How to Sell Jewelry: Best Business Practices
So far in our guide to selling jewelry, we have already talked about a number of different aspects of running a jewelry business.
We have discussed where you can sell your handcrafted jewelry online and offline and we have also talked about setting up shipping and returns policies which allow you to communicate clearly with your customers and also protect your business.
Our third section was on pricing and how to choose wholesale and retail prices for your jewelry which are fair and acceptable to both you and your customers (as well as the broader crafting community).
Best Practices For a Jewelry Business
Now we are going to talk about best business practices overall, and how you can make the most of your jewelry business.
What do I mean by best business practices? I am talking about your approach to your customers. There are so many different ways you can handle your business, and everybody you meet will have different approaches. Ultimately this comes down to your conception of customer service.
True, if you are selling your jewelry online or you have dropped it off at a store where you do not work, you are not going to be standing around on a sales floor answering questions. But you still are going to need to be accessible enough that you will be able to provide answers to questions if customers need your assistance.
How Should I Talk to My Customers’
Since you are not going to be in a room with your customers (most of the time, unless you are for example working at a farmer’s market), you are going to be answering customer inquiries long distance. This is not the sort of business where you have to be available by phone or chat, but you do need to keep in contact via email or other messaging systems (Etsy for example has its own messaging system which customers and businesses can use to keep in touch).
It is important to let your customers know that you are there. Sometimes people will hesitate to get in touch with store owners because they may not believe that contact is desired. This is often the case if you seem cold and distant, because you have not specifically invited contact. Customers feel much more comfortable purchasing products from sellers who are clearly interested in engaging with them directly.
If you are selling on your own site, actually have a contact page that says something along the lines of, ‘Please contact me if you have any questions. I am always here and happy to help.? You can have the same statement on your Etsy page, and on any other websites or communities you are a part of.
How Often Should I Check My Messages’
Selling jewelry means you are running a business. Very serious jewelers who are trying to make a living selling jewelry are more likely to take communication with customers seriously, but even if you are a hobbyist doing this on the side, do not forget that any money being paid to you for your work is valued by your customer. As such, you should value it and them.
To that end, it is wise to check your messages regularly, preferably at least once a day. That way you can get back to customers and potential customers within 24 hours. It is also a good idea to be kind to your fellow artisans. You may view them as competitors, but in reality, many of them are struggling just like you, and are more than willing to help you out if you help them out. Crafters can often sell much more of their work if they view each other as partners and unite their efforts to cross-promote.
When you are fast responding to your messages, you are telling customers and other artisans that they are a high priority to you, not something buried at the bottom of a to-do list. This helps convey the impression that you are a thoughtful, trustworthy, involved individual. As such, they will feel more comfortable teaming up with you (in the case of other crafters) or purchasing from you (in the case of customers).
Up-Sell When It Makes Sense
Another issue worth discussing when it comes to business practices is the practice of up-selling your merchandise. Up-selling is a practice which is taught in retail settings, and many sellers and customers alike have mixed feelings about it.
Remember the last time you walked into a retail store with the intention of purchasing a new computer, but you walked out with a new computer, a new mouse, an external hard-drive and a new set of speakers? This is what up-selling is. It is when a customer service agent convinces you to either purchase something more expensive than you originally intended to or a number of add-ons which you may not really need, but want.
Some sellers up-sell constantly, and doing that can really drive people away. It can be viewed as pushy and unreasonable. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to shy away from up-selling all the time, either. Some sellers avoid it at all costs, because they view it as an entirely negative behavior. But doing that can cause you to miss out on prime opportunities’and it can deprive buyers of some of your best merchandise.
Whenever you have an opportunity to up-sell, ask yourself if the up-sell would give value to your customer’whether in a similar situation, you yourself might appreciate it. Sometimes up-selling helps customers to discover items they might otherwise have missed. For example, perhaps a customer is showing interest in a pendant you have made for a wedding. This would be an excellent time to ask if she is looking for earrings or a bracelet or a tiara for a matching set. A matching set would add value to her purchase, and it puts money in your pocket.
A good example of an inappropriate up-sell would be this: A customer you do not know purchases a pendant for you. After the purchase is complete, you spam them with messages about how you have a lot of other jewelry for sale and they should really take a look. There is nothing wrong with reminded people your merchandise exists, but the message above has no basis in the customer’s needs. It is arbitrary, and therefore would likely be considered obnoxious.
On this note, it is a good idea to restrain yourself from inappropriate promotional practices such as constantly begging other people to check out your page on Facebook and liking it. There is nothing wrong with asking people to help you out, but there are better ways to go about it. I will get into that more in the last section of our guide, which is on how to promote your jewelry business.
You should never deprive yourself of business’even business you yourself have not yet created. Customers who are shopping for handmade jewelry are often searching for a unique item which is going to fit with some mental image they have in their head about the perfect jewelry item which is unique and special, just like them or the recipients they are purchasing for.
Offering commissions allows you to take advantage of this kind of mindset. A customer may not find what they are looking for in your gallery, but may like your style and think, ‘It would be awesome if this artisan could make jewelry to my order.? If you state that you take commissions, and make it easy to pay for said commissions, you may very well find yourself with a lot more jewelry orders for pieces which you have not yet made. There are a lot of important do’s and don’ts to be aware of when it comes to custom work, which is why our next section will be on commissions and how to handle them.
Never Take Business for Granted
As one final note on how to conduct yourself professionally, it is extremely important that you never, ever take your success for granted. It is very common to run into other jewelry makers who are selling more than you do, but who seem to be putting less time and effort into communicating with customers, showing appreciation, and presenting themselves with grace and humility. They may be slow or lazy or simply forget to say ‘thank you? when it is due.
You may look at these jewelers and think they’ve got it made’they certainly think they do. But once business practices start to slip and pride gets in the way, things start to gradually fall apart. If you succeed as a jeweler, yes, it is largely in part because of your own ingenuity, hard work, and creativity. But it is also because you have loyal customers who respect and appreciate that work, and help to spread the word about your merchandise.
Always show gratitude and respect to your customers and the good things they have brought you, and you will keep your business healthy and thriving.
More from the How to Sell Jewelry series:
- Where to sell your jewelry
- How to create an airtight shipping and returns policy
- How to price your jewelry
- Best general business practices
- How to handle commissions
- How to start promoting your jewelry online and offline