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Jewelry sales and marketing

Yeah, marketing is scary to me, too. It’s never nice to think about
being rejected. I am very shy and hate getting out in front of people,
but you have to if you want to make money.

The single biggest thing you can do for yourself is to get REALLY
GOOD slides made of your work. Then make a bunch of dupes. You can
(and should…no, you must) draft a nice cover letter with a
description of yourself and your work, along with a sleeve of a few
slides, including descriptions of the work. It’s like applying for a
big show but with a resume attached. It’s also savvy to include some
comments about what items sell the best in what price ranges. That
demonstrates to a gallery that you’ve actually sold stuff before and
you understand the market. It makes you an ally, which is a good
position to be in.

Then send those letters to galleries you’d like to represent you.
Make sure you have the name of the right person; you can get those
lists from Rosen, I am sure. Give them a week or so after you mail the
letter, then call for a followup. Eventually you either have to meet
the gallery owner face to face or send some stuff for him/her to see,
but if you keep it about the work it isn’t too scary to deal with

And galleries are always interested in the background of your work.
They like to know what the process is for making the jewelry and
appreciate any narrative you can provide to go along with the piece
(at least for my stuff, which is mostly off loom beadwork and not
intriniscally precious). It increases the perceived value.

And, oh yeah, make sure you’ve thought through your wholesale prices.
The “c” word sometimes comes up with a new retailer…that’s
"consignment." My personal opinion is that, if you are confident in
the quality and marketability of your work, you should never consign.
It reduces your working inventory, doesn’t make you any money, and
requires you to babysit the work. It’s just my opinion…

Just keep this in the front of your mind while you’re doing any
marketing: Galleries don’t make any money unless they have fabulous
stuff to sell, and they’re not doing you a favor by taking your work
because if they sell it they get plenty of moola, too.

Amy Karash
fine craft beadwork

Hello Amy,

This subject on photography caught my attention.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to put images of gems on my web

I know some of the problems associated with photographing gems, and
think I have the lighting figured out.

But what camera/lens. Digital still or digital video? Minimum

Hiring a pro is not a viable option for me. Any suggestions from

Dave Webster

Charles Lewton-Brain has a book: Small Scale Photography, outlining
the principles and techniques of photographing jewelry (not gems per
se). He also has a video on the subject. I’ve looked at both and
found them very well done. He recommends a 35mm SLR and photofloods.
His homemade setup he claims can be put together for around $100
(excluding camera, of course!)

** Hanuman’s Response **

Check out for extracts from
this great book

I would like to second the recommendation of Charles’ system. And I
think it can be put together for less than $100.00. I don’t think I
spend that much. I use a box made of foam core (comes apart) and
found the light stands at garage sales. The results are fabulous.
Once you get the system set up, doing your pictures is relatively
easy. It did take a while for me to gather the stuff, do a test
roll; but it is so worth it.

Northern Illinois, USA
(back on Orchid after an absence!)