Monday, 1 October 2012

Promoting Your Business - A Focus on Jewellery by Sue Graham

Promoting your Jewellery Business - The Basics

Here is a great article by Sue Graham from Amazing Beads - it is very informative and also quite timely for those who are participating in the Etsy & Toejam Craft Fair later this month!!
  1. Word of Mouth

    I'm sure you have heard lots of people saying that 'Word of Mouth' is the best publicity you can get, and they are absolutely correct of course.  For one thing it's fee, and there is no better way of spreading the word about your wonderful jewellery, than by a happy cusomer telling their friends about  you!

    However, Word of Mouth promotion doesn't necessarily come from only happy customers who have purchased from you! It can also come from people who have seen your product, liked the way you treated them, maybe didn't buy anything on that particular occasion, but still tell their friends, family and acquaintances about you.

    To achieve this, you need to set up a stall, create a website, or make pieces that will resonate with consumers. If something strikes a chord with one person, they will potentially share it with others. It is also extremely wise practise to be interested in the consumer and show that you are interested. Nothing should be too much trouble, within reason of course!

    Let me tell you straight away, that one of the best ways to get potential customers to buy anything is to let them handle the goods. Who cares if you have to rearrange items regularly, who cares if you have to polish things a bit more often, as long as people can touch, they are more likely to buy, and while they are holding the necklace you can be showing that bit of interest in them, having a friendly conversation with them, asking them if they would like to try the piece on, treating them like a person and showing an interest in them. Don't just tell them what you do, find out what they like too.

    I know it can be easy to get frustrated with customers who finger the items on sale, messing them up, maybe leaving fingerprints on them and so on, but please don't show frustration. I once knew someone who used to do a lot of 'tut-tutting' and even tied the doors of the display cabinets together with elastic bands to prevent clients from opening the doors and handling the items on display. Can you imagine a bigger turn off than that?

    To prove my point, some research was carried out with undergraduatae students in America. Half were shown two items to look at and decide whether they would be prepared to buy them or not, and the other half were shown the same two items but were allowed to handle them. The second group not only said that they would buy, but were even prepared to pay more for the items.

    So always remember that to be thought of in a good light and so received that famous 'Word of Mouth' publicity you need more than just nice items. You see, part of the overall product is you and the way you treat your customers.
  2. Business Cards

    It is absolutely essential to have a business card. You have just gone to all that trouble to make something, someone likes it, buys it, you sell it to them and then.... let them go? Of course not! You want them to come back, and to come back they have to remember who you are. When you have sold something a business card should always be popped in the bag with the item. A Business Card is an item that is always picked up at shows, even by those people who don't buy from on that day (and what if they are one of those people who might tell someone else about your lovely stuff even if they don't buy themselves? You don't want them to forget who you are do you?).  Very often busienss cards are slung on a pile with others, or left on the side. If you are lucky, your business card might be pinned to a notice board. The point is that you have to make your business card stand out from the others. You can design one yourself or pay a graphic artist/designer to do their magic for you. It should of course represent you or your business, and the more professional it looks the better.

    I personally use Vistaprint, who even print cards for free (you have to pay postage of course). They do really nice colour cards and have lots of designs to choose from. If you want something more special, they do glossy cards too, and they have great prices. I have had business cards, postcards and notepads printed through them.
  3. Your Jewellery Stall
    Most craft shows have lots of stalls selling handcrafted jewellery. You need to stand out from the rest, in your work, your manner and your display. Your display should reflect your artistic sensibilities and provide an appealing backdrop for your work. For fabrics, choose solid colours or subtle patterns that compliment your jewellery. Even better if you can afford it, would be to invest in a professional table cover like they use at conferences.

    Texture is also an important element, and can be used in a variety of ways. Try using natural materials such as wood, stone and even flowers.  Add height to your display to create visual interest. Use stands, shelves or boxes draped in fabric to break up the level of your table displays and a very important thing to remember is light. your jewellery will stand out so much better if you have spotlights directed onto it. The more the better. (Remember to take a couple of extension leads with you since you may be a distance from the sockets).

    If you are on a tight budget, hardware stores can be a great place to shop for your display material. Baskets, ceramic plates, bowls or vintage books can be used as displays. Picture frames are another great find. Replace the glass with fabric and use to display your eye catching pieces like little works of art. Be inspired by found objects, start looking at things that catch your eye and try to imagine ways to use them in your display.

    Your display should say something about your work before customers even step up to your tables. Go for originality, be creative and always be professional and pleasant!.


  1. This weekend I just had my first stall for my shop WhimsyJig. This article is sound advice. I noticed that people who didn't always buy a piece, picked up my business card. I made a huge effort with my stall laying out my display the night before and varying the height of my display. i tried to think like a buyer. I spray painted a branch and put it in a vase. I even left out a jar of sweets for anyone to help themselves. Yes,I've learnt alot from this experience and still have alot to learn.There's a few things I'll change for next time. I have put up a picture of my stall on the day on my facebook page WhimsyJig, take a look

  2. Good advice, thanks Sue.
    I usually take some stitching with me to do while sitting at my stall. It emphasises to customers that I make my stock myself, and can help to start a conversation. It makes you more approachable than if you're reading the paper, as some stallholders do!