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Web based business


#1

Hello all,

Quick question: Does anybody know of anybody any jewelers or
metalsmiths who rely heavily on selling or marketing their work
predominantly via a website?

Thanks, Andy


#2

Hi Andy,

my partner and I run our own custom jewelry business and it this
point is 100% web based (address below) We actually discourage the
occasional customer who live in our state and wants to meet with us
as we are really not set up to meet with clients. Is there something
specific you are wanting to know? I’ll be happy to share whatever I
can.

Miche
http://www.sumiche.com
custom fine jewelry using fair trade/certified green gold and platinum
http://www.eco-gold.net


#3

Friends,

Quick question: Does anybody know of anybody any jewelers or
metalsmiths who rely heavily on selling or marketing their work
predominantly via a website? Andy" 

All of my custom jewelry business comes from my web site. It has
been my sole sauce of income since January of this year. Also in
reply to a comment about my recent SEO post:

Just one point Tony you missed the opportunity to place a link to
your website after your signature. Martin Evans" 

I had included the link to my site as a link from my company name
however this was edited out. I looked at other posts and have
included it below. Thanks!

Tony Payne
Custom Jewelry Designer/Manufacturer
Payne’s Custom Jewelry
www.paynesjewelry.com
Phone: 601-898-2903


#4

Yes. This fellow does platinum fabrication. Was a trade shop guy.
Starting making things and posting what he makes on some internet
sites where guys shop for diamonds.

He’s now making 100% of his stuff for sale from contacts on the
internet. His price is now 3 times higher than he was charging for
trade shops.

http://www.mwmjewelry.com

He followed my advice to keep raising his prices. He now charges a
design fee even before he starts work on a drawing. If they don’t do
the work, he still gets the fee. I think most of the platinum
mountings he makes for the customer’s diamond ring (as seen on his
site) are $1600-$2500.

You’ll notice his site pre-answers the questions of price right up
front.

I believe he promises 6 weeks out.

David Geller
Director of Profit
Repair Price Book guru
JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax
david@JewelerProfit.com


#5

Hi Andy,

God bless Internet! In my company, Golem Design Studio we don’t work
with metals, but we are in jewellery supply business - we produce
ceramic beads and sell almost 90% of our production to clients, that
I find trough Internet. We do this for last 2 years, and rely
completely on the abroad selling, but paradox in our case is that up
to now we don’t have real web-site, only Yahoo! photo gallery. We
work on the web-site, but all the present year I have an acute
shortage of time and can’t finish the work on it. I hope I’ll start
officially our web site around beginning of the next year. Other
paradox is that we can’t use E-bay PayPal still don’t offer their
services for Bulgaria, so up to now I can sell our production only to
wholesale clients. I hope that next year this problem will be fixed
too, I want try to sell our finished jewellery (necklaces, bracelets,
etc.) on E-bay.

Best regards,
Vladislav Ivanov
Golem Design Studio
Bulgaria
http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/golem_bg


#6

It provides the majority of my sales.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#7

My business is 98% through the web. Wonderful invention this
internet! It certainly beats the set-up, tear-down, sometimes bliss,
sometimes agony of doing shows.

And I would like to second Tony’s post about search engine
optimization. Not much point in going to all the bother and/or
expense of setting up a site if you don’t make it so the search
engines find you and give you a decent listing. I’ve had my site up
for about 10 years and it took a lot of study and learning for this
old grandma to get it all together - the study and learning continue
always, but then most things worth doing take a lot of hard work.

Jan
www.designjewel.com


#8

We have become primarily web based. After years on the road I find
the time online is a much better investment. We may see 2-5 jewelers
per day while on the road, while 400-600 hits are accumulated online
with a better % of generated revenue online. Our best accounts have
been located through our web business.

Ed Cleveland
www.kashmirblue.com


#9

It is certainly very encouraging to read all your success stories
selling through the web. When I designed my website, I wasn’t even
planning for it to be a selling forum to the end customer. I just
made it because so many galleries/shop owners asked to see my
website. I also had an impression that it would be impossible to sell
anything “decent”, only the cheap stuff - I thought people wouldn’t
want to spend a lot of money if they couldn’t touch and smell the
piece, also not having the security of taking the piece back to the
shop the next day. The kind of work that you do really changed my
opnion.

Few more question though, did you have an established customer base
before you started selling fro the web? Do you happen to know how
people that buy from your website find out about you? I wonder what
percentage find you trough google search.

thanks,
Ruslana


#10

Andy…a few years ago a computer friend of mine told me that for the
same cost of doing a high end craft show I could be opened 24 hr 7
days a week all over the world…infact he called it being a
mutinational co. yea right I thought. my buddy designed a little
online gallery and posted a show schedual, {currently out of date}
the problem was that when at a show people would say “oh your on line
I dont need to make a purchase now” so I took many pieces off of the
site, but left the higher end one of a kinds…its harder for
overseas people to knock them off. any how the site became kind of a
prop, people would validate me as an artist by checking out the site.

HERE IS THE KICKER!!! yea I closed a few sales with the help of the
prop. BUT one day a guy called me from Afgnistan, he was a
contractor, his wife saw a $4000 bracelet at a show in New England
back in the fall, the same show where my booth blew away in a wind
storm. I got the call five days befor Christmas, I was in Florida at
my sisters.I got paid by credit card, I shipped the piece, I then
called my computer friend and let him know that I was the proud owner
of a Multinational jewelery Company!

however it is still just a prop, I don’t know if I’m ready for the
big time like Mr. Binnion

werner
www.wlwstudio.com
waynewerner@mindspring.com


#11

I am in the process of having a website done and was wondering how
those of you doing the majority of your business online handle
marketing? Exactly how do you get customers to find and come to your
site?

laura


#12

Hi, my name is Pat Everett, I own 1ofakindjewelrymall.com where I
only have handcrafted jewelry showcased. To be a vendor is only
$10.00, I take care of all advertising and search engine
submissions. In only 2 months my site as a page rank of 4 on Google.
If you might be interested please contact for more details.

Thanks,

Pat Everett, President
www.1ofakindjewelrymall.com
www.1ofakindbeadstore.com


#13

Hello,

I have been reading the posts on Web based Business, I am from India
and we have been exporting Sterling Silver Jewelry to several
countries,We have several websites with more than 500 products , for
us Internet is the main life line though it is very important its not
complete, I would like to share and respond to a few views:

I thought people wouldn't want to spend a lot of money if they
couldn't touch and smell the piece, also not having the security of
taking the piece back to the shop the next day. The kind of work
that you do really changed my opnion.

That is true, Internet does have the limitation, it works out the
best for promoting our jewelry, a website cannot overdrive the touch
and feel aspect or the security of returning back, however it could
reach to the farest corners of the Earth!

We receive inquiries from countries like Tibet, Cyprus etc. it would
be difficult to assume to go to a trade fair where buyers from these
countries come to buy! But they surely ask for samples before placing
an order with a company whom them they have never met or dealt with,
at this point the Trade shows steal the glamour! As sending samples
for free to everyone is not possible.

did you have an established customer base before you started
selling fro the web? Do you happen to know how people that buy from
your website find out about you?

Very true! It works our wonderfuly if we have an established
clientele and use our website as a visiting card! Else it is a long
process to establish ourselves like a new start up.

I wonder what percentage find you trough google search.

True! Internet is so competitive there is no point in having a good
designed website if it is not “promoted” in the search Engines! All
major Search Engines: yahoo google msn etc. change their optmisation
algorithms regularly, such as metatags, importance of keywords, Link
Exchanges, etc. So it is extremely important to promote one’s
website.

The easy way is to link up or subscribe with a Trade portal or if in
retail with Ebay to get initial attention!

I am in the process of having a website done and was wondering how
those of you doing the majority of your business online handle
marketing? Exactly how do you get customers to find and come to your
site?

Please make sure that the website is not only designed but well Coded
by a professional so that it is SEarch Engine freindly like Google,
yahoo etc.! and also make necessary changes as per the change in
their Algorithms! There are lakhs of websites and to get lost in a
sea is of them is very common!! But surely we have had a great good
expereince! we have established a lot of customer base in countries
like Sweden Australia where we have yet not met our clients!

few years ago a computer friend of mine told me that for the same
cost of doing a high end craft show I could be opened 24 hr 7 days a
week all over the world..

Yeah but still for High End Jewelry - both for direct customer
selling and Business to Business Selling the Trade shows steal the
game! The reason being higher amounts involved and so the risk.
However the website, as you said is more like a prop :slight_smile:

For all those who are coming up with a website make sure you have:

(1) Right Click disabled! - so that copy cats dont copy your website
(thought there are several ways they could do so)

(2) Not putting all the designs on the site - only a selected few.

(3) Have good photographs ! (not scanned images they dont leave a
good impression)

(4) KEYWORDS! During the coding of the website the keywords and meta
tags have to be completely accurate they fetch the most of the
attention!!

(5) Advertising with the right business portals - online magazines,
these days people even write Blogs! Ebay, yahoo shopping, Amazon,
Aliababa.com (for international business) etc.

In short try to use a well established platform, going solo would
take a while!

(6) Quick replies! It is a norm in International Busines that a reply
should be given in 24 hours! it leaves a good impression :slight_smile:

(7) Correct Address and a good language! A lot of overseas customers
expect a polite and simple language! Though the emails or inquries
come in a sentence or two we should write a complete email!

(8) Add a Signature while replying to the emails: Please end the
email with your name, company name, email address and telephone
number! so that the cleint gets handy of you again! and
donot have to travel to the “contact us” page of your website!!!

(9) Do not have larger than life pages on your website!!! That kills
the look have smaller pages maximum double or one and half size of
the screen so that the user doesnot have to scroll up and down!!

(10) Have simple Tables of all product classifications

(11) As mentioned in (2) donot put all your designs but a larger
variety is always good.

(12) Most important : Update your website regularly!!!

(13) Dont use different Font styles - try to have a rythm in the
layout script and Design, also donot use a complete bucket of
colours! try to maintian a common theme! your Visiting Card,
Store/Site Logo and website along with Envelopes all should have a
same color and design theme!

(14) If you target your website for overseas audiences and have well
promoted website, if you want to have a map from where the
hits/clicks audience comes from

Hope this helps to everyone!!

Thanks
Vivek
from India
info at jewelsnbeads dot com
www dot jewelsnbeads dot com


#14

Hello all,

As someone whose website is just getting off the (electronic)
ground, I’ve been following this thread with interest. A couple of
questions arise: Do those of you with websites find that you get most
of your business from people who already know who you are (and could
search on your name, for example)? Or do you get significant business
from people who pluck you out of the great electronic ether by
searching on “opals” or “handmade jewelry” or whatever ?

Also, do you list prices and take money online or just use the site
as a showroom, requiring the prospective shopper to contact you
directly for prices etc. before ordering?

Perhaps some of you have started with one mode of operation and
switched to another. It would be very interesting to hear some of
your experiences.

Best wishes and thanks,

Carla Reiter
whose new and not-quite-ready-for-primetime website can be seen at
www.carlareiter.com


#15

Hi Carla,

When I first started on the internet, 99% of my customers came to me
from searches they had done, Now its between 1/4 and 1/3 who are
repeat customers, the rest who have found me via various ways on the
web. Search engine placement is very important as are good links from
other sites.

I do list prices and people are able to buy directly from the site
via my shopping cart which uses either my merchant account or
PayPal. With all the fraud lately, more people are opting to call me
and to give me the credit card info over the phone.

I have used a shopping cart from the beginning, deciding that was
the way to go.

Jan
www.designjewel.com


#16

It’s good to hear so many varied experiences on this topic. I started
on the internet about 10 years ago. At that time I submitted by hand
to the various search engines, put my web address on our business
cards and advertised in two national publications.

It built slowly. I remember watching the stats for the site - the
excitement mounting as we went from 10 hits a week to 10 a
day… Now we do 100% of our business online sell pieces that
average $1000-2000 ( limited only I think by the fact that we haven’t
taken a leap into a higher price bracket yet.

We currently pay for advertising on two or three internet sites - at
this point only places that are targeting eco-friendly customers
since that is our (new) particular niche.

Being that we specialize in custom wedding/commitment rings, for the
most part customers are first time buyers and mostly finding us via
search engines, though referrals from previous customers is
substantial. A few things I believe make a significant difference in
our success are -

1- a very personal presentation including photos of the two of us on
our front page (get many positive comments from folks on this - I
think it helps bridwe ge a bit of the gap between being able to walk into
a store and meet jewelers/owners and the faceless, placeless nature
of the internet)

2- identifying the key niche and/or language that describes what you
are offering - this is what will help to separate your site from the
1000s of results that would turn up on any vaguely worded search on
the net.

Type in gold wedding band and see how many pages come up… and I
would probably show up on the 3,9999th or some such.

For us, a strong niche originally was “commitment rings” as
differentiated from “wedding rings”. This was a strong search term
within the gay and lesbian communities as well as many others who saw
their commitment as something non-traditional and so were less
inclined to search using the term “wedding”. Consequently, using
these keywords in our pages and offering this content meant we would
likely come up on the first page of a search done for commitment
rings. It is also true that if the work you are promoting has special
focus on pearls, say, or blue tourmaline, it’s worth mentioning that
both in the text of your pages as well as in the "behind the scenes"
keywords - it will help that blue-tourmaline-loving customer ferret
you out of the swells of results. It’s important in general to include
words and phrases that your customer would be likely to use - more
important than using the words you and your peers would most likely
use.

3 - Easy navigation-The clearer path with the fewer clicks to get to
what you want folks to see the better.,

4- Fast loading. It’s my bias. There are lots of bells and whistles
available for websites. Lots of them slow things down - there are
still people on dial-up connections and people who haven’t upgraded
their systems to the latest versions of browsers and plug-ins. If it
really adds to what you’re trying to sell or convey, great. Otherwise,
in my opinion keep it simple. Keep the focus on what you are trying
to showcase instead of showcasing your ( or your webmaster’s) site
design skills.

5- Clear, clean photo images - they don’t have to be large (another
slow down point) but they do have to be good.

6- Hm, I might take a lesson here. Keep text to a minimum in
general…although if you’ve got worthy content people will
actually read through if it’s relevant to them.

hope some find this of use,

Miche
http://www.sumiche.com
http://www.eco-gold.net


#17

Vivek:

Good job, you have brought up some very important and valid points
in your post.

Kathy
www.kathyanderson.net


#18

Hello Carla:

I’ve been selling on the internet for I don’t know, 10 or more years
but I didn’t start selling solely on the Net until 2001 (on 9/11 of
all days to upload my new site).

I make mostly sacred jewelry. I hand fabricate (jeweler’s saw and
sheet). At least 1/3rd of my orders are custom.

We really only sell on the Net. We got so busy we had to drop almost
all our wholesale accounts (we used to have 100 or so stores to whom
we sold our jewelry).

Curiously the fewer unique visitors to our site the higher our sales.
We don’t understand it. We don’t advertise. We’re booked ahead an
average 2 months. We have to keep increasing our prices to reduce our
sales since we’re a 1 jeweler company (my wife does most of the
email).

We don’t even know how people get to our site. Word of mouth. maybe.
I googled my site today. About 700 citations on Google. Quite a number
were from mailing lists where people had mentioned my site. Now that’s
something I have no control over.

I’ve been rewriting my site and adding new pieces (and putting up the
prices again) but I can’t upload it until I’m sure I have time for
Christmas orders. I’m not sure about search engine resubmission, but
I will probably batch mail my customers. I paid for search engine
submission once, in 2001 I think, and resubmitted myself to the free
ones a couple of times since.

I don’t think my experience is the norm, but it is an indication of
one important fact about the Net. The net has allowed the creation of
microniches in handcrafts. My work sells at a relatively high end for
the market because it is obviously labor intensive, hand made, and a
higher quality than my customers expect… It really can’t be
duplicated. If you can find a niche like this you can make a living.
You probably won’t get rich but you can do what you like and pay your
bills. I don’t need much more than that.

It helps that I’ve been a jeweler for 30 years, and a sacred jeweler
for 20. I also know my market and I know a great deal about
symbolism.

Mark Defrates
http://www.markdefrates.com


#19
I was aked to share my views in advertising an online business.
Everyone will tell you that marketing your website is a full time
job. Having sold jewelry online for over two years now I can tell
you that this statement is entirely correct. I had
pamlicojewelry.com and was selling my jewelry designs only. It took
months to get page rank up. It took months to even get noticed. 

Having a high page rank is critical. When someone runs a search on
say Google, the page with the highest rank is first. Basically if you
have a low page rank you might be on page 40 of 100. If that is true,
the person running that search may never even know that you exist.
Even worse you are not on the search engines at all. Most of the time
it may take a month or so for the search engine robots to crawl your
site. The jewelry mall was on Google in just a few days! Everyone
also thinks that submitting your site to the search engines helps to
be crawled faster. That is not always the case. It may actually slow
the process down. The mall was never submitted, but was cached very
quickly.

We have been open for a couple months now and already have a page
rank of 4 and that is climbing. Thats tough to do if you are by
yourself. In order to keep this rank up, you have to spend countless
hours to keep your site up to date. Keep links to other sites
current, and keep getting people to add a link to your site on theirs
is a major factor in page rank. The more links to your website that
the search engines find on other sites, the higher your rank. We have
found that with each member of our site adding links in their store,
that makes more links to our site helping everyone. Also you have to
make sure that you have sufficient keywords and other searchable
terms. These are not as important as they used to be, but they are
still a factor. You have to make absolutely sure that all your meta
tags are correct. This includes your site description and the
keywords.

Another thing that we do to help our members be seen is the use of
press releases. They are a good way to get your name seen by
thousands of people. In fact, we had a release in October that was
read by over 63,000 people. We also have found that by offering other
services and products to your customers helps as well. By opening our
bead store, located at www.1ofakindbeadstore.com, they have a
convient place to buy their supplies, and not have to worry about
searching all over for what they need.

Our marketing plan seems to be working well. We have new customers
signing up everyday. I feel that with more members we have the more
precence on the web. This is all due to our in house advertising.

There are a lot of other things that you can do to help boost your
site’s activity. The best suggestion that I have for you is to let
someone else like us do it for you. This will give you more time to
spend at your jewelry bench and not on your computer worrying about
advertising.

Pat Everett, President
www.1ofakindjewelrymall.com
www.1ofakindbeadstore.com


#20
Perhaps some of you have started with one mode of operation and
switched to another. It would be very interesting to hear some of
your experiences. 

Good questions, Carla-- I’m catching up on posts after a few days
away, and I look forward to the replies.

And let me say, your site-- and your work-- look terrific.
Personally, I would like to see the work even bigger, but I really
like the site, and your “statement” and pict

–Noel