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doucanoe

Does anybody know anybody....

doucanoe
12 years ago

That sells their handcrafted items? I did a jewelry show and sale this past weekend that was a total bust. I made enough to cover the cost of the table rental! (Last year at this same show I made over $200.)

So now I am looking at my options for marketing/selling my pieces. I have opened an account at etsy.com and have a few pieces listed there, but I have so much and it is very time consuming.

I am thinking of maybe going the "home party" route. I spoke briefly to one of the other jewelry artists at the show last weekend who told me she does home parties and makes great money selling her pieces that way.

I intend to get back in touch with her and see if she'll give me some pointers, but wondering if anyone here knows someone that has tried something similar. I just need some guidance....what works, what doesn't, how to go about offering booking incentives, etc. I figure the more advice I get, the higher my chances of success will be!

Thanks!

Linda

Comments (24)

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    I have a friend who used to make big bucks....I mean BIG...selling on ebay. Her "schtick" was buying some ole beat up box or small table and sand it a bi, paint it a pastel color and then dress it up with very skillfully painted flowers, roses etc. Very nice....but she would sell these things for $300 to $400 each! And it was all in the marketing....she would romance the merchandise like nothing you have ever seen!!
    She now sells on etsy....but has been family busy of late...
    I'll see if I can find one of her listings and email you a link.
    Linda C

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    She has nothing currently listed....she calls her shop or user name Witsend crafts.

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  • caliloo
    12 years ago

    I am currently selling at a local gallery in town. I also make jewelry (mostly semi-precious beads, etc) but with my current metalsmithing class I plan to concentrate more on the metal work and just use the stones/beads occassionally. It is a "consignment" sort of store, so I don't get paid until it sells, but I can drop stuff off whenever I have it available.

    Otherwise, I just wear my stuff and if someone falls in love with it I can make something similar. I have even sold stuff off my neck when out and about!

    I just noticed that the pieces I just dropped off aren't even on the web yet, so you can't see anything I made. I know she sold everything I had taken over at the end of the summer, which is why I just dropped more off last week.

    Alexa

    Here is a link that might be useful: Zephyr Gallery

  • canarybird01
    12 years ago

    My granddaughter Danielle makes and sells her costume jewellery through boutiques. I understand that she does quite well at it but as she's still going to university to finish her teacher training I can't imagine where she finds the time.

    Perhaps you could drop her a note on her blog and ask if she has any suggestions.
    I'm sure she would love to hear from someone else who is making jewellery!

    SharonCb

  • doucanoe
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Alexa, I'd love to see some of your work! I am taking a silver fusing class in a couple of weeks. I want to concentrate on more of the metal work along with my glass, and less on beading, too.

    Sharon, there are some amazing things on your granddaughter's site! Does she make the costumes as well? Incredible!

    I do have my pieces in a couple of local shops, but sales have been sluggish to say the least. This town is not a mecca for people looking for unique or hand-crafted....

    I may have to take a day or two and head to Stillwater or one of the other more "artsy" towns nearby and see what kind of response I get.

    I am going to try the home party thing, too. I will start by hosting one in my home. I am thinking of offering a free piece or perhaps a percentage off the hostesses purchase based on the sales volume of their party. Also thinking of offering either a small percent or a small gift to those that bring a friend to a party.

    Guess I'll learn what works and what doesn't! LOL

    Linda

  • canarybird01
    12 years ago

    Gosh Linda Danielle would be popular if she had designed those outfits lol!
    They are the work of Alexander McQueen, an avant-garde designer and international couturier from London.

    I can't say I would wear anything of his but they are fun to look at and maybe wear for carnival!

    SharonCb

  • doucanoe
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Yes, Sharon, I agree. Nothing I would (or could) wear, but they make for some great eye-candy! LOL

    Her jewelry pieces are lovely, too!

    Below is a link to my Etsy page, if anyone is interested. (Hope it's allowed to link to this...) I just began listing pieces yesterday so only have a few done so far. I'll be adding more and more.

    Wish I had Ann or Sharon or Lori or Sol as neighbors so they could take photos for me, as mine do not do the pieces justice! LOL

    Linda

    Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Fog Gallery

  • canarybird01
    12 years ago

    Well Linda I do think your photos and your jewellery are truly lovely! I wish you much success.

    SharonCb

  • sheshebop
    12 years ago

    I think Teresa sells her quilts on Etsy. Maybe she has some ideas.

  • hawk307
    12 years ago

    Linda: My wife did this for years. I made Fancy Jewerly cases for her,
    to bring the jewelry to weekend Flea Markets.
    We also had a Booth in a Collectible place.
    We sold all kinds of Collectibles there. So that brought in the customers.
    Then they also saw all the Jewelry .

    It is amazing what catches someone's eye.
    We have sold some of the crazziest jewelry.
    - - - - - -
    I did all the silver soldering for her and a lot of the metalwork.
    Even incorporated rare woods into some of the jewelery.

    I have to say it's not easy. It's very competetive now.
    Especially with all the items coming in from other countries.
    I have bought Jewelery stones and fabricating items on Ebay and also sold some Jewelry.

    I still have a pile of Stones and Odds and Ends; in a cabinet, that I have to sell.
    Might put them in an Auction here. That's how I bought most of the Stones and trinkets.
    I'm sure you will get hooked up to a good Outlet for your Jewelry.
    I will ask around at Pocono Peddlers Village, Collectibles.
    Good Luck, LOU

  • annie1971
    12 years ago

    I make really funky/fun aprons. A very selective niche. I'm not at all interested in marketing and "selling" per se, but I have to participate in craft/market fairs in order to get my product out there and get attention in order to support my love of putting unlikely fabric combinations together with a good quality product. I have a retailer in another state that buys my aprons and sells them for 100% more -- good on her! Get out there and show your stuff and make it the best you can; push it locally and do whatever you can to promote it on line or do whatever you can to create and support your own website. Good Luck -- Annie1971

  • foodonastump
    12 years ago

    I wish you the best of luck but I have to be honest and say that I cringe at the thought of home parties. If just one friend feels awkward and obligated to buy something, was your profit worth it?

  • beanthere_dunthat
    12 years ago

    I know a few folks who make jewelry. I think most of them have given up on ETSY because they say the quality of products available has diminished, thus bringing down the prices they can get. I don't know. I've tried to shop on ETSY a few times and ended up frustrated with the navigation and search.

    The local coffee house and a small gallery here carry considment pieces from local artisans, much of it jewelry. They seem to turn the selection over consistently, though whether it is from selling or simply switchng out pieces, I can't say. I don't imagine the artist or stores would keep doing it if product wasn't selling, however.

    I agree with FOAS about home parties. The feeling of obligation involved hass thrown cold water on more than one fledgling friendship for me.

    Be careful about talking about businesses here. I know from experience that even if you're mentioning it just to share what you do, it only takes one person in a snit to cause a problem. I HOPE things have changed, but you never know.

  • traceys
    12 years ago

    Linda,
    I used to sell on Ebay but I don't anymore. Their fees and policies are enough to kill a small seller.

    Many Ebay sellers have moved on to other sites like Etsy for handcrafted items, and the one I sell on it's called Bonanzle. Yes it's a weird name but it's a great place for small sellers. When you set up you have your own booth or storefront. It's almost like having your own website without the work. There are no listing fees, you only pay when you sell. You can accept Paypal, Google Checkout, Money orders or cash. Sellers are friendly. Your items are uploaded to Google Base so your items are visible. Many of my sales come directly from Google. It does take a little work but you have the photos and descriptions so that's half the battle.

    I will tell you I don't think sales anywhere have been great. Many of the sellers there sell other places also. Since Bonanzle is fairly new(a little over a year) there are only about 132,000 members but considering that and I sell somewhat expensive handbags my sales haven't been bad. The rate of growth for Bonanzle has been amazing, some days a thousand new members join.

    I do think jewelry sales are tough and there are a lot of sellers. The other ideas of getting your jewelry in local boutiques is a great one but you don't have to put all of your eggs in one basket.

    BTW your jewelry is beautiful.

    If you have any questions about Bonanzle let me know.

    Tracey

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bonanzle Home Page

  • booberry85
    12 years ago

    I have a gardening friend that makes a lot of tie dye items. She sells at a lot of local craft shows. It seems this time of year they're always looking for venders. However, this past year she's just been breaking even with the craft shows.

    I also shudder at the idea of home parties. I usually decline those offers unless I absolutely can't get out of it.

  • doucanoe
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I am not a huge fan of home parties, either, mostly because the products are mass produced and overpriced.

    But I also don't attend feeling obligated to buy if I don't care to. If I felt like I was expected to buy something I didn't want/need, I would simply decline the invitation.

    We have had several discussions about home parties here on the forum in the past, so I don't want to rehash old news.

    But I am going to give it a go and see if it can be profitable. If not, I'll find another avenue to pursue. If nothing else, I am resourceful! I'll structure them more like a "girl's night out", more casual, no lectures, no hard sales pitches, etc., just some "girlfriend time".

    I need to find some way to earn a living since I am not having any luck finding a decent job! LOL

    Linda

  • dedtired
    12 years ago

    Someone in my book club makes bead necklaces. Her job takes her all over the world so she always brings beads back. She sells at local crafts shows and to friends who ask to buy. I think she makes enough to cover the costs of her hobby.

    I concur with the others. Home parties create a pressure to buy and I stay away whenever I can.

  • beanthere_dunthat
    12 years ago

    There's another site for handcafted and artisan called 1000Markets.com I've bought from a couple of their vendors. They are set up like ETSY, but there seems to be more originality to the offerings. Or there was, I haven't bought anything in probably six months, and the on-line markets change so fast.

    Honestly, IMO the "girl's night out" is more annoying than the straight sales party. Maybe it's just me because I like business and personal to stay very separate, but if someone invited me to socialize and it turned out the goal was to try to sell me something, I'd be really ticked. At least if I KNOW it's a sales party, I can decline outright instead of feeling trapped.

    One person I know who makes beads has started partnering with a person who works in gems and another who makes jewelry boxes for shows. They say sales are so slow this year, it is the only way they can afford to do the shows, but they've found they sell more as a team than individually. Is there someone who does somethig complemtary to your work you could team with until the market picks up?

  • dlynn2
    12 years ago

    We have a local pediatrician that does di-chro jewelry. He wears pins and stuff everyday at work and has given lots of it to his nurses and receptionists, who also wear it frequently. He gets lots of questions about the jewelry, and people always want to know where he gets it (most of what he wears is very whimsical). Several years ago he began to have an open house at his own home in early December to sell his jewelry (he and his daughter make it all). They invited their co-workers and friends and just served cookies, crackers, cheese, and punch. They told everyone to bring friends. Every year it has grown and last year they probably had a few hundred people go through their doors. I love his stuff and do lots of gift buying there every year, buying about 20 pieces per year. They now have picture frames, serving utensils, sculptures, and lots of jewelry priced mostly from $10-100, but some a little more. People get there early, waiting outside, to get first pick of everything. Most everyone there purchases at least $100 or more. I get compliments on his jewelry all year long and tell people where it comes from and they ask how they can get invited to this "exclusive" party. I just tell them to call his clinic and they will give them the date and time.

  • doucanoe
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Renee, I was invited to a girl's spa night & wine party once. I brought a bottle of wine and went. When I got there I found out it was one of those cosmetic parties. You know, where you do a facial, and a hand treatment, etc. and then they take orders for the products. Yep...I was ticked.

    So there is no way I would not make it perfectly clear up front what the premis of the party was.

    As I said, we'll see if it flies or not. Just one more way to market some of my stuff. I have way too much!

    Linda

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    Ya know there is a huge difference in someone inviting you to a "showing" of their wares and they provide the coffee and cookies....and a "party" where the hostess gets points for the number of parties booked, the $$ amount sold and while there is no "pressure to buy....you really feel odd if you don't.
    I have been to my share and will never EVER again go to an Avon, Longeberger basket, Lia maria or whatever, Tastefully simple, the underwear show, the cookware bit nor even the sexy toys show.
    Nope....no party plans for me ever again!
    If your wares are good and well priced....no need to play the bonus to the hostess game at all!

  • annie1971
    12 years ago

    I do think you could benefit from a party/networking get together. Invite friends, not to sell but to receive suggestions and critiques for future offerings. Do a drawing for a give-away. Make it fun and allow for your friends and contacts to pass your business name on to others and to remember your name in the future. Just have fun with your friends and encourage them to remember you in the future!
    You just need to get your name and product out there. I've had people call me after seeing my aprons a year earlier! They are not going to come to you --unless you just get your product and idea out there!
    Annie1971

  • doucanoe
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Great ideas, all! I already have three people that said they'd like to host a jewelry party!

    Think I'll keep it very casual, similar to a trunk show. Put all of the jewelry on display, be there to answer questions, and just allow everyone to peruse at their own pace while enjoying light refresments provided by the hostess. Maybe offer a piece to each hostess as a gift for having the party.

    No pressure, no sales pitches. Because yes, of course I want to make sales, but as several of you have said, if they even just take a card to refer to in the future when they need a gift or a special piece for an event or whatever, they can always go on the web, call or e-mail me.

    I am hosting the first one at my house on Dec.5. I'll keep yoou posted on how it goes! Hopefully I'll have to scramble to make more jewelry to keep up with the demand! LOL

    Linda

  • lpinkmountain
    12 years ago

    I do not think a "party" would be a problem if it was run like a gallery show. Invite your friends and tell them to invite their friends, and offer refreshments, music, and a chance to see your jewlery. If somone buys great, if not, they can scoot out of there. Make it like an open house. You might even try and find some other crafters you know to join you.
    Crafting is going to be a tough way to make a living in these hard times. The sad thing is, those of us with the "soft" skills can't really make a living selling our wares directly any better than we can working for someone else. I'm in education and now everyone who was in education and got laid off is trying to start a consulting business. Problem is, we got laid off from institutions that can't afford consultants either!!
    Just keep at it though, give the open house a try and see how it goes. Like I said, I don't think it would be a problem if it was an open house/gallery thing. I think you'd actually be better off it it was clearly just to see jewlery. Refreshments and company for those who can't buy. Unfortunately, you may find that is a lot of people now days.