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BS-Sm-Logo.png (9355 Bytes) RULES TO LIVE BY...

...The Road to Funding Your Jewelry Making Hobby

If you are looking for a way to help you fund your hobby, these are some suggestions that will help you. Think of these 15 rules like a journey on new path. At first, the trail may be rough and hard to follow, so you'll move along more slowly. You might even get discouraged, but don't give up. As you travel along the path, you'll gain experience and confidence from the tests you encounter along the way. As you gain more knowledge about the things you encounter, you will be able to accomplish more in less time. If you keep traveling on the path, you'll soon be looking forward to the trip. You'll be running down the trail in search of a new adventure. Good luck in your travels.

1.There are no excuses!

You must accept the fact that some things are easier to do than others. You'll have to do the less pleasant things as well as the fun stuff to make this happen. If you want to make some money, it's a question of how bad you want it. Stop making excuses and start down the path!

Most people don't want to do whatever it takes to succeed.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes? If you are, then you'll succeed. You don't have to quit your job or take up a new lifestyle, just make a few modifications to how you approach things and learn to do a few things that seem a little uncomfortable at first.

If we see you without  a piece of jewelry on or without your business cards in your pocket, we'll call you on it. No excuses means you must do these things to succeed.

2. Quality is important

This is pretty obvious. If you make junk, no one wants it. If you don't know how to do something correctly, get help or take some classes but don't delude yourself into thinking you can quit your job and sell your work! If you are just starting out, give some things to your friends and ask them to use the product and give it a good test. Have them give you feedback in return for giving them the products. Then make your products better. Practice, practice, practice and more practice will improve your quality.

Learn to use a crimp tool properly. Use good tools and make your wire work even and consistent. Use good quality materials in all your work. Would you use cheap clasps and parts from the hobby store with an inexpensive 7 strand wire if you were making a $100 turquoise necklace? It's just not right! You must use materials consistent with the quality your customers perceive them to be. I hear customers that say things like "I paid a lot of money for that, It fell apart right away." I find that there's a lot of poor quality work out there; it gives us all a bad name. Always try to give your customers more than they expect and offer them a guarantee on your workmanship.

3. Be your own best customer

Do you wear your own jewelry? Why would anyone buy something you won't wear yourself? From now on, you must wear the products you sell. Decide what jewelry your going to feature today and dress accordingly. Don't get dressed and think of jewelry as an afterthought. You should always know how much your jewelry sells for. It doesn't sound good if you stammer and answer without confidence if someone asks you how much you want for your necklace or bracelet. Remember: It doesn't matter if your going to the dump or to the doctor, WEAR SOMETHING YOU CAN SELL OR DUPLICATE!

4. Carry business cards at all times

You should always be prepared to introduce yourself and hand out a card. You never know when you'll get something really good from it. I gave out a card one day to someone who was buying a pendant I made. Two or three days later I got a call from the prop manager on the movie set for Spy Kids2.  The director liked the pendant and needed someone to make "manly" jewelry for the movie. My pendant and jewelry is in Spy Kids 2 and Spy Kids 3. (Ricardo Montalban wears it and uses to locate the lost kids in the movie). This never would have happened if I didn't offer a card to the customer every time I sold my work.

Most people are too shy about handing out their cards. If you want to see how it's done, rent the movie "Harvey", with Jimmy Stewart. Watch how he gives his business card to everyone he meets in the movie. Then use your cards to start marketing yourself to the people you meet.

Click here to order free business cards. The cards are free, but you need to pay for shipping. Choose the slow method for the best price. We use these because the are a great value and they let you give out hundreds of cards for very little investment.

5. Carry jewelry to sell at all times

If you don't have some jewelry with you, how in the world can you sell anything?  Make up a little briefcase or tote with the jewelry neatly packed in.  We like the "towel" method of rolling up our jewelry in a towel as opposed to using a little box or bag for each item.

Use a cheap bath towel (thin) and fold it in half the long way. Place a few pieces at one end and fold the towel over. Continue adding more jewelry and folding it over until the towel "roll" is about 3/4 full. It's quick to unroll the towel so we can present 24-48 pieces of jewelry in each roll. We can show off a lot more items in less time if we don't have to unpack each item to show it. This lets a customer look at more items in less time. The jewelry stays clean, organized, and it's protected from getting bent or tangled. Remember, no one wants to buy jewelry if it appears to be in a tangled mess and they don't have time for you to unpack each item, they'll lose interest too quickly.

6. Listen for the "Money Question"

Learn to listen for things along these lines... "Your jewelry really matches your outfit.", "Wow, I love your necklace!",  "Where did you get your earrings?", "Did you make that?" or my favorites, the elusive " Do you sell your jewelry?" and "How much is it?"

A good standard response is something like... "Thank you, I make and sell jewelry!"  at this point, it's a good idea to be still and listen for more interest from your prospective customer. Sometimes saying less will get you more.

Learn to be observant, you'll be able to tell when there is a flicker of interest in their eyes or body language. If you don't see it, offer your card and go on with your business. It's all a matter of giving out your card more often, you'll find interest in your work if you keep looking for it. You'll be surprised how much you missed before.

If you sense some kind of interest, don't pounce on them, but you can offer something like "I have a few things with me, if you have the time to take a quick look." If you get a "yes, I'd like to look", you'll have between 35 seconds to a minute to capture their interest. Be prepared to get something into their hands if they seem open to looking. This is why I prefer rolling my jewelry in a towel instead of putting it all in little bags.

You may get follow up questions like, "Do you do repairs", "How much is your necklace?", and "Do you teach classes?" Be prepared to answer more questions. Especially important is knowing the price of your work. Don't fumble on the price, you should know how much  you want for what you have on when you put it on in the morning. If your necklace isn't for sale, offer something like, "This one isn't for sale, but I can make you something similar to it, what kind of price range did you have in mind?"

7. Know your target customer

If you sell $150-$200, one of a kind jewelry, don't expect to do a big business at the local Clover Fest or Beer Bust.  If you sell $8 seed bead necklaces, you're probably not going to get into the Junior League show.

You must know who your target customer is and market yourself to them.  Would you try to use a bear trap to catch a mouse or worse, a mouse trap to catch a bear? It just doesn't work very well if you don't know your target customer and market to them.

8. Know your market

If a new venue opened in your local area, would you know about it? Keep yourself up on local trends, school and team colors, events and festivals. You may find you are missing out on things that could help you market your products. If you don't know what's going on in your local market, you better find out soon. If you have your target customer figured out, then you should be on your way to knowing where they hang out and what they do for fun.  Be ready to provide your jewelry for those type of events. 

9. Study your price structure

How much did it cost you to make it?  What are you going to sell it for?  These two questions are the most important when you get ready to sell something.  You can't make a profit if you can't answer these simple questions. The simple solution is to add it all up and multiply the cost of your materials times some factor. Typically the range will vary between 2 and 6 times the cost of the materials.  After you figure our your pricing, be sure to give it the look test. Sometimes a piece will look over-priced and you may want to redesign the piece so it works better.  You also may find that using your regular price factor comes out looking much better so you can make a little more money on that item.

10. Make a profit

If you are not making a profit, then why do all this work? You have a right to make money for your effort, even from your friends and family. Your doctor, dentist, or lawyer doesn't do something for nothing; why should you?  You need to get past the idea that you are making money from people you know. If you've got a skill, you deserve to get rewarded for your talent. This assumes you have already mastered the quality issues we often see in hand crafted jewelry.

Many folks we know offer a standard "friends and family discount" which solves the problem of what to do for a friend or neighbor who wants you to make something for them.  If you don't know how much try 10-25% off.  We use a 15% discount for our friends and family prices.

11. Price your products

No one wants to guess how much your precious jewelry is worth. Neither do they want to ask you about it. PLEAZZE put a price tag on it so everyone knows you're not just making up the prices as you go along.  Don't use those stupid string tags either. A tangled mess does nothing to help you sell your jewelry! Use a barbell tag or make your own and tie them on tight with raffia. It should look professional, regardless of how you price things and yes, YOU MUST HAVE YOUR PRODUCTS PRICED.

12. Find a niche that needs to be filled

Nothing will work better than finding a need and filling it. If you copy the same thing off a website that everyone else is doing, your stuff looks just like everyone else's work. Figure out something new and unique to do. It will get you noticed faster and help you make more sales. 

13. Write out a plan

This forces you to see things more clearly. If you can put your thoughts into words you can keep revising it and make it better. Write out your ideas in one of those blank books. As you formulate new ideas or develop things, you can keep adding to  your idea book.  It doesn't need to be a big formal business plan, although that works too. Just try to get all your ideas down so you can recall them and refine them. You can also use the book to accumulate ideas for new designs and to jot down notes about new colors you spot in the mall or local stores.

14. Be persistent

Your ability to keep going when your not motivated or when your disappointed will determine how far you are going to get. Persistence pays off.  If your show was no good, find another venue. If your jewelry didn't sell fast enough, keep working at it to make it sell better. Do you have the "current" colors in stock? Are you up to speed on the latest trends? Do your customers like silver clasps or ear wires and everything you have to sell has a gold clasp or gold ear wire?  Find out what you can do to improve things and do something about it.  Stop whining about how things didn't go right and do something to fix things.

Your ability to talk to others about your jewelry will improve over time and you'll have more success. People will remember you, and they'll be open to asking you to make them things. This happens over time as customers get to know your jewelry and your professional approach.

15. Do the hard stuff

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! This can be fun, exciting, and frustrating all at the same time. Everyone that makes a necklace or a pair of earrings won't make money selling jewelry. You must learn how to market yourself. Take small baby steps toward the things you find uncomfortable. The worst that can happen is they will say no thanks, then you can move on. When you succeed, it feels like you can walk on air!

The people who work at their craft and offer good quality will find the right market and do pretty well. Some will  develop their skills and some will choose not to. Which group do you belong in? Doing the hard stuff will pay off if you keep after it.

The first point was so important, I'll repeat it again...

1. There are no excuses!

Sorry but you must accept the fact that some things are easier to do than others. You'll have to do the less pleasant things as well as the fun stuff to make this happen. How bad do you want it? Stop making excuses and start down the path! Most people don't want to do whatever it takes to succeed. Are you willing to do what it takes? If you are, then you'll succeed.

Remember, if we see you without your jewelry on or without your business card, we'll call you on it. No excuses means you do things to succeed!


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