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How does one know what the customer wants?


#1

Was: How to get Michelle Obama to wear your jewelry

Kevin,

Mike, how does one know what the customer wants?

I usually know what the customer wants by listening to them. I can
always offer suggestions, but I find if you really, really listen to
your customers you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. It helps, too, in
the case that what they want is something you don’t do, to listen
enough to know this quickly, so you can redirect them to someone who
will be able to help them out, so you don’t waste a lot of precious
time with someone who you can never really help.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#2
Mike, how does one know what the customer wants?

I’m just a retired jarhead. if I knew that I’d probably be rolling
in the dough. Don’t all the sales analysis companies struggle with
that very same question? My guess is that one knows what the customer
wants by observing what the customer buys. Pithy and trite, but I
have nothing better to offer.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


#3

it all boils down to what the major vendors advertise in their
catalogs and how attractive their returns policies are on
merchandise that doesn’t move in a given periodd of time…Journey
jewelry is a prime example, eternity bands, mother rings, trendy
unoriginal mass marketed stuff that is then slightly modified and
trademarked and mass produced, then sold to wal-mart ( the world’s
largest seller of gold jewelry according to the MJSA, NJN, and IDEX
among others) and Jared Freidmans Zales etc… real designer jewelry
and art jewelry is partially based on talented individuals realizing
current trends in fashion, architecture, life-styles and meeting the
challenge of matching the design to the market that they are
targeting… You can subscribe to a number of free trade only
magazines that help you discover projected trends in fashion
accessories and design as well as metals and technology based
equipment with jewlery applications centred publications… and
reading through tons of catalogues from currently popular retailers
like Neiman-Marcus, Artful Home, Blue Nile ( though they sell after
it was new/ old trends stuff), and following sites like Jewelry TV
online to keep track of their bestsellers.


#4
I usually know what the customer wants by listening to them.

Pretty simple… If someone wants to make art, then that’s
perfectly fine and you can do what you want. If someone wants to
have a thriving business making and selling jewelry, then they have
to make what people want to buy. You will never, never, ever make it
by telling people that “they don’t understand your work”. They
understand it, they just don’t like it enough to buy it. Pretty
simple…

You can sell anything once. Having a sense of design that touches
people and compels them to give you money is another thing. What
people DON’T want: rings that snag on things, scratch their babies,
don’t allow them to put their hands in their pockets, pendants that
leave grooves in their necks. They want jewelry that they are not
aware of while they are wearing it - visually, yes, maintenance, no.

As I say in a blog entry, people want macaroni and cheese. They want
steak and potatoes, maybe with broccoli or carrots on the side. Or a
nice piece of fish. That does NOT mean they want frozen, cookie
cutter things.

Make your own macaroni, use cheese from a cave in the Andes and
butter from a certain cow in southern France. Bake it in a brick
oven with exotic hardwood chips… If you want to make a snail,
rattlesnake and grass casserole, well, you may feel all pleased with
your abilities, but you’ll find few takers for actually eating the
thing… And craftsmanship is king…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5

Most of the time the customer DOESN’T know what they want. They just
want to be “correct” in their choice. It’s the pits but it is a
fact!

John Dach


#6

I usually know what the customer wants by listening to them. I can
always offer suggestions, but I find if you really, really listen to
your customers you’ll…

There are complete programs out there designed for just your
question. I believe a good place to start is (TRIZ) Innovation.
Goggle TRIZ and or Innovation and you will find a plethora of sites.
Your key word is VOC voice of the customer. You could also check out
Six Sigma they work well with Innovation to produce documental
results.


#7
I usually know what the customer wants by listening to them. I can
always offer suggestions, but I find if you really, really listen
to your customers you'll figure it out pretty quickly.

There’s a (maybe large) sub-category of customers that do not know
what they want.

They know they want something, and it’s enough of a pull to get them
in the door, but after that you must go through a process with them
to determine what will make them happy.

I start out quite simply: What color do you like, yellow or white?
What do you - or whoever you’re buying for - wear? What shapes are
your favorites? Are you thinking of a ring? A pendant? Earrings? Do
you like a more modern look, or maybe more classical? Do you have a
budget in mind?

After these three minutes of questions, the customer is focusing in
on the idea of actually getting something, or not. And play time’s
over - let’s get to the next step of designing your (you now know)
two-tone pendant with a row of three princess cut sapphires in a
classical style. More straight lines than curves, maybe an art deco
flavor. $700.00 budget, and oh yeah, he needs it by June 29th, their
30th.

Start sketching,
Pete


#8
My guess is that one knows what the customer wants by observing
what the customer buys. Pithy and trite, but I have nothing better
to offer.

My question would be "Do you want to make what you see people buying?

There are artists that make work from an internal place. There are
artists that learn techniques to find a way to externalize an
internal process, the result is about creativity, not product.

This requires a commitment to a process that involves choosing to not
compromise. It also involves a belief system similar to the “build it
they will come”.

Duality is knowing what you want to create but being constricted by
your own thought process of not understanding where the support comes
from for you to accomplish your goal. When your goal is the creation
of your art to the exclusion of the how, releasing the part of you
that is objective about what is practical, practice art for art, you
are your support, and your work and your customers are your
validation.

It is a journey to find how this happens. I see artists who live this
reality.

There are people who have never done anything commercial. If what you
know does not take you where you want to go, change what you know.

If you are getting satisfaction from what you do, there is nothing to
change. If you feel you are chasing a dream of what to make to be
"successful" perhaps practice gratitude for the gifts you have to
express regardless of how you perceive your work in relation to what
others do. Have an intention of allowing your creativity to express
the truth of who you are as a unique expression from the mind
of…(God for some, fill in your concept) more fully each and every
day.

Gratitude and intention are more powerful than any technique. You
want to make money, get a job. I have always made the choice to look
at the work I do for customers is to get paid to play, create, learn
new techniques, get paid to screw up and do it over, all for the
practice so I could get good enough to do what I want to do, having
all the tools, skills, and techniques so I can do what what I want
the way I want when I make work that is not commercial. There is work
I do to stay alive, there is work I do that is what I live for.

And that is the truth for myself as I know it.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#9
There are artists that make work from an internal place. There are
artists that learn techniques to find a way to externalize an
internal process, the result is about creativity, not product.

Richard works out the issue very well, I think. I was talking to a
pretty renowned metalsmith just last month. His wife is quite
famous… He was not complaining - bemoaning - the fact that some
gallery had returned work and there were some politics. They don’t
make a living making jewelry and objects - they pay the rent by
teaching, as many do. I said (by way of conversation) “Everything I
make is already sold…” And he replied that he sure wished he could
work like that… Do you want to be a starving artist or do you
want to have a successful business and career? That’s a fundamental
question, and the answer will be individual. My own take is that you
cannot be a jeweler without cash flow, unless you are alr eady
wealthy or subsidizing it with your day job.

When I made turquoise jewelry in Albuquerqe years (nay - decades…)
ago, I had carte blanche. I had access to a hundred pounds of silver
and thousands of carats of turquoise and any other stones I wanted,
and permission to make anything I wanted. We had a retail store but
dealers would also come through and buy quantities at dealer prices.
One time I delivered 12 men’s rings, and said I’d made a mistake
because they were huge ring sizes. A dealer sitting there said,
“That’s ok, I’ll take them…” Scooped up all 12, on the spot. I’d
go behind the counter and watch the dealers picking out 50 rings…
“I made that one, and that one, and that one…” They’d just
cherry pick my work out of the trays…

And I can’t really tell you why - my work has always flown off the
shelves. Much of it is fundamental craftsmanship - quality work and
pieces made with a higher level of skill and realization than the
work around it.

Just as a basic solitaire is boring, so is yet another dome of
silver on a wire shank. Excellence excels.

More to the point, I’ve also been very good (as another said, too)
at making jewelry FOR people. When you make your expression, that’s
your expression. Very often people don’t want your expression, they
want their own expression and it’s your job to help them find and
execute that for them.

Much of it is ego, unfortunately. I would say that I don’t have an
ego in the sense that I’m a whore- I’ll make anything for anybody,
anytime.

Their design, my design, our design. I just don’t care… It’s
business and I lost my idealism even before most around me did…
And it’s fishing - you can tie a tin can on a fishing line and sit
there waiting for a trout to hit, or you can put a fly that looks
like trout food on there instead. It’s up to you…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com