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Selling bead jewellery at market stalls

Hi All,

In my current situation I am unable to do any metalwork. At the
moment I am unemployed and looking for work - despite all my best
efforts there doesn’t seem to be any work on the horizon.

I am considering other ways to try to start generating an income.
An idea has come to me, but I’m not sure how realistic it is. I am
thinking of making bead jewellery and then setting up a market stall
at one of the busy Sunday markets. I have never made jewellery
using beads before - I have never made any form of non-metal
jewellery. The pros with this idea would be that I would be
actively doing something useful with my time, I would be doing
"craft" type work and I could get back to making some form of
jewellery - this is something I could do in my bedroom.

The cons are what I’m not sure of, and this is the reason for my
post. If anyone has experience in this type of jewellery and selling
at market stalls I would really appreciate your advice on this. In
particular, I am not sure how much, if any, profit one could make
selling this type of jewellery after covering the cost of materials,
and the cost of the stall. I suppose it would come down to how much
you charge per item, and how many items you sell… and this depends
on what the materials are and what people want to buy for how much.
Any profit margin would be better than how I’m doing right now - if I
could make the equivalent to a part time income that would be enough
to start with.

In my struggle to overcome my current situation of having no income
I have been coming up with some pretty ridiculous solutions to the
problem… I’m not sure if this is one of those… or something I
could actually use. Thank you in advance for any advice or opinions
you can offer.

Tina D

Amazingly enough, when I’m in a situation where income is limited,
non-existent or sketchy at best, I’ve had my best ideas…
it’s amazing how creative and innovative you can be when you are
wondering how you are going to pay your bills or have enough money to

Hang in there, and let your ideas become realities.
Cheers! Dinah

My experience and that of fellow jewelers at these markets is that
people don’t go to spend big money. They are looking for deals and
something that catches their eye. Now and then you will be fortunate
and someone will buy one of your better and expensive pieces. Have
lots of items that are inexpensive. You’ll make your bread and
butter from items that cost about $8. $25 and less are your safest
ranges. I don’t always find it particularly fulfilling to make these
inexpensive items. A lot of people make some profit, but the word is
that fewer sellers are returning because the white tent market has
crashed so desperately in the last 7 years or so. At least that’s
the scoop from Southern and Central Arizona. It may be a totally
different picture in other parts of the country. People seem more
likely to spend if they know it is a fine art/craft show and that
they must pay to get in. But even then it has felt real hit or miss
to me. Again, this is just my experience.

Good luck!

Beads are always a good seller if you can find the price point the
market you are setting up in will buy. Resist trying to be all
things to all people, focus and be business like, don’t sell short
and be as objective as you can. Your present situation will pass,
keep asking for help as it is available and hope and success will
come in time. Being business like will buy that time and if it isn’t
working, call a spade a spade and move on.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Hi Sam,

Being business like will buy that time and if it isn't working,
call a spade a spade and move on. 

I agree with most everything you said, buy couldn’t we call it ‘a
gosh darn shovel’ instead!