I should state in advance that I am not a full-time jeweler, and
do not depend on the income to make a living. I use my Web site
as my main marketing tool. It really bothered me that galleries
were taking such a big bite out of my sales… much akin to
selling wholesale. I couldn’t see spending a weekend (or more)
doing a show when I already don’t get enough time in the studio.
For me, a Web site was the logical solution. Relatively low
cost, always open and provides exposure to people far beyond
those who could walk into a gallery and see a piece I made.
Now, just because you build a Web site doesn’t mean everyone is
going to come to it. Doing a Web site yourself (especially
without your own domain name) can be done pretty
inexpensively… if you already have a computer. As far as
marketing programs go, it’s probably one of the cheapest you
could implement. Getting visibility for your Web site seems to
be as much a black art as it is a science. It takes a bit
research, time and effort, but you can do it all yourself.
I sold the first piece off the Web site (a pin that had not sold
in two galleries) in about two weeks… without even having
registered the site on a single search engine! Disclaimer: your
results may vary! Overall, I’d say activity has been low, but I
haven’t invested the time on Web site promotion yet. I’m trying
to develop a kind of gallery concept, but feel a little silly
being the only artisan in my own gallery. I’m talking to other
artisans now to join the gallery before I really start promoting
I would agree with what Mia read. I would consider a Web site a
necessity if I was involved in other marketing programs, as it
would compliment positively everything! Put the URL on your
business cards, post cards, correspondence, earring cards, etc.
You and your work can only be in one place at a given time, but
the Web site only needs an image… and it can be doing duty for
you in Timbuktu while you’re doing a show in your area. People
in far flung places who like your work can take a business card
and see your work again, even if you never get back to their
If you already have a public presence, it gives you an excellent
opportunity to get your Web site address (URL) out there in
front of people, which is the key to getting people to your Web
site. I created and manage a site for a local bar and restaurant
chain (http://www.thegrad.com). I published their site less
than six months ago, and they passed 30,000 hits on their Web
site this week! And they’re not even maximizing the
opportunities to get the URL out there in front of people!
If and when I start doing jewelry full time I will probably
start doing shows as well, but with my current load of
responsibilities, I think the Web site is an ideal tool for me.
You (or anyone else) can feel free to email me off-line if you
have additional questions!
Good luck (and jump right in),
Charlotte, NC (USA)