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Question about selling thru the Web

Fellow Orchidites:

I have a question to pose to all of you, we all know how much
the Web has helped us gain and trade about our
business. What I want to find out is how successfull any of you
out there have been in actually selling your jewellery through
the Internet, what pitfalls you have encountered etc. The reason
for this is that I’ve been thinking about setting up a
commercial web page ( I actually work at a computer place that
provides Internet access) but I get all kinds of conflicting
about how effective it really is. Is it worth
investing in? (aside from the obvious advertising advantage) I
see a lot of sites out there that do this and I am curious on
how much they actually move in this medium.

I appreciate your responses
Bryan Steagall

Bryan, There is an article in the current Crafts Report re
selling on the web. Suggests the web should only be used as part
of a larger marketing package. Mia

Well, I’m not selling on the net but have about four customers
now who are, and they say that they get a whole lot more hits
than buys. On the other hand, they buy on average from $3-$9000
a year wholesale from us, and having seen their sites they markup
about 400%, so with a little math we can figure out about what
they do in sales. And these are people who don’t do shows or
have stores, their only marketing is done thru the internet
sites. Does that help at all?

Hi Bryan,

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
the site.

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 ( 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),


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)

I have had my web site up for about 7 months now and have had no
sales. I do not spend much time promoting it, but it is listed
with a few major search engines. Every now and then I do get an
inquiry from a craft gallery/store about purchasing my jewelry to
sell in their store, but so far nothing yet. I believe these
inquiries come from being listed at If
you have any other questions, feel free to email me.


BRYAN STEAGALL asked about selling jewelry on the web. Naturally,
there were quite a number of divergent views on the topic.

My partner and I are in the process of setting up an online
gallery, and these are the questions we asked ourselves, and also
ask of the artists who wish to be included on the site:

  1. How much is this type of promotion/sales going to cost you?

  2. How much do you spend on promotion/sales now, and how much
    does it get you in return now, off the web?

  3. Do you have the facilities to create appropriate graphics?

I don’t know how much of the site design you’re going to do, or
how much someone is going to charge you for designing your site,
but in my opinion, site design is crucial. If someone finds
your site hard to understand, or difficult to look at, they’re
going to run off even faster than they would leave your booth at
a show.

This isn’t a garage sale, it’s a boutique. It should look like

Especially since this is jewelry, and not a book, for example,
the look of the pictures is absolutely vital. No matter how
attractive a piece is in real life, if you can’t convey that to
the viewer on your site, you’ve probably lost that sale.

When you have your pieces at a booth or a store attended by a
real person, there’s an opportunity for interaction that your
site is not going to be able to supply. What you need to do is
create something else that is a “hook”.

If you’re interested in hearing more, please e-mail me privately
off the list.

Kat Tanaka