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Finding your markets


#1

My wife and I have been making custom jewelry for ourselves and
friends for several years, mastering the techniques and searching
for that beginning design to strike out on our own with. We are now
marketing a line of sterling jewelry that Shea came up with this
spring. In the past 6 weeks we have found about a dozen stores in 3
states to purchase from us, and even the stores that couldn’t use
our product for one reason or another liked the design. Our
"marketing" has consisted of hitting a new town, going thru the
phone book for likely locations, and then approaching them in
person. This is not the most efficient way, since it has been about
50/50 whether anyone who could purchase was actually in the store
when we dropped by. So, we end up needing another trip for
interested locations.

We are convinced of the salability of our line, since all the
feedback we have received has been good. All of our sales have been
just that, we have not had to consign any pieces. We are getting our
marketing materials and website up and running now that our
preliminary test has convinced us we have a good product. Our
problem is that going in person to new towns is eating up the
profits! Of course, we expect to continue to do business with the
folks we have already sold to, so we don’t begrudge the expense
creating a new relationship - we are thinking long-term. But we
would like to find better ways to market our goods… several of the
gallery and store owners we have sold to mentioned “buyer’s
markets”.

We searched Ganoksin and have found websites for the Philadelphia
show, and the American Craft Council. My question is this: is a
buyers market appropriate for us? Or are there smaller regional
shows that might be good for us? We want to continue to grow, but we
are still feeling our way into this and would like to minimise our
mistakes.

We plan to do some of the art shows in Florida (where we are
located) and neighboring states, and we travel 3 or 4 times a year
from Florida to Texas and to North Carolina. Any help finding events
or locations to market our goods in these regions would be greatly
appreciated, along with any tips for folks starting out. We have
learned a lot from this forum, and hope to be able to help others
out in the future.

Thanks!

Offbeat Enterprises
Bob and Shea Hensley