The world of handmade jewelry faces huge challenges in market saturation, and in individual artisans who don’t know how to market their work. No matter what kind of craft people do, it’s not uncommon to see a little jewelry on the side. As a result, consumers come to think of handmade jewelry as cheap, relatively low quality, and often barely worth a second glance. Take a look for yourself – at your next craft show, count how many people have jewelry of some kind even if it’s not their main display item.
This saturation in handmade jewelry doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard to make a unique, high-quality line of jewelry, but it does mean that you’ll have to work hard to market it and really set it apart from the crowd.
Focus on how to make your handmade jewelry different
It’s really a toss-up on how difficult or easy it might be to differentiate your work from that of your competitors. You may spend hours or months trying to find out what makes you stand out, or it might be ridiculously easy and you won’t know why you hadn’t thought of it before. Regardless of the medium you choose for your jewelry creations, you can create truly unique pieces. The trick is not only having a buyer see these items, but realize what actually makes them special.
Search out your ideal handcrafted jewelry market
When you sell handmade jewelry, there are two types of market you need to find for your work – the actual avenue of sales, and the people who are interested in what you make. It’s most important to know who will buy, and then you can worry about where to find them. For instance, I craft beaded middle-of-the-road beaded micro-macramé jewelry. It’s not cheap, but most items are under $100. The people who usually buy are people who need everyday jewelry for office or reception jobs, work customer service, or are low to middle income and want some jewelry for occasional date night wear. Chances are, you’ll find more than one avenue for sales in your target market, which may be a combination of online sites such as Etsy, word-of-mouth, craft sales and trade shows, and possibly home jewelry parties. Remember: Nothing is for everyone, you do have a specific type of customer.
Work on pricing your handmade jewelry right
Never lower your price just because nothing is selling. Chances are, the price isn’t the problem. Jewelry crafters and artisans chronically under-price themselves, setting price points comparable to the mass-produced items from other countries that you might find in big-box stores. You’re creating items that have been meticulously crafted by hand, and they can’t be found anywhere else quite the same – don’t undersell yourself. In fact, I actually started selling more when I realized that I wasn’t paying myself well and significantly raised my prices. People equate price with quality, and may wonder what’s wrong with your items if they’re priced too low.
Display your handmade jewelry proudly
It’s not hard to make unique jewelry displays for shows or props for product pictures. Whenever possible, wear something you made. Wear it to work, to appointments, to the grocery store, or wherever else you may go. If you don’t like anything you make well enough to wear it, why should anyone else like it enough to buy it? Carry a few business cards wherever you go to hand out to admirers – shameless promotion is the name of the game, so don’t be afraid to go all out.
Once you start getting a good stream of customers, remember that it’s absolutely critical to keep them. Repeat sales are the lifeblood of your blossoming jewelry business. It is tough to really tap into your ideal market and find the people who will open their wallets for you. Don’t lose them once you find them. Keep your selection fresh, consider offering custom options, keep up with trends, and always look for new ways to “wow” your customer base.