Jewelry - sales and marketing

Hi all, I am desparate for help. I love designing and fabricating
jewelry but I hate the sales end of things! People buy my stuff right
off my body and I do have a contract with the Metropolatin Museum of
Art to make 80 braclets i designed for them but I don’t like showing
my stuff. I’ll never make a living at it this way. Does anyone have
any suggestions on how to market and sell? I would love to hire a
sales rep. but have no idea how to find one. Any ideas? Help! Thank
you! Dawn

Hi Dawn, where are you located, if in the Western US, check out a
new site, it’s for Artists in the west, run by artists for artists.
good luck, cal.metalarts…

Hi Dawn, Sales and Marketing are always an important part of Jewelry.
It is neccessary to show your Jewelry to bring in more buyers.I would
suggest a small website that you can send customers to.If you require
a website, Please let me know as i have a friend who builds Jewelry
related websites . Daniel Grandi We do
casting and finishing for people in the trade.

Hi Dawn, I know that selling to either shops or directly to the public
is scary. Why don’t you like showing your stuff? It must be good
otherwise people wouldn’t want to buy it from you. Make a short list
of shops you would like to sell to. Telephone them for an appointment.
Go and see them, set out your prices and terms of sale. If the work is
good it will sell itself. It is far better for you to do the selling
yourself than hire a sales rep. People prefer to deal directly with
the maker. A rep could cost you up to 40% on top of your price plus
the shops profit. Good luck. Richard

Hi Dawn,

I have been facing a similar problem… I have 4 galleries
representing me right now, but the paychecks fall off during the down
season. I need east or west coast galleries. I too have never had
to approach a gallery, they have always approached me. It scares the
daylights out of me thinking about trying to do that.

I have been investigating the Designer Jewelry Showcase/ a book done
for gallery owners , and have been thinking about doing the Rosen
wholesale show in Philadelphia in Feb of 2001.

Any one have any thoughts about the above? I sure would appreciate
any feedback.

Thanks in advance, and thanks for all you Orchidians. I enjoy
lurking and learning every day.

Joan Dulla

Hello Shawn,

If you work for a museum,then your stuff can be that bad isn’t it. Why
do you not give it a try on auction ?contact Ebay and this will bring
you on a world scale.

Regards Pedro

Joan and Dawn, Consider joining a metalarts guild, you can learn a lot
about marketing your work by networking with other artists. Out guild
for example is hosting a workshop called Hands on Business, How to
market your jewelry"… It’s given by Lynn Guenther, a successful
artist/ business woman. I bet there are similar guild functions where you live.

That brings up a question… Has anyone tried selling on Ebay, and
how has it gone? I started out the year trying to maintain an Ebay
presence, five or so auctions a week, and gave up after a couple of
months because of lack of response. Low end, high end, didn’t matter.

Janet Kofoed

yes, I have tried Ebay… to sell carved bone faces that I no longer
use… They have done okay… recovered my wholesale and shipping but
not much else. I did try one of my jewelry pieces. There is really
no category that fits " fine art jewelry" and there wasn’t even a
bid. I think it is tough to sell something that you can’t touch and
see up close… especially something as personal as jewelry. I think
people are looking for bargains, or to get rid of stuff they no longer
want. I have purchase a few stones and some equipment off of Ebay,
and have been satisfied. My 2 cents…


Hello, Janet;

It takes more than “five or so” auctions a week to develop a presence
on Ebay. And it definitely takes longer than “a couple of months.” Be
sure your items are in the proper category. Some sellers make the
mistake of labeling virtually everything as “rare” or blatantly
misidentified; i.e., calling a broadfire pattern opal a harlequin. It
takes time, and it takes as many auctions as you can post in a week.
One more thing – you’ll be lucky to get 10% of wholesale, and that’s
normal for Ebay. Keep that in mind when you put prices on your items.

Just keep pluggin’ in there. You’ll eventually start selling more
than you relist.

Let me show you
This woman is my close friend and she started from NOTHING. She was
doing assembly work jewelry in a corner of her house and then one day
she wore her daughters doll chair around her neck as a necklace.
BOOM! The rest is history. She designs, and actually has someone
cast for her - Sterling miniatures and earrings etc,… and has
several reps around the US and even has her Sterling chairs and shoes
in the Smithsonian gift store. She has marketed herself BY HERSELF.
Sometimes spending an entire day on the phone and taking rejection
after rejection. She has made a way for herself and is an inspiration
to other designers that want to market themselves on a shoestring
budget. Although she is NOT a jeweler, she is a designer and business
woman that clears over $250,000 in sales each year now. ALL that from
a doll chair and a good design sense…I want what she’s having.

Andrea Streicher

   It takes more than "five or so" auctions a week to develop a
presence on Ebay. And it definitely takes longer than "a couple of

.I guess it’s like trying to photograph wild animals- you have to
stay in the blind until they get used to you But what do you mean,
“you’ll be lucky to get 10% of wholesale, and that’s normal for Ebay?”
Opening bid at that level? I’d be better off recycling my silver.

I guess I have an innate distrust of the auction form as a sales
medium for jewelry. I have a suspicion that most buyers who browse
Ebay are looking for that fantastic unbelievable bargain they’ve all
heard about on the news. I’ve heard from Ebay sellers on my arts and
crafts marketing forum that they’re having lots of trouble lately with
frivolous or prank bidders.

Janet Kofoed

Hi Joan, Thanks for the reply. I did indeed take an add out in
Designer Showcase…what a waste of money!! At least for me. I’ve
gotten no responce from the add since it appeared several months ago.
I too am thinking about the Rosen show or ACC shows. However, I’m
suffering from the “Imposter syndrome” and have been hesitant to
apply. I guess I should just bite the bullet and go for
it…maybe… Dawn

I tried ebay and yahoo(yahoo is free). For a while I was getting
results by Featuring the item in Ebay (cost about $15/item+ other
fees) and having 5 or 6 items up for auction and ea. item was a dutch
auction . It seemed that once a customer bid on a particular item,
then everyone else did also. If an item did not get a bid early on,
then no one would bid on it. ( I spent an average of $20 to sell an
item for $40…occasionally selling 2 or 3 and recovering some of my
cost)when I ran an accounting sheet, I found that my ebay bill came to
almost 1/2 of my sales. If i Included the amount of time that i spent
responding to questions,posting items and reposting items,trying to
collect money … paying ebays high fee’s I would have been in the red
side of the ledger book. I have met and gained some good customers,
many who have bought at least 2 items as they really liked the
product. Then , I met some customers who had heads made of cement…
they would bid on an item, win the item,I would send an invoice with
all the billing /shipping payment info, credit card info ,etc… and
they would reply asking how much the item was and when could they get
it… with these customers, it usually took about 7 emails over a
period of 2 months to finally collect. Another customer only read
their emails every 10 days…( If he did read them, he paid no
attention to them)he received my invoice with all the info, replied
to the email with the invoice attached asking when he would receive
it … I replied that it would be shipped as soon as he paid for it.
I emailed this reply with a copy of the invoice. 10 days later, i get
his name and a credit card number… no address , no tel # with a copy
of my invoice that has in bold red letters a statement that says
"please include your address /card number expiration date and phone
number " in the heading. I send him a reply stating I cannot ship
without an address and phone number. 10 days later… His wife sends me
a copy of all of this and a copy to him saying "Honey, I think this
man wants our address …love (her name).

10 days after this , I get a reply from him with all of the emails we
have exchange and his shipping address only( no Phone). Cement for
brains !!!

Out of every 10 customers i got at least 3 that where about as bad as
the one above. Remember that on ebay, you can’t offend the customer
in any way or they can report you and ebaywill probably boot you off
for a while.( didn’t happen to me). My Advice is that if you have
plenty of time on your hands and business is slow, then by all means
use the auction sites… It might pay for Dinner !!! Daniel Grandi