Hi folks, Beth Pierson here. I’m a sales person for Designer Jewelry
Showcase. So, of course, I wanted to respond to some of the points
that Larry brought up. See my comments interspersed with his.
I placed an ad in DJS 2000. It is the first year that I have
advertised in it or any other magazine/publication...
The DJS book has only been out since late February. It is still early
in the year to be trying to evaluate its success. MANY times we have
talked to some of our advertisers at this juncture and they’ve had
some response, but perhaps not great. When we talk to them a little
later in the year, sometimes just a couple of months later, we find
they are very pleased. It takes awhile to turn inquiries into sales,
for one thing. Also this book is not like a magazine. It is used
throughout the year, and probably in later years, too. These don’t
get tossed after just a couple of weeks, and you can’t evaluate it the
way you would Niche, for example.
Many of the stores have told us they keep the book on their counter
and allow their customers to go through it. Often the store is
limited in how much inventory they can stock, but they want their
customers to have access to the really unusual pieces in DJS. You may
get some special orders this way.
I was talking with a designer last week who told me that she’d just
been to the Vegas show. She asked a lot of people about our book and
she said one comment she heard repeatedly was that the book performs
better the longer you are in it. You can certainly expect to do
better the second and third years. I’ve been told this is also a
well-accepted fact about doing shows, too. The buyers are maybe a
little hesitant when they’ve never seen you before and feel more
comfortable in the following years.
This is a basic principle of advertising anyway. You don’t run just
one TV commercial. And all the various facets of your marketing are
designed to work together.
Often I’ll hear someone say, “Of course so-and-so (a well-known
jeweler) does well in DJS, they’re well known!” Well, yeah, that’s
true. But how do you think they got to be well-known? Part of it was
consistently doing all the marketing: Going to the bigger shows,
advertising in DJS and other print media, sending out postcards or
handing them out at shows. Eventually they also have enough accounts
that you tend to see their work around a lot. ALL of this reinforces
the rest of their image. They didn’t start out well-known; they got
there through hard work and investment-spending.
However, I have been somewhat disappointed in that all of the
responses to date have been either for additional >i.e.,
"please send me your catalog" via my email address, which I >supplied,
or consignment requests.
There are definitely advantages to using a website or email address on
your promotional materials, but as Larry found out, there are also
If you consider how the typical phone call happens with a buyer, you
see where the problem lies. They’ll either ask quickly for a catalog
(without telling you where they saw you! UGH!), or they’ll ask for
the price of a particular piece and hang up! UGH, again!
Ideally you want to ask THEM questions before you answer theirs. Find
out what kind of store they have, what kind of customers, what kind of
price points, where did they see you? That way you can answer them
intelligently. If you have multiple lines, you might steer them
toward the one that’s most appropriate. If you only have one line,
you might be able to make up the pieces with less expensive materials,
if that is all they can manage. Even if they aren’t immediately
interested, you probably want to add them to your mailing list. If
they took the time to contact you at all, they are definitely
interested in your work.
When you are contacted by email, you have no opportunity to talk with
them and make a sale. Sales don’t just happen, they are made by
finding out how you can help them. Sometimes you never get their
address, so you can’t even add them to your mailing list.
I made a decision several years ago that my work was just too
costly and my capital too small to afford to do much consignment.
Plus, I have had very poor results with consignment (as has been a
frequent subject of orchid posts of >mine).
I think you have to make a distinction between the consignment you
don’t want and the consignment you DO want. Your decision can be
based on many things: the caliber of the gallery, their reputation
for paying reasonably quickly, the caliber of other artists you would
be displayed with, the caliber of the customers who would be buying
Many times you can reach a compromise with a gallery where they buy
some pieces, and you let them have others for a limited time on
consignment. This would at least pay for your materials upfront and
also show some good faith on the part of the gallery.
I’m not trying to sell anyone on consignment, but we have had very
positive feedback from some jewelers who were able to make very good
money from even one account, and do so with minimal hassle. Certainly
you can have your work out there much more widely than if you are
selling it yourself retail.
Further inquiries I made have found that for higher end
jewelers, DJS is not very effective. Others who I have contacted
who sell > more silver/gold mix and other media have given rave
As you all probably know, there are three tabbed sections in the
Designer Jewelry Showcase book: Gold-Platinum, Silver and Mixed
Media. We have very successful designers in each section. While it’s
true that you will probably sell more pieces at the lower price
points, it’s also true that it takes less sales at the higher end to
make your effort worthwhile.
I was talking with a guy last year who was very solidly in the very
upper end of the market and he knew ALL of the chi-chi galleries. I
had a print-out in hand of our book distribution, and he and I walked
through some of the nicer markets: The Hamptons, Aspen, Santa Fe,
Beverly Hills, areas of San Francisco, and so on. He said we had done
an outstanding job of assembling our list, that all of the main
galleries he wanted to reach were there. So our book is certainly
being seen by the right people to buy the more expensive pieces.
I just flipped through the books from 1999 and 2000, reviewing the
comments we’ve received from the advertisers. (We haven’t even talked
to all of our advertisers this year, so I don’t have current feedback
from all of them.)
Looking just at the Gold-Platinum section, I see LOTS of advertisers
who seem pleased. In no particular order, here are some that seem to
be the higher end within this section: Just Jules, Gordon Aatlo,
Patricia Daunis, James Binnion, Zaffiro, Canmore Creations, Doni,
Steven Hamm, Carolyn Tyler, Alexandria Moseley, Penelope Kay, Toni
Budelier, Metal Art Studio. If you have access to a copy of the book,
you can check out their work.
Thanks! Sorry I went on so long. You know us sales people, we like
Designer Jewelry Showcase