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One-of-a-kind jewelry sales


#1

Those of you who make one-of-a-kind pieces and sell rather small
scale (not mass produced), would you mind to share how your gallery
sales/shows are going now compared to a few years ago.

I stopped doing art shows except for our local show here in Midland,
Texas, because my husband had to go with me and we both missed work
(I am a part-time pharmacist). Other considerations made shows a poor
return investment for me. Our local show was pitiful this year.
Attendance was way, way down.

I am kind of at a loss as to what to do next to try to market my
wares. Not much reason to make it if it just sits.

Thanks for sharing,
Sue
http://www.jseenameljewelry.com


#2

I only do one-off pieces. Sales at a show last week were good. I’m
flexible with layaway, which helps at the high end.

Marianne Hunter


#3

Hi Marianne,

I only do one-off pieces. Sales at a show last week were good. I'm
flexible with layaway, which helps at the high end. 

I’d be interested in hearing how you set up the layaway plans.

Thanks!
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4

Sue, the same here in SoCal. The year started off OK, better than I
expected considering all the recession talk, but fell off a cliff in
the past month. The Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica is
always my 1st or 2nd best show of the year. This time, about 40% of
last year- and this is an expensive show to do even for a local. This
past weekend in Redondo Beach I barely squeaked past the booth fee.
I’m strongly considering not applying to any more shows than I’ve
already booked, and just ride out the rest of the year. Why bust your
ass if you’re barely making the booth fee? On the other hand, you
just never know, and some people still have money even in hard times.
I’ve heard some high end people say they’re still doing business, but
that’s not my market. AAAKKK!

Allan
www.silvermason.com


#5

Hello Cynthia,

How do I set up lay-away?

It’s kind of embarrassing, how unbusiness-like my business is.
However, since I am a one person operation, I can do as I please. If
someone wants one of my pieces and can’t buy it out-right, I ask for
a good faith deposit. The larger the better, of course, but I’ve
bent over backwards at times to make a sale happen, if I feel good
about the person’s responsible attitude. VERY IMPORTANT: I keep the
piece until it’s paid for! Always! That way I don’t have to worry
about chasing someone down to get payment or the piece back. I can
use the piece for exhibitions or wear it myself. I set this up
upfront. I give only credit refunds towards another piece and only if
there is a good reason for it. No, I don’t charge interest.

Some people pay the same amount monthly; some are sporadic. Some pay
in just a few payments over a few months. I just took a down payment
on a piece that is budgeted for a 3 year payout. Ridiculous? Maybe.
This is her 3rd piece from me and we have 2 commissions to come down
the road. Why do I do it? Bottom line, it makes me feel good. It
allows me to be brave with my work, which isn’t a casual purchase
for most people. I only sell retail and at only a handful of shows
per year. I have to generate sales to keep myself relaxed and happy
at the show and to have income all year round. It makes me feel good
to see the surprise and pleasure on a customers face that they can
really have the piece they want. They often return for another, too.

Again, this isn’t a business model you’d take to a bank…but I
answer to no one on this and it’s working out okay for me. Perhaps I
should run it a little tighter. I actually made up my own layaway
agreement form with carbons, I usually send it out when I get home.
The work excites, me; having a great show excites me, taking care of
business is a necessary evil.

Marianne Hunter


#6

I just finished reading Wealth Report from Congemi. Here is a small
excerpt from it.

HNWI SECTOR GAINS IN 2007

10.1 million individuals worldwide held at least US$1 million in
financial assets, an increase of 6.0% over 2006 Global HNWI wealth
totaled US$40.7 trillion, a 9.4% gain from 2006, with average HNWI
wealth surpassing US$4 million for the first time The Ultra-HNWI
"wealth band" experienced the strongest growth, gaining 8.8% in
population size and 14.5% in accumulated wealth Emerging markets,
especially those in the Middle East and Latin America, scored the
greatest regional HNWI population gains India, China and Brazil had
the highest HNWI population growth at the country level HNWI
financial wealth is projected to reach US$59.1 trillion by 2012,

advancing at an annual growth rate of 7.7%

HNWI - stands for High Net Worth Individuals

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7

I sell my one-of-a-kind work through a gallery in Blue Ridge, GA.
It’s a touristy little town in the north GA mountains. May was a
GREAT month for me. I’ve been in that gallery since October of last
year, and this May was my highest month ever. Of course, it helps
that I was a featured artist there one day last month. I was on hand
doing demos and talking to customers. I know that boosted sales a
lot. But she sold quite a few of my high end pieces at other times
during the month too.

Overall, the gallery has been doing extremely well for me.

If you want more info on the gallery, here’s a link:
http://www.turningleafwoodart.com

Don’t judge the gallery by the website though. The brick and mortar
gallery is absolutely lovely… but their website needs work… lol

Pam East
www.pameast.net


#8

I’m having a surprisingly good year considering the economy. I sell
jewelry, cabs, polished flats, and at rock shows rough slabs too. I
did an art show last month that my jewelry sales were very good.
Funny thing is I’m selling stuff that I’ve had in inventory for 4-5
years. I guess my designs are 4-5 years ahead of the fashion curve…

The economy seems to have the reverse affect on the rock business.
From talking to the dealers at rock shows sales are up on rocks and
equipment. I think the price of gas has people re-thinking their
hobbies and looking for stuff that keeps them closer to home. Having
a diverse inventory of jewelry and rocks helps me get more
consistent sales at shows.

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


#9
I only do one-off pieces. Sales at a show last week were good. I'm
flexible with layaway, which helps at the high end. 

This suggestion got me an extra sale at a show yesterday-- thanks!

A (repeat) customer wanted a bracelet but said she just couldn’t do
it right now. I told her I’ll be at Cherry Creek next week and I
really didn’t think I’d still have that bracelet, but she said she
just couldn’t and turned to go. I said “Layaway?” and she turned
around and came back. She wrote me a deposit, and because I know
her, I told her to take the bracelet and pay the rest when she can.
We were both happy-- so thanks, I don’t think I would have thought
of that otherwise!

Noel


#10

Hi Cynthia,

I’m in complete agreement with Marianne:

It's kind of embarrassing, how unbusiness-like my business is.
However, since I am a one person operation, I can do as I please.
If someone wants one of my pieces and can't buy it out-right, I ask
for a good faith deposit. Etc. 

I do write out the layaway agreement on the invoice but I’m very
flexible on the terms. The customer usually knows what schedule she
can afford to pay on and I’ve never found anyone to be unreasonable
with a payment schedule. I do, however, tell the customer - and state
in writing on the invoice - that the deposit is non-refundable. And,
like Marianne, I keep the piece until it’s paid for.

Beth


#11

Hi,

Another great way of dealing with payments is to get post-dated
checks. I call it no interest financing… It works as a contract
and eliminates having to remind the buyer their payment is due. I’ve
had great success with this method; however, I’ve found with very few
it’s best to call or email them before depositing their check. Safes
NSF embarrassment.

Cheers,
Reba


#12

I have done layaway also on occasions, especially for other artists
(not jewelers) that I’ve met at shows. They usually are very slow but
I have not been stiffed.

Sue
http://www.jseenameljewelry.com


#13

This does seem like a very good idea. Does anyone who has a layaway
plan have problems with people changing their minds and having to
give refunds or are the deposits non-refundable?

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#14
Another great way of dealing with payments is to get post-dated
checks. I call it no interest financing.... 

My understanding is that knowingly accepting a post-dated checks
makes the check invalid in California. If you accept a post-dated
check, you don’t necessarily have any recourse if it bounces as you
have knowingly accepted a fraudulent document. Rules may differ in
other states.

Mary Ellin D’Agostino, PhD
www.medacreations.com


#15

If they change their mind about the purchase, the deposit is lost.
It is to compensate for having the item off the market.

Sue
http://www.jseenameljewelry.com


#16

Regarding Mary Ellin D’Agostino’s comment about post-dated checks I
have offered to do something very similar, but most likely falling
into that same trap. That is, offerring to split the payment into 2
or 3 parts, paid every 2 or 4 weeks, using their debit or credit
card. It’s easy to process a card, and I just schedule myself a
reminder in my planner.

Now, I do have to have a signature so I get one for the grand total,
then note what that will be in the number of payments we agree on.
If you do this, you might want to remember to add a bit for the
payment planyou end up with more card processing fees.

Mary’s comment about the checks makes me wonder if this is really OK.

Teri Baskett
S & T Creations
www.sandtcreations.com


#17

Hello,

For my collectors, and sometimes even new customers, I willingly do
layaway. I require a 20% deposit, absolutely non-refundable. I’ve
not had a problem, in 30 years of making jewels, with anyone changing
their mind about purchasing the piece for which a deposit was paid.

Next step, we discuss and decide together how long is needed to pay
off the balance and work out a payment schedule. My preference is
for completion of payments within 3 months of having received the
deposit, but sometimes, in special cases, I can extend this a few
months.

Alternate payment methods:

  1. monthly checks
  2. monthly charge to the customers credit card

A trusted collector receives the piece upon making the deposit.
Never had a problem with missing or slow payments. New customers, I
hold the piece until the balance is paid off. Generally the new
customers pay it off more quickly than scheduled.

Linda Kaye-Moses


#18

Mary,

My understanding is that knowingly accepting a post-dated checks
makes the check invalid in California. If you accept a post-dated
check, you don't necessarily have any recourse if it bounces as
you have knowingly accepted a fraudulent document. 

You may be correct, but it is a gray area of the law. Until I run
into problems with this plan (which is provided for friends/family
only) I will continue to accept post-dated payments. I will
certainly let everyone know, if I run into problems.

Thank you,
Reba


#19

Thank you, Marianne, Beth, and everyone else for sharing your
thoughts. To my amusement, I also received an email from another
Orchid member reminding me that I once sold her a bracelet on
layaway----I had forgotten about doing that! I have not often
thought to suggest it at those times that someone when someone wants
a piece but can’t swing the price. Now that we’ve had this
discussion, it will be more on my mind, and may help me make buyers
out of some of those people who say they’ve “fallen in love with a
piece, but…” Plus, knowing that others also do this makes me feel
more comfortable.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#20
Mary's comment about the checks makes me wonder if this is really
OK. 

I don’t see why not. Planned payments on debit or credit cards are
pretty standard and are different than knowingly taking a "bad"
check. In the case of planned payments, you have entered into a
contract that the payment will be billed at certain times and it is
the customer’s responsibility to be sure the funds are available.
You are entering into a loan/credit contract with the customer–if
they can’t fill their end of the bargain, you can take them to court.
In contrast, accepting a check that you know the customer doesn’t
have the funds for leaves you in a more precarious legal position.

Mary Ellin D’Agostino, PhD
www.medacreations.com