears to be cheap and mean
then forget about it; if on the other hand the comment is from a peer
or other knowledgeable person act gracious (or at least polite) and
think about it later to yourself (and this is not often easy) and
assess whether the comment had merit. Slowly by listening to people’s
comments I have a better understanding of who is giving me a real
compliment/criticism and who is just mouthing what is in their mind
whether or not to be mean.

I first started by digging deep for courage to ask some of my
friendlier and regular clients why when they kept commenting on how
beautiful my jewellery was that they were not purchasing any (I also
sold rocks, crystals and minerals), they said that it could not be
real sterling as I my prices were too low. In later years I learned a
lot about my quality when I joined a metal arts guild and carefully
asked the opinions of various members, one at a time as I could only
take so much criticism, and learned how to improve my quality.

May those of you who feel they lack the ability to do what they wish
follow the Lion and the Scarecrow to find both their courage and
their heart are already inside waiting to be let out of their boxes
and be heard/seen.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada