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BUILDING YOUR BRAND: What Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know!

Posted by learntobead on September 16, 2022

Branding

The ultimate goal and priority for any successful business is branding. Here your clients have an emotional connection to your work as a designer. They immediately recognize your style. Your choices in design. Your sensibilities. Your value and desirability for them. Branding is about what your customers perceive about you, and how you make them feel.

Your brand has ingredients; many moving parts which consist of the following:

  • The quality of your product or service
  • How it offers more value (for example, better quality, easier access, and/or lower price) than your competition
  • The speed at which you deliver it
  • The support you give your existing customers
  • The tone/look/feel of your product, copy, and advertising
  • How many different contexts and situations in which it is used

Jewelry designers who are successful know how to build your brand. In this chapter, I discuss this in more detail.

What Is Branding?

Branding is your product’s personality. You. Your voice. Your message. Your commitment. Your look. Your artist’s hand. But always remember, with branding, consistency is the real driving force behind it.

Your jewelry will have a personality. It may project one or more of these characteristics: handcrafted, artistic, sophisticated, human, enduring, novel, playful, versatile, fashionable, well-constructed, noticeable, enviable. These are the kinds of things you think your customer wants, desires or needs. These are the kinds of things customers buy jewelry for — to make their life a little better, a little bit more fun, a little bit more authentic. These are the kinds of things your customers want to feel when purchasing and wearing your jewelry.

Your brand is the name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies your product as distinct from those of others. Brand is often the most valuable asset of a company. As such, it needs to be groomed and managed carefully. Good branding will result in higher sales and greater longevity for the business. Good branding can make it easier to introduce new products. Good brand management seeks to make your product or service relevant to your target audience.

Your brand will be used in several contexts — in a store, on stationery, on websites, in posts, as signatures in email, with image captions. As such, it should be what is called scale-able — that is, it is flexible and adaptable enough to function in many contexts.

I am often asked: What if you want to make a lot of different kinds and styles of jewelry? If they are so different that they feel like they are different brands, you will either have to narrow your interests, or develop separate branding strategies for each set of products.

If you want to sell other types of products along with your jewelry, if they feel like a part of the same brand, then your branding strategy should be something that encompasses all the variations in products available. If they feel like separate brands, then you need a unique branding strategy for each one.

How Does Branding Differ From Marketing?

Businesses often make the mistake of talking about marketing, advertising and branding interchangeably. So people often confuse them. This confusion is unfortunate.

Marketing is what you do. Marketing efforts make people aware of you.

Advertising is a tool or technique. It is one of the many, many things marketers do.

Branding is what you are. Branding efforts create an emotional and enduring connection to you.

You cannot do effective marketing without a clear idea of your brand, and the words, look and feel needed to convey it. Branding should both precede and underlie any marketing effort. The brand is bigger than any particular marketing effort. The brand is what sticks in your customer’s mind about your product or company, whether they purchased your product or not.

Marketing may convince someone to buy. Branding will convince someone to be loyal.

Marketing will unearth buyers. Branding will make them advocate for you.

Why Is Branding Important?

Everything you do will have the effect of either inspiring or deterring your customer. Every thought, price, design choice, marketing promotion, merchandising decision, product placement — all of these lead up to your customer recognizing (or not) you and your jewelry as a brand. Branding is the essential foundation to a successful jewelry design business.

You should be in brand-building-mode from day 1!

Your Successful Branding Campaign

What drives you? Passion? Values? Purpose? People who create great brands are usually seeking to fulfill some inner longing of their own, some dream of how they want to live their lives.

How do you want your customer to perceive you? What is your long-term vision? What will your business look like when you are done? Can you track your progress? Can you create clear milestones to help you know if you are on tract? Why would someone do business with you rather than someone else?

Most successful brands use very human strategies in their communication and relationship building. You need to see and understand your business in relationship terms, not transactional ones. Give you brand an aura. Inspire your customer. How will you serve them? How will you solve their problems through the jewelry you design? What do you stand for? What differentiates you from your competition? What types of products and services can your customers expect from you?

A successful jewelry designer would not merely say “I make jewelry.” She would be more focused, more specific and more enthusiastic. She might say, “I create beautiful works of art to adorn people.” She might say, “I make people ooh and aah!” She might say, “I help people find that right décor accent they have been looking for.”

Your customer needs to know:

1. What you have to sell

2. How your jewelry changes something in their lives, and

3. What they have to do to get one of those

Try to emphasis specificity and avoid generic statements.

Who Are You Targeting
With Your Branding Campaign?

You want to target four key audiences with your branding campaign. These include:

1. New Customers

2. Influencers

3. Current Customers

4. Purchase Decision Makers

Your Business Name
Should Reflect Your Brand

How does your business name relate to your product and brand identity? Does your tag line support your brand identity?

If you plan on selling more products than just jewelry, you do not need the word jewelry in your name. Anticipate the future of your business as best as you can.

Before you select that name,

· Settle on a tone.

· Research that brand names you want are available.

· English is not the only language option for you.

· Getting feedback is your best friend.

The Names Your Call Your Jewelry And Lines Of Jewelry
Should Reflect Your Brand

Giving names to your jewelry and jewelry lines allows you to amplify your company name and brand, as well as their impacts and effects. But you must tie your naming strategies back into your primary brand identity.

Your LOGO and Other Graphics Designs
Should Reflect Your Brand

Does your logo relate to your products and values? Does the logo help people remember you?

You want effective visual brand identity. Fonts, colors, images, packaging, displays, use of particular visual elements to create distinction all should support your brand.

Your ELEVATOR PITCH and TAG Lines
Should Reflect Your Brand

Your Elevator Pitch and your Tag Line make it easier not only for your audience to understand exactly what your product is, but also gives them something easy and simple to share. Shareable information is spreadable. It can be posted, tweeted, texted and talked about. These give your brand a voice.

The Look of Your Pieces
Should Reflect Your Brand

You play with shapes, colors, sounds, scents, tastes, movements, textures, patterns, compositions, silhouettes, packaging, displays, constructions — are all of these supporting your brand?

Your Website and Online Social Profiles
Should Reflect Your Brand

Your website and online social profiles should look like your work — similar in look, feel and tone. Your work and your presence need to reflect on one another and be compatible.

Always include CALLS TO ACTION and/or LESSONS LEARNED throughout.

Your Portfolio
Should Reflect Your Brand

If you have a varied set of pieces to include in your Portfolio, organize them in such a way that your brand identity still shines through. This might involve placement, naming, descriptive text, sizing and layout.

Delivering Your Message Clearly

It goes without saying that you can have a lot of things organized and in place, but the crux comes in how you deliver your brand message clearly.

Think about: Why do things catch on? Why do people talk about you? How do you generate a buzz?

Developing your marketing message, pretesting it, pretesting again, testing, testing again is very important. Your message needs to be consistent and coherent and resonate with people. Your customer should be able to anticipate that your brand is going to deliver the same essence of a thing each and every time.

It is very tempting to try to be everything to everyone. And you may have different kinds of customers. But, at the end of the day, they all should have the same impression of your values and your products.

Your core message needs to have both an emotional side and a rational side.
Example: You make jewelry that lasts.

Your core message needs to be believable.
Example: Your jewelry is worn by the queen. [True or not true?]

Your core message needs to be relevant.
Example: I sell wedding jewelry. [Only relevant for people who need jewelry for a wedding; if that’s not your customer, this message won’t work.]

Your core message needs to be simple. If your customer cannot understand, remember or repeat your one thing, it is too complicated. It won’t stick in the person’s mind.

Give people things to talk about. Make things fun.

You will be using a multi-method approach towards getting your branding messages out. Advertising. Social Media. Attending events. Sponsorships. Selling in stores. Website. Donations. Packaging. Displays. You want your message to be reinforced over and over again from many angles and points of view.

Your marketing message should promise what you know you can actually deliver. Authenticity reconfirms actions, and in term, resonates well with customers.

Confirming Your Credibility

Tell and share your story in a way that creates a connection with your customer. Think about how things in your life led up to your success, how this relates to the brand identity you are trying to create, and, last, how the customer will relate to your story. You may find you have to re-write your story to meet your branding goals, and this is OK.

Your jewelry can be explained by your values and beliefs, your experiences and lifestyle. Put into words who you are, what your values and beliefs are, also your goals and how you approach the jewelry design process.

Show and tell the customer, in simple words and phrases, what the consequences (positive and/or negative) for them might be if they bought and wore your jewelry, and what the likelihood of any of these consequences occurring.

Offer any evidence that your assessment of consequences and their likelihood of occurring will happen.

People always trust word-of-mouth, so generating this is always important.

Commit to serving your customer over and over again, and they will learn to trust and rely on you.

Connecting To Your Clients Emotionally

Always work to market that emotional connection with your customers. Inspire affection. Create fantasy.

People need to see your business as a solution to their problems. So you want to make your competitive advantages (over all your other competitors) very visible and apparent. Show and tell them how you intend to minimize their risk should they choose your products to solve their problems. Not generic problems, but the actual concerns of your real and potential customers.

Customer concerns and problems may be one or more of the following:

· Want peace of mind

· Want to feel a part of a group or family

· Want to feel they make good choices

· Want to make life easier

· Want their questions answered

· Want to minimize any sense of risk or consequences

· Want to be the focus of attention

· Want to fit into a particular situation, context, event

· Want power and influence

· Want reassurance about something

· Want greater self-esteem

· Want meaning in their life

Listen to feedback. What are your better customers saying about your brand — positive, negative and everything in between? Show them that you hear what they are saying.

Always respond in meaningful ways. Follow-up on everything. The more you can repeat your customer’s first name in your follow-ups, the better their response.

Motivate Your Buyer, and
Secure Your Customer’s Loyalty

Recognize loyalty. Reward and cultivate. Give them access to new products and services first. Involve customers in your business. Let them test your products. Turn them into brand ambassadors and encourage them to spread word of mouth. Get feedback on your marketing strategies. Give them a sense of brand ownership. Engage in conversations. Respond to needs. Make them feel good. Give out referral rewards. Encourage them to post reviews online, and then thank them for these. Feature them on your website or blog. Follow-up after purchases.

SUCCESSFUL BRANDING STRATEGIES

There are many types of branding strategies, and you will be using several of these. These include,

1. Making new rules

2. Marketing a belief

3. Creating connection and belonging

4. Enabling expression

5. Creating culture

6. Leveraging tension

7. Using scarcity

8. Encouraging play

Since a lot of your business will occur online, you will be doing a lot of social media marketing.

Anticipate Problems

Your brand loyalty can disappear in almost an instant. You have to be diligent in anticipating or dealing with after the fact, things like

· Service interruptions

· Too many options diluting the brand

· Mixed messages confusing customers

· Negative publicity or negative word-of-mouth

· New competitors or existing competitors upping their game

The jewelry market is always big enough to attract new competitors as well as provide opportunities for existing competitors to deliver better, faster, cheaper. Face the challenge to elevate your marketing and branding strategies and tactics and deliver more value.

Brands Evolve

As time goes on, things come in and go out of fashion. Styles, colors, silhouettes. Your customers might begin to get bored or even dislike your brand. Stay relevant and flexible. A well-managed brand is always making adjustments.

You want to be ready to deal with this kind of thing before it happens. That means, it is important to be ready to re-brand. It is important to seek out and enter new markets. It is critical that you be in touch at all times with your customers’ goals and values.

Periodically, reality test.

For instance, visualize someone else taking over your business. Could they succeed at maintaining your brand?

Did your product deliver the experience the customer was looking for?

Have you maintained quality standards?

Did your employees and sales staff and sales agents understand your brand and sound like they know what they are talking about when interacting with customers?

Did you respond to phone calls and emails in a timely manner?

Do you customers believe you have their best interests at heart?

Measure Your Effectiveness

It is always important to build in evaluative and feedback components to all your business activities. Branding is no exception.

How well is your business (you and your employees) inspired to execute all your proposed marketing and branding activities?

Given the time and money you are spending, are you getting that Return On Investment (ROI)?

Does your brand resonate with your customers? Does this translate into sales and profitability?

Plan to do some experimenting by testing out different ideas before settling on one. Be sure your ideas fit your brand authenticity and align with your strategies.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

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SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

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MARKETING / PROMOTION / POSITIONING: Social Media Marketing For The Jewelry Designer

Posted by learntobead on September 9, 2022

MARKETING / PROMOTION / POSITIONING:
Social Media Marketing For The Jewelry Designer

Social Media Marketing For Very Small Businesses … That Works!

Today’s successful jewelry-designers and other very small business entrepreneurs maintain a very visible presence on the internet. You must have an online way for people to find you and your products. There are many options. These options vary in terms of who controls the site, the costs to be there and update as necessary, and what limitations are imposed on the site or because of how the site operates.

They may have a website that functions simply as a billboard or business card. They may list merchandise on their site, with prices, and information about how to order it. They may present their jewelry on Ebay or other auction houses, or on sites like Etsy or Supadupa. They may let someone else promote their jewelry on-line in exchange for a commission or royalty. They may post images or videos on sites like Instagram and TikTok. They may have a business page on Facebook, Google or Bing. Or they may have a fully functioning shopping cart system on their own dot.com.

Whatever their level of involvement online, they must put into place active and deliberate marketing strategies for creating visibility for their site and their products, and for maintaining and enhancing that visibility over time. It’s all about recruiting and retaining eyeballs, whatever it takes. Take advantage of social medias’ powers for networking.

Digital marketing is not one thing; it is a set of different strategies and pathways for connecting with and influencing people. While initially a lot of what you do will be hit or miss and trial and error, you eventually want to get very organized, developing internet marketing goals, objectives and encapsulating them into a coherent plan. You want to be represented broadly across many platforms, but concentrate your energies narrowly on perhaps 2 platforms only.

You want your website and any web presence to be:

· Optimized for search engines and directories

· Attractive

· Navigate-able and User friendly

· Enticing to first time visitors as well as repeat customers

· As broadly visible and findable as possible

· Broadly bookmarked and linked to

Successful marketing of any kind means:

· Getting Seen

· Getting Known

· Getting Your Competitive Advantage Recognized

· Making the Sale

Make them stop. Make them stay.

To achieve these marketing goals online requires putting into effect various internet marketing strategies, some technical, others not.

Towards this end, I provide insights about the following:

1. Conducting an initial marketing audit of your online presence

2. Optimizing your front door and landing pages

3. Choosing and placing key words and hashtags

4. Optimizing your social profiles

5. Site usability and navigation concerns

6. Intensive site placement and linkages

7. Inexpensive things you can do to get noticed

8. Social media posts marketing

9. On-line advertising

10.Generating an email list and conducting email campaigns

11.Creating visual images and video content

12.Garner online reviews

13.Getting customer feedback

14.Competitor surveillance

15.Establishing baseline site-activity indicators

16.Have a FAQ page which summarizes all your policies and procedures

17.Have a testimonials page

18.Create relationships with online influencers to market your jewelry

You want to choose the right tools and use them in the right way. If the wrong tools, you can waste a lot of time and money and find yourself serving the wrong customers.

1. Conducting An Initial Marketing Audit of Your Online Presence

The first step is to get honest with yourself. How well do your current marketing and business strategies perform, particularly in reference to your online presence? How do they help or hinder you from achieving (a) visibility on the web, (b) credibility on the web, © customer recruitment and retention, and (d) customer responses, reviews and orders from the web?

This auditing activity involve three steps:

1. Assessing current marketing materials, brochures, business cards, stationery, listings, keywords, descriptions, click through ad campaigns, email lists, efforts and activities,

2. Assessing current web-site strengths and weaknesses, from a marketing standpoint, that is, how you are in sync with target customer needs, wants, desires and shopping behaviors, and

3. Setting reasonable and attainable online marketing goals and objectives.

Do all your printed materials reference your website and/or your email address?

Is this information prominent and readily accessible, or is it buried?

Does it convey a sense of pride in your online efforts, or shame and embarrassment?

Do you routinely mention your website to your customers or clients?

Do all your emails end with a business signature, that includes your business name, address, phone, fax, and email?

Does your website clearly and concisely express what your business is all about, and how to contact you — particularly in terms of the information on the front page, any other landing pages, near the top, that would appear in the first screen that your customer would see?

Is your navigation bar/system/strategy easy to manipulate by any customer?

Is each link labeled clearly and strategically?

Does the set of all your links clearly and easily get your customer to each section of your website?

Have you minimized the number of links it takes to get to any one of your product pages?

Is your front page indexable by search engine robots?

Is there sufficient information on this page to index?

Is the organization of keywords on your front page presented to your advantage, or disadvantage, given search engine indexing schemes?

Does your front page load relatively quickly?

Have you kept your graphics on your front page to a reasonable amount so they don’t slow down page loading or obscure any keyword information?

Does your website have the kinds of things that will encourage customers to remain on your site more than a few seconds?

Is it relatively easy to keep your website up-to-date, such as changing information, uploading new images, creating new layouts?

Is your website responsive — that is, will load and be easily readable on any browser and any device, no matter screen size or preset layout parameters?

Now, GOOGLE YOURSELF. This way you have a starting point for how visible you are on the internet.

2. Optimizing Your Front Door and Landing Pages

Your front door page (or any landing page) is your most strategic website asset. It should be optimized in form and content so that it anticipates the indexing and ranking schemes (algorithms) of the major search engines. While these schemes get altered on a regular basis, there are some pointers which will be generally helpful all the time.

1. Don’t use frames. Try to use DIV instead of TABLE html commands. Try to use a CSS style sheet along with HTML5 (or most recent version) coding. Make your webpage responsive, so that it will load up perfectly no matter the browser or screen size of the device.

2. Don’t use a visually wonderful, but indexability awful splash page. You should settle for a slightly less visually appealing page, as a tradeoff for making it more indexable and rank-able.

3. You are selling things. The average person will have the average computer system or cell phone setup. That means, you can’t use the most up-to-date, exciting website technology available. Your pages won’t load up for everyone, some may take too long to load up, and some may even lock up your device. Save the best-of-current-tech for your personal home page.

4. If you are using a template-based host’s WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website design editor, be sure the final result will be responsive. Also be sure your website will be easy to update and maintain.

5. TITLE: Your title should be about 9 words (not more, not less), with your most important key word first. Don’t repeat the same word twice in a row; separate it by another word. Use lower case letters for your key words.

For example: “beads, jewelry findings, beading supplies — Land of Odds” is better than “Land of Odds — beads, jewelry findings, beading supplies”. [Most important keyword is first.]

For example: “beads, jewelry findings, beading supplies” is better than “Beads, beading supplies, jewelry findings.” [Here bead is capitalized once, and appears as what would be judged as twice in a row.]

6. FIRST TEXT LINE: Your first line of the page (and this will appear after the BODY tag if you are hand coding), should be about 10 words, again repeating your major keywords, not putting the same word twice next to each other, and listing the words from most to least important. Never start the page with a TABLE or Graphic file. Start with words.

7. LINK AND PAGE NAMES: Be strategic in the names you give your active links and webpages. Use your keywords in these LINK DESCRIPTIONS (link-text) and URL ADDRESSES (url-text).

For example: Call your gemstone necklace page “gemstonenecklace.htm” rather than something like “AC402.htm”.

In creating the link descriptions on your page, write something like “Gemstone Necklaces” rather than “Products Page”.

8. PARAGRAPHS: Have about 3 paragraphs of text on your front-door page. Each paragraph might have 3 or so sentences.

Your major keywords should appear in this pattern:

– At the top of paragraph #1

– In the middle of paragraph #2

– Not at all in paragraph #3

If you don’t like the look of all those words on your front door page, you can always put the paragraphs at the bottom of your webpage.

9. IMAGES: For all your images, use the ALT tag. For the ALT tag, use your keywords to describe the image. By using the ALT tag, when someone places the cursor over the image, a yellow box will appear with the ALT tag words appearing. These are also very indexable.

Make your original images into .jpg or .tif or .gif files. The original images should be a minimum of 500 x 500 pixels and 72–96 dpi resolution. Within your webpage, you can adjust image sizes. Preference for using the percent (%) adjustment rather than setting particular pixel width and height sizes.

10.HEADINGS: Set up 2 or 3 heading on your front door page, and use your keywords in the heading text. Sometimes what you code as a heading is the first thing indexed, and sometimes the only thing indexed. On subsequent pages, use more headings, if these make sense for the page.

11.COMMENT TAGS: Put in at least one COMMENT tag using your keywords. In the HTML code, comments start with <! — and end with → . COMMENT tags cannot be seen on your page. They are hidden within the code. There is a 1000 character limit to COMMENT tags. Words in COMMENT tags are very indexable.

12.DOMAIN NAME: If you haven’t already selected a website domain name, you might try to create one using your most important keyword in the URL-text. There are many sites online that sell domain names. Compare their prices which can be all over the place. Compare the amount of space they offer you, any email limits, and whether you can add a shopping cart.
For example, “beadsatlandofodds.com” would do far better than “landofodds.com” in search engine indexing.

You can also envision having more than one front-door or landing page for your website. You might have different kinds of customers, and may want to set up an entrance very tailored to each of them. From the search engine’s standpoint, they do not like to see virtually the same page used more than once. You will lose points here if this is your approach. But you can set up differently designed pages as front entrances, and based on how you get your site listed, you can use any of these as the link-reference point.

3. Choosing and Placing Key Words and Hash Tags

Generate a keyword list of 1000 characters. You can use a word processing program like WORD, which has a character counter. In this list, you would include variations on upper case and lower case spellings, as well as common misspellings.

Think about the words and phrases your customers might use to find you, to understand what you do as a jewelry designer, and how your jewelry will satisfy their needs and desires.

To research keywords, you can go to various search engines, plug in the major keywords you’re interested in, and check out what keywords other sites which pop up in the search engines search, have used. On each site’s front door page, review what words they see to use on this page. Also, you can use the browser’s VIEW button to bring up the Source Code image of a page, and check out what keywords other people have listed in their META TAGS (which are otherwise hidden from view). You can use Google’s ad words program to generate keyword lists.

Hash Tags

A hashtag is a word or keyword phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#). It’s used within a post on social media to help those who may be interested in your topic to be able to find it when they search for a keyword or particular hashtag. It helps to draw attention to your posts and encourage interaction.

If you are using a phrase, do not put spaces between the words.

You want to use hashtags that you think people will search on.

You don’t want to be too general and you don’t want to be too obscure. You can check out what influencers in your area of interest are using on their posts.

RiteTag (https://ritetag.com) : Get instant hashtag recommendations.

You should, if possible, include a branded hashtag, such as #yourname#yourbusinessname, or #nameoflineofjewelry .

Different social media platforms have different expectations for the number of hashtags they view as optimal. Use that number, not more or less, if you can.

Facebook (1 to 2 at most)

LinkedIn (1 to 3 at most; place them within the body of your post, rather than at the end)

Instagram (10 or 11 is best, but you can use up to 30 hashtags)

Tik Tok (100 characters maximum)

Pinterest (1 or 2 at most)

I would suggest using hashtags in all your posts.

4. Optimizing Your Social Profiles

In various social media sites, directories and other places you list your business, you want to have a great, professional social profile about yourself. Think about…

Username: This is the identity of your business in one simple or compound word. If you have the opportunity to verify your name within any site, do so. This builds trust.

Biography: You want a short introduction to yourself and your business. [Refer to your Getting Started Story in an earlier chapter.] List important information about yourself and your business. Tell the reader how you and your design work solved problems for them. Establish some indicators of credibility and legitimacy. Make your business sound approachable.

Photos: Get a good headshot of yourself and another shot of your working at making jewelry. Get another image that defines your business, such as store front, store displays, or a group of employees serving customers. Last take some appealing images of some of the pieces you make and which represent your brand or style. Include photos showing someone wearing your pieces. Photos should be in .jpg format, 500×500 pixels minimum size, and 300dpi (for print) and 72–96dpi (for screen).

Headline or Tag Line: Usually you have an opportunity to add a short line of text after your name or the name of your business. 7–9 words is good. This line should suggest your keywords and hashtag words. This line should be catchy. Test out a few examples and see which ones get the best reactions.

Content: A lot of informative content on your profiles is always a plus. Research what other jewelry designers are posting on blogs and on Facebook for ideas.

When you update your social profile, let all your followers know. This is a good way to keep them engaged with your business.

5. Site Usability and Navigation Concerns

How usable is your website to:

– New customers

– Returning customers

Websites need very clear Navigation systems.

Websites need strategies to keep them from becoming boring. After someone visits a site a few times, and it only takes a few times, the sites become stale and boring to them.

Websites need all your contact information — address, phone, fax, email — right on your first page. Or at least a very visible link/button to CONTACT INFORMATION. Don’t make your customers hunt for contact information.

Navigation System

There is a series of research about the Magical Number 7 plus or minus 3. When people are confronted with 7 or more choices, they psychologically need to re-categorize them, such as into one group of 3 and another group of 4, in order to deal with all this information. Otherwise they get paralyzed and stumped. People can easily handle 4 pieces (7 minus 3) of information, but start to get uncomfortable with 7 pieces, and can also be forced to deal with 10 separate pieces (7 plus 3) information, but that’s pushing it.

From a website design standpoint, you do not want to make someone have to travel more than 4 links to get to the product information they want. As the required number of links to click on gets greater than 4 clicks, your customers will begin to get paralyzed, and not make the next click. Wherever you find you have more than 4 clicks to get to a product, you can re-categorize, so you have fewer links to navigate.

For example, suppose it takes 5 clicks to get from your section on Jewelry to your section on Amethyst Beaded Necklaces:

PRODUCTS — click 1 to — JEWELRY — click 2 to — NECKLACES — click 3 to — BEADED NECKLACES — click 4 to — GEMSTONE BEADED NECKLACES — click 5 to — AMETHYST BEADED NECKLACES.

You might reduce the number of clicks the customer has to travel by reducing the number of webpages they have to traverse:

PRODUCTS/JEWELRY — click 1 to — NECKLACES/BEADED NECKLACES — click 2 to — GEMSTONE BEADED NECKLACES/AMETHYST.

On the PRODUCTS page, you list all your types of products. On your NECKLACES page, you list all your types of necklaces. On your GEMSTONE BEADED NECKLACES page, you list all the types of gemstones.

Avoiding Boredom

Websites get stale fast. Unfortunately, to keep things re-designed and very fresh takes a lot of time and effort. So, you want to come up with some simple, less time-consuming tricks that you can do to keep your website appearing fresh.

One trick is to put something on the page that moves. Build in some kind of “movement” on your front-door page. You can use a .gif animation file, or create mouse-overs and other simple fun things which move using Javascripts.

Another trick is to create a sense of Interactivity — forms, polls, message boards, chat lines, email sign-up, email link, contests, games, ezines, links/resources page listing other sites of interest.

A third trick is to run specials and/or have a What’s New section.

Contact Information

Preferably on the first page, include your address, email, phone, fax, and other important identifying contact information.

If you have a separate CONTACT PAGE, be sure that the link/button to the page is prominently displayed at the top of your front door page.

If you use a CONTACT FORM, I think it is also helpful to list your email address on this same page, as well. If concerned about robots collecting email addresses off websites to use in spam, you can write you email address like this: warren (@) landofodds (dot) com .

Many of your regular customers or clients will begin to use your website like a rolodex entry. Make it easy for them.

Caution: many anti-spam programs reject emails that begin with Info, Contact, Shop and other very generic terms.

6. Intensive Site Placement and Linkages

It is important that you get listed with all the major search engines, directories and social media sites, as well as specialty directories associated with your specific business.

To make this process go as quickly as possible, it is important to have all your information together in one place, where you can cut and paste the information into the online forms, as requested.

Type out your landing page URL as http://www.mysite.com . If you are using a shopping cart system, your URL will most likely start as https://www.mysite.com .

Type out your email contact address: warren@landofodds.com

Besides having about 12–20 of your most important keywords or keyword phrases handy, also have about 12 hashtags ready. You will also want to create 25-word, 50-word, 100-word and 200-word descriptions of your site, heavy on keywords, but no side-by-side keyword repetitions. One more thing: have a 7 to 9-word part description / part tag line for your business. Make this catchy.

Do NOT pay for or use any of the multiple submission services. Take the time to submit your site to each search engine and directory, one at a time. A site submitted through a multiple submission service can get assigned a low ranking by the search engines.

You can use Yahoo or Google or Bing to find specialized directories. Get listed in as many as these as possible.

Many search engines and some directories now charge you for a listing, either as a flat fee, or as a click-through rate. You may not be able to afford all the opportunities, but you might want to follow through on the major ones.

Some search engines will let you buy key words. When someone searches on a keyword, a link to your site will appear. If someone clicks through on that link, you’re charged a per click fee. Google ad words and Facebook ads work this way.

Also, link up with web-rings, web-malls, and other affinity arrangements online. You might create your own affinity arrangement with others businesses you know.

Social media sites, newsgroups, forums, and message boards are great places to get visibility. While you usually can’t put a blatantly commercial post on these, you can (a) respond to existing posts, and put your business signature information at the end of your post, (b) suggest a jewelry-making tip, or other similar tip, and add your business signature information to the end of your post, and © and similar things.

There are many sites which list local resources. Get listed. Facebook’s Graph Search allows you to search for businesses both by location as well as friend’s recommendations. It shows you which businesses your friends have frequented. Yelp and Trip Advisor are critical for local businesses.

You can do a search on the URL web-address of your competitors, as well as on their names, to see where they are listed.

Some of your suppliers may list you on their websites. Some of your customers or clients may list you on their websites.

To get a high ranking, search engines do three things:

a) CATEGORIZE your site in relation to certain keywords, by indexing words on your site,

b) RATE your link-popularity, by checking how often someone clicks on a link to your site, and

c) RANK the link-relevancy of your site based on how long the person stays on your site, once they’ve clicked on their way there.

So, the more places that maintain a link to your website, the more likely someone is to click through to it. The better designed your website is, the more likely someone is to hang around awhile. The better indexed you are (called SEO optimization), the more visible you are in any search.

7. Inexpensive Things You Can Do To Get Noticed

There are many low-cost or free things you can do to increase your visibility online. Some suggestions:

a. Get reciprocal links — “I’ll list you if you list me.” There are your friends and personal associates; other similar businesses; affinity sites such as shopping malls, specialized directories, awards programs.

b. Create educational and information content. Share it with other sites in exchange for a link back to your site. In fact, there are Free Content sites online that act as a repository and exchange for free content articles. Submit your articles there.

c. Respond to people’s questions in forums, newsgroups, message boards, reviews and the like. Start each of your responses by repeating their first name. Include a business signature with a link back to your site at the end of your response.

d. Write articles for online ezines, newsgroups, forums, specialized portals and the like.

e. Join affinity groups.

f. Include a lot of explanatory and how-to information next to each of your products.

g. Run a contest.

h. Set up a group and form your own community within one or more of the social media sites.

i. Set up a business page on one or more of the social media sites, as well as the major search engines such as Google and Bing.

j. Create your own online newsletter.

k. Post images on all the social media sites.

l. Post short videos to You Tube, as well as other social media sites, particularly Instagram and Tik Tok. Videos will generate more interest than images.

m. Create a blog. Keep it active. You can also use micro-blogging posts to lesson your workload. Micro blog posts are short links to other websites or posts online you find of interest. Here you make a statement about why the reader should pay attention to this link. Write the link. Suggest that the reader come back to your blog and offer some feedback.

n. Create an email campaign for your email-opt-in customers.

o. Send birthday wishes to your followers; include an image of your jewelry; tag the follower.

p. Create both business and personal profile pages on various social media sites.

q. Run promotions and discount offers.

r. Bundle 2 or more pieces of jewelry and run a promotion.

s. Shine a spotlight on your employees.

t. Show off your space.

u. Run a contest.

v. Re-share content from other sites.

w. Recognize loyalty; feature your super customers in blog posts or posts on social media channels; give them first access to new products; create a brand loyalty program.

x. Invite customers to react to and test out new ideas before you implement them.

y. Reward referrals.

z. On social media, position yourself as a subject matter expert.

aa. Use social media to find cross-promotional partners.

One thing I do NOT recommend is to send mass e-mailings where your target audience has not previously opted in to receive emails from you. Mass e-mailings generate a lot of positive responses, but they generate a lot of negative responses, as well, from people overwhelmed with spam.

There will always be new tools every year to take advantage of. Sharing text, image, video and audio will always remain in style.

However, you decide to attract attention and increase your visibility, you will pay with either your time or your money. At first, you will probably take a shot-gun approach — that is, trying everything. But in the interests of time and money, you will want to narrow your efforts.

8. Social Media Posts Marketing

Post everywhere. React to other people’s posts. Answer queries. Suggest how-to solutions. Include an image with your post, 1–3 hashtags, and a link back to your website or online presence.

Create a presence on all social media sites, and post to them all. However, select 2 of them to concentrate your marketing efforts.

Things which improve responses to posts: touches of humor, quality of information, your excitement, something weird, something the evokes an emotional response, a feeling of connection.

Keep your posts short. Yes, you are marketing yourself and your designs, but more subtly. You do not want to sound salesy.

Engage your viewer. For example, ask “Which of these 3 is your favorite?” or “A and B are perfect together — Agree?”.

If at all possible, end each post with either a CALL TO ACTION or a TAKE-AWAY / LESSONS LEARNED.

Share photos of events. Share photos of what’s new?

If someone responds to your post, respond back to them. At a minimum, thank them for their post. Remember to cite their first names in your responses.

Pay attention to the number of responses you get, and whether you get more or fewer responses depending on the site, the day of the week or the time of the day.

Plan to make posts on a regular basis. You might plan to use the same posts on different media sites. If using the same post for placement on the same social media site, say in several interest groups on that site, try to limit the same post to, in this example, 3 interest groups.

Instagram has been especially useful, productive and responsive to jewelry maker posts. With Instagram, I suggest planning to post at least once every single day. Remember that those captions are important and you want to make them clever or very personal in some way.

Quality will matter more than quantity.

9. Online Advertising

There are many opportunities for online advertising. For each opportunity, you want to carefully think through the costs and benefits. How many impressions (# of eyeballs) will your ad achieve? For each impression, how many of those people will follow through (click-thru rate) and link to your site? What words, keywords, terms seem to influence people to click-thru more often? What is a reasonable cost per click through?

The first types of advertising you should do are the basic, cheap and obvious. Include your website address and/or email address on your stationery, business cards, business checks, brochures, other handouts.

You add some marketing highlights, address and email as your “signature” for all the emails you send.

You might send out a Press release to your local papers and magazines, or to regional and national publications pertinent to your business. You will want to approach them with a good angle, that you think would be of interest to their readers.

Many search engines, like Google, directories and social media sites sell keywords. You pay a certain amount of money for each click thru to your site. You can set a limit to how much you want to spend each month. It could be as low as a few dollars, or as high as you want to go. When one of their visitors does a search on the particular keyword (or keyword phrase), your name appears with the search results, with a clickable link back to your site. You pay when someone clicks on that link and visits your site. Using a keyword phrase of 2 or more words, rather than a single word keyword will narrow your target audience, but at the same time increase the chances one of these people will click through.

Instead of using keywords, you might also be able to target customers by demographic data, such as age, gender, and geographic location.

You might purchase a banner ad to place on other people’s sites.

You can also purchase ad space or sponsorship listings on various online ezines, magazine and websites.

You can place classified ads. Many search engines have classified sections. There are many specialized websites hosting classified ads.

In a similar way, you can post several of your products on Ebay or other auction sites. Marketing on Ebay is very similar to taking out an ad, but probably more effective.

Note: Social media sites and search engines tend to favor paid posts and ads. These sites probably have applications which help you narrow your target audience, thus maximizing your costs-per-click-thru.

10. Generating An Email List and Conducting Email Campaigns

It is critical to generate an email list of customers. You want them to very formally and visibly opt-in to the list. You can generate sign-up sheets, online forms, and the like towards this end.

You can run your own campaigns, or use an email client like MAILCHIMP (https://mailchimp.com ) or CONSTANT CONTACT (www.constantcontact.com ).

You can segment your email list into smaller, targeted groups.

A monthly contact is reasonable.

Caution: many anti-spam programs reject emails that begin with Info, Contact, Shop and other very generic terms.

11. Creating Visual Images and Video Content

Images: Images get better responses than text. Make your original images into .jpg or .tif or .gif files. The original images should be a minimum of 500 x 500 pixels and 72–96 dpi resolution. Within your webpage, you can adjust image sizes. Preference for using the percent (%) adjustment rather than setting particular pixel width and height sizes.

Show images of your finished pieces. Of you at working making things. Of someone wearing your pieces. Of the inspirations for your pieces. Of works in progress. Of close-up details of your pieces.

Encourage customers to share images of them wearing your jewelry.

Create a slide show of a series of images to tell a story.

Infographics generate lots of discussion.

Write captions for all your images. Don’t just tell them what the image is. Tell them how and why what is photographed will be important to them. Try to use humor and irony. Make the captions authentic. Bring out your personality in the captions. For example: “The bracelet you always wanted to go with that blue dress,” or, “One of a kind necklace which will no longer be available after the 1st.”

More examples:

“My color-picking frustrations paid off this time!”

“Need to finish this ASAP. Didn’t even take the time to brush my hair today!”

“So tribal … What do you think?”

“I think I’ve made a necklace to match the picture I hung in my room. Didn’t even think about that. Or did I?”

“I made all this jewelry today, and now have to leave it to do some vacuuming. I can’t stop looking at it though.”

Videos: Videos are the best way to get attention on the internet. They catch the eye. They can convey emotions. They make demonstrations easy to follow.

There are many formats. The safest one to use is MP4. When you upload to a site, like You Tube, the sites convert your video to their format. Consider purchasing video editing software. For the most part, keep your videos short — either the 1–3 minute version or the 10–20 minute version.

Each social media platform has its own rules and pros and cons for hosting videos. Check out: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Snapchat. Most require a screen resolution of 1920 x1080 pixels, and a widescreen (16:9) format. You would set up a page or channel on each site. It’s a good idea to create a short introduction video explaining what your page or channel is all about.

You Tube: Host all your videos. On You Tube, you can also live stream video. This is useful to make spot announcements, present new products, and the like. Videos available to everyone. People most often look for “how-to”, “demonstrations”, “product reviews.”

Facebook: Videos can only be seen by your friends and followers. People on this site want videos that are entertaining or inspirational. 85% of viewers watch the videos with the sound off. Video size recommended is 1280×720 pixels.

LinkedIn: People like career-oriented videos as well as corporate and business promotions and interviews and conference broadcasts.

Twitter: Videos are very, very short. Usually off-the-cuff remarks shared by cell phone.

Instagram: Videos are square by default. Optimal size: 1080 x 1350 pixels. You want your videos to tell a story, with a beginning, middle, climax, denouement and conclusion.

Pinterest: Similar to You Tube.

Tik Tok: The standard video length is 3 minutes, though you can go up to 10 minutes. Sound is essential. The orientation is vertical, so you want the size of your video to be 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Pointers:

· Keep the viewer in mind. Aim to meet their needs, whether seeking to solve problems, learn something, be entertained, or be inspired.

· In the first 5–10 seconds, be sure the video content is an attention-grabber with a solid hook. Get your name out and your purpose out. Viewership drops dramatically after 10 seconds.

· Make the video mobile-friendly. Make any text large enough to be seen on a small cell phone screen. Make sure there is good contrast between text and the background it is imposed on.

· Always add either a CALL TO ACTION or a TAKE AWAY / LESSONS LEARNED before the video ends.

· Add captions to your video throughout because many people view videos with the sound off.

· Embed all your posted videos on your own website as well.

12. Garner Online Reviews

Online reviews will always be important.

I widely post links throughout my online pages and emails to the various review sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook and Travel Advisor. Periodically I send out an email to my customer list asking them to post a review.

Respond to every single post, positive or negative. Always begin your responses by writing the reviewer’s first name. Real and authentic responses, rather than canned responses, keep the conversation going and allow you to glean more valuable insights from your customers.

Occasionally the reviews might be negative. I know it’s difficult not to take negative comments personally, but it’s only personal if you allow them to be. Still, even negative comments are opportunities for dialog. Respond to them in a sensitive, understanding way, perhaps suggesting something like, (a) a future discount or reward, or, (b) being grateful for calling something to your attention — that this will change your behavior in the future. Thank them for their review.

One contributing factor to a higher search engine ranking is the number of positive reviews for your site.

Make sure you have set up business profiles on Google and Bing so that your customers can see the reviews posted on either search engine site.

13. Getting Customer Feedback

It is important to get customer feedback about your website, your marketing efforts and your products/product mix. Regularly connecting with customers will help you retain them. It will help you keep their information updated. Asking for feedback will get them more invested in your business. It will help you uncover any customer issues which need to be resolved.

When people email or call you, you might ask some evaluative questions of them, while you have their attention. Also ask them how they found you originally.

You can set up a free poll or survey online. There are many websites that offer free online polls and surveys.

Ask your customers for leads.

14. Competitor Surveillance

The internet provides myriad opportunities for you to view your competitors’ marketing strategies. You can analyze specific competitors you know of in your immediate environment. Or you can focus on 3–5 competitors that are prominent in your business.

Think about what they are doing and their performance relative to what you are doing and your performance.

In the search engine locator box, you can:

– Type a keyword, and look more closely at the first 3–5 competitors whose websites pop up

– Type in the name of a specific competitor, and see which websites mention their name

– Type in the URL address of a specific competitor and see which websites maintain active links to them, or have reviews of them

You can:

– Analyze their website and product line

– Determine what keywords are important to them

– Find out who lists them and links to them

– Check their visibility and rankings

What is their business model?

What assumptions do they make about the market for their products?

Where do they think their customers are?

How do they think their customers will find them?

Where do they advertise?

What is their product mix?

What kinds of pricing strategies have they put into action?

Listening tools (from LinkedIn Share): Some online sites which help you monitor competitors, blogs, comments, videos, tips and the like:

Bing: Internet Search

Commentful: Monitors comments on blog postings

BlogPulse: Identifies daily blog post patterns

Complete Blog: Monitors how people use the internet

Cotweet: Monitors discussions about businesses and their brands on Twitter and Facebook

Digg: Members vote on which web content should be shared

Feedky: Scans and indexes video websites

FourWhere: Finds tips and comments on Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla.

Google News: Highlights news items about businesses and brands

HootSuite: Customized analytics relative to various social media sites

Klout: Rates and ranks brands based on engagement levels in various social media sites

OpenBook: Searches real-time posts in Facebook

SamePoint: Enables you to connect your business to various social media sites

Sideline: Topic search application for Yahoo

Technorati: measures particular position and influence of any website

Trackur: Lets you watch your reputation, mentions, and promotional campaigns

Trendpedia: Monitors social media sites and what people are saying about you and your brand

UserrnameCheck: Find where your username has been registered

Website Grader: Measures the marketing effectiveness of your website

Yahoo Pipes: Helps you aggregate information from all over the internet

15. Establishing Baseline Site-Activity Indicators

It is important to track the activity on your website, and to try to gauge whether this activity level is affected by any marketing effort you might launch.

There should be a statistics package that comes with your website. You can also link to Google Analytics or other available statistical packages online.

From this information, you should gather the following stats:

· # of unique visitors

· Average visitors per day

· Average length on site per vistor

· # of sales per week

· Average doll per sale

· Percent of unique visitors resulting in actual orders

· # of abandoned shopping carts

NOTE: You can easily find out similar information for all your competitors using many apps available online for this purpose.

16. Have a FAQ page which summarizes all your policies and procedures

Create one page, called a FAQ page, which summarizes those policies and procedures relevant to your customer base. Anticipate the kinds of questions your customers will ask you, and provide the answers here.

So, at the least, your customers will ask about:

· Ordering procedures

· Turnaround times

· Shipping time and costs

· Customization

· What to do about lost or damaged merchandise

· Repairs

· Returns and exchanges

· Backorders

· Copyrights, Trademarks

· Disclaimers

· Lead content or other information about materials

· Gift certificates

· Discounts

· Minimum orders

· Exchanging links

· International orders

· Security of site for online payments

· Other payment methods

· Sales taxes

· Wholesale orders or arrangements

17. Have a testimonials page (also can include pages for Press Articles, List of Retailers Who Sell Your Jewelry, Upcoming Events)

Periodically, gather testimonials from your customers who have purchased your product. Set up a webpage listing all these testimonials.

18. Create relationships with online influencers to market your jewelry

There are many people online that function as influencers. Many will market and promote your products in exchange for something. Sometimes this is money. Sometimes this is product. Sometimes this is some other reciprocal arrangement. [See chapter on INFLUENCERS for more details.]

They might share images of your jewelry. They might wear it. They will create a buzz for it.

Start by creating a relationship with an influencer who is relevant to your product line. Follow them everywhere. Interact with their posts. Show that you are interested in what they have to say.

Then pitch a collaboration.

______________

FOOTNOTES

Amin, Arshad. 16 Social Media Optimization Tips You Need To Know, medium.com, 1/18/22.

As referenced in:
https://arshad-digital.medium.com/16-social-media-optimization-tips-you-need-to-know-1a66c20b4564

Gillespie, Chris. The Ultimate Social Media Video Guide. 8/4/2021.

As referenced in:
https://www.vidyard.com/blog/social-media-video/

Hill, Andrea. When Marketing, Be Clear Who You Want To Reach and What You Want To Sell. Digital Marketing Decisions, 2/11/2021

As referenced in:
https://instoremag.com/when-marketing-be-clear-who-you-want-to-reach-and-what-you-want-to-sell/?oly_enc_id=8486A9291356F6C

Less Everything. Unconventional Marketing With No Money, Chapter 5: Business Guide: Run Your Business. Don’t Let Your Business Run You.

As referenced in:
http://lesseverything.com/business-advice/unconventional-marketing/

Main, Kelly. 18 Jewelry Marketing Ideas to Drive Sales Without Spending a Fortune, 12/13/2021.

As referenced in:
https://fitsmallbusiness.com/jewelry-marketing-ideas/

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MARKETING / PROMOTION / POSITIONING:

Posted by learntobead on September 4, 2022

About Marketing Strategies For Jewelry Designers

Abstract:

As a marketer, you will be developing and organizing a series of communication strategies and tactics. You will also be combining things into coherent marketing campaigns with defined goals and methods for collecting evidence from which you can evaluate success. This article discusses the importance of spreading word-of-mouth and some ideas towards this end. Also discussed are some additional marketing ideas workable for the designer.

Marketing Strategies

As a marketer, you will be developing and organizing a series of communication strategies and tactics. You will also be combining things into coherent marketing campaigns with defined goals and methods for collecting evidence from which you can evaluate success.

Your strategies will hone in on the 4 P’s: product, price, promotion and place.

· Product: serves a need not being met or provides a novel experience

· Price: set a fair price both to you as well as your customer

· Promotion: your marketing message and how you get the word out

· Place: where your product is available and your distribution arrangements

Whatever marketing strategies and tactics you resort to, remember this.

· You need to be different and refreshing.

· You need to do something your target audience(s) will talk about.

· You need to make your product approachable, accessible, and memorable.

· You need to enhance the emotional connection among client, product and designer.

· You need to be patient and focused.

· You need to be creative.

· You need to be authentic.

· You need to be market-driven, not product-driven. [It might be a great product, but there needs to be a market for it.]

Some marketing tasks you will direct and take charge of yourself. With some, you will work with an agency and turn over responsibility to them. You might rely on online influencers and bloggers. Some things will be in print. Some will be images and/or posts online. Some will be messages to your email followers. You might coordinate your marketing with similar or complimentary products of other businesses (called co-marketing). You might donate items to organizations which will publicize your donations. You will have business cards, brochures, jewelry name cards, guest books, packaging, letterhead stationery, websites, domain names. You might be able to get articles written about you or invitations to participate in podcasts.

You will find that, with jewelry, you will need to use a multi-method approach to your marketing. Any one particular approach won’t be sufficient to reach enough potential clients and influence enough buying decisions to keep you in business.

The Importance of Word of Mouth:
The Biggest Source of New Customers

If your client has had a positive experience with you and your products, it is highly likely they will share this with someone else. This is called word of mouth. Word of mouth might result from a conversation. It might result from an online or print review. It might be generated from comments to an online post. It might be a mention in an article. Word of mouth usually accounts for 3 of every 4 jewelry sales in the United States.

Things which drive word of mouth:

· Thanking your customer

· Asking your customer if they get compliments on your pieces they wear, and if so, can they mention that in a review or post online

· Ask your customers to talk about you, such as mentioning you on Facebook.

· Offer a discount to a customer who refers another to you.

· Image and Video posts on Instagram and other social media sites, and concurrently responding to all LIKES and COMMENTS. Note: Always repeating the person’s first name in our response comments.

· Join social media sites groups, and comment on various posts.

· Hold a customer appreciation event.

· Do some co-marketing with similar businesses in town.

· Follow-up on sales to make sure customers are happy.

· Bring a friend campaign.

· Give out business cards.

· Show something special to clients which I know they will want to tell others about.

· In-store giveaways.

· Be involved in the community.

· Supporting nonprofit fund-raising events, usually by offering a gift certificate or a showy piece of jewelry

· Create how-to handouts and/or post videos online (or other educational content) you can give to customers for free.

Some Marketing Ideas

1. Educate with your content

2. Personalize your marketing messages

3. Be data driven

4. Keep your messages and content updated

5. Be visible in your community and online

6. Manage active and frequent email campaigns, along with implementing strategies to expand your email list

7. Rely on credible influencers

8. Concentrate on one, perhaps two, social networks only, and give it your all

9. Create opt-in offers

10. End all your marketing and promotional messages with a call to action

11. Be a strategic user of key works in webpage designs and promotions

12. Teach

13. Do repairs

14. Survey, listen and learn

15. Sponsor a charitable event

16. Donate products or services to a charity event

17. Co-market with other small businesses

18. Do presentations or webinars to enable your audience to get to know, like and trust you

19. Provide free consultations or demonstrations

20. Write articles

21. Build a website optimized for search

______________

FOOTNOTES

Coursera. The 4 Ps of Marketing: What They Are and How to Use Them. 8/10/2022.

As referenced in:
https://www.coursera.org/articles/4-ps-of-marketing

Hill, Andrea. When Marketing, Be Clear Who You Want To Reach and What You Want To Sell. Digital Marketing Decisions, 2/11/2021

As referenced in:
https://instoremag.com/when-marketing-be-clear-who-you-want-to-reach-and-what-you-want-to-sell/?oly_enc_id=8486A9291356F6C

Koshy, Vinay. 18 Powerful Marketing Stategies To Grow Business Faster, 1/14/2022.

As referenced in:
https://www.engagebay.com/blog/powerful-marketing-strategies/

Less Everything. Unconventional Marketing With No Money, Chapter 5: Business Guide: Run Your Business. Don’t Let Your Business Run You.

As referenced in:
http://lesseverything.com/business-advice/unconventional-marketing/

Main, Kelly. 18 Jewelry Marketing Ideas to Drive Sales Without Spending a Fortune, 12/13/2021.

As referenced in:
https://fitsmallbusiness.com/jewelry-marketing-ideas/

Smith, Lisa. The 16 Best Marketing Strategies to Try This Year.

As referenced in:
https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/01/07/best-marketing-strategies

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, Entrepreneurship, jewelry design, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Success or Failure? Some of my jewelry design students’ experiences at business

Posted by learntobead on July 29, 2022

I’d estimate that 25–30% of my students are in the jewelry making /design hobby to make some extra money. Some see a way to supplement their income. Some see it as a retirement strategy. Others see it as a career transition. Whatever their goals, some have been successful, and others less so. Here are some of their stories.

Cindy

Cindy saw it as a career transition. She made and sold jewelry, went to craft shows and church bazaars, put her stuff on consignment all over the metropolitan area, did home shows, whatever.

After about two to two-and-a-half years, she took the giant leap and quit her full-time legal aid job to be a full-time jewelry artist/entrepreneur. She was successful because she knew how to promote herself, and was very comfortable at this.

Her designs were fashion-current, but not bizarre. One business that had her stuff on consignment told me how great she was to work with.

My only concerns were that she often short-changed some of the quality of materials, and perhaps pushed the pricing a bit too high. But I marvel at her success. if you stick to it, and are confident in yourself, you’ll get there.

Mona

Mona refurbished old pieces into new. She took old brooches, fixed them up, restored missing stones, polished or colored damaged edges. She turned them into pendants, and then created necklaces with the same sensibilities, colors, textures, bulk, and patterns to go with them.

Sold like hot-cakes. She took old, gaudy belt buckles, glued on Austrian crystal rhinestones, found leather belts to go with them, fashioned some tpe of bail, and voila! She had great stories to go with each piece. She also was great at self-promotion. She was very confident. And she got her pieces into all the major stores in the area. She also formed great connections to power-fashion-players, including many people in the music business.

Sharon

Sharon made lampwork beads, and turned these into necklaces and bracelets. She was shy. She tried to sell them to friends and family. She tried to get them into one store on consignment. She tried selling them on EBay. She’s still trying.

Yanxi

Yanxi made Native American style earrings mostly, but some chokers and bracelets, as well. She relied on traditional bead weaving styles of Peyote and Brick. She used traditional materials including Czech seed beads, beading thread, sinew. She used traditional colors and designs. She sold in stores. She sold at markets. She was doing very well for many years.

Until around the later 1990s. Chinese businesses began copying Native American jewelry, and selling their pieces at prices so low, that Native Americans could no longer afford to make a living at making jewelry.

Yanxi’s business faded away to nothing. She was unable to adapt to the changes in the business environment. She could have gone more upscale in the choice of materials and the elaborateness in the designs. But she did not recognize that as a pathway.

Veronica

Veronica made high-end clothing with an edge to her designs. At one point, with her clothing, she decided to create accessories, including jewelry. Necklaces out of old men’s ties. Bracelets out of leather suspender straps from Germany. Odd beads which always catch your eye dangling from old, antiqued, large-linked chain.

She had an acute sense of what jewelry women — of all shapes, ages, sizes, body shapes — could wear to empower themselves. Attract that kind of attention which borders on admiration.

At first, she sold her jewelry pieces to individual stores in various cities she visited. They sold her pieces very quickly. In response, she began working in more of a production mode. She sent these stores boxes of her pieces to be sold as special trunk shows. That idea worked well.

She then worked on setting up a shop-within-a-shop. Several stores were eager to have her store-within-a-store. She envisioned taking over a 6’x8′ area. She created display cabinets, display pieces, and an organizational plan for displaying her pieces. She went to hotel foreclosure sales and purchased old odds and ends to use for displays, such as old wooden clothes hangers which had the hotel logo or name etched in them.

Her jewelry lines overtook her clothing lines.

Debby

Debby made beautiful, elegant, dainty jewelry from bracelets to necklaces to eyeglass leashes. She put them in a few stores. She had been an airline stewardess, and frequently brought her jewelry with her to sell at get-togethers and conventions with past and current airline employees.

Everyone loved her pieces. Everything she made sold. She was reluctant, however, to place them in many stores. She was afraid people would copy her designs. One person, in fact, had copied some of her designs.

Debby wanted to mass-market her pieces to high end boutiques and department stores. She spent years making contacts and connections, which she was very successful at. But she couldn’t reel in the opportunities. Her fears overcame her — people would copy her designs, or they would not manufacture her pieces to her quality expectations, or the manufacturers wanted to make pieces with more mass appeal.

There was always something that got in the way of her making a living by making jewelry. She built walls. She couldn’t climb over them.

Larry

Larry approached Barneys New York about his line of jewelry. He had a personal connection there. He had a marketing strategy for them, which included explaining why the lines of jewelry they currently carried, were not working for them.

He showed them a very full line — jeweler’s tray after jeweler’s tray after jeweler’s tray of jewelry.

With each tray he showed them photographs of jewelry which were carried by their major competitors in New York, as well as fashion spreads in major magazines.

He kept making the point: His jewelry is better, and this is why. His jewelry is better, and this is why. His jewelry is better, and this is why.

Success!

Kiki

Kiki wanted to sell on-line. She knew she needed a web-site with a shopping cart. But she shied away from the $50.00 per month price tag. She knew she would have to hire someone to design her website, but again, the $500.00 quoted price seemed daunting to her. She spent year after year researching web-hosts and web-designers, each time finding something that made her more and more uncertain.

Virtual jewelry, virtual business.

Rosie

Rosie lived in the wealthiest part of town — Belle Meade. She custom made jewelry for the rich for them to wear at special occasions. Her biggest obstacles to overcome: many of her clients were not sure that anyone could actually make jewelry. Jewelry was something that you bought in New York. Not Nashville. Somehow it could only be made in New York and probably by machine. Her clients hesitated, not sure how anyone, let alone anyone local, could actually make jewelry for them.

She took their naivete in stride. She made the making of jewelry seem straightforward. She made the custom designing seem specialized and right up her alley.

She made a necklace and earring set for someone to wear at the Swan Ball.

She made a very unattractive, yet very appreciated by the customer, necklace to wear at a horse race. the colors had to match the specific colors in the horse’s blanket — navy, white and rose. The rose was a special color rose associated with some Queen’s rose somewhere. On the face of things, navy, white and rose don’t usually result in something rich, elegant and status’y looking. But Rosie did a fabulous job. She would not, however, have ever worn this particular necklace herself.

She made a lariat for someone to wear on a cruise. Plus, 5 different sets of earrings, each coordinating with the lariat. Plus, 10 different bracelets, each having a different clasp, and again, coordinating with the lariat.

Rosie’s willingness to adapt to the peculiar needs of her customer base made her a success. And to her customer base, money was no object.

Alejandro

Alejandro didn’t want to design jewelry per se. He wanted to find jewelry designed by others and find places that might sell this jewelry. His mom had gotten breast-cancer (she’s a survivor). And he had this brainstorm.

He visited the Dallas Merchandise Mart. He found about a dozen vendors who represented lines Alejandro thought would do well in the various fundraising events the state’s Breast Cancer Society sponsored.

From these vendors, he gathered information about the products, the minimum units which needed to be purchased at a time, the unit cost, and the suggested retail price.

He determined what kind of commission he needed to make this work and wanted to get.

He sat down with the marketing executives at the Breast Cancer Society. He showed them pictures of the various products and the numbers. He negotiated a deal and a plan.

This is what you call a Win-Win-Win. The vendor wins. The client wins. and Alejandro wins.

Getting Started In Business

You need to look yourself in the mirror, and be very, very, very honest with yourself. Getting started in business is a big step. It’s not all fun and games. There’s paperwork, repetition, tradeoffs to be made. Be honest with yourself.

Ask yourself:

o Why do I want to start a business?

o What type of business do I want?

o What kinds of things do I want to sell?

o What kind of time and energy commitments do I want to commit?

o Where will the money come from to get started?

o Where will I work — kitchen table? craft studio? at a store?

o What will I name my business?

o Where will I get my jewelry making supplies?

o Do I want to do this alone, or with a partner(s)?

There are many different kinds of jewelry you can sell. Necklaces. Bracelets. Earrings. Eyeglass leashes. Name badge jewelry. Rings. Anklets. Ear cuffs. Body jewelry. Jewelry for dogs and cats. Jewelry representing social causes. Beaded jewelry. Wire jewelry. Polymer and metal clay jewelry. Fabricated jewelry, such as with silver smithing techniques. Lampwork jewelry. Blown glass jewelry. Micro macrame and hemp jewelry. Jewel-decorated objects like pillows, lampshades, dinner ware.

There are many different approaches and venues for selling jewelry. these include selling to friends, co-workers and family. Selling at home shows. Selling at craft shows or trunk shows. Selling online. Selling in stores and galleries, either retail, consignment or wholesale. Selling in a truck, driving from city to city, parking, and opening your truck doors for people to come into your mini-showroom. Selling in print catalogs. Designing and/or selling for promotions and events, such as a fund-raiser for breast cancer. Doing repairs.

Whatever the approach and venue, you need to step back, and be sure it is on a solid business basis. This means delving into some bureaucracy and administrivia. You can’t get around this.

Yes, you can make money selling jewelry. But you have to be smart about it.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, Entrepreneurship, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Price Yourself Out Of Business

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

Parts, Labor Overhead

One of my clients, Jan, had taken a few of my classes, was very excited about beading and jewelry making. She began selling her pieces to the people she worked with. She was a traveling salesperson for a health care company, and met lots of people on her travels. And everyone wanted her pieces.

Week after week, Jan would return to the shop and buy a few hundred dollars of beads. and week after week, she enthusiastically reported that she was selling her pieces right and left. After several months, she remarked that she needed to take my Pricing class. As she continued to talk and elaborate about her pricing strategies, she remarked that she typically added $15.00 to the cost of her materials, and that sometimes, her prices were probably lower than the cost of her materials.

Hmmmm….

So if she paid $55.00 for the materials in her piece, she might price it at $70–75.00. A great deal for her customer. But not so great for Jan. I told her to raise her prices.

…And sign up for my online video tutorial about Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Some Jewelry Sells and Other Jewelry Does Not

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

My niece’s 6-year old daughter told me the other day, “Warren, I wish I could get a job where I can make bracelets all day!” How cute! She definitely would have a lot of fun making jewelry. She most certainly could make money doing it. But I don’t think she was old enough to appreciate the amount of work, strategic thinking, and marketing and good business sense involved, in order to succeed.

But maybe she did. Jewelry making tapes into our creative souls, our artistic essence. The fact that you can make money at it, moreover, serves to heighten the experience.

Two girls — one 12 and one 13 years old — were determined to make money that summer. They had had some experience setting up a lemonade stand last year, but they were ready to make the big bucks. So they turned to jewelry. They created an attractive shelter along the side of the road, and posted clever signs — REFRESHING SPARKLES — to catch drivers going and coming in either direction. Instead of lemonade, however, their customers found cool earrings, and breezy necklaces, and yummy bracelets. And the two girls found success!

While there are many business challenges for jewelry designers, — young and old, alike — you can most assuredly answer the question — Can You Really Make Money Selling Jewelry? — with a resounding YES! It takes some planning. Some Moxie. Some start-up money. Some marketing. And some luck. But it can be done.

For people who sell their jewelry, their art is both a business as well as a source of creativity and self-expression. To be successful, they need to bring an understanding of business fundamentals to the business, and they need to find enthusiasm for business in similar ways to how they found their passion for jewelry. There will be ups and downs, as the economy changes or fashions and styles change. They will wear multiple hats — designer, distributor, manufacturer, retailer — and not always be sure which hat to wear when. They will need to understand marketing, pricing and selling. They will need to have a feel for reading and understanding people.

Successful jewelry design businesses today share several traits. They have a focus on what they do as a business model. They are comfortable working long stretches in a production mode — even though this can be very boring for the artist. They have some comfort level with both bricks and clicks. I don’t think you can have a successful business today without both a real physical presence somewhere and some on-line visibility as well.

Jewelry businesses today also must learn to quickly adapt to competition. This is not only competition from other local, regional or national jewelry designers, but from overseas, as well. Remember in the 1970s, when Asian manufacturers started selling low cost Native American jewelry, they almost put the Native American jewelry makers out of business. Today Chinese lampwork companies are wiping out the opportunities for low-end, simple, basic lampwork glass beads made in America. And adapt is the key word here. It may mean having to specialize in higher quality items, or relying on materials or designs unique to your locale. It may mean having to provide more educational and informational materials with your products to give them a competitive advantage.

Your market today may be international. if you have images of your pieces on-line, then someone in Taiwan or France can view posted images just as easily as someone in Nashville or San Francisco. They may buy your designs. They may copy your designs. Reality, what a concept here.

Successful jewelry designers keep their work fresh and relevant. They build in evaluative components into their business. They do a lot of product and ideas research. They experiment with concepts and other markets. They acutely know their competition. They strive to create a brand identify for their pieces. Branding not only best secures your client to you as a designer, but makes it that much difficult for other jewelry makers to copy your work and present it as their own.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, jewelry design, jewelry making, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Often Unexpected, Always Exciting: Your First Jewelry Sale

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

How many times have you heard a jewelry artist say…

I can’t bear to part with my pieces.

My jewelry is too precious to me.

I only give a few pieces that I make away as gifts to friends and family.

I’ve never sold anything.

Selling would take the fun out of it.

And then, someone offers to buy a piece she is wearing, and the rest is history. A sale! Sold! They paid so much more than it cost me! Right off her wrist! Gotta make another! That was so fast! That was so easy!

My friend Connie used to make things only for friends. She always wore the things she made. At one point, she was repeatedly approched in various stores around town by women who wanted to buy the pieces aroundher neck.

At first, Connie quoted them, what she thought were outlandish prices. No one hesitated. Connie was awe-struck, but didn’t say No. I don’t know if she secretly wore a sign on her back — JEWELRY FOR SALE — or, somehow stuck out her cheek in such a way, as if asking to be kissed, that people came over to her, but she was getting quite good at attracting buyers. At TJMAX, at TARGET, at MACY’s, at DILLARDS, at SEARS, at KROGERS and PUBLIX. She kepy upping her prices each time, and no one had yet to blink!

Jona had made many things before, but had never sold anything. Then she had one of those weeks. It started in a Dalt’s restaurant. The waitress had to have them. She had to have Jona’s earrings. She had to have them now. Any price. So Jona suggests a price, the waitress laid the money on the table, and Jona slowly removed each earring from each ear, and said a silent Good-bye. Later that week, one of her friends was desperate. The wedding was this weekend. The piece of jewelry she had purchased for herself went lost. She remembered one of Jona’s pairs, and asked for it, and insisted on paying for it.

Elizabeth wanted to show her best friend at work the kinds of jewelry she was making. One day, she brought a box of jewelry in with her to work. At lunch time, they spread all the pieces out on a table. All of a sudden, the table was mobbed by other women in the lunch room. They were grabbing, trying on, and throwing money down right and left.

Ingren had a box of her mother’s jewelry stored away in a closet. She didn’t particularly like these pieces, and would never wear them, but knew they had some value. She took pictures of each one, and placed them on EBAY to see if she could auction them off. She sold all but one within a week’s time.

Those first jewelry sales can result in a big high. They are thrilling. Exciting. Very motivating. Selling that first piece feels like it can change your life.

But it’s that second sale that begins to determine if you can make a business out of it. Can you do it again? Is it as much fun? Now all of a sudden you have to think about record keeping, government forms, tracking inventory, maing enough product, adequately pricing your stuff, and marketing to recruit and retain customers.

The situation doesn’t seem quite the same anymore.

But believe me, it’s not as onerous as it might appear at first.

And selling your jewelry keeps getting better and better and better!

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, jewelry design, jewelry making, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DESIGNWORKS: Getting Credit Terms For Your Business

Posted by learntobead on July 15, 2022

Getting Terms

Whenever possible, I suggest trying to get net terms with your suppliers. Net terms is a form of trade credit. Instead of paying upfront for your supplies, your suppliers will give you some predetermined period of time to pay for these goods. You get your supplies right away without having to pay until an agreed-upon future date.

Usually, you would get Net 30 terms, meaning you would pay within 30 days. Sometimes, if you have not paid within the terms set, you might get assessed a penalty fee.

To apply for net terms with any supplier, you would submit a Credit Sheet.

CREDIT SHEET

You will want to prepare a Credit Sheet which lists the following information. You give this sheet to businesses where you want to apply for terms.

When you buy things from businesses, you can pay cash (sometimes check or credit card) — this is considered Pre-Payment.

You can pay COD (cash on delivery), but there is usually an extra COD charge tacked on.

Or you can pay on terms or “on account”, usually signified as Net 30 or Net 10, where you would have 30 or 10 days to pay your bill. If you don’t pay within that time, the business may take away your privilege to buy on terms, or charge you a late fee.

___________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Fundbox.com. Trade Credit: Everything you need to know about net terms for your business. n.d.
As referenced in:
https://fundbox.com/resources/guides/trade-credit/

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting Paid: The Designer’s Challenge and Some Strategies For Overcoming This

Posted by learntobead on July 15, 2022

Getting Paid

Getting paid for your work can range from the straight-forward to the nightmare. People love your work, but often, you will find that people will be slow or resistant to pay for it. You run into this with consignment shops. you run into this with custom work for clients. You run into this with retail shops to whom you’ve offered net 30 terms. You run into this with contract and grant work, particularly with government agencies and non-profits. You run into this with people who pay you by check. (NOTE: I don’t accept checks for payment in my own design work.)

You need to get paid so you can move on to the next project.

No money, no inventory, no once-in-a-blue-moon fancy dinner.

Structuring Payments

If you are doing a lot of custom work, your clients will probably pay you in increments, say 50% up front, and 50% upon completion.

If you are doing a lot of consignment, the shops may pay for anything of yours that sells perhaps quarterly. Beware that often consignment shops are slow to pay their consignees.

If you are selling wholesale to other retailers, you might have extended them terms, say Net 30, where you expect to get paid at the end of the term period. If you extend terms to someone, get them to complete a credit application ahead of time.

For each piece sold, or for several pieces sold at the same time, you will be generating some kind of invoice.

Each month, you might also be following up with your customers with a statement form, showing what has been paid, and what still needs to be paid.

INVOICE or STATEMENT FORMS (2-part forms — one for you and one for your customer). You can get a blank pad at a local stationery store, or have these pre-printed with your business name, address and phone.

More Advice

1. Establish a clear payment policy, put it in writing, post it on your website.

2. Find out in advance when the client or business will pay you.

3. Ask if the client needs a W9 form from you in order to pay you.

4. Be clear on whom in the company is responsible for paying you, and be sure to send your invoice to that particular person. If there are also special procedures for you to follow, in order to get paid, get clarity on these right up front.

5. Don’t be shy about using a collection service — even if this means you’ll only receive a portion (say 50%) of the money originally owed you.

6. Invoice your customers promptly.

7. Stay on top of your receivables. If a customer is late, send a reminder note. If a customer is very late, assess a penalty, say 1.5 or 2% per month. Be sure if you charge penalties that these are clearly specified in your written and posted payment policies.

8. Don’t worry about losing the customer. If you are polite but firm, the customer will probably stay with you. If the customer is a dead-bead, then you do not need to continue to do business with them.

9. For large orders, you might ask for a deposit, say 25–50%.

10.Accept multiple payment options. If someone is having difficulty paying you on time, perhaps they can pay you with a credit card.

11.You might offer early payment discounts.

12.Do not payout any commissions or royalties to sales or design staff until the full invoice is paid by the customer.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

My ARTIST STATEMENT

My TEACHING STATEMENT.

My DESIGN PHILOSOPHY.

My PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.

My PORTFOLIO.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by learntobead on July 14, 2022

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

Check out this new book by Warren Feld
Ebook or Print

Doing craft shows is a wonderful experience. You can make a lot of money at craft shows, you meet new people, you have new adventures. You learn a lot about business and arts and crafts designing.

IF… you do your homework when selecting them,
and verify all information

IF… you are very organized in preparing for them,
setting up, selling and re-packing up

IF… you promote, promote, promote.

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To

(1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You,

(2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals,

(3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis,

(4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways,

(5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring,

(6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares,

(7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business.

Table of Contents

What You Will Learn, p. 1

Intro to Book and Acknowledgements, p. 3

LESSON 1: Not Every Craft Show Is Alike, p. 13

LESSON 2: Research All Your Possibilities, p. 27

LESSON 3: Know Which Craft Shows Are For You, p. 31

LESSON 4: Set Realistic Goals / Determine Break-Even
                     Point, p. 39
LESSON 5: Get Those Applications In Early, p. 71

LESSON 6: Promote, Promote, Promote, p. 83

LESSON 7: Set Up For Success, p. 87

LESSON 8: Bring Enough Inventory To Sell, p. 121

LESSON 9: Sell Yourself And Your Craft At The Show,
                     p. 125

LESSON 10: Make A List Of Things To Bring, p. 141

LESSON 11: Be Prepared To Accept Credit Cards, p. 145

LESSON 12: Price Things To Sell, p. 147

LESSON 13: Keep Your Money Safe, p. 151

LESSON 14: Generate Follow-Up Sales, p. 163

LESSON 15: Take Care Of Yourself, p. 167

LESSON 16: Be Nice To Your Neighbors, p. 169

Some Final Words Of Advice, p. 173

Helpful Resources, p. 175

~~~~~~~

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS
16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams
Ebook or Print

______________________________

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, Resources, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS… LESSON 5: Get Those Applications In Early

Posted by learntobead on December 2, 2020

LESSON 5: GET THOSE APPLICATIONS IN EARLY

John Jacob thought he could set up anywhere and anytime. So he missed the April 30th deadline for the Red Hills Fair. And he sent in an incomplete application without the required pictures to Napa Sweets Festival. And he didn’t take seriously the fact that Naples Symphony Days was a juried competition. And he couldn’t understand how adding one more jewelry vendor to the Rocky Mountain Showroom would make much of a difference.

He had calculated that he needed to do 4 shows a year to make a living. But for several years now, although he had applied to at least 12 shows each year, he rarely was approved for more than 2.

Sample Application Form

THE APPLICATION

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Prepare a Generic Application

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

Some organizations have a formal, printed application form to fill out. More and more, however, organizations are using online application services.

I suggest creating a generic application form, from which you can cut and paste into these printed or online application forms.

They may ask you for these types of information:

1. Company information, address, phone, email, contact phone, onsite-contact phone, website, license plate #, re-sale or tax number and state which issued it

2. Type of merchandise to be sold

3. Hand-made?

4. High and low price range of merchandise

5. Describe your craft (techniques, materials, designs)

6. Artist Statement (about 150–250 words)

7. Booth size requirements (will you need more than one 10’x10’ booth space?)

8. Requirements for additional services, such as electricity, table and chair rental, tent

9. 5 photos of your crafts (be sure your photos are sharp and attractive, as if they were publishing in a book. No dark photos. .jpg or .tif)

With photos, you might need slides, or you might need .jpg images that are 72–96 dpi, or you might need hi-resolution .jpg images which are 300 or 600 dpi. Use 16-bit color. Be prepared with each of these.

10. 3 photos of your booth set-up (They want visually appealing, customer enticing, user friendly booth set-ups, again, no dark photos.)

11. List of special preferences, such as “corner booth, if available”.

12. Credit card number, expiration date, security code number, billing address (They will probably want this number to keep on file.

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

At this point, you have selected shows which you feel are a good fit with your business.

Now, determine if you are eligible for them. Do they put any limitations on who can and cannot apply? Do they require that your creative work be juried?

Most craft shows make simple acceptance decisions based on
 — submitting an application form, and
 — paying the fee

Some may restrict the number of jewelry vendors they accept, because they want a balance of types of merchandise, and often, too many jewelry vendors apply.

Other shows want to maintain some level of merchandise quality standards. They subject the applicant to a more intensive jury-review process.

The jury process is probably what you would expect. Usually a few people review all the application and score them against a set of criteria. They choose the ones which score the highest.

Some typical criteria they use:
 — products considered best for the show
 — aesthetics and visual appeal
 — functionality
 — creativity
 — originality
 — technique
 — marketability
 — quality of work
 — booth design

They want to end up with vendors whose wares will sell, where there won’t be much duplication, and whose presence and set-up is exciting for the people who attend the show.

Your short write-up and submitted photographs need to make your case.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A JUROR SAYS “NO!”?

Most rejections are based on the limited number of openings, particularly for jewelry vendors.

Another major reason for rejections is the poor quality of photos submitted. Look at your photos. Share them with some friends. Judge them according to the previously discussed judging criteria. How well do they make your case? Are they clear, focused, bright?

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

You have created your list of possible shows, based on your sense of fit, the goals you have set for yourself, and your budget, given the costs involved. You have determined whether you are eligible for them.

Decide about how many shows you want to do a year. Select 5–10 more shows in addition to the number you ant to do.

Another rule of thumb is to select 3 events to apply to for each weekend you want to work. If you want to work 4 weekends, then apply to 12 events.

Get their application forms, and review the rules and application deadlines.

READ ALL THE RULES !!!

Determine how long their review processes are, and figure out when you should know whether you have been accepted.

Call or email each one, and verify that all the information you have — dates, fees, application requirements, deadlines — are true. Things change. Things get printed wrong.

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Organization is critical here.

Get a good 3-year calendar. Map out every date. Every Application deadline. Every application acceptance notification. Every deadline for notifying them, confirming your acceptance, and submitting any up-front fees. Every show date, including set-up and break-down dates and times.

Remember, for many craft shows, you will be applying 6–12 months ahead of time.

It takes a lot of coordinated effort to keep everything on track. You might set up a spread-sheet or data-base. I use a calendar app that links with my email program. I set up automatic reminders, so they pop up when I need to take action.

After you send in your fees, follow-up in 2 weeks to be sure they received your application and payment.

5. BEFORE SAYING YES!…

Re-review your
 — fit with the show
 — break-even analysis
 — calendar schedule
 — the money needed up front

And, …
 — whether there are any cancellation penalties or rules
 — what kinds of local and state licenses, certificates and permits you will need
 — if the show promoters assist you in obtaining temporary ones for the duration of the show

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.
Check out these two other tutorials:

Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry. Learn an easy-to-use pricing formula and some marketing tips.

So You Want To Do Craft Shows… 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows. Understand everything involved and make the smart choices.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Add your name to my email list.

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

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS…

Posted by learntobead on November 1, 2020

LESSON 4: Set Realistic Goals

At the Tennessee Craft Organization Fair, Nashville, TN. Image by FELD, 2005.

From my online video tutorial:
SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS…
 16 CRUCIAL LESSONS I LEARNED
 
BY DOING CRAFT SHOWS

Instructor: Warren Feld

LESSON 4: SET REALISTIC GOALS

Roland and Rolanda

Making money at fairs and shows isn’t as easy as it seems. As Roland and Rolanda quickly found out. They thought all it took was to rent a table at any show or fair, lay out their jewelry, wait for customers to come by, and purchase their stuff.

All through the shows, they sat on chairs reading books, waiting for people to come by. They spent more money on inventory, packing, displays and travel than they ever made.

And they never developed any kind of plan of action.

Roland and Rolanda needed to set realistic goals:

– (1) how much money did they have to get started and sustain themselves?

– (2) what was their break-even point?

– (3) what did they need to prepare themselves to “sell”?

  • (4) what amount of repeat business and follow-up sales were they looking for?
Typical Budget Items

BUDGET

How much money will you need?

Make a list of all possible costs. There are the obvious like transportation, lodging and meals, and the costs of displays, packing and marketing, and the costs of the parts used to make the pieces which sell.

Entry fees will vary widely from show to show. They cold cost $25/day up to $400 and up per day. They could go as high as $5000 per day.

If you have a specific craft show in mind, review their rules, and what they entry fees cover, and do not cover.

What are the costs of extras, like electricity, tables, special lighting? Do they also collect a percent of sales? Do they offer special services, like booth sitting, for extra fees? Is parking free, or do they charge? Do you need to provide additional insurance? Will you need to purchase special licenses, registration and permits, such as an out-of-state wholesale license?

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF COSTS TO ACCOUNT FOR:
 Fixed Costs and Variable Costs

There are two types of costs: Fixed and Variable

You need to prepare a budget to be sure you can pay for what you are committing yourself to.

You will need display supplies, packing supplies, marketing and promotion supplies, and probably some food and drink for yourself. You will be traveling. You may have to stay overnight somewhere. You will probably have some credit card finance charges and cell-phone charges associated with sales you make. You may need to pay someone to help you staff your booth. You probably will be paying various fees — entry, electricity, table rental. And you will need enough money to buy enough supplies to make up your inventory.

Your breakeven point is when your revenues = your costs.

How much money do you want to make?

At the very least, you want to come home from the show and breakeven. That is, you want to cover all your costs.

So, in your budget, you have begun to list all your costs.

Now, how much inventory will you need to make, and sell, in order to breakeven?

Inventory: Bring 4x what you need to sell

At this point, we are going to talk about inventory in terms of retail prices, not in terms of numbers of items, and not in terms of wholesale costs.

Our total inventory would equal the total of all retail prices (=the prices you are selling each piece at), if every piece sold.

A good rule of thumb for figuring out how much inventory to bring is this:

You will need to bring with you, at a minimum, 4 times the inventory (=total retail dollars) you hope to sell.

YOU WILL NEED TO BRING WITH YOU, AT A MINIMUM, 4 TIMES THE INVENTORY YOU HOPE TO SELL.

For example, if you need to sell $200.00 of merchandise to breakeven, you will need to bring $800.00 of merchandise with you. Again, $800.00 is the total of all the retail prices of what you bring.

If you want to take in another $100.00 of sales on top of your breakeven, then you will need to sell $300.00 (=$200 + $100) of merchandise, and then you will need to bring a total of $1200.00 (=$800+$400) of inventory. This is $400.00 more inventory that you would need to bring to make one hundred more dollars over your breakeven point. Again, $1200.00 is the total of all the retail prices.

BREAKEVEN ANALYSIS

I want to introduce you to a quick and dirty breakeven analysis. I call this “Quick and Dirty” because we are using imperfect information. However, this imperfect information is good enough to help us make a decision whether a particular craft show is worth the risk.

Your breakeven point is where you have sold enough inventory to cover your costs. That is, the total retail dollars you have taken in equals the sum of your fixed plus your variable costs.

We use our quick and dirty breakeven analysis to answer the question: How much inventory do I need to sell in order to breakeven?

Let’s familiarize ourselves more with the components of the formula, and then review the math.

Examples of Fixed Costs

FIXED COSTS

Fixed costs are costs that remain the same, regardless of how many items you sell at your craft fair.

Fixed costs include things like fees, travel, food, and staffing. Again, you have to lay out this money for fixed costs whether you made no money at all, or made a bucket full of money at your craft fair.

Examples of Variable Costs

VARIABLE COSTS

Variable costs are costs that get incurred when each unit is sold.

Thus, variable costs fluctuate based on the number of units sold. If you seel very few pieces, your variable costs are small. If you sell a lot of pieces, your variable costs will be much higher.

Variable costs include special packaging and displays, brochures and business cards handed out with each sale, credit card fees you are charged by the banks after each sale, and the cost of the parts used to make each piece that has sold.

We estimate variable costs using some industry standards about the percent of total retail price these costs are associated with.

Tamaya Soul Necklace by FELD

­

NOTES:

When we calculate the cost of inventory, we differentiate between the cost of those pieces which we actually have sold from the cost of those pieces we did not sell.

For purposes of developing a budget and calculating a breakeven analysis, to help us decide whether a particular craft show is worth the risk, we focus only on the estimates based on what we sell.

From an overall business standpoint, because you will want to bring 4x the inventory of what you predict will be sold, and these additional out of pocket expenses associated with the pieces which would not be sold have not been included in our breakeven analysis, you will need to be realistic, whether you can afford the show, or not.

Examples of Investment Costs

INVESTMENT COSTS

There are some additional costs you will incur which are also not included in our breakeven analysis. I’m going to call these “investment costs.” Investment costs are things you pay for which have to last a very long time, and which you will use at many, many craft shows.

These include “long term assets”, such as buying tables na dchairs, a tent, and display cases.

These also include “long term liabilities”, such as paying down loans and credit card charges over a longer period of time.

We do not include these investment costs in our breakeven analyses.

FIXED AND VARIABLE COSTS LAID OUT WITHIN A BUDGET TABLE

FIXED AND VARIABLE COSTS LAID OUT WITHIN A BUDGET TABLE

Say you will be doing a 2-day craft show out of town, 200 miles away from home. And you will need to hire 1 person to help you. Let’s look at our budget for doing this particular craft show.

You have budgeted for your fixed and variable costs as shown in the table above. I have plugged in some typical numbers into this budget table.

Our fixed costs are relatively easy to figure out.

Our variable costs, however, will have to be estimated. These variable costs are keyed off the retail prices you set for your jewelry. We will use some industry percent of price standards, as well as our breakeven analysis formula, to help us figure out the “TO BE CALCULATED” variable costs in our budget table.

Calculate Estimated Variable Costs Using Rates (aka, multipliers)

For example,

I have used 12% as the proportion of the total retail price that would be spent on marketing costs. These costs would include brochures, business cards, a post card mailing, some promotional ads, some effort to contact previous customers to let them know you will be at this craft show. The industry standard for marketing ranges between 5 and 15 per cent.

If you are getting started, you can use my numbers presented in this table. After you have done a few craft shows, you can begin to analyze your own sales and cost data, to develop what are called multipliers for each variable line-item category.

Again, our quick and dirty analysis is keyed off our retail prices.

I am assuming that you already know how to set fair and reasonable prices for your merchandise. If not, I would suggest reviewing my PRICING AND SELLING video tutorial.

BREAKEVEN ANALYSIS

LET’S TRY SOME MATH:

THIS IS HOW WE SOLVE THIS FORMULA:

Let’s review this breakeven formula application again, in English.

For those of you who haven’t had algebra, or are somewhat math-phobic, I want to go over the mathematical analysis in more English terms. It is important to understand the concepts, and to understand how to do the math.

First, we have the breakeven formula itself. Basically, it says:

100% of Breakeven revenue
 Equals
 The Total of all our costs.

Some of these costs are fixed, meaning we have to pay for them, whether we make any money or not.

Some of these costs are variable, meaning we only incur these costs when we sell something. The amount of variable costs “Varies” based on how much we sell.

We are trying to figure out how much we need to sell in order to breakeven. We can easily figure out our fixed costs. We estimate our variable costs as a percent of revenues.

In this particular example, 
 Our fixed costs were $535.00. So, Y = $535.00
 We estimated our variable costs as 65% of revenues. So our variable costs = .65 times X.

This is all the information we need to do the algebra in the formula and figure out our breakeven revenue=costs point, which we have called “X”.

We begin to re-state the formula as:
 100% of revenue equals $535.00 + 65% of revenue.

So, we continue to play with the formula so that we get:
 Total Breakeven Revenues on one side of the equals sign, and everything else on the other side.
 
We have to do this is a few steps.

We re-write the formula again:
 100% of revenue minus 65% of revenues equals $535.00.
 

 And we simplify this a little by writing the formula as:
 100% minus 65% times revenues = $535.00

And simplifying the formula even more, we subtract 65% from 100% and get 35%, and the formula reads:
 35% times revenues = $535.00

Since we want to end up with 100% of revenues on one side of the equation, and the dollar amount that this 100% equals on the other side, we have to do one more math step.
 To change .35X to 1X, we have to divide it by .35.

Mathematically, if we do something to one side of the equation, we have to do it to the other side, as well.
 That’s how we get:
 100% of revenues = $535.00 divided by 35%.

And the answer is that our breakeven revenue, where our sales equals our costs, is 
 $1528.57

So, to breakeven, we would need to sell a retail total of 41528.57 of merchansie at our 2-day show. To sell that much inventory, we would need to bring about 4x that much, or $6,000.00 of inventory with us.

While we do not include the costs of this additional inventory, and which we assumed would not sell, we still need to anticipate in our realistic goal setting process, the financial impact of all this.

Let’s update our budget table for this 2-day craft show example:

ONE MORE EXAMPLE

Now, let’s review our breakeven analysis with another example.

Say you are doing a 1-day craft show, close to home, low fees, you bring your own tables, and you don’t need electricity, and don’t need extra staffing. Also, you don’t plan on doing a lot of marketing.

First, you begin to set up a Budget.

Here we have fixed costs equal to $70.00.

Our variable costs we estimate to be 54% of our total revenues.

Next, we calculate our breakeven point, using our quick and dirty formula.

Breakeven Analysis Formula

We see our breakeven point is $152.17. And using our rule of thumb about how much inventory to bring, we need to bring 4 x $152.17, or about $600.00 of inventory.

The Next Question To Ask Ourselves: How Much Profit Do You Want To Make?

How much more money do you want to make above and beyond your breakeven point?

You don’t just want to breakeven. You want to make a profit. At our breakeven point, we have covered both our fixed costs and our variable costs. Our fixed costs are now all paid for.

As we bring in more addition revenues, we will have more variable costs to cover, and only based on how much more we sell.

Example 1 above: In our first example, our breakeven point was $1528.57.

In this example, 65 cents of each dollar in price that was earned was spent on variable costs, and 35 cents on each dollar earned was spent on fixed costs.

As we go beyond our breakeven point, and become profitable, again in this example, we would be spending only 65 cents out of each additional revenue dollar for variable costs.

We would have no more fixed costs.

If we had sold one more dollar, we would have had 35 cents remaining. We could have used that remaining 35 cents out of each dollar of additional revenue to pay for some of our investment costs, as well as pay ourselves something.

Profit Goal

How much of a profit goal you want to set is your personal choice. However, I like to tell students that breaking even at the show itself is OK, if you also have strategies in place to generate follow-up sales, either through repeat sales between shows, or repeat sales at the next show.

WHAT DID THEY NEED TO PREPARE THEMSELVES TO “SELL”?

Selecting and doing craft shows requires research and planning. And it requires an ability to keep up a good “Retail Personality” while standing on your feet for ong hours, sometimes when it’s too hot or too cold or too windy and dusty.

Selling Jewelry requires a different mind-set than Creating Jewelry. If you don’t have the personality for Selling, bring a friend with you who does.

WHAT AMOUNT OF REPEAT BUSINESS AND FOLLOW-UP SALES SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

A good goal to set is to generate repeat business equal to 25%. So, if you have 10 sales at the show, your goal would be to get 3 repeat sales. These could occur when the customer contacts you between shows. These could also occur at the next show you do, when the customer buys from you again.

You will make a might higher profit and experience better long-term outcomes, through repeat business. With repeat business, you can considerably lower your variable costs, particularly those associated with marketing. Because of this, that 2nd or follow-up sale is often more important than that 1st sale at the show.

Lesson 4 was to set Realistic Goals.

It is OK to start small. To start locally. To gradually take on bigger and bigger shows, while you are establishing your reputation and building a following.

You obviously want to keep your expenses to a minimum, and there can be some steep up-front costs, such as creating a sufficient inventory.

Starting small gives you a chance to test out your ideas about costs, whether you like doing craft shows, whether there is a good fit between your merchandise and the shows, and whether there is a good fit between your personality and doing craft shows.

When you start, you might be able to share booth space with another friend who has a business, and share some of those other fixed costs, like travel and fees.

Do your homework when selecting craft shows which fit well with your goals and your budget. Figure out your breakeven point, and how much inventory you need to bring to make a profit.

As Roland and Rolanda should have done.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.
Check out these two other tutorials:

Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry. Learn an easy-to-use pricing formula and some marketing tips.

So You Want To Do Craft Shows… 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows. Understand everything involved and make the smart choices.

Add your name to my email list.

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GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS: What You Do First To Make It Official! Design-In Practice Series

Posted by learntobead on July 16, 2020

But First, If You Have Not Already Done So,
 Make These Particular Choices Right Now

Pick a date. It might be easiest, from an accounting standpoint, to pick January 1st. But you can pick any date. This is the date your business has been founded, and your business obligations (discussed below) begin.

Define your fiscal year. It would be easiest to make your fiscal year January 1 through December 31. But any 12-month bounded period which works best for you would be acceptable.

Set your goals for success. Everyone’s goals will be different. You might want to sell a few things occasionally. You might want some steady extra income. You might want to be financially self-sufficient.

Determine what business organizational type you want now, and how you might want to evolve into the future. These range from hobbyist to sole proprietor to partnership to various types of corporate arrangements.

The purpose of this article is to provide the how-to knowledge you will need to know to get started in your design business, whether making jewelry or other crafts, or working on projects involving design. While the specific names of some licenses and registrations will vary by locality, there will be comparable things where you live.

NOTE: The information in this section is a guide. It is not a substitute for sitting down with an accountant, lawyer or business consultant.

Specifically, I want to demystify and review with you these things:

1) Getting federal, state, local licenses and registrations

2) How to protect your intellectual property
 
 
3) What form of business? Sole proprietor, partner, corporation, limited liability corporation.

1) Registrations and Licenses

You register and get licenses for your business for several reasons. First, you will be setting up accounts with various government agencies. This allows you to collect money for them, and then transmit that money to them on a regular basis. This might be sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, income taxes, business census information, and on and on.

The account numbers associated with each registration or license, in turn, allow you to present yourself as a business. They make you look more official and give you more legitimacy. They open doors for you to get deep wholesale and manufacturer discounts.

But, after you register or receive a license, each is associated with some application fees, some have annual renewal fees, some have income or property tax levies, most require periodic paperwork and more involved accounting and bookkeeping.

So, to get the benefits of lower business costs to you, you will incur some additional monetary and time costs. You will have to decide at what point in time becoming an official business is right for you.

Let’s look at some of these things I have had to get doing business in Tennessee. Most of the application forms can be found totally or partially online.

STATE

a. Registration to Collect Sales Taxes (called a “tax number”, “wholesale number”, or “resale number”)

This registration sets up an account so that you can collect sales taxes on each of your in-state taxable sales, and then transmit these sales taxes to the state. You only have to register once. There is a small registration fee, but this is a one-time fee only.

The application will ask if you will be doing more than $4500. (or some similar amount) of sales within the current year. If not, you do not need to register. However, even if you don’t think you will, this does not prohibit you from saying Yes. Saying Yes means you will start to incur costs (fees, taxes, paperwork), and have to be more organized as a business. But it also means you will be able to purchase inventory at wholesale prices.

After a few years, the state will review your activity. If less than $4500/year (or that similar amount required by your state), they will de-activate your number. You can simply and easily ask them to re-activate it.

Handled in Tennessee by the state Department of Revenue.

b. Business registration number (you might end up with separate business registration numbers for the city, county and state you do business in, or there might be a single number used by all three).

This number allows you to pay business income taxes (to your city, county and state), usually once a year. In Tennessee, this is collected each April 15th. Tennessee also collects a registration renewal fee each year.

In Tennessee, handled by the state Department of Revenue.

c. State Employment Account Number. (It might be called a State Unemployment Account Number in other locales).

If you have employees, and thus collect payroll taxes, you need this number to submit these taxes to the state. Typically, you pay these quarterly. You only have to register once for this.

In Tennessee, handled by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

LOCAL CITY AND COUNTY

a. Business License from the county you live in (from County Clerk)

You use this number to submit business county income and property taxes. 
 You renew this annually.

b. Business License from the city you live in (from City Clerk)

You use this number to submit business city income and property taxes. 
 You renew this annually.

NOTE: If you register for a State Re-Sale Number, the State will eventually inform your local county and city. Your county and city will check if you have registered your business with them. If not, they will find you. This works in reverse, as well. If you register with the city and county, they will inform the State, and the State will eventually find you.

c. Business Property Taxes (sometimes called Use Taxes; in Tennessee, called Schedule B)

Each year you send the state and/or county and/or city a list of your 
 business property assets. About 6–8 months later, you get an invoice due 
 notice from the state/county/city indicating how much business property 
 taxes you owe.

Your business property is: displays, tools, register, telephone, computer, 
 fax, credit card machine, copier, furniture and the like; things that will be 
 around longer than 1 year. Some states might consider major (meaning 
 costly) software, such as accounting software, business property. Other 
 states do not.

You do not have to list everything, but you have to list somethings. Many people who first get started think that if everything — tables, calculators, computers, phone, etc. — are old and used, or given to them by someone else, that their value is $0.00. It is not. Here you would estimate the value or depreciated value at the time you consider the first day of your business. You can check auction sites online, like Ebay, to gauge current values.

If you are leasing any equipment, you would list this separately.

Your business property is NOT: inventory, consumable supplies (such as paper, ink, staples, and the like), the parts you use to make your jewelry. It is not something assumed to be used up within a year.

In Tennessee, the state uses a different depreciation schedule than the 
 Federal Government. Your property, from the State’s standpoint, never 
 gets fully depreciated as on your Federal taxes. You cannot expense your 
 property for state purposes, although you can for Federal purposes. This 
 means you have to keep separate Assets Lists for the state and for the 
 Federal government.

d. State Unemployment Insurance Form — if you have employees, you will be submitting state payroll taxes (SUTA) collected on their behalf to the state, usually quarterly.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Federal Income Tax Forms (available from the US Internal Revenue Service online)

Each year, you summarize your revenues and costs on an income tax form (really a series of forms, beginning with a Form 1040). Depending on what form of business (discussed below) you are organized as, you will have different forms to fill out. Learn how to do most of this by yourself without having to pay an accountant or tax attorney. This will save you a lot of money. Use these professionals for the more difficult, confusing parts of the tax code requirements. Besides the Form 1040 Income Tax Return, you will be completing one or more of the forms below.

Most of these are handled by the US Internal Revenue Service. All the forms are available online. Some can be submitted electronically; others, you submit by mail.

a. 1040-ES You will need to submit estimated income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at least quarterly. You do this online, and easily done by yourself. When you do your annual taxes, you will reconcile these payments on your form 1040.

You will be paying these online through the IRS website.

b. Schedule C — You use this form if you are a sole proprietorship to report your revenues and expenses, as well as the total value of your inventory on the last day of the year. This is a form you should be able to fill out yourself.

The only tricky part is that in the expenses section, when it asks for the Costs of Inventory, it is asking only for the costs of the inventory that you have sold during the year. This is NOT all your inventory costs. The inventory bought but not sold during the year is treated as if it were cash. [In your inventory management procedures, you need to be able to accurately track the costs of your inventory that has sold within the current year, so you can deduct these costs from your revenue, thus reduce your tax burden if you are showing a profit.]

c. Schedule SE — self employment taxes. You have to pay both the employer and the employee payroll taxes (so double-paying on yourself as the sole proprietor), if you show a profit on your Schedule C. This can end up being a big number. This is a form you can complete by yourself.

d. Schedule K — If your form of business is a partnership, you will be completing a Schedule K to document your revenues, expenses and profit distributions. This can be a very confusing form, so it is a good idea to have an accountant complete this. On this form, it will indicate where various calculated subtotals or totals should go on the 1040 form, which is something you can do yourself.

e. Form 1120 — If your form of business is an S-corporation, you will be completing a Form 1120 to document your revenues, expenses, profit distributions and tax obligations. It is a good idea to have an accountant complete this.

f. Depreciation Form — This can be a confusing form The depreciation rules can change frequently. It is a good idea to have an accountant complete this form, at least the first time you have to fill it out. Then, perhaps, teach you how to fill this out in the future.

g. 941 Form — If you have employees, you will be submitting payroll taxes collected on their behalf to the Federal Government, usually monthly or quarterly, and reconciling all your payroll tax deposits quarterly.

You will be submitting these taxes online, and will need to set up an account through the IRS to do so.

h. 940 Form — If you have employees, you will be submitting federal unemployment taxes (FUTA), at least annually, but quarterly if these exceed $100.00 in a quarter.

You will be submitting these taxes online, and will need to set up an account through the IRS to do so.

i. Federal EIN (or, FEIN) Number. You can apply for this online through the Internal Revenue Service. This Employer Identification number is a tax identification number (sometimes referred to as your TIN number) similar to a Social Security Number (also a TIN), but attached to a business rather than an individual. You need this number if you have employees and are collecting payroll taxes on their behalf and have to submit these taxes to the federal government.

However, if you do not have employees, this number is still useful to have On various forms and applications you will be filling out for your business, you will be asked to put down either your FEIN number or your Social Security Number. The FEIN makes you look more of an official business. There are no fees or costs involved by having this number. However, the first year after you applied, you will have to complete a Form 940. On this form, you can indicate that you have no employees and will not need to complete this form again.

They will not deactivate your FEIN number, even after indicating you have no employees.

OTHER

a) At some point, you may want to purchase business insurance. If you are working out of your home, this may be problematic. The zoning laws in most places forbid businesses in areas zoned residential. Most business insurance packages will not cover a business if they are violating any law, in this case, zoning. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover things related to your business.

b) If you have 5 or more employees (that’s the number of people, not the number of full time equivalents), you will need to purchase Workers Compensation Insurance. You do this through a private insurance company.

c) You will need a set up where you can process credit cards.

d) You will need a bank account. You can either set up a business account or use your personal account.

You will need checks preprinted with your business name on them. If you are using a personal account, get business-size checks printed up. If your business type is a sole proprietorship, whether the account is personal or business, your business name is your personal name. So you would have them print something like this, where DBA stands for Doing Business As:

Warren Feld
 DBA Warren Feld Jewelry

e) You will need an organized way (either in-house, or with an accountant or bookkeeper) to track your costs and revenues, and liabilities and assets.

f) You will need an organized way to store all your receipts during the year, and then all your receipts from prior years. You need to store all your receipts and ledgers for 10 years.

2) Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Trademarks and Service Marks

You will want to protect your business name, your slogan, your logo. A legal trademark or service mark expands the protections available to you. A trademark or service mark protects anything you use to identify your brand and differentiate it from other companies. These prevent other businesses from using any of these things, as long as you are actively using them yourself. If you stop actively using these, you lose your trademark or service mark rights to them.

Each State you do business in, as well as the US as a whole, offer opportunities to protect your trade or service mark. You can prevent someone else from using your business name, or product name, or logo, by registering this name or logo with the state(s), or US. You would put a TM next to the name you’ve trademarked, such as Be Dazzled BeadsTM

A US Trademark would protect you anywhere in the United States. The rules can be a little confusing. It is important to know ahead of time that you cannot trademark an adjective. For a US Trademark, I would suggest working with a trademark attorney. The trademark plus lawyer fees will be costly.

State trademarks protect you in the state you have the trademark in. This should include the state you do business in. It can include other states, as well. In Tennessee, this process is especially inexpensive and easy to do. You would not need to consult a lawyer here. For most designers, a state trademark coupled with some smart marketing and branding would be more than sufficient.

In Tennessee, trademarks and service marks are handled by the Tennessee Secretary of State. For the United States, these are handled by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Copyrights

Copyright is another form of legal protection. You can copyright advertising copy, brochures, other marketing materials, instructions, jewelry designs, project designs, articles and other written materials critical to your business.

Copyrights can be done two ways. 
 1) Through the US Library of Congress
 2) Using a Post Office strategy

When you have written copy you want to copyright, first, somewhere on the document, you want to either use the copyright symbol © or write out the word COPYRIGHT. List your name and the year.

Examples: ©Warren Feld, 2020 or COPYRIGHT, Warren Feld, 2020

At this point, your document is considered copyrighted. The issue for you is if someone violated that copyright and you went to court to contest this, this would not be sufficient evidence for the courts.

Library of Congress: You can get an official certificate of copyright by submitting an application to the US Library of Congress. Your copyright starts the date the application is submitted. There is a minimal fee. It usually takes about one year before you actually receive the certificate. Courts usually require this certificate as evidence.

US Post Office: You can put your material in a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail this Registered/Certified to yourself. On the outside of the envelope, write what is inside. When you receive it, however, DO NOT OPEN IT. The post mark date will be evidence of copyright. This will usually hold up in court.

NOTE: It is difficult to copyright a specific jewelry or project design. While there is no legal rule about what constitutes a copyright violation of the design, it is generally accepted that merely a 10% difference would not be a violation. That 10% difference might be a different clasp, a slightly different pattern, or a different color scheme (though the courts allow you some flexibility with color issues).

NOTE: It is expensive to contest a copyright violation in court. This might run $3,000 per incident.

The US Copyright Office will often reject jewelry and other creative project designs for lacking authorship because they consist of common or usual shapes and forms. When submitting your application, you should present a well-reasoned argument, based on basic principles of art and design composition, form and function, as to why your jewelry and patterns should be copyrighted.

You can also copyright a “collection of jewelry”, but you can’t add new designs to the collection, without getting new copyrights. In the collection, the pieces would need to share design elements and sensibilities, and these would need to be obvious.

Copyrights last for the life of the designer plus 70 years. Use form VA (Visual Arts). It usually takes about a year for the paperwork to go through, but your piece is considered copyrighted from the date you submitted your application.

3) What Form of Business?

Your form of business determines what tax forms you fill out each year. You can set y our business up as an unofficial or an official one.

One way you can set up your business is as an unofficial hobbyist. Here you do not need to register your business or getting any local, county, state, and federal licenses and accounts. Typically, your state or province that you do business in will have some kind of benchmark. In Tennessee (circa 2020), if you were going to make less than $4500. per year in sales, you would not have to register your business. You could make sales and not worry about collecting sales tax. You would not pay a business income tax to the city, county and state. You would not pay business property taxes. You would still, however, have to report your income to the government entities which collect personal income taxes. Virtually no paperwork. No worries.

Another way you can set up your business is as an official business entity. As you make your sales, you would also be accumulating money, such as sales taxes, which you would have to transmit on a regular basis to one government agency of another. You will begin to incur some monetary costs (business income and property taxes, and some bookkeeping / accounting costs, for example). You will begin to incur some time costs (securing and maintaining licenses and registrations; monthly, quarterly and annual reports to fill out; more time spent bookkeeping and accounting). However, a BIG ADVANTAGE!!! Is that you will be positioned to buy your inventory (and displays and furnishings) at steeper discounts, thus, make more money.

If you plan on becoming more than a hobbyist, you will need to organize and register your business as to its tax structure. Again, your options are:

(a) sole proprietorship

(b) partnership

c) limited liability corporation

(d) incorporation

Sole Proprietorship: Here you are the owner of the business and solely in charge.

If you are a sole proprietorship, your business name is your own name, and the name you use for your business is your DBA (Doing Business As) name. On various tax forms and registrations, you would list your own name where it asks for the business name, and there usually is a DBA line under this to type in your actual business name.

Sole Proprietorship Advantages: You will have less accounting and associated costs to contend with. Completing your state and federal tax forms will be easier. The business profits are your income, and are taxed as an individual.

Sole Proprietorship Disadvantage: This form of business does not protect you from liability damages. However, you can use your business insurance policy to provide a lot of protection here.

Partnerships: Here 2 or more people get together and form a business together. Partnerships, like marriages, are fraught with the potential for disharmony. Who makes what decisions? How are disagreements adjudicated? What happens to the relationship over time, particularly if the interests of any one partner begin to change?

If you are a partnership, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

Things partners should think about:
 
 a) You have a deep, honest series of discussions about each of your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can bring to the business

b) You write up a partnership agreement which 
 — details who will do what when
 — how you will distribute profits
 — how you will cover losses
 — how decisions for the business are to be made, especially when there are disagreements
 — rules for what happens when a partner wants to leave the business, or if all the partners want to dissolve the business 
— rules for how to handle growth, expansion, taking on new partners, managing employees

c) You notarize the agreement, and everyone gets a copy

Partnership Advantages: Two heads are better than one, usually. Share a lot of the administrative burdens. More accounting requirements and costs, but not as much as incorporation. Your business profits are your income as this profit is allocated among the partners, and taxed as an individual.

Partnership Disadvantages: This form of business does not protect you from liability damages. However, you can use your business insurance policy to provide a lot of protection here. It is difficult to share the responsibilities as partners.

From my experience, while one partner might be the “creative” one, and the other partner might be the “business one”, partnerships work best when both partners learn and take on both creative and administrative tasks.

Incorporation: Incorporating a business is essentially creating a separate entity (as if it were a person), thereby making the business separate from the owner (in a sense, the business has a life of its own). As a separate entity, the corporation exists independent from the shareholders/owners and its employees.

If you are a corporation, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

Incorporating Advantages: The advantages of incorporating a small business include: Personal asset protection. Both corporations and LLCs (limited liability corporations) allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets. In a properly structured and managed corporation or LLC, owners should have limited liability for business debts and obligations.

Incorporating Disadvantages: The administration costs are more expensive with a corporation than with a partnership or a sole proprietorship. Administration costs include incorporation costs, annual financial statements and annual corporate income tax return. If you are not an accountant, paying someone to do these can be very costly. Losses in an incorporated business can’t be personally claimed. The corporation is taxed first, and if it distributes profits to its owners, they are taxed again on the same money for their personal income taxes — a double taxation.

Limited Liability Corporation: Small businesses can avoid this double-taxation by taking advantage of the options given to a corporation by the states. Some options include incorporating as an S-corporation or filing as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). These options allow the taxable income to flow directly to the shareholders/members without being taxed twice, while at the same time, maintaining the benefits of incorporation. You still end up with a lot of accounting requirements and expenses. You are protected from liability damages incurred by the business, but you can also use your business insurance to cover a lot of this liability protection without all the accounting issues.

If you are a LLC corporation, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

Other Suggested Readings:

David K. William. 20 Books To Read Before You Start Your Own Business, Lifehack,

Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking, (FELD, 2020)

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency in Design, (FELD, 2020)

Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, (FELD, 2020)

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business, (FELD, 2020)

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

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business? Design-In-Practice Series

Posted by learntobead on July 12, 2020

Designed Impacts was a management consulting firm I started in 1980. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked with several large corporations on internet marketing. Today, I provide management and marketing assistance and training to jewelry designers under the Warren Feld Jewelry company name. Image Source, Feld, 2020

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: 
 How Do You Start and Run A Business Selling Creative Products?

Between Commerce and Art

Many people learn design in order to sell what they make. Designers create websites. They create interiors and exteriors. They build things. They craft things. They make art. All in an effort to make some money.

In today’s world, designers who sell what they create must become savvy in both regular retail selling, that is, directly business-to-customer, as well as internet retail, or virtually business-to-customer. This might seem too complex. Too overwhelming. Too impossible. Too boring. There are a lot of tensions here between commerce and art, not least of which is having to introduce your creative products publicly and persuade people to buy them. Creative thinking is not the same as business thinking. This makes many creatives uncomfortable.

Let Business Concerns Influence Your Artistic Choices

OK, you want to sell your work. But there is always this nagging question: To what extent do (and should) business concerns influence the artistic choices you make?

If you want to be in business, then I’d say, “A Lot!” But this isn’t what a lot of artists like to hear. Design is not the same as painting a painting or sculpting a sculpture. With paintings or sculptures, the artist does not need to communicate interactively with the viewer in order to create the product and that product be deemed successful. Design, instead, is more of an interactive art. It is like architecture, where success can only be created through some kind of meaningful interaction with others, and only be defined as successful as the product is introduced publicly.

Selling your pieces is merely another phase of this interactive art, but, as a business, selling creative products sometimes forces upon you some more limits and refinements. You have to market to audiences. You may have to make trade-offs between visual appeal and functionality. 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 creating and designing 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 shouldn’t undersell yourself, like offering discounts to family, friends and co-workers, lest you run out of money.

You have to conform to prevalent styles and colors and forms. You have to make things that will photograph well. You have to make things that clients want and are willing to buy. You may end up with a lot of “one size fits all,” because producing too much variety in sizes, shapes, colors and sizes could overwhelm you financially.

You find that if you want to make your designs 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.

A Good Business Selling Creative Products involves:
— Putting your artwork on a sound cost/revenue footing
 — Developing market-driven (what they want) strategies as opposed to product-driven ones (what you want)
 — Pricing your work for sale
 — Implementing various selling strategies
 — Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business

Why Designers Fail In Business: Some Key Reasons

Over and over again, I have seen one designer after another fail as a business. Usually the reasons why keep repeating themselves with each designer.

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

2. Gets bored

3. A fear of marketing your own things

4. Trying to please all audiences

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

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

Many designers get so excited after making their first sale, that they think they don’t have to get too involved with business principles. They misunderstand their “business” as a “project-by-project” endeavor. Make something, sell it. Doesn’t matter what the price. Doesn’t matter to whom. Doesn’t matter if making the work in the first place is in line with the resources you currently have, or will drive you in debt in order to get those resources. All that matters is the count — the number of pieces or designs you have sold.

Designers need to focus, not with the count, but on what’s called Velocity, instead. You need to have in place sufficient strategies for keeping your money turning over at a constant rate. 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 or rate. If you can’t maintain this rate, you go in the hole.

And artists need to keep good records, and implement good accounting principles so they can monitor and evaluate the data about velocity.

2. Gets Bored.

People who get started are very excited. They’ve made a lot of pretty pieces or designs, 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, particularly in the first 2 or 3 years of your business. Many designers 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. It incluces how to reach your potential clients in these markets, 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 are a jewelry designer, and have some jewelry for sale 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 — many more parts than you would need to make one piece of jewelry for this customer.

When you start in business, you need to pursue a strategy of depth, rather than breadth. As a digital designer, you want to invest in a limited number of software applications, equipment, and related resources, and narrow your focus on the types of projects you undertake. As a jewelry or crafts designer, you want to buy a limited number of pieces, colors, sizes and shapes of materials in large enough quantities to get adequate price breaks. So, initially, your designs will be limited, as well. If someone asks you to develop a project or design that is outside your budgeted resources, you need to be able to say No!. No! to your family. No! to your friends. No! to the people you work with.

Source, Feld, 2013

In my experience, such as the situation for the jewelry designer 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, in our jewelry example, for instance, “OK, I’ll take what you have in purple.”

60-seconds. That’s how long you have to wait without responding. Only 60-seconds before that person gives up and stops making the Face. It always amazes me, but so many jewelry and other designers can’t wait those 60 seconds. They cave.

And don’t give these people discounts. They’re already getting it cheaper, than if they bought the same design in a store, or purchased the design services from a large corporation. 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 expectations. If you are stuck giving low prices, you will never be self-supporting in your business.

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

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

How do they define their markets?
 How do they price things?
 What kinds of inventory, software and equipment do they own? What kinds do they NOT own?
 Where do they advertise? How do they promote themselves? 
How do they staff up, contract out, or learn the necessary skills to get the jobs done within the set time-frame?
 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? What seems to work better for them?
 How do they figure out the best place — real or virtual — to link their product and product message to the customers most likely to need, want and buy their designs?

You can find a lot of this out by Googling. You can look for designers in your field and occupation. Directories of designers. You can plug in a designer’s website, and see where they are listed, and who lists them. You can look at their work. Often, you can discover many of their clients. You can look at reviews.

Can I Make Money?

Some designers are only interested in selling the occasional piece or project. Others want to create a steady flow of some extra income. Still others want to be financially self-sufficient as a designer.

Whatever your personal goal and commitment, can you make money? The answer is YES… That is, if you are smart about it.

Your friends and relatives might tell you that living as a creative designer “Is not practical,” or a warning “Don’t quit your day job.”

I won’t lie to you. It’s tough. It requires commitment and perseverance. It requires some introverted skills and some extroverted skills. It requires managing a process that includes some creative elements and some business and administrative ones. But you can do it.

First, Goals. Sit down and write down some do-able sets of goals for your business. Some sets of goals will be on the creative side; others on the business side.

One set of goals should answer the question: How are you going to manage the design process (from inspiration to aspiration to finished product to marketing and selling your products)?

Another set of these goals should answer the question: How are you going to maintain your cash flow throughout the whole year?

After you start implementing your goals, at some point you should be able to ask a friend: Did I achieve my goals or not?

Second, Time. Organize your time. You need to spend a certain amount of time with creative activity. Another block of time on business, administrative and marketing activities. And a certain amount of time for reflection and evaluation and self-care. You need to maintain balance between the personal and the professional, and between the creative and the administrative.

Third, Limits. Do not try to do too many different projects or work with too many different kinds of design elements and components at the same time — particularly in your first 3 years in business.

As your business grows, you’ll reach a point where you have enough cash flow — that Velocity of sales — that you can begin to broaden your efforts, meeting more of the needs of your current clients, and expanding the options for new clients.

Fourth, Realism. Do not go for roofs before setting foundations. Learn about materials and techniques in a developmental order. Things will make much more sense and be easier to accomplish as you advance your skills and endeavors.

Last, Supports. You can’t do everything by yourself. Find compatriots. Find a mentor. Share or coordinate some workloads. Be sure you structure in ways to be accountable and get feedback.

_____________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Bethke, Kelly. “A creative’s guide to starting a new business,” Fast Company, 11/9/18.

Campbell, Anita. “A 30-Point Checklist For Your Start-Up,” Small Biz Trends, 4/18/13.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Other Suggested Readings:

Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking, (FELD, 2020)

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency in Design, (FELD, 2020)

Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, (FELD, 2020)

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My Jewelry Is Over At The Consignment Shop: Did I Make A Mistake Leaving It There?

Posted by learntobead on June 29, 2020

She’s CHEATING ME!” the woman from Rhode Island screamed into the phone. She could hardly catch her breath, the anger overtaking her ability to explain why she was calling.

I read your article about Pricing and Selling on-line, and I’m not getting my $70.00 for my piece.

She didn’t have to say anymore. I knew right off the bat she was talking about CONSIGNMENT. I recognize the anger. The frustration. The feeling that someone put something over on you, and you’re powerless to correct the situation. You don’t know what to do. You know the sweat, time and cost you put into all the pieces you let some stranger have, and now what do you do?

I put 10 of my pieces of jewelry in her shop in Northern Rhode Island — not a big shop, no sales, except, this one piece sold, not in a major place,” she continued, taking breath after breath, to get it all out, in some way that made sense, and some way that kept her from losing it.

What do I Do?

She sold my piece for $70.00, and didn’t give me my money?

Should she have given me my money right away?

Should I take my jewelry out of her shop?

Should I never do consignment again?

She peppered me with questions, not waiting for an answer.

She indicated that the store owner told her that she paid her artists 30 days after a sale. Her customers had 30 days to return something. If the store owner paid before that time, she would be out the money. Store owners can set whatever policies they want, and in this case, I told the woman it was reasonable to wait 30 days, given the policy.

Of course, it had already been 7 weeks.

Should she call her?” Her husband told her not to call yet. He didn’t want her to make waves, or ruin this opportunity to sell her jewelry.

Call her,” I said. If the store owner said 30 days, then 30 days it should be.

Consignment may be a necessary evil, especially when you are getting started in the jewelry making business. But consignment is not the best situation to be in. Most stores that accept consignment do not understand the consignment business. As a result, when the time comes to pay the artists, there’s no cash flow.

In Consignment, the store is at greater risk than the artist. The store has to make space available for the pieces, and forgo the opportunity to get something else in that retail-real-estate that might do better. The store has to display the pieces, and keep them clean and presentable. The store has to train its sales staff so that they have sufficient information and motivation to make the sale. And, of course, there’s the tracking and accounting that goes with every consignment piece on sale.

Your best clue to whether a particular consignment situation is a good or better one, is the percentage split between the store or gallery owner and the artist. Given the level of risk each party assumes, the optimum distribution is 60/40 with the store or gallery getting the larger amount. But if the split is 40/60 or 50/50, this would be a acceptable sign as well.

However, when the split is 70/30 or 30/70 or outside this 60 and 40 range, yellow flags should go up. This shows that the store or gallery owner is not aware of the level of risk in their business. You probably won’t get paid on time, and not get paid without a lot of time spent yelling on the phone. Your pieces won’t be maintained. They won’t be displayed in a prominent place. No one will be trained or motivated to sell your pieces.

Just because you confront a potentially bad consignment situation doesn’t necessarily mean that you should walk away, however. There are a few prominent boutiques in Nashville that offer a 70/30 split between the store and the artist. They rarely pay their artists when the pieces sell. It takes a lot of screaming, “Bloody Murder!” before you get paid. But these are very prominent shops. Letting other stores and galleries know that you have pieces in these shops will open many doors for you. You might view the delayed payments and the effort to get your money as “marketing expenses.”

Other reasons you might settle for a bad situation:
 — You’re just getting started, and saying your pieces are in a shop anywhere has some marketing cache that goes with this
 — You can direct customers to this shop. At least you have a place to send people to view and purchase your work. You might not have a central base from which to work. Your main business might be doing craft shows, and here you can direct people to your jewelry between shows.
 — This might be the only game in town.

But otherwise, if consignment doesn’t have some added value for you, you want to minimize your consignment exposure.

When you negotiate consignment terms with a shop, try to:

1) Get a feel for the amount of consignment they do (and how long they have been doing this), the range of artists, the range of types of merchandise on consignment, and the types of customers they have
 
 2) Get a 60/40, 50/50 or 40/60 split
 
 3) Work with store or gallery owner on final retail pricing of your pieces.
 
 4) Get a written contract
 
 5) Get in writing if possible, but an oral agreement would suffice, to convert the situation to “wholesale terms”, if you pieces sell well. (Be sure to define what “selling well” might mean. Example: sell 10 pieces within next 6 months.)

6) Determine a specific date when to take your pieces out, or trade them out for new pieces. Usually it’s good to trade them out every 3–6 months.
 
 7) Determine exactly how and when you will get paid, after any one piece sells. A 30-day waiting period is reasonable.

As to my friend in Rhode Island, I suggested she take her pieces out of this shop. She was expecting to get paid 30% after 30 days. It’s years later. She was never paid.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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