How to Sell Jewelry: Where to Sell
So you’ve decided to start selling jewelry. Maybe you are a wire-wrap artist, or maybe you work with a forge. Perhaps you do macram? or polymer clay or resin jewelry.
No matter what technique you use, there is a growing market for handmade jewelry.
There is also a growing pool of artisans offering their creations, which means that promoting and selling jewelry is becoming very challenging. To get started, you will need to know your venue options.
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
Where can you sell handmade jewelry’
- Local shops
- Farmer’s markets
- Craft shows and conventions
1. Local shops
There are a lot of possibilities as far as selling jewelry in local shops. There are a number of different types of shops which may be interested in selling your work. Actual jewelry stores are hit-or-miss. Many only sell mass-produced jewelry from large manufacturers or very well-known designers. Some may consider selling jewelry by local artisans.
Stores which specifically stock art from local artists are more likely to consider selling your work, even if jewelry is not their main specialty. Gift shops are a good choice, and sometimes bead stores as well which sell some finished work on the side. There are a couple of different ways that you can sell jewelry through local stores.
- Wholesale. Sometimes a store will make you an offer to simply buy your work out of hand and then sell it. They will pay you the full price you agree upon up-front. At that point, the jewelry belongs to them, and it is their responsibility to sell it. You have already received your payment, and can move on with your day. Usually you will end up selling your jewelry at a reduced price under these circumstances, since the store will want to mark up your work and profit off of the difference.
Pros: You can move on with your day and enjoy the money. You have made your sale and you do not need to worry about reaching out to customers. You also may be able to sell a larger quantity of items at once this way.
Cons: You can no longer influence the sales of your pieces. It is out of your hands, and if they are not finding customers, there is not a whole lot you can do about it. You also probably were paid substantially less for your work than you would have asked for fairly.
- On commission. This is far more common than wholesale purchasing. When you sell jewelry through a store this way, you each get a percentage cut. You receive no money at all until a customer buys a piece. At that point, you might get 70% and the store might get 30%.
Pros: If your pieces do not sell, you get them back, and you can do what you want with them.
Cons: You still are selling your work at a discount, and you have to stay involved in the process. The sale isn’t final until an actual customer buys your work.
Many towns, even small towns, have local farmer’s markets, especially during the summer months. These little fairs are often very popular, and feature not only produce, but crafts and more. The booth fees are more likely to be manageable here than they would be at a large convention or craft show.
You also have the ‘local interest? angle working in your favor. The drawback of course is that you pay the booth fee no matter what, even if you don’t make up for it in sales. At least you don’t have to sell your work at a discount though.
3. Craft shows and conventions
Larger craft shows may also offer you a similar outlet for selling your work as a farmer’s market. You also can try selling at conventions which target the same customers you are catering toward. For example, artisans who make whimsical or old-fashioned jewelry may set up shop at a Renaissance fair. Here the drawback is that your booth fees are likely to be far pricier than they would be at a farmer’s market. Conventions offer you access to a ton of targeted customers, but at a hefty price.
A lot of new jewelry artists will do the majority of their sales online, because this allows you to at least get started on a shoestring budget. You can post an item on Etsy for about 20 cents, and there are similar shop sites like ArtFire that are completely free to post on. You can also consider starting your own website or online store, and you can promote your work on social networks. Some jewelry artists also do well selling on auction sites like eBay.
The drawback of selling online is that you are just one voice shouting in a tremendous crowd. It is hard to find visibility among thousands of other online jewelry artists, many of whom are already established and have more money to spend pushing their ads to the top. In our last installment, we will tell you more about how to promote your work online and offline.
Any time you sell your work online or offline, you need to have a returns policy in place. And if you sell online, a shipping policy is a must. Having clear terms and conditions offers you legal protection and provides clarity to buyers. Find out how to create airtight’shipping and returns policies.’