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Posts Tagged ‘selling your jewelry’

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-PROMOTION

Posted by learntobead on August 21, 2013

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-PROMOTION

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If you are a jewelry designer who has ambitions to have your work publicized in books or magazines, or to be accepted into a juried show or exhibit, or to sell your things in a store or gallery, you need to be able to promote your work.     Often, I have found, creative-types can be shy when it comes to self-promotion and marketing.

What insights, from your own experiences, can you offer your fellow jewelry designers about self-promotion?

What kinds of things help you to overcome any fears about marketing your work?

How do you handle criticism and other rejection like getting the dreaded “No”?

From an article I wrote….

Jewelry designers often find a self-satisfaction in working intensely on a project, often in isolation or solitude.   But when it comes to tooting their own horns – this is not as easy or satisfying for them.   There is a discomfort here.     You might want to show your pieces to others, perhaps submitting them for review or a juried competition, or perhaps wanting a store or gallery to accept your pieces for sale.

Then humility kicks in.   Or perhaps a lack of confidence in yourself.   Or a fear of criticism.    Or a rejection.    Hearing: No, we don’t want your pieces.

We don’t want to appear desperate for a sale, or too eager for acceptance.

But, if you don’t believe in yourself and your products, no one will.      Your fantasy of striking out on your own will never materialize, if you don’t find it within yourself to do some self-promotion.

And the first step is understanding and recognizing that to promote yourself means promoting your value.

Your jewelry has VALUE to them, why….?     If something has value to someone, then they typically want to know about it.   Your jewelry has value to them because it solves a problem for them.   It might make them happier, more beautiful, more enriched, more satisfied, more powerful, more socially accepted, more understanding of construction or technique or art and aesthetics.    It might be better than other jewelry they see or wear or think about buying.

For a store or gallery, your jewelry might be more saleable, more attractive as displayed, better constructed, more artistic, more stylish or fashionable, a better fit with their customer base, with good price points.

You promote the value of your jewelry to your audience.   You do not have to brag.   You do not have to be shameless.   You do not have to do or say anything embarrassing.    Just speak the truth about value.   Share examples of your work and what you have done, not your ego.

And that brings up the second point – speakingPeople who are more comfortable speaking about themselves and their products tend to be more successful in their careers.

Products don’t sell themselves.   People need to be nudged.

This “speaking-about-themselves and their products” is a basic communication process.   This communication process is a process of sharing information.    You want to educate the right people, in the right way at the right time.    You want to speak about who you are, and what you make.   The values your jewelry has to offer them.    And how you would like to develop your relationship – whether designer/client or designer/retailer or designer/jury – so that you may both benefit.

Fundamentally self-promotion is about communication.   Communicators frame the narrative.   Communicators start the conversation.   They begin on favorable terms.    They would not say:  Would you like to see my jewelry?    Instead, they would say:  I have jewelry you are going to love.

And this brings up the third point – be relevant.

Know your audience, what their needs are, what their problems are that need solving.    You may have created the original piece to satisfying some personal yearning and desire.  But if you want someone to buy the piece, wear the piece or sell the piece, you need to anticipate why.   Why would they want to buy, wear, review or sell your piece of jewelry?

Do not assume they will figure all this out on their own.   You will need to help them along in this process.  You will need to communicate about the value your jewelry will have for them.   You will need to do some self-promotion.

The last point – inspire people to spread your message.

Your best marketing and promotion will be what is called “word-of-mouth”.   So you want to create supporters and fans and collaborators and colleagues.     And you want them to be inspired enough about you, your creativity and your jewelry, so that they tell others about you.     You inspire your current network of family and friends.   You might make a presentation or teach a class.  You might share images of your work on social media like FaceBook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest.     You want to regularly connect with people, so that you and your work are frequently in their thoughts.

There are many self-promotion strategies that you can do.   You don’t need to do everything at once.  You might try one or two ideas first, and do those, then pick a third, and so on.

Some Self-Promotion Strategies That Have Worked Well For Others

  1. Wear your jewelry all the time, and don’t be shy about saying you made it!
  2. Have attractive business cards  made, perhaps a brochure
  3. Have an active presence on social media, particularly FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+; participate in discussions; get people to click on those LIKE buttons (or similar thumbs-up registers) next to your images and your discussions
  4. Have a website, either as a “billboard”, or as a full-fledged e-commerce site
  5. Get your website listed in as many online directories and search engines as you can
  6. Generate a emailing list and use it regularly, such as sending out a newsletter; get into the habit of asking people if you can add them to your mailing list
  7. Collect testimonials about your work, and post them publicly
  8. Always speak and act passionately when discussing or showing your work
  9. Organize your own discussion groups on FaceBook and Google+, or begin a blog  (WORDPRESS is a good place to start a blog)
  10. Post video tutorials or videos showing you making things on YouTube
  11. Submit images of your pieces to bead, craft and jewelry magazines
  12. Teach courses, either locally, or as a connection with one of the many websites promoting teachers online, such as Betterfly.com or CraftArtEdu.com
  13. List yourself with websites that list custom jewelry makers for hire, such as Custommade.com
  14. If your jewelry has done well for a store, convince them to carry more of it and let it take up more display space
  15. Doing the occasional craft show, bazaar or flea market is also a good form of advertising and getting your message out to a large number of people you probably would never have met otherwise
  16. Create a good, rememberable image to use as your avatar, on such websites as FaceBook
  17. Follow up with customers and contacts, such as after a purchase, or after someone accepting to include you piece in a magazine, or sell their pieces in a shop.   Thank them.   Reinforce your personal brand with a short comment about the value of your pieces for them.
  18. Have a clear personal style that you can point to in your jewelry, and that you can speak about.
  19. Have a clear idea of what is called your “competitive advantage”.   What are those 5-10 things about you and your work that sets you apart from, and perhaps makes you better than, the competition.
  20. Search for companies or people that may want to see or buy your work.   Use directories on Yahoo and Google.   Use LinkedIn.com.    Search Twitter looking for people who are saying they need custom jewelry work done.
  21. Network with other jewelry designers, both in your local area, as well as online.   Ask for feedback on the self-promotional activities you are doing.  Have any of these worked well for them?   Are they doing other things you haven’t thought of?
  22. Get out of your studio and meet people in the flesh.
  23. Attend trade shows, networking events and charity events, or other types of places where your clients might also attend.
  24. Offer something – one time only — for free.    A free class, a free repair, a free pair of earrings.
  25. Publish or self-publish a book or book-on-CD, and promote that
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So You Want To Do Craft Shows…

Posted by learntobead on May 8, 2013

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS…
New CraftArtEdu.com Video Tutorial By Warren Feld
http://www.craftartedu.com/warren-feld-so-you-want-to-do-craft-shows

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In this class, presented in 6 parts with 16 lessons, artist and businessman, Warren Feld, will fill you in on the ins and outs, the dos and the don’ts of selling at craft shows and fairs. Which are best for you, which may be a waste of your time. How to compute the revenue you must earn to justify participating in an event. This is a must see class for anyone thinking of entering the art and craft show world and will maximize your chances of success in these venues. 6 Broadcasts.
Price:
$30
Level: All Levels
Duration: 113:58

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Consignment Selling – A Last Resort

Posted by learntobead on February 22, 2010

Over At The Consignment Shop

“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.     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.   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.)

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.

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