Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Posts Tagged ‘business of craft’


Posted by learntobead on August 1, 2014


Question:  How do you go about figuring how to price your jewelry?



I teach a class on how to best price your jewelry, and I have posted a video tutorial on the CraftArtEdu.com website.


There are different kinds of pricing strategies.

(1) One type of pricing strategy is called “Keystoning”.

Keystoning is where you multiply your costs by 2, to arrive at your price.


If your costs were $10.00, then your price would be $20.00.

In the Jewelry Industry, you will hear a lot about Triple Keystoning.

Here you multiply your costs by 3. To arrive at your price.

So, if your costs were $10.00, then your price would be $30.00.


Keystoning works well if you are a boutique or gift store buying finished jewelry.    You would double (keystone) or triple (triple keystone) the costs of each finished piece.    Keystoning, as a pricing strategy, works well when you are dealing with finished goods.    The price is simply a multiple of the cost of the Parts.  Keystoning assumes that Labor and Overhead costs have already been factored into the cost of the jewelry.

Keystoning is a little more awkward to use, when dealing with manufacturing goods, like most jewelry designers do.    Keystoning tends to over-account for the cost of the Parts, but under-account for the costs of your Labor.

Keystoning works well for jewelry stores.    Keystoning does not work as well for jewelry designers.



(2) A second type of pricing strategy is called “What The Market Will Bear”

Here, based on your gut feelings, you would set the price at the highest price you think someone might pay for your piece.

You will see this strategy employed in a lot of tourist areas.   Businesses in tourist areas usually pay very high rental rates.   They are often dependent on making their money in a very defined seasonal timeframe.   They assume they will they will never see these customers again.

What happens with a What-The-Market-Will-Bear strategy…

At the point of sale, the customer goes away happy and the business goes away happy.   However, when the customer goes home,  and they show their purchase to their friends or family, or shop around, they begin to realize they overpaid.    So, over the medium and long term, the customer is no longer happy.   An unhappy customer can spread bad word of mouth.   While that particular customer may never revisit that tourist area.   They might convince their friends and families, who may plan a visit, to avoid that particular shop.



(3) The third type of strategy is called “Fair Value”.

This is what I teach in my class, and is detailed in my video tutorial. ‘.

A Fair Price is set, using a formula.   This formula requires that the artist manage all the types of costs she or he confronts, when setting a price.   These costs include,


Overhead costs include things like rent, electricity, wear and tear on tools and equipment, telephone, travel – basically everything else associated with making and selling your jewelry.


The basic formula:

MINIMUM FAIR PRICE = (2 times P) + L + O
MAXIMUM FAIR PRICE = 1.5 times the Minimum Fair Price
You gather cost information on your Parts and your Labor.    You estimate the Overhead costs based on percentage of your Labor and Parts costs.
This gives you a range of fair prices from which to choose.

With a Fair Price, you may not get the highest amount you possibly can get, but you will get an amount that more than covers your costs, and leaves some money left over to spend on yourself, or re-invest in your business.

With a Fair Price, when you sell that piece of jewelry, both you and your customer go away happy.

And both of you stay happy.



Posted in business of craft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

So You Want To Do Craft Shows…

Posted by learntobead on May 8, 2013

New CraftArtEdu.com Video Tutorial By Warren Feld

In this class, presented in 6 parts with 16 lessons, artist and businessman, Warren Feld, will fill you in on the ins and outs, the dos and the don’ts of selling at craft shows and fairs. Which are best for you, which may be a waste of your time. How to compute the revenue you must earn to justify participating in an event. This is a must see class for anyone thinking of entering the art and craft show world and will maximize your chances of success in these venues. 6 Broadcasts.
Level: All Levels
Duration: 113:58

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, jewelry making, Resources | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Creative Mentoring – Andrea Rosenfeld

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Creative Mentoring – Andrea Rosenfeld



I recently came across an article Andrea Rosenfeld had written about Creative Mentoring.   I thoroughly enjoyed the article, her extremely clear and accessible writing style, and was very interested in taking a little internet road trip to her website.

How do you take your passion and your art work to an audience?    I deal with this type of question from our students and customers almost every single day.

She offers many ideas and many services.     I suggest reading some of her articles are articles by “visiting creatives”  for special insights.



Articles to Grow By





Broadcast Louder helps Artists supercharge their creative business, starting them on the path to more visibility and more sales

Playing it Safe in Your Studio

Time Management Strategies That Play Nice

Marketing your Art Business using Retail and Wholesale Sneezers and Brand Advocates

10-Tips to Stay Organized and Increase Creativity

Are You Vibrating Yet? Here’s Why You Should Flip Your “ON” Switch

Are you an Expert or an Experimenter? Your sales strategy depends on your answer

Is Your Website Scaring People Away?

Visual Art Copyrighting Basics

Looking For Trade Show Stories For Upcoming Article (Interactive Article)

How to Create a Healthy Relationship With Money to Gain More

Dear Creative – DON’T do-it-yourself!

Should You Create Art or Create to Sell?

Court Your Stores

Dear Creative, Don’t Do It Yourself

Who is Your Customer, Who Are You?

Would You Dance? *how do you handle adversity?

Look Up! You’re Missing Life! 

Five Important Things to Know Before Doing a Store Show 

Collaboration is KEY to Artistic Growth 

Why We Need Art 

Tips a Jewelry Artist Can Use to Survive the Economy (or any Creative, for that matter) 



WordPress for Beginners

WordPress for the Savvy

WordPress: Who’s Sharing Your Content and Increase Blog Performance

Ready for wholesale? Find out with this MUST-HAVE Checklist

Grow Your Business Through Charitable Giving

Tips For Running a Successful Small Business Publicity Campaign

Why You Should Join Local Art Associations to Increase Your Art Business

How to Bounce Back from Disappointment and Manage Your Thoughts

Jewelry Artist’s Guide to Diamond Buying (Part One- Beginner)




Posted in business of craft, jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Any Lessons To Learn From Nail Polish Trends?

Posted by learntobead on July 1, 2011

Any Lessons To Learn
From Nail Polish Trends?

From Alllacqueredup.com

I read this article recently in the NYT, how women are using many more colors of nail polish than the traditional reds and pinks, and that the use of the full color palette of nail polish colors is getting very institutionalized and accepted.

The writer offers a point of view here for discussion.   Her main point, is that in an era of a weak economy, Chanel nail polish offers at a much lower cost the same cache as purchasing the more expensive Chanel perfume or clothing.   People still want status and the qualities associated with it.   They can not afford the top of the line items they used to.

Many of us are in the business of selling jewelry.     In this economy, how do we survive and thrive as a jewelry design business?   How do we preserve our brand — especially if most of what we sell is on the high-end side?

Is it enough to lower our price points?  Or must we also maintain very visible links and symbols to ideas of status, quality and sophistication?    And if we are to stand out from the pack, should we push things like out of the ordinary colors, textures and patterns?   How far do we push things like color, texture and pattern, to get noticed?   How far can we push these kinds of things, and still be accepted?


Posted in business of craft | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

On the more avant garde side with CoutureLab

Posted by learntobead on March 1, 2011

On the more avant garde side with


“Avant-garde” means at the leading edge or vanguard.   It is a label associated with jewelry that is more experimental, more innovative, cutting edge, resonant.    There is something witty or unusual.    There is something that gets people talking about the pieces.

CoutureLab represents an ever-evolving stable of avant-garde jewelry artists.    These are artists that other jewelry artists and galleries talk about.     They sell to upper end clients who want to associate with the hip and new and artsy.

While you may not personally want to be “avant-garde”, an exploration of these artists’ works is a great learning experience.    You learn about color combinations, balances and proportions.   You learn about new jewelry profiles — that is, how to shape jewelry relative to a person’s body.   You learn new techniques of construction, new materials, and combinations of these things.     Viewing the works of these kinds of jewelry artists is a great way to stimulate new ideas within your own work.

It is also useful to explore some more of the “details.”   Visit the CoutureLab website, and look at the prices for the artists’ works.    In your mind, determine how the price might relate to the amount of work and the cost of materials.   How much of the price might relate to the artists’ reputation?   In some cases, there seems to be a good match between price and object.   In other cases, some prices are rather low, and you wonder how the artist can make a living selling jewelry.    In the CoutureLab website, very few pieces, to me, seem over-priced.

Another good research -exploration is to examine the jewelry artist’s website.  How is it organized?   Is there an excessive use of black backgrounds and flash-utilities (allows movement, almost like watching a slide show or movie)?   A black background makes the text hard to read.   Flash looks fantastic, but the average customer’s computer often locks up, because of flash utilities.   Is the information organized well?   How about the navigation within the site?    Do the images sufficiently convey the details about the pieces?    How distinctive and memorable is the website?

Also do a Google search on the artists name.    Ideally, you would want the artist’s website to be at the top of the search list.    When it doesn’t appear at or very near the top, you need to wonder about the artist and their long term survival.

Here are some of my favorite artists currently represented by CoutureLab.


Alexis Mabille

COUTURELAB: “A graduate from the houses of Ungaro, Ricci and Dior, the couturier fuses his playful imagination and technical affinity to create a joyful and dynamic universe.  … What adventures will you attract in Alexis’s “Black Mischief” art-deco style necklace? Faceted black crystals – precisely graded in size – hang in delicate suspension, catching the light with your every move. Emerald and round-cut crystals, claw-set in lustrous white metal, form the complementing cluster at the top of the pendant; a silvery hoop with ornate hook clasp secures the piece around your neck.

Black Mischief Necklace by Alexis Mabille


Ann Demeulemeester

COUTURELAB: “As part of the Antwerp Six Anne Demeulemeester was responsible for creating a radical new vision for fashion in the 1980’s. The strong sense of innovation and creativity inherent in her work means her designs still look fresh and has a strong sense of appeal in current times.  …With this silver plates bracelet, Demeulemeester has taken simple polished silver rectangles and worked them in to a stunning piece which fuses armour and accessories, the silver plates have a brushed surface which has a subtly shiny finish. Each plate has a fluted edge linked by small polished silver circles and the bracelet fastens with an innovative clasp where one plate slots through another and is secured with an oversize clasp.”

Silver Plates Bracelet by Ann Demeulemeester

Bea Valdes

COUTURELAB: “For Bea Valdes, each piece is an exploration and the material her muse – the sway of glass drops, the sheen and shine of metals, ribbon’s sensual embrace. Hand-made in the designer’s native Philippines, these painstakingly conceived and executed compositions stand testament to her philosophy of ‘Just one bead at a time’.   …A beautiful combination of grey, green and beige beads and crystals, Bea’s “Hannibal” Necklace adds luxurious glamor to your outfit. Beige enamel drops and a beautifully carved olive-green skull lie between the dazzling oval and pear-shaped crystals in shades of green and grey. The necklace is edged with tiny beads to ensure a dynamic display against your skin or outfit. A chain of brass-effect links closes the circle. Use the extender section to adjust the necklace’s length, then secure with the lobster-claw clasp. For a comfortable fit, the whole main assembly is backed with fabric-covered padding; flexible construction contours the design closely to your body. ”

Hannibal Necklace by Bea Valdes

COUTURELAB: “Select Bea’s asymmetrical Green “Sprawl” Necklace for its avant-garde charisma. Dazzling beads and crystals in shades of green and gold – round-cut, pear-shaped and tubular – group to form clusters connected through metal chains in brass-effect. Pear-shaped crystals hang suspended from the cluster. A chain of metal links closes the circle. Use the extender section to adjust the necklace’s length, then secure with the lobster-claw clasp. For a comfortable fit, the whole main assembly is backed with fabric-covered padding; flexible construction contours the design closely to your body.”

Green Sprawl Necklace by Bea Valdes


Christian Lacroix


COUTURELAB: “A beautiful display of subtle jewels and antique golds, this piece is mesmerizing. Featuring a rustic, sculpted finish, the gilded chain pendant is encrusted with amber-colored gems. Christian Lacroix gives equal value to his accessories and jewelry line: “I give a lot of care and attention to shoes, bags and jewelry because they define a posture, an overall look – they are as important to me as clothes”. It is this attention to detail that makes each one of his pieces, whether large or small, a handcrafted work of art.”

Antique Golden Necklace by Christian Lacroix

COUTURELAB: “Truly unique, this golden bejeweled piece is mesmerizing. Sculpted to a rustic finish with a chunky chain necklace, the gilded keepsake pendant is encrusted with amber-colored gems and stones and adorned with draping delicate chains.”

Keepsake Necklace by Christian Lacroix

Delfina Delettrez

COUTURELAB: “Italian designer Delfina Delettrez is renowned for her skill in melding unusual and exotic materials, to create character pieces full of charm. Infused with romance and the macabre, these pieces reflect your strength of personality and stylish wit.  Delfina’s Brown Wudu Necklace has a raw tribal quality to its design. Set on a rich black leather necklace is a woven bib section containing rows of grinning skulls carved from sumptuous silver and glossy bone with fringed soft suede tassels. The unique materials complement each other and create this edgy statement piece which will add a strong accent to the simplest of outfits.”

Brown Wudu Necklace by Delfina Delettrez


COUTURELAB:   “With these Orgy earrings she has created a range of sensual statement pieces guaranteed to be a talking point. Wear Delfina Delettrez’s Orgy Earrings for their bold statement. Each piece is carved from exquisite silver, featuring the couple in a different position. Combined with the risqué motifs, these stunning earrings create a heady mix of Kama Sutra and couture, making them extremely covetable.”

Orgy Earrings by Delfina Delettrez


Eileen Coyne

COUTURELAB: “Mesmerizing reflections and refractions, colorways and constructions, surfaces and textures – these are the raw materials for Eileen Coyne’s alchemy. From her London atelier, the designer creates jewelry, kaftans and precious-skin belts inspired by the aesthetics of ethnic peoples around the world. Make the primal charisma of Eileen’s agate and boar’s tusk necklace your own. Spherical and egg-shaped agate beads array with carved and contoured pillars of blackened silver to form seven interwoven ropes. At one end, these are fixed to an arc of boar’s tusk, its exquisitely grained surface festooned with textured silver. At the other end, the ropes attach to a rough-hewn silver ingot which hooks onto the tusk to close the circle around your neck.”

Agate & Boars Tusk Necklace by Eileen Coyne

Erickson Beamon

COUTURELAB: “Erickson Beamon’s eclectic take on costume jewelry makes their pieces a must have for the fashion cognoscenti. They effortlessly mix materials to create stunning statement pieces which enhance any outfit. Their designs reference everything from current style to Bedouin souks ensuring each has a rich individual charm.  Choose Erickson Beamon’s eye-catching Gold Body Harness for its striking allure. The chain of plated base metal links is beautifully crafted to wrap delicately around your body, adding instant charisma to your look. The antique gold effect adds a luxurious shine and makes this an extremely covetable piece.”

Gold Body Harness by Erickson Beamon

Fernando Jorge

COUTURELAB: “Taking inspiration from the rich and varied concepts of body, gender and sexuality found in the culture of his home country, Brazilian-born Fernando Jorge exploits the blurry crossover between stereotypes and identity. His designs focus on Brazil’s association with sensuality, perpetuated through ‘the foreign eye’, the one that registers only what is different. The results are his elegant and ambiguously provocative pieces, translating the latent sensuality associated with his vibrant country.  Add sensuality and luster to your look with Fernando Jorge’s Fluid Neckpiece. The fluid 18 carat yellow gold chains delicately drape around six bespoke milky quartz in stunning asymmetry. This neckpiece beautifully sprawls over your body with its exquisite long gold chains.”

Fluid Necklace by Fernando Jorge


Lotus Arts De Vivre

COUTURELAB: “Into your life, Lotus Arts de Vivre brings objects of outlandish beauty inspired by the flora, fauna and legends of south-east Asia. Rather than mass produced to meet a pre-prepared design, each piece is hand-crafted in Thailand to observe and enhance the unique forms and traits of the natural materials that comprise it. Fabulous sea shells and coral, rare animal skins, hulks of ancient wood, jungle seed pods, precious and semi-precious gems – no two examples exactly alike – are honed and combined to make jewelry, accessories and home-wares beyond compare. Machine working is minimal. Instead, teams of artisans deploy traditional decorative skills – all but extinct beyond the region – to invest each creation with timeless fascination and eternal value.   Wrap your wrist in the electrifying embrace of Lotus Arts de Vivre’s dragon bracelet. Sections of precious ebony wood, and silver rings plated with radiant 9K rose gold and encrusted with rubies, interface to form this spectacular circuit; silver is hand carved and coated with gold to form the fantastical creature’s head. Elastic wire, invisibly threaded through the centre of the piece, allows it to flex for an exact and comfortable fit.”

Dragon Bracelet by Lotus Arts De Vivre



Vicente Gracia

COUTURELAB: “Own for yourself the transcendent charisma of jewels by Spain’s Vicente Gracia. Through his work, this multi-award winning designer seeks to re-engender the original symbolic meanings of gemstones as a bridge to the divine. Vicente’s native city, Valencia – its ancient traditions, myths and environs – and metaphysical sources, including sacred literature and symbolic art, are his inspirations. Ranked by Vogue as one of the world’s 20 most prestigious jewellers, Vicente conjures investment pieces that radiate an exquisite joy. Each of his creations for CoutureLab is a unique one-off.   Vicente’s “Ascenso Celestial” (“Heavenly Ascent”) necklace is set to guild you with a unique charisma. Coursing your collar is a dense and flexing mesh of fine silver links gathered at each end into shimmering cups. Across this lattice, four fantastical birds are exquisitely carved from sterling silver, embellished with rose, black and white enamel, and pave-set with sparkling diamond accents. Scattered across and trailing beneath are ribbons of feathers carved from 24K, 18K and 9K gold and silver, each textured section fluidly linked to the next to conjure a multi-toned play of light. A blackened silver chain with simple hook clasp completes the sublime effect. ”

Ascenso Celestial Necklace by Vicente Gracia



COUTURELAB: “Walid’s accessories combine his extensive fashion knowledge and love of history with the best in vintage and unusual materials. This wonderful statement necklace combines antique gold fringing, with dark wooden beads and sparkling citrine teardrops. The result is a heady mix of rich gold colours and textures which will inject some statement style into any outfit. the ingenious combination of vintage materials and modern design give this piece a timeless quality and make it one to treasure.”

Chunky Citrine Necklace by Walid


COUTURELAB: “A fabulous arrangement of antique gold passementerie, antique carved wooden beads and faceted tiger’s eye teardrops make this necklace a truly unique piece. Hand finished it fastens with a mother of pearl and Swarovski encrusted box clasp.”

Chunky Tiger's Eye Necklace by Walid


COUTURELAB: ” Inspired by antique garments, interiors and art, the designer produces one-off pieces that evoke the past while electrifying the present. Let Walid’s Silver and Gold Lattice necklace swathe you in its scintillating embrace. White-metal curb chains, backed with fabric for a comfortable fit, form the vertical supports for strings of faceted and globular beads and rope-style links. Coursing your body in a series of scintillating silvery and golden crescents, these converge above your navel to sculptural effect. To put the piece on, simply slip your arms into the armholes and tie the waist chain behind your back.”

Silver & Gold Lattice Necklace by Walid


COUTURELAB: “Project beauty and mystery in Walid’s “Sanctum” necklace. A broad satin band encrusted with 19th-century gunmetal beads wraps comfortably around your neck. Joining the ends are fascinating perforated crochet ribbons, from which chains of smoky metallic beads cascade low over your body, catching the light with your every movement.   Formed only from vintage materials, this piece may contain signs of age or wear. These are to be seen as unique memorials rather than flaws.”


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Posted by learntobead on November 10, 2010

Read the current issue of:

Fall, 2010


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Posted by learntobead on April 27, 2010

Business and Jewelry Art

To what extent do (and should) business concerns influence the artistic choices bead and jewelry artists make?

I’d say “A Lot!”  But this isn’t what a lot of artists like to hear.

You have to market to audiences.   You may have to standardize things to be able to make the same thing over and over again.   You may have to work in a production mode and repeat making certain designs, rather than freely create and design anew each time.   You have to price things so that they will sell, and you have to price things so that you can make a sufficient profit.    You can’t undersell yourself, like offering discounts to family, friends and co-workers.

You have to conform to prevalent styles and colors and forms.    You have to make things that will photograph well for sale online.     You have to make things that local stores want and are willing to buy or put on consignment.    You may end up with a lot of “one size fits all.”

You find that if you want to make your jewelry design into a successful business, you may have to compromise with yourself, your artistic drives and sensibilities.    You may have to limit what you offer.    In order to make that sale.   In order to make a profit.   And stay in business.

Business involves:
– Putting your artwork on a sound cost/revenue footing
– Developing market-driven strategies (as opposed to product-driven ones)
– Pricing your pieces for sale
– Implementing various selling strategies
– Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business

Over and over again, I have seen one jewelry artist after another fail as a business.    The reasons repeat themselves as well.

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business.    

Many jewelry artists get so excited after selling their first piece, that they think they don’t have to get too involved with business principles.      They understand their “business” as a “necklace-by-necklace” endeavor.   Make something, sell it.   Doesn’t matter what the price.   Doesn’t matter to whom.  Doesn’t matter if making the piece in the first place is in line with the resources you currently have to make the piece, or will drive you in debt in order to get those resources.

Artists need to focus on what’s called “Velocity”.   You need to have in place sufficient strategies for keeping the money turning over at a constant rate.   If you can’t maintain this rate, you  go in the hole.    You make something.  You sell it.  You reallocate the money you just made to reinvesting in more inventory, replacing the inventory you sold, evaluating the pros and cons of the sale that just happened, adjusting accordingly, and strategizing how to keep this velocity going at a constant, or ever-increasing, velocity.

And artists need to keep good records, and implement good accounting principles.

2.   Gets Bored.

People who get started are very excited.   They’ve made a lot of pretty pieces, and someone has bought some of them.    But then you need to leave your creative mode, and enter a production mode.   You need to discipline yourself to make the same things over and over again.   Many artists quickly lose interest.

3.  A fear of marketing your own things

You won’t succeed without marketing.   Marketing is more than advertising.  It includes all forms of self-promotion.  It includes doing research on your markets and market niches, how to reach them, how to get their attention, how to get them to translate this attention into needs and wants and desires, and how to get them to part with some money.    

Many artists are shy about self-promotion.    Time to train yourself, if this is you, to get over it.

4.  Trying to please all audiences

When people get started, they are reluctant to use the “No” word.    They want to please everyone.     But when you get started, you can’t.    It will put you out of business.

Let’s say you have some jewelry that is predominantly purple.   Someone at work loves the jewelry, but asks if you can make it in red.     If you don’t have an inventory of red beads, and will have to go out and buy them, it may make this sale foolish, from a business standpoint.   You can’t buy just one bead at a time; you need to buy strands or packages of these beads.   

When you start, you need to pursue a strategy of depth, rather than breadth.   You want to buy a limited number of pieces in large quantities to get adequate price breaks.   So, initially, your designs will be limited, as well.     You need to be able to say No.    No  to your family.  No to your friends.  No to the people you work with.

In my experience, such as the situation with red vs purple beads above, when you say No, the potential customer tends to make a face.     Pitiful.   Angry.   Frustrated.    Sad.   Pleading.      If you can wait 60 seconds, in almost every case, the customer stops making this face, and says, “OK, I’ll take what you have in purple.”      But so many jewelry artists can’t wait that 60 seconds.

And don’t give these people discounts.    They’re already getting it cheaper, than if they bought the same piece in a store.    One major way your business will get built up is word-of-mouth.   You don’t want some of that information to include extremely low price expecations that will never be self-supporting in your business.

5.  Doesn’t do homework on the competition

You need to understand how other jewelry artists you compete with function as a business.

How do they define their markets?
How do they price things?
What kinds of inventory do they carry?     What kinds do they NOT carry?
Where do they advertise?   How do they promote themselves?
How do they define their competitive advantage — that is, all the reasons people should buy from them, rather than from anyone else, like you?
Where do they sell things — stores, shows, fairs, online, etc?      What seems to work better for them?

You can find a lot of this out by Googling.     You can look for jewelry designers.  Directories of jewelry designers.    You can plug in a jewelry designer’s website, and see where they are listed, and who lists them.

Posted in business of craft, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Naming Your Business

Posted by learntobead on April 28, 2009

What on earth do you think you would buy from The Flan Corporation?

Flan? The Spanish kind or the Mexican version?

Flans? Whatever they are – automotive parts?

Franny-Lisa-Alicia-Nancy kind of stuff?

Would you ever buy a Swarovski necklace of glass pearls, crystallized elements, 14KT gold clasp and real faceted emeralds from The Flan Corporation?

The Flan Corporation is a Chinese company that sells handcrafted, beadwoven jewelry. I don’t know what “Flan” means in Chinese, but, here in the US, it’s not a word that would immediately make me salivate about handcrafted, beadwoven jewelry.

It’s really difficult to pick a business name. It’s harder than naming your child. It’s harder than naming your dog. I’ve tried many times with varying degrees of success. And the first business name you pick might seem great and work great at the beginning, but will it evolve with your business as well? Maybe yes, maybe not. What’s important is not only how good your business name sounds, and how appealing it is today, but also how adaptable it is over time, as you grow or change your business.

I can’t claim 100% success with my tries at naming a business. Take “Land of Odds.” This has been my best name-selection to date, but it hasn’t been perfect.

I came up with that name 30 years ago for a hobbyist type business, where I refinished antique lamps, and some other antiques, for people. When James and I started our jewelry, beads and gifts business, I thought that Land of Odds would be good for that, as well. The name “Land of Odds” always gets such great responses from people. And it is memorable.

As our business grew and grew, Land of Odds – the name – grew with it. We added more handcrafted jewelry, unusual greeting cards, some neat clothing, collectible lines. The name still worked.

Then our business hit a wall. We were located downtown, and the city of Nashville took away 6,000 parking spaces within an 18 month period of time. The city had renovated this downtown historic district, and for various reasons, cars and parking got in the way of continued development. Our business dropped precipitously. I had to put us into Chapter 11 for awhile. James and I dissolved our business partnership, and we put most of the assets in a new business for him that we called Be Dazzled, and we put most of the liabilities under the Land of Odds name.

Now we were functioning with two names used to describe similar businesses that emphasized unusual, often hand-crafted jewelry, gifts, collectibles, gourmet foods, posters, clothing, and beads and jewelry findings.

I shut the physical Land of Odds store down, and continued the business as an internet company – http://www.landofodds.com . The online company was still called Land of Odds. At first, I put all our merchandise online – beads, jewelry, gifts, clothing, posters and gourmet food. Only two categories did well – beads and posters. I slowly began narrowing our focus to beads and posters, and eventually beads only.

As an online entity, we needed to get top placements in search engines in terms of key words like beads and jewelry findings. Search engine robots that indexed a business name with the words beads and/or jewelry findings in the name, would automatically assign it a higher ranking for those terms. A better online name would have been Beads At Land Of Odds or Land of Odds Beads.

Land of Odds” was still a name liked by all, but it no longer had the same strong association with beads and posters, and then with beads only. The business grew quickly online, and “Land of Odds” began to have a strong “brand” following. But again, no longer the most strategic business name, given what I was doing now.

Be Dazzled” was another popular name. The image James had for this business was jewelry that was hand made and wowed people. The business faltered, however. We got rid of most of the merchandise, turned Be Dazzled into a bead store, and eventually recombined Land of Odds and Be Dazzled. At the time we recombined them, both had strong brand identities, so we kept both names. We managed the physical store called Be Dazzled separately from Land of Odds – the online store. When Be Dazzled became all “beads”, I added the word “BEADS” everytime I referred to Be Dazzled — “Be Dazzled Beads” — , from our stationery to answering the phone to setting up its website — www.bedazzledbeads.com .

In the bead business, there are many variations on the name “Beadazzled”. Most people, even regular customers who visit the shop everyday, think that’s our name. We were lucky that Be Dazzled/jewelry morphed so well into Be Dazzled/beads. But we would have been better off if we had worked “beads” into the name somehow. There are a couple of small chain operations called “Beadazzled.” For awhile, someone opened up a bead store in Nashville called “Beadazzled”. There’s always some confusion for and with our shop name.

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Selling Your Jewelry In Recessionary Times

Posted by learntobead on March 30, 2009

Selling Your Jewelry
In Recessionary Times

With a financial crisis in full swing, it has become more difficult to sell your jewelry. Fewer stores, fewer customers, fewer craft shows. At the same time, the costs of all the supplies – beads, stringing materials, jewelry findings – have been increasing at much faster rates than inflation. This adds to the problem.

At the same time, it is getting more difficult to get your “message” to your “customer.” With things like blogs, facebook, my space, twitter, other interactive sites and social networks, people are organizing into ever-smaller market niches.   It’s too expensive and too time-consuming to get enough people to be aware of your business, that you can continue to make a living.

They are no longer reading the mainstream magazines and newspapers to get their primary sources of information, to the extent that they have in the past. They are not going to local craft shows or local stores as much, because they have an online world of Etsy and Ebay and 26 million jewelry sites listed on Google.

Perhaps these times and prospects can be reinterpreted as an opportunity to rethink how you approach your jewelry selling business. At the least, perhaps you can better secure your base during these times, in preparation for more growth and expansion as the financial crisis bottoms out, and then gradually improves.

It’s time to take a hard look at your “business model.” You have probably been operating as a one or two person operation. You, or both of you, do everything. You create the designs. You make the jewelry. You market and sell your jewelry. You wear many hats.

“Unbundling” is a strategy where you give up control of some business functions, and rely on the expertise of other companies or organized groups. One obvious thing is to rely on UPS or FedEX for your shipping needs.

I suggest you think about no-cost and low-cost ways to unbundle some of your marketing and promotion. One inexpensive and effective way is to get a regular group together of others who sell hand-crafted jewelry or other hand-crafted items.

As a group,

– develop and share mailing and emailing lists

– try to brand the group with an identify of having quality, affordable hand crafted items for sale

– have a major presence, even a controlling presence, at a local craft show

– generate a logo that everyone includes on their websites and their packaging

– set up your own blog and try to attract potential customers to your blog

– interlink your websites into a web-ring

– have regular discussions about business strategies

– approach suppliers as a group to bargain for group discounts

On one level, you give up some control in managing these aspects of your business. On another, however, you get to leverage the talents and time and resources of these other businesses. This might be the smartest way to continue to reach your customers, and continue surviving and thriving when things are tough, and the business environment keeps changing and evolving.

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