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How are "Holiday" sales?

I typed “holiday” in quotation marks somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Call it what you want–“Happy Holidays”, "Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah,
“Happy Kwanza”, Happy “Whatever”, most retailers would be DEAD IN THE
WATER without Christmas! I may make cover payroll, rent, expenses, &
my personal salary throughout the year, but CHRISTMAS is where I make
the majority of my profits for the year.

So I’m curious–how are the rest of you doing? In all honesty &
sincerity, I hope all of you are doing well & up over last year. But
speaking for myself, my sales are significantly down from Black
Friday to today. Interestingly, as objectively as I can be, I would
say that I’m fully stocked w/ the right products at the right price,
but yet I’m still down. I’m certain that traffic is down, but
not-so-certain that traffic is down to the degree that my sales are
down. Why my sales are down to the degree they are I don’t know. Real
estate market? War? Oil? Uncertainty of upcoming presidential
election? Unseasonably warm weather? I haven’t a clue…

Regardless, I’d be curious to hear how the rest of you around the
country are doing…

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!


Regardless, I'd be curious to hear how the rest of you around the
country are doing... 

Well, most of my Christmas season the last four years has been the
One of a Kind show here in Chicago, and this year I pretty much just
covered my show expenses (which means I actually lost money, of
course). Like you, I had the types of pieces I had reason to expect
to sell, many at the same prices as last year.

I did get word that my second teapot, which many of you saw on my
blog a while back, was sold at Mobilia, so that helps. Both teapots,
by the way, are in 500 Metal Vessels, as are pieces by Nanz &
Hratch, and probably other Orchidians-- I just got a copy yesterday.
A very handsome book, like all the 500 series.

I have “diversified” much more the last couple years, doing much
more writing and teaching, fewer shows. It’s kind of like buying
gold to hedge your stocks. As the economy goes down, more people
seem to want to learn to make their own stuff, so teaching is more
in demand. Unfortnately, I am not the only one to notice this, and
applications to teach have soared, so I’ve been offered fewer
classes for next year… Just when I thought I’d found a good
solution… sigh.


Sales are running behind last year (which was the best Christmas I’ve
ever had) but over 2005. We’ve been hit with two major snowstorms
that have had an impact on business. Most of my low end (my low end
is about $750 mind you) customers are nonexistent but higher end
people are still spending so I’m selling higher dollar items but
fewer of them. But remember it ain’t over until the fat lady sings
and I’ve had Christmases that were made on the day before Christmas.
Good luck to everyone on the last few days and it would be
interesting to run this thread again after the holiday (actually
after New Year’s is even better—we often have a strong week in the
week after Christmas).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

For me, its all in the custom. Good volume and good margins.

The “pick one out” variety of sales is not so good.

Two edged sword. Lower traffic but bigger ticket.

But overall, up from last year.

What I hear thru the local jeweler’s grapevine is that they are
singing the blues. "they’, being mostly straight retailers with no
shop of their own.

Hi, Doug,

I am wondering where in the country you are located. The weather in
the NE has been awful with severe ice storms for 2 of the 3 weekends
in December. More rain and wind is forecasted for the next weekend.
I used to do the outdoor Christmas markets in NYC and gave up because
just the rent for 3/4 weeks is over $11,000.00 for a decent spot.
You are basically renting a glorified tent with one heater and pretty
much exposed to the elements. At any rate, we stopped doing these
venues and have relied on weekend events. Well, this year we had so
far one weekend where the show was not canceled, so… not as good
as it could have been.

Anyone else responding, would you please give your location?

Thanks for asking!
Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Vera Battemarco
Couture Artisan Jewelry ™

So I’m curious–how are the rest of you doing? slow as a wet week,
that’s why I’m reading my emails… mind you won’t know about
consignment sales until Jan, and new orders have just come in now !

Christine in Sth Australia

My sales is down even from Nov. sales maybe if everyone that wanted
a repair or custom peace made picked up in the next few days I may
break even. I am down about 33% as of today

Don in Idaho

Our numbers are okay (not fabulous) but it’s a very weird Christmas.
Sales have been for lots of things having nothing to do with the
season–especially wedding rings. Also we’ve sold some pricey pieces
that were self purchases–not gifts. And my customers are definitely
spending less than in other years. Significantly less. I was pretty
well prepared for this having quite a large selection of more
reasonably priced pieces but we can’t help missing those big and
exciting sales. Also we are experiencing whole days with only one or
two people coming into the gallery the entire day this close to
Christmas. It’s odd.

Last week I went into San Francisco on my errand run and saw rafts
of salespeople in Saks and Barneys and Neimans standing around ready
to help – whoever. So I figured that it was some larger thing and
not just my little corner.

Reporting in from Mill Valley, CA,

The season started off very slow, but it has picked up toward the
end. I’ve been selling on, and that has helped a lot. It
seems like people were waiting until later to shop this year.

Janet Kofoed

I’m in West Texas and sales have been slower than last year. My last
show, Dec. 7, was dismal. I could have stayed home and thrown a few
pieces in the trash and come out the same. I am also running into
the problem of too many “jewelers” (stringing beads) in shows. Is it
proper to ask how many are being allowed before I apply for a show?


Down about 10% from last year’s dismal totals as of the same time of
the month. Traffic is down as well. Biggest problem this year is
people asking for diamonds that have to be special ordered, then not
bothering to come back and look. I don’t mind losing a sale, but
this is making me look again at charging a refundable deposit before
ordering stones. Besides, it’s just plain rude!

Jon Michael Fuja

I’m in West Texas and sales have been slower than last year. My last
show, Dec. 7, was dismal. I could have stayed home and thrown a few
pieces in the trash and come out the same. I am also running into
the problem of too many “jewelers” (stringing beads) in shows. Is it
proper to ask how many are being allowed before I apply for a show?


hello all

this certainly has been a hard year in general. February shows were
hard,thought I would get relief in summer shows,that was even
harder.and continued into November,but mid December it picked up and
has done double last year for me, mostly with Mid to higher end for
me (600- 2000 whlsle) I am not sure if i even want to figure it out
as to why, seems 2/3 of it is more special orders then what’s in the
inventory. i am in PA, and do most of my sales through Galleries and
stores around the country, and it is true to the 80% of your sales
are done through 20% of your client base.

I had also turned to teaching a while back for another venue, but
that quickly turned into a volunteer gig since most museums and
schools don’t have the financial strength to have you make a living
unless you are working full time. part timers need to have other
venues,which I also picked up a museum object exhibition Armacher set
up job through a Friend for 2008 as a fall back. it looks like rough
waters ahead, for a little while.

Hratch Babikian
AHB 54147
Philadelphia PA 19105

There was a Holiday Art Walk in the neighborhood - there were so few
people that it could have been any day of the week when most?
galleries here are closed. Sales are way off.? There isn’t much time
left before Christmas.? Are they all waiting till the day before?

So far, its been pretty good all year, and Christmas has been decent.
Not moving as much as I would like to, but do we ever? We are about
50/50 on in-house vs. bought goods. Colts SuperBowl watches have done
well, as well as sapphire/horseshoe pendants. Alot of $500 and down.
And alot of repairs, like always. Shoppers have needed cash so I have
bought alot of gold and silver scrap, too. Personally, its been a
very tuff year tho, had 2 close relatives die since August. In the
meantime, we were doing a remodel/ redecorate at store, so its been
rather hectic. I am definitly looking forward to a new year, maybe a
cruise or something.


Is it proper to ask how many are being allowed before I apply for a

In a word No.

I did three holiday shows with disappointing results. In the first
two I had one save make the show. Got skunked on the third. I don’t
think it was the economy as much as being in the wrong show. I
recently placed some of my high end work ($500 to $1500) in a gallery
and it is doing well and selling at 3-5 times what I had it priced at
and at 50% commission I’m happy and the gallery owner is ecstatic. I
love when she selects pieces of my work. She oohs and aahs then looks
at what I have it priced at, shakes her head, and says, “Maybe in
your world but not in mine.” Then prices it at what I think is an
exorbinant price. But who am I to judge? It sells.

I’ve always thought of myself as more of a craftsman and not so much
an artist. I didn’t feel comfortable representing myself as an
artist. But when a person falls in love with a piece of work the
purchase becomes an emotional event. One of my pieces sold while I
was in the gallery and the lady was truly moved by the piece and
meeting the person who made it and hearing how I have lapidary saws
cutting slabs 10-16 hours of day looking for that one piece to work
with. Maybe it’s all marketing but I kinda like it. Good thing my
studio has a big front door (garage) otherwise my head might not fit.

I am also running into the problem of too many "jewelers"
(stringing beads) in shows. Is it proper to ask how many are being
allowed before I apply for a show? 

Yes, it is a fair question to ask. Quality shows will limit the
number of entries to a category. If they don’t it’s a bead bazaar,
run away! But that makes it all that much harder to get into good
shows. You need to have quality jury photos that really pop to get
yourself noticed above the flood of beads and dichroic glass…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado


I have been reading this thread with interest. I was wondering how
everyone felt about the “online” aspect of modern marketing. I myself
have done 90% of my shopping on my laptop. Are customers starting to
buy their mid-price jewelry online? Daniel mentioned that his
"average" sale price customer (750 avg.) was not there this season.
Neil mentioned that he was making higher dollar amount sales. I am in
the Northeast as well and there really was no shopping last week
(weather). It would be interesting to find out how people do this
coming weekend. Then again, weather’s been no factor for the husbands
anyway…they don’t usually shop until the 23rd, right? :slight_smile: Anyway, is
anyone working on e-commerce?

Kim Starbard

Here in the midwest, it’s sloooooooow going, they are just straggling
in and wanting Shopco prices. Sales are about the same as last year,
for the week…not the month. For December, Quickbooks says we are
down about 15%. I think that’ll change in the next day or two as
packages arrive for the special orders. Other than that, we are going
absolutely crazy trying to get the one of a kind and custom orders
done!!! If I could stretch time, I would cast another dozen waxes and
just walk around with the rough castings …sold three rings in a
week that were fresh outta the steel shot after casting!!! It seems
this year that silver is the metal so far, and colored stones beating
diamonds. Is this local or are y’all doing better on colored

Tim in small town Nebraska

Bobbie I recently did a show in NYC (although it could have been
anywhere i guess) and I over heard a couple of ladies talking about
not buying any clasps at the show and just ordering them from China
because they could buy them for 50 cents apiece, when I heard that, I
realized I was defineately selling at the wrong show selling to the
wrong customer base. Probably the same for you.