This is exactly what is putting me out of business. Did fine
art shows for 16 years - and finally couldn't compete any more.
There are only so many jewelry dollars available at a show and,
if the judges can't tell the difference, how can you expect the
customer to know.
I have been in my booth next to dealers from Peru and Bali who
can claim their merchandise is hand-made (and it probably is - in
those countries by $1 a day people). They have been making the
same traditional designs for 100's of years and, with the help
of die striking, can put out a volume I can't even imagine. I've
seen them taking home $2,000-$3,000 from a two-day show, while I
sit there with my $300-$400 paying American bills.
This influx of foreign or third-world hand-made jewelry led me
to enquire from Customs the duties on imports. It turned out (3
or 4 years ago) that there is no duty on finished jewelry - but
there is duty on imported components of jewelry - findings such
as I was reduced to using in order to try to put out enough
volume so I could drop prices and try to compete.
Needless to say, this didn't work out - I hated it. Creativity
had become the least of my work instead of all of it. So I
stopped doing shows and took my business to the internet. Don't
know about all you artists out there, but I am not getting rich
this way either.
I receive many offers from other jewellers (sp? USA/Oz) to sell
my hand work wholesale - but how much can I discount $10 an hour
(which was a recent raise from an even lower figure) and still
survive. On my more important pieces - such as one-of-a-kind
necklaces with hand-made chains, I'm afraid to even price them
at that much - since they sometimes take as long as three days
(or more) constant work to execute. Tried to sell any hand-made
It's difficult to know what to do........
Nina - Silver Design, 9122 S. Federal Hwy, Suite 249,
Pt. St. Lucie, FL. 34952 : Toll Free:1-888-460-1800
: Email: @Nina