i wish... but noone seems to want to buy the "junk" pieces
bc they want a higher quality, but everyone says that the higher
quality ones are "too expensive." rock, hard place.
“Inexpensive” does not have to mean “junk”. I sell an awful lot of
$15 earrings - and almost feel guilty for it sometimes since they
often have about $2 worth of material in them. I also have a line of
cheaper sterling stuff that is basically just assembled, where the
only thing I actually made was the earwire. These go for about $7 to
$8 (and they’re also under a totally different label). They actually
usually have higher material costs than the stuff I fabricate from
scratch - but they sell, and they get people looking at the other
stuff in the case as well. They start off looking at the $7 or $8
stuff and end up buying a $15 or $20 pair of earrings instead. My
cheaper stuff is not cheap LOOKING. I make sure to pay attention to
what is locally available (yes, I do check out WalMart not because I
am competing with them but because I CAN’T) and make sure what I
offer is DIFFERENT. And appealing.
It’s not art, but it does sell.
Eventually I’ll branch out into more innovative (and more expensive)
items, but right now I’m just plain not physically set up for it -
no torch, no kiln, no way to fabricate my best designs - yet. That’s
part of the 5 year plan. Not the ONE year plan.
Have you participated in a local craft fair?
cant afford the table fees OR the supplies to make stock
pieces. i'm totally stuck and have no idea how to get out! i cant
make money unless i go to fairs, but cant go to fairs unless i have
You need to take a day job and save up enough money to live on for at
least a year. You need to take the time to identify crafts fairs that
would showcase your line and not bury it. You need to evaluate
whether or not you are willing to go into PRODUCTION, which would
require a larger variety than what you currently have listed on your
website. Not to mention a large stock. You need to actually have
that stock on hand.
All of that has to be financed. The most likely way for you to do
that is via a day job.
I have heard the average business takes 2-3 years to get going
[making a profit],
man, i dont care about proft, perse, i care about eating. and
not being evicted. and that's looking rather difficult right now.
i'll settle for eating.
Well, you can’t eat if you’re not making a profit. And frankly,
given the startup costs involved, especially if you’re going to go
into actual metal working as opposed to the wire-wrapping/beading
sort of thing you have on your website right now, I personally don’t
expect to actually turn a profit for at least FIVE YEARS, and I fully
expect to lose money for at least the first three. Because every
cent in profit I take in right now has to be plowed right back into
the business, either in the form of tools or supplies/stock.
what are your goals? 1 year, 3 year, 5 year
i do not understand? my goals are to make enough money to eat
and pay bills. everything other than that is gravy.
This is probably going to seem harsh to you, but its high time for a
reality check here. You’re trying to make a living off your jewelry.
Yet you haven’t bothered to sit down and do any sort of cost
analysis or make a business plan. You seem to equate “making a
profit” with having disposable income - that ain’t gonna fly. Making
a profit means taking in more money than you spend ON THE BUSINESS.
If you take in ONE PENNY MORE than you had to spend on theh business,
you’ve made a profit. Period paragraph.
Your living expenses come out of profit. Making a living requires
specific levels of profitability. Have you identified how much money
you need to live? Have you even identified how much money you need
just to keep your business itself out of the red?
You say you realize that most businesses are not profitable in the
first two to three years, yet you turn right around and ask why
you’re not profitable after a few months.
If you want to make enough money to pay rent and buy food and
clothing, that requires a level of profitability. You need to
identify that level of profitability and come up with a plan to
Your expectations are very far out of line with reality. Consider
that you are living the reality now and you will see that this is
Doesn’t mean you can’t EVER make a living selling jewelry, but its
surely unrealistic to just up and quit your day job and expect to be
making rent right away.
did you stop your telemarketing job completely and begin selling
jewelry full time?
yes i did. i had been trying to manage doing full time day job
and pursing this at night, as well as do day job part time and
devote other spare time to this. nothing was making any headway bc
i did not have the necessary "business hours" time to devote to
getting anything productive done. so i took the leap.
I do believe you leaped without looking. You’re not making any
headway now because you weren’t making any headway before. As a
therapist friend of mine recently said, “Past performance is the
best indicator of future performance”. If you weren’t making any
headway before, why should you be making any headway now? Merely
throwing more time at it isn’t a marketing strategy. Or a profitable
it would be lovely to be able to pay for qualified targeted
advertising that people SEE but as i cant even buy supplies to make
stock, thats rather difficult.
Which is why you should not have quit your day job (at least not
I’m currently working three part time jobs. Every spare penny I have
goes towards stock and tools. I’m in the red businesswise and expect
to stay there for at least three years. I expect it to take at least
5 years to actually break even (eg pay for all my tools and supplies
purchased up to that point) and start showing a (small) profit.
I HOPE to be able to quit one of my part time jobs by the end of the
year. We’ll see when we get there whether or not that is still
In the meantime, my stuff IS selling through a local artist’s co-op.
It’s been a long start-up time, but the moment of my first sale has
come and gone. In the past I have been able to sell absolutely
everything I ever made, including offers on my very first pieces
which I have not parted with but do still wear. “Past performance is
the BEST INDICATOR of future performance”, and I have past
performance to indicate the likelihood of my future success.
Nevertheless, I am NOT QUITTING MY DAY JOBS, and in fact went out
and scared up a job that will help me to continue to develop my
jewelry business (working as a polisher and jack-of-all-trades for
some former silversmiths who now have a production business in large
statuary). My day jobs are financing me through this period of
startup. The only other options for financing your startup are
winning the lottery, coming into a large inheritance, robbing a bank,
or saving up the money for two to three years operating expenses and
living expenses before you quit your day job.
Only one of the aforementioned options is even remotely realistic.
can you tell me what is in your marketing support materials?
i do not understand what you mean by marketing support
Again, were you NOT PAYING ATTENTION to your business classes?
Boot to the head. Reread the above paragraphs and take stock of
your current situation.
competition for selling jewelry is really hard. What does
Jennifer do that is different from everybody else?
my construction and handcraft quality are excellent, my
designs are unique, and i only utilize high quality materials.
I’m not going to fault your construction quality, in fact your wire
wraps look better than mine do.
However, your designs are nice but not really unique. Furthermore,
I recognize many of the components from the Fire Mountain Gems
catalogs. They’re probably available from other places as well, and
frankly I myself do buy some things from Fire Mountain (though I’m
VERY CAREFUL about checking the descriptions and I don’t use most of
it in my higher quality work).
Howlite of any kind is not “high quality material”. Chip and
tumbled pebbles have a definite place in jewelry, especially when
used for contrast and in interesting combinations, but its not “high
There’s nothing WRONG with any of this stuff and you do clearly
identify it. But if its not generating sales (or rather ENOUGH
sales), you need to reconsider your product line. You need to expand
the different styles available (just showing pictures of different
cabs to go in the same setting is not “product expansion”). You need
to show a variety of different products - TRULY different products,
not 12 variations on a beaded wire-wrap earring.
You need better pictures - most of the pics are washed out and I
can’t tell aventurine from moonstone. And you need to drop the Goth
color scheme. If I had actually been shopping and not looking at
your website in order to evaluate it, I’d have clicked out right
from the main page. There’s nothing of interest there for the
shopper. As a shopper, I could care less about the growth and
development of your website, or even who you are. I WON’T care
unless and until you make me care by showing me your work up front,
up close, and personal, and right away - not multiple clicks into the
When you click on one of the other artists, none of their art comes
up - you just change the side bar. DON’T MAKE YOUR SHOPPERS WORK TO
FIND THE STUFF YOU WANT TO SELL! Make it attractive. Use color in
your website. Black doesn’t make anything on that site pop except
possibly a vein in somebody’s head somewhere. It’s annoying and
unnattractive. Take it from a Real Web Designer, your site needs an
attractive color scheme to showcase your work. Go right to the work
and let the expository stuff about yourself and your website sit out
at the sidebar waiting for somebody who cares enough to click on it.
My first impression of your website is that I see a lot of black
and white and an abundance of text. Inviting and soothing colors
keep people wandering around your pages. Black and white can be
black was chosen for a dramatic backdrop for the jewelry, to
make it pop more without distractions. the rest of the website is
supposed to be stark in contrast to the jewelry. yours is honestly
the first negative comment i've heard on it, most people compliment
me for the look of the site. but everyone's got their preferences.
Yup, they sure do. And this is NOT WORKING FOR YOU. The proof is in
the pudding - you’re not making the sales you want. Now you’ve had
more than one negative comment about it, and several constructive
suggestions for how to change it.
i've had nearly every other retail and service industry job
you can think of. i just cant do it anymore. i'm a sales wizard and
constantly praised for my work, when in a sales or customer
service position, but my most recent job, working for a copier
service and supply center, it got to the point where if i even had
to LOOK at another case of toner, i was going to scream.
You need to do SOMETHING to bring in money during your startup
phase. It doesn’t HAVE to be something you hate, but it also doesn’t
have to be something that sends you into paroxysms of joy 24/7. It
just has to be something that feeds you and pays the rent.
Heck, I quit the computer biz 7 years ago. I used to make more in a
month than I made all last year. I hated it. I now work
(physically) ten times as hard as I ever used to, for way less filthy
lucre, and I really hate at least one of my three jobs (well actually
its the boss person who drive me crazy, you know, the one who broke
my Tri-cord Knotter CD because she had a temper tantrum), but its
what I need to do right now to get other things off the ground, so I
You’re going to have to get some sort of job somewhere, or
starve. That’s reality. You need to accept that its going to TAKE
TIME to get a jewelry business off the ground, and that you need a
source of income in the meantime. So go out and get one.
Here's another suggestion (apologies in advance if you perceive
this as rude, it is not my intention) be professional. This
includes corresponding professionally whether it is using email or
another means (capital letters, spell check, etc.). Your email may
be the only way others will generate an opinion of you - keep that
i spellcheck all professional correspondence, as well as
capitalization. this is a mailing list of peers. i did not know it
was necessary. if my casual style amongst peers is not well
Honestly, I find it off-putting. Basically you’re telling us that
you can’t be bothered to attempt to communicate in a clear and
professional manner. Poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation isn’t
"casual". It’s just obscure and difficult to read. And this is a
list of PROFESSIONAL peers - don’t you want to present yourself AS a
professional, and therefore a peer? But do as you please.
while i completely understand that most businesses do not ramp
into the black for 2-3 years, i'm just looking for treading water
right now. all i want is to sell my art, eat, and not get evicted.
my goals are very modest. i am not a terribly extravagant or
That’s not a modest goal. You want to make enough money to live
on. Conservatively, I would estimate that you probably need at
least $8,000 a year to cover rent, transportation, food and clothing,
not to mention medical expenses.
Keeping a business “in the black” means that the business brings in
enough to meet all the expenses of running it. If you truly
understand that a business is not going to be running “in the black"
for at least 2 to 3 years, then why do you insist on believing that
YOUR business should be the exception to the rule, not only to run
"in the black” from the get go, but also to provide you with $8,000
to $10,000 a year for living expenses?
also, how does one obtain startup money when ones credit is in
One works for it. One gets a job and saves like a mother. Possibly
one gets TWO jobs and saves like a mother. One foregoes most
recreational pursuits and one devotes one’s self to developing one’s
art in one’s spare time (spare time being that time not actually
spent at a job or asleep). One does not expect acclaim and adulation
to fall from the sky merely because one feels one has an artistic
vision. One understands that one may need to take the time to develop
that artistic vision and the technical skills to express it to the
point where one can actually share it with others, rather than
expecting to impose it upon others for immediate gain.
i've had so many people look down their nose and say "oh, we
dont accept *crafters*", as if it were some sort of contagious
disease and they wanted me to go away before they caught it, or as
if i were some sort of lower life form, than someone who paintball
guns a canvas or welds random pieces of metal together at odd
I agree with the latter comment to a certain extent, but frankly what
I see on your website IS “crafting”. Which is fine. Whatever sells.
But it is really not realistic to expect to get an arts grant based
on the examples you’ve shown us on your website. Possibly you have
many as-yet unrealized (or at least unposted to your website)
artistic visions - I’m not saying you don’t. I’m just saying I don’t
see them on your website.
If its any comfort, I don’t consider most of the jewelry I sell to
be “art”. And when I do get ramped up enough to start working in
actual metal art, I doubt most of it will sell all that well. I’m
not Cynthia Eid, or Charles Lewton-Brain, or Tim McCreight, or …
just about any truly artistic metal worker on this list. And at my
age, its doubtful I’ll ever BE on their level or anywhere close to
it, simply because its too late in life for me to expect to develop
my technical skills to their level of excellence.
You’re young and have plenty of time to develop your “art” and the
skills to support it. But be realistic in setting your goals. In
order to be able to evaluate your work AS A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LINE,
you are going to have to separate yourself from it and evaluate it
OBJECTIVELY as a PRODUCT and not as a bit of your soul. And right
now, what you are showing on your website is not interesting or
unusual enough to expect somebody on an arts council somewhere to
hand you over a check for $500, let alone $10,000.
Doesn’t mean you can’t SELL it, but keep in mind that something you
can sell and “art” aren’t necessarily the same thing. If your goal
is to support yourself, you are going to HAVE to consider primarily
the former. If your goal is to develop your “art”, then you should
resign yourself to you supporting IT, not the other way around.
Best wishes, and good luck in your future endeavors.