Can you hear those sleigh bells yet? Christmas is fast approaching.
For those of you with a jewellery business this should be a busy time. Alternatively, if you have been thinking about setting up a jewellery business, now is a good time to try a stall at a local school etc to get an idea if what you are making will sell.
Over the next few weeks LJS tutor Anna Campbell will be offering advice to help you prepare for a bumper Christmas for your jewellery business.
Craft fairs and markets
Christmas craft fairs and markets can be a great source of income and are fun to do. Keep an eye out in your local press for fairs in your area in schools, community halls, markets etc. Also, have a look at stallfinder, an online resource for searching for stalls by area.
Do a bit of research before you commit yourself to a stall. Find out where they are advertising their event as more advertising should equal more customers. Ask around and see if other crafters feel that it is a good event to go to.
Craft fairs and markets can be a bit hit and miss. They can be very lucrative one year and not the next so it can be a risk. Bear this in mind when budgeting for your stall and perhaps share a stall with another crafter to spread the cost.
Preparing your stall
If you decide to do a stall you need to think carefully about how to make it attractive to potential customers. Make sure you find out exactly what is provided by the organisers e.g. how large the table is, do you get a table cloth, is there power for extra lights? When you know what is provided you can start to plan what you will need to take.
It is really hard to gauge how much you will need, so be realistic about what you can make in the time you have before the event. Ensure you stick within your budget for materials e.g. beads, findings etc.
These can be on handwritten notices. A lot of potential customers don’t like to ask the price of items so make sure they are clearly displayed.
Think carefully about how you will display your jewellery. Do you need to buy a bust to put a necklace on? Do you need a stand for earrings? Have a look online to see what you can get e.g. on eBay, at Cooksons etc.
Once you’ve got some inspiration for your display think about what you already have at home that you can use to show off your work. I have a pretty jewellery stand on my bedside table that I take to markets. A jewellery box with your pieces in it makes a lovely display. And don’t forget to take a good sized mirror so that people can try pieces on.
Consider using boxes or stands to add some height to your stall. It stops everything being on one level and means that people can see your pieces from a distance which can attract people to your stall.
Practice setting up your stall on a table at home. It is easy to forget something obvious and this will help you identify this when you’re still at home.
Remember some change and a secure money purse/belt. And a calculator is essential if mental arithmetic isn’t your strong point!
Make sure you wear warm clothes, take a camping chair and a flask of tea! Organise for someone to come and take over from you at some point during the day so you can go to the loo!
Hopefully you’ll have a busy day but if not, ensure you take something from the day by chatting to other crafters and makers; get networking! It is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people from your area and could lead to other opportunities to collaborate.
Anna is an LJS tutor teaching beading classes and PR for your Jewellery Business. She mentors artists and crafters in using social media to promote their businesses for Crafty Websites and runs her own jewellery business, Light Boat Jewellery.