Tag Archives: Selling Jewellery

London Jewellery School Studio Warming

A few weeks back we had a ‘studio warming’ event to welcome visitors to our new studios in Hatton Garden. Tutor Anna Campbell was there doing a jewellery making demonstration and gives her take on the evening.

I always love the open studio events and the christmas party (keep your eye on the blog and our facebook page for details of the Christmas Party – coming soon – shhhh mark Tuesday 13th in your diaries!). It’s fun to chat to previous students and have the chance to introduce new students to the studios and the classes.

This year we were welcoming students to our new home in Hatton Garden. It’s great to be back in London’s famous jewellery quarter and we know that students are loving our new central location.

At our studio warming this year we had a lot going on including a sample sale run by tutor Annie Mason in aid of MacMillan. Every time we run a class the tutor makes a demonstration piece. This has led to us having quite a lot of class samples over the last seven years so it is great that we can sell these for a good cause – we raised £230 in total!   Thanks to all those who bought some jewellery on the night and supported our charity.

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Tutor Annie Mason doing a sterling job raising money for Macmillan.

We also had a display of samples for our next live TV show on Create and Craft TV. I will be demonstrating stone setting in metal clay torch fired techniques and will have three metal clay kits for sale, including instruction videos. Keep an eye on our facebook page for details of the show times.

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Water Casting samples

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Helen Walls pouring the metal into the water

The main event was our three free jewellery making demonstrations. Tutor Helen Walls demonstrated water casting, which is where silver is melted and poured quickly into water to create interesting shapes. This is always an organic process, you never know quite what you’re going to get! But that’s the joy of it.

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Tutors Anna Campbell and Michelle Leaver

Silver and enamelling tutor Michelle Leaver then demonstrated how to make stacked silver rings, a very popular and fun evening taster class.


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950-metal-clay-by-Anna-Campbell-stone-set-ring

I then did a demonstration of using the new sterling silver Art Clay 950. I talked through the benefits of the new clay and my experiences with it. I then showed how I made the ring pictured above.

Thank you to all who came. We were very pleased at the turn out, the demo room was always full!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Craft Market Checklist

In preparation for the summer craft markets, tutor Anna Campbell provides a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare for bumper sales!

craft-market-bunting

Source: http://www.greertonvillage.org.nz/monthly-greerton-craft-market/

1. Arrangements

Make sure you know everything you need to know before the day

  • What time can you arrive from?
  • Can you park nearby? Nearest station, cost etc
  • What is provided and what do you need to bring?

 

2. Selling

It’s a good idea to have a variety of stock – different types of jewellery and price points. Ensure your stock is labelled with the price, many customers don’t like to ask the price and feel like you may be charging them more than others if you don’t display your pricing.

  • Stock
  • Price labels
  • Business cards/flyers
  • Packaging
  • Signage e.g. a sign with your business name and social media handles
  • Wheely suitcase (I travelled to markets by train so had to be able to fit everything in a suitcase!)

 

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Source: http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/flying-m-coffeegarage-7th-annual-super-summer-craft-market/Event?oid=3804611

 

3. Display

  • Display items
  • Table cloth
  • Clear plastic sheeting (useful if you’re outside and it starts to rain!)
  • Market stall clips (excellent for clipping your table cloth etc to the table)

(we will have a blog post coming up on ideas for displaying your jewellery so keep an eye out for that!)

 

4. Payment

  • Secure change wallet
  • Change (go for round number prices as it makes giving change much easier!)
  • Card payment machine e.g. izettle
  • Fully charged mobile phone

 

5. Comfort

  • Layers of clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Umbrella
  • Chair
  • Cardboard to stand on (if it’s a cold day and you’re outside it provides insulation!)
  • Flask of tea or coffee
  • Food
  • Helper who can take over when you need to toilet!

 

6. Miscellaneous

  • Pen
  • Cloths

What have we missed? Do you have any advice for people selling at craft markets for the first time? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Jewellery Business Week Case Study: Using social media to grow your business

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Silversmith Karen Young has been working hard to build up her jewellery business Karen Young Handmade Jewellery and her use of social media caught the eye of the LJS team. We talked to her about how she uses social media to promote her business and products

Which social media do you use? (e.g. instagram, twitter etc)

I am on all of the main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ but the main ones that my target audience are on regularly are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so I tend to focus most on those.  I also have a blog on my website and send a newsletter about once a month.

Whilst Facebook still drives the most traffic to my online shops and has the best conversion rate into sales, Instagram is fast catching up! I love Instagram the best out of all the platforms – it is so visual and I have found a wonderful community there.

 

How have you built up your social media following?

Sheer hard work and consistency! It is possible to buy followers on social media but I really wouldn’t recommend it.  I have always felt that the point of social media is to cultivate engagement and dialogue with followers so they get to know and trust you and you can’t do that if they are fake accounts.  So I have built my following on each platform over time and by replying to comments on my feeds and direct messages, and being active daily on the platforms.  I post virtually daily on Instagram and try and take the most beautiful pictures I can and about 3-4 times a week on Facebook and Twitter.  I need to spend a bit more time on my Pinterest boards and blog more consistently in 2016.

How has social media helped drive your sales?

Social media definitely drives more traffic to my online shops and ultimately drives sales, but I have never used social media for sales alone.   Unlike large jewellery stores and brands I don’t have a massive marketing budget and social media not only allows my brand to reach people all across the world, but more importantly lets me actively communicate and engage with my target customers.  People shop small over bigger brands because your story and why you do what you do speaks to them and you can really get that across using social media.

Also it takes time for your followers to get to know you on social media and trust you, so they may not buy from you for months or even years so you won’t get sales from social media overnight.  But if you focus on providing great customer service, creating great products, post great content with beautiful pictures, and do so consistently then the sales will come.

I also use social media (in particular Facebook) to do research into my target customers.  If you don’t really understand who you are selling to and what motivates them then posting on social media can be a little hit or miss.  On business Facebook pages once you get over 100 likes then you get access to some pretty fantastic and powerful tools that can help you understand your customers better which means what you post on social media improves over time.  I have used Facebook to build a profile of my ideal customer: where she shops, what her demographics are, what motivates her or scares her.  I have even given her a name!  I target all my social media messaging to her.  That’s not to say that other people won’t buy from me but I am talking to someone instead of everyone (or even worse – nobody).

I also use my newsletter email list (did you know you can import your email list into Facebook Ads Manager?) and target ads to them which is cheaper than ads to totally new audiences.  Your email list is important as social media algorithms can change in a heartbeat (organic reach on Facebook for example is harder than ever to achieve) and you have no control over it but you own your email list.

I do use Facebook ads now and again and have found them to be very powerful (again these work best if you have spent some time defining your target customer) to promote my shop and also to boost important posts so they reach more of my target audience.

 

What kinds of things do you post on social media? What do you find gets you the most response?

I don’t like to be too salesy on social media as for me it isn’t just all about sales it is about cultivating a relationship with my followers and letting them get to know me and my brand.  I tend to post in the region of 2-3 engagement type posts to every sales or call to action post.

I spend a lot of time styling my photo so that they look beautiful and that when people are scrolling down their feed on social media they will catch your eye – I tend to get more engagement and comments when I have taken the time to take the best photograph I can.  I take all my social media photos using my iPhone using the Camera+ app which means I can adjust exposure, crop, balance colour etc on my phone and add text using picmonkey, canva or wordswag if I need to.

I post a mix of styled product shots, work in progress, behind the scenes snapshots, quotes and the occasional selfie so that people can put a face to my brand.  I don’t tend to post too much really personal stuff (unless it directly relates to my business – for example before Christmas my boys helped me make a ring for Granny’s birthday so I posted pictures of them at work but I don’t post pics of my lunch for example as it doesn’t fit with my brand).  Behind the scenes shots work well and people really seem to love quotes particularly on Instagram.  Also short videos seem to do well and get higher engagement and visibility particularly on Facebook.

I use Iconosquare for Instagram and Facebook tools to keep an eye on content that is generating the most engagement and to understand what hashtags on Instagram are working well so you can tweak and improve your content over time.  You can use scheduling tools to schedule your posts but I just tend to just set aside time to post on each platform as that way I can respond to comments and engage with my followers when I post as it feels a little bit more authentic.

Each month I plan out a detailed social media calendar which is about 80% complete that is a mix of engagement posts and call to actions.  I don’t like to do a 100% completed calendar as I want a little room for spontaneity and to be able to keep my feed authentic.  I detail which platform, what kind of post (engagement, call to action), what the picture or video will be and what my caption will be.  This means I don’t need to think too much about social media meaning I have more making time.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out with social media to promote their business?

When you start out on a social media platform, take the time to fill out your bio including links to how customers can either contact your or buy from you.  I like to include a little about my why. And if you run a business make sure that business is listed in your About section on your personal Facebook profile.  That way if people find you on Facebook they can find a route through to your business page.

Then start posting great content and following other accounts.  Build organically and focus on quality rather than quantity. And let people know you are on the platform through your business cards, your website or online shop and even ask people to tag you on social media if they are happy with their purchase.

What are your plans/hopes for your jewellery business in the coming years?

My business is still fairly new so I want to build on a great 2015 and really start to grow and develop my business in 2016 and beyond.

Firstly I want to rebuild my website now I really know what I want my website to do, and direct all my marketing back to my own website rather than Etsy.  That is my main priority for the first quarter of 2016. And behind the scenes I am working to develop a new collection of personalised luxury keepsake pieces that will become tomorrow’s heirlooms, as well as celebration jewellery such as engagement and wedding rings.

I hope to build to a strong monthly revenue that will enable to me continue doing what I love without having to go back to corporate life.

Finally I am hoping to take part in some great retail fairs so that I can spend some time with my customers face to face!

Where can we find out more about you?

I sell on both Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KarenYoungJewellery) and my own website www.karenyoungjewellery.co.uk – please note that I am in the process of upgrading my website which will hopefully be finished soon!

 

Special Business Week offers

Don’t forget about our special offers on business courses for this week only.

These offers are only available on booking made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 February 2016 inclusive. Call 020 3176 0546.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

Diary of a diploma student: Making my first jewellery business steps

Diploma student Julie McKenzie updates us on her progress and her first jewellery sales

Well, here we are two-thirds of the way through the Diploma in Creative Jewellery. As you may remember I started this course back in January with absolutely no previous experience making any kind of jewellery but thinking it might be something I would enjoy and could potentially make some money to contribute to the family income.

As it turns out I seem to have a real passion for working with silver, metal clay and resin – and fortunately with the passion does seem to be a reasonable ability to actually produce pieces that people want to buy.

I have invested a little bit of money along the way setting up my own workshop at the bottom of the garden, including a kiln which I can use for metal clay, glass fusing and enamelling. I also have to confess that I have pretty much spent every weekday outside the school holidays practising the new skills taught during the diploma – it’s almost as if I have been on a full time jewellery course. This has included making LOTS of mistakes and having to correct them, not always successfully.

As a result though I now have a good collection of pieces which I can use to show case the types of jewellery which I can custom make for potential customers.

In the last couple of months I have had a good start selling some of my jewellery – mainly to friends at this stage but after materials and running costs I have managed to recoup a third of my diploma course fees, which I’m pretty happy with considering I haven’t even finished the course yet.

silver jewellery by Julie MacKenzie

Some of the pieces Julie has sold

I have been selling a real mixture of pieces:

  • Sterling silver & fine silver filigree lariat & matching earrings,
  • Sterling silver and resin pendant,
  • Fine silver pendants,
  • Sterling silver & fine silver earrings,
  • Sterling & fine silver charm bracelets,
  • Cufflinks
  • Semi-precious & silver bar/charm bracelets.
  • Sterling silver & fine silver rings
  • Fused glass pendant
  • Sterling silver pendants

Prices have also been quite wide ranging – my cheapest item being £20 to the most expensive of £240.

As this is such a variety of items and prices, I’m still finding it difficult to work out any kind of trending or target products yet. What I enjoy making the most does seem to sell but as they are the more expensive items I need to spend more time thinking about my target market and how to get to them.

And I have only just started stone setting so with a couple of months practising this will open up a whole new window of opportunity.

In the school holidays when it was too difficult to spend any time in the workshop, I have worked in the evening setting up a very basic website, Etsy page, Facebook page and getting to grips with some of the forums on Twitter.

I’ve not had any real success with the online front and this is leading me to the conclusion that I am going to have to find craft markets, places to rent shelves and pop-up shops. Without an established ‘brand’ I get the sense that people want to touch and feel the quality of the jewellery, especially over a certain price bracket. I now feel as if I could at least have a reasonable attempt at trying to put together a business plan for next year- probably not a perfect plan – still with lots untested assumptions but it will be a good starting point.

I am so happy with what I’ve achieved so far – I just love being able to give myself new challenges and spend my day making things. There is something quite satisfying about making jewellery for a customer and seeing their delight when you hand it over to them – AND actually making a little bit of money too.

Jewellery Business Week: Building good business networks

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Don’t forget about our live jewellery business Q&A on Saturday afternoon – click here for all the details.

Sian Hamilton,  Making Jewellery magazine Editor and small business owner, offers her advice getting to know your community.

Networking! It’s that dreaded word that sends a spike of fear coursing through your veins. Everyone says you should but isn’t it all just awful self-promotion?

To start off with, if you do think it’s bad to self-promote when you are talking about your business then you need to do a quick 180 and accept that you really do NEED to talk about yourself and your business. Whether you are a shy and retiring type or the centre of attention in every room you visit, there is a way to get your message across that suits your personality. So don’t panic, as I’m here to say it’s not all about facing down the crowds to shout about your jewellery.

Let’s start with what I mean by networking. In brief, networking is a method of marketing your business to potential customers or business contacts, via face-to-face meetings or, more commonly now, through social media channels. It’s all about getting yourself seen and known by as many people as you can to increase the chance of meeting the right people at the right time. It’s also about support, both for yourself and for you to support others. The more active you are the wider your network will go.

It doesn’t have to be scary and can be as simple as having a nice chat with someone about your work and how much you enjoy it; hopefully from that chat the next time they meet someone who they think would like you or your product they recommend you. This adds an important personal touch that gives the potential customer/business contact confidence in you and your product.

You are doing what you do because you love it so just tell people that. If you are enthusiastic about your jewellery business and why you started it then people will want to listen.

 Social Media networking

Starting to build a network isn’t that hard as social media has taken it to a whole new level by allowing you the chance to network from the comfort of your armchair. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of social media networking.

Join relevant Facebook groups that appeal to you and post what you are making. If someone posts a question you can answer then do that and ask questions too. Everyone has a slightly different view on things so it’s a great way to get advice, alternative opinions and support for your business.

Join Instagram and post weekly with tantalizing images of what you are making. Everyone loves a behind-the-scenes shot. Follow other jewellery makers you like and search for people who you think could help you enlarge your circle of contacts.

Attach your social media channels together, so make your posts work as hard for you as they can. These days you can share posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more, so you only have to write one post. Don’t solely rely on this though as you need to be ‘seen’ as actively interacting with others in whatever social media channel you choose. So you can’t just stalk in the background posting the odd ‘I’ve got this for sale’ post, you really need to get involved. Don’t get personal or rude though as that’s counter productive, and don’t worry that the group you are in has lots of other similar artists in it. Networking is as much about spreading ideas and support as it is about pushing sales.

Facebook groups are a great place to meet other makers

Facebook groups are a great place to meet other makers

Think of it as being about keeping you inspired and proactive in your business, as well as giving you the chance to make a sale.

So on those down days when it all seems like really hard work and you are wondering why you do it, reach out to your network and get a few virtual hugs, it’s surprising how much they help.

Face to face

In the real world, networking can be a little harder to achieve but don’t let that stop you. If you are a woman working for yourself then look out for Ladies who Latte. They have groups all around the country that meet up for coffee and just to chat about everything and anything.

Do a bit of research in your local area and see if there are any jewellery groups to join. That’s still networking in a relaxed and fun environment. If there isn’t a local group, then think about starting one, you may not be the only person who wishes there was one (and if you already run one why not share the details in the comments below). Just meeting like-minded people for a coffee at the local café can be rewarding if you spend most of your business time alone working from home.

Whatever you do, networking is all about being yourself and simply sharing your story. Remember, you don’t have to build this network overnight; it takes time to build trust and confidence. Oh and if someone recommends you, always follow it up. You never know where that might take you.

Making Jewellery have a Facebook group too so come along and join in.

Get 20% all jewellery business classes booked between 22 and 28 February 2015 – offer includes all business day classes and tasters, Business Bootcamp, and the 6-day Jewellery Business Intensive. For details of included classes click here

Call 020 3176 0546 to book – this offer is not available online

Jewellery Business Week: Rent a shelf in a shop

jewellery business week

If selling your work in a jewellery shop or gallery feels like a step too far why not consider renting a shelf? Jewellery artist and tutor Anna Campbell writes about the pros and cons of selling your work in shops.

Selling your jewellery online is a rewarding experience but nothing beats seeing your work on sale in an actual shop. Jewellers and galleries will often expect a low wholesale price in order to make their money and this can be off-putting. However, there are now more and more options to rent a shelf in a shop to see how your work sells.

How do I find somewhere to sell?

Local shops

I would recommend going into local shops and cafes that sell handmade items and ask. Many shopkeepers are interested in having goods that are locally made and have a story to them. Go in prepared to show your jewellery but if they are busy gauge whether they are interested and make an appointment for a more convenient time. Make sure you’re ready to answer any questions you may be asked including about individual prices.

Unusual places

Think outside of the usual places to sell. How about approaching hotels or local museums? One London Jewellery School  student sells her work in a nail salon. She gave some pieces to the nail technicians for them to wear and of course customers having their nails done would comment on it and were able to buy there and then.

Pop up shop or shop share

A pop up shop is a retail trend where someone or a group sells from a vacant shop for a short period of time.

Look out for empty shops locally that could potentially become pop up shops. You could work together with other local artists to sell for a day or more. Check out We Are Pop Up for opportunities in your area or search for shop share.

Rent a shelf

Look for places you can rent a shelf in the UK. Start with your local area but consider selling in larger cities if you aren’t located there.

I have sold my jewellery at the following places that offer rent a shelf

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Anna’s totem collection on sale at Things British, Greenwich

Things British

Things British currently have shops in St Pancras station and Greenwich Market. Both are in London but you don’t have to be located in London to sell there, you just need to be making your work in the UK.

At Things British you rent a shelf for a minimum of six weeks. The cost of the shelf depends on where it is, with eye level being at a premium. You receive all sales (they take no percentage) and you tend to receive your sales figures once a week.

From my experience, the Greenwich shop has quite a lot of competition so you would do better there with lower priced unusual items. For higher priced items you might want to consider the St Pancras station shop. It’s more expensive to rent a shelf there but the shop is located near some upmarket wine bars and customers are reported to be willing to pay higher prices.

We Make London

We Make London is a collective of designers. They currently have a pop up shop in Camden Lock Market. It is open seven days a week and benefits from the buzzy atmosphere of Camden which is a busy tourist destination all year round.

You can rent a space in the shop for a minimum of one month and are charged a percentage fee on your sales.

I have sold at We Make London and would recommend that you are selling lower priced jewellery items if you are to be successful there.

You do not have to be located in London as you can send your stock to them by post, you just need to be making in the UK.

How long should I rent for?

This is up to you but I recommend renting for the shortest period possible initially so you can see whether your jewellery will sell there. I have a friend who took advantage of a price reduction on a longer rental period but ended up stuck in a contract that, in hindsight, wasn’t right for her or her jewellery.

Pros of rent a shelf   Cons of rent a shelf
  • You can see whether your jewellery will sell in a particular marketplace
  • If your sales don’t cover your rental bill you will have made a loss and will have to find the money
  • You keep more of the profit than when stocking a gallery or jeweller
  • You will normally have to pay your rental up front so will need some capital to invest
  • You can capitalise on sales at busy times e.g. Christmas, mothers day etc without having to be present
  • It can be demoralising if you don’t sell much, remember that it might just be the wrong location and time

 

A final note

Once your rental period is up review how it has gone. If you’re not successful don’t be tempted to slash your prices straight away. Consider the following

  • Time of year. Typically October, November and December are the busiest times
  • Is the location right for your jewellery and price point?
  • Ask the person that runs the shop for their opinion on your sales figures

We’d love to hear your stories of selling your jewellery in shops. Add a comment below and let us know what has worked (or not worked!) for you.

Anna Campbell is a tutor at the London Jewellery School and runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs. She sells online from her website and at the Things British shop in Greenwich, London.

Get 20% all jewellery business classes booked between 22 and 28 February 2015 – offer includes all business day classes and tasters, Business Bootcamp, and the 6-day Jewellery Business Intensive. For details of included classes click here

Call 020 3176 0546 to book – this offer is not available online

Don’t forget about our live jewellery business Q&A on Saturday afternoon – click here for all the details.

Jewellery Business Week 2015: Selling at Markets

jewellery business week

Selling a fairs and craft markets is one of the main retail routes for many handmade jewellery businesses.

Taking your first steps into selling can be daunting – deciding what markets to choose, what and how much stock to take and how to get the best out of the day. So we decided to talk to three jewellers about their experiences at markets and what advice they would offer other people starting out.

Our jewellers are:

  • Helen Walls who makes mostly sterling silver jewellery mixed with semi-precious gemstones, colourful recycled glass beads, leather and natural materials (which are animal by-products / naturally shed) such as ox horn and deer antler. She describes her jewellery as sophisticated rock’n’roll with a vintage bohemian twist.
  • Louise Farrow who has two ranges of jewellery, one using mostly sterling silver and precious metal clay with stones (Nanuk Jewellery), and the other using polymer clay (Nanuk Designs).
  • Annie Mason works in both silver and beads, sometimes combining the two – her work features loops and chains and striking, colourful beads

Why sell at fairs and markets?

It is all about the people. More than pretty much any other way of selling your work, markets and fairs bring you into contact with potential customers as well as ones who actually buy. This means you have opportunity to tempt new people in and get feedback.

“I love the atmosphere of a market,” says Helen. “I feel that face-to-face selling to customers is always best, as you are your best sales person, you can describe how it’s been made, and talk about your inspiration with passion. I think potential customers appreciate this personal touch.”

Louise agrees: “Online and through shops you have very little or no interaction directly with your customer, whereas at an event I can meet people, see what kinds of people are interested in my work and what they like about it.

“People are also sometimes happier to discuss commissioning an item if they can speak to the maker in person, and talking to people at fairs gives me new ideas for things to make and which areas of my work to develop further.”

Helen Walls jewellery

Necklace by Hellen Walls

How to choose the right market.

Choosing the right fair is crucial. Something Annie learnt from experience: “I simply picked fairs that were local to home and not too pricey. I didn’t do any research about them before I went along.  I’m now a bit more selective.”

And she says it can be difficult to predict in advance which fairs will work best: “It’s kind of a mixed bag. Some fairs I thought might be a bit rubbish (cold, rainy day and located a bit out of the way) and they’ve turned out to be brilliant. Others look great on paper looked but don’t work out that way.”

You need to think about how many people attend the fair, if it is likely to attract the right sort of customers for your work and how well it is advertised says Helen. She also recommends thinking about the time of year, whether it is indoor or outdoor and if it clashes with any other local events.

And checking out the event (or a similar one run by the same people) before you commit is very useful.

“Go along and see what the footfall is like and whether people are buying from the stalls or simply mooching (looking and walking away),” says Annie. Also check if the customers at the fair are your target customers.”

“I visited some local fairs and found some that looked right for my work,” says Louise. “Local event pages on social media have also helped me to find other suitable fairs to sell my work at. It is worth not dismissing smaller local events, as sometimes these can be very successful, sometimes more so than a big, busy event where your work may get overlooked amongst everything else there is to see. You will also probably find you get repeat customers coming back to these smaller events to look for your work in particular if they like it.”

Choosing stock and getting your pricing right

Once you have chosen your market you need to decide what to take, how much stock to display and at what prices.

Louise says that if she doesn’t know very much about the types of customer at a particular event, she will bring items from both her silver and polymer clay ranges to test out what works.

“I’ve found that a fuller table is more likely to be looked at than a sparser one. A few striking pieces on display can look lovely, but if people can see all your work in one quick glance that may be all you get,” she says. A few more pieces on display, attractively laid out on different levels, is more likely to make people come over for a closer look which gives you a chance to speak to them and help them find exactly what they are looking for.”

You may want to have cheaper items at certain markets says Helen who warns that this is about having pieces that cost less to make (in materials or time) rather than selling yourself short. “You are trying to make a living out of making and selling,” she says. Although sometimes you may want to do a special offer to attract sales.

What makes market day a success?

Even a market where you barely cover the cost of your stall shouldn’t be regarded as a total failure, says Helen. “They are all good experience for future successes. If it does feel like a failure, reflection a day later can help you make possible changes and improve your display, banners, sales technique etc.”

And even if you don’t sell a lot on the day, both Annie and Louise point out that you will have still had an opportunity to market your work. “Even if someone doesn’t buy on the day, they are more likely to come back to your website or online shop in the future if they have seen your work in person beforehand,” says Louise.

And Annie adds: “I did one fair where although I sold very little at the time, I had a rise in visits to my website for a few days after the event.” She adds that she also uses quite days at fairs to network with other stallholders which can be useful a future events.

And finally some advice for your market day

All three agree that having enough food and drink with you is essential – if you have a busy day you may not have time to queue for food and anyway you don’t want to blow your profits at an expensive gourmet stall.

“If your table is quiet even though the event is busy,” says Louise, “try rearranging your display during the day, and it is worth remembering that just because an item isn’t your favourite piece, doesn’t mean it won’t be somebody else’s, so give it a chance in the spotlight.”

And finally, Helen says: “Enjoy the experience – after all, you have made beautiful products that deserve to be talked about and shown off.

Get 20% all jewellery business classes booked between 22 and 28 February 2015 – offer includes all business day classes and tasters, Business Bootcamp, and the 6-day Jewellery Business Intensive. For details of included classes click here

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I couldn’t possibly charge that – how to price your jewellery

As one of the business tutors at the London Jewellery School I enjoy talking to people setting up their jewellery businesses. One of the things we spend time debating is pricing. How much should you charge?

 

pricing jewellery to sell
Here is what you need to work out:

Material costs
What is the cost price of the materials for the piece? Keep a document or spreadsheet that details how much everything costs. To be really accurate you need to know the cost per bead/ per weight of silver etc.

Cost of your time
What is the cost of your time? This is important. You need to pay yourself and make it worth your while. One of my bugbears is people who are making as a hobby and only charge for materials. It doesn’t place any value on workmanship and makes it harder for those who are wanting to develop a business. It also puts you in a sticky position if you decide you want to earn some money from your jewellery. So don’t do it OK!

Hidden costs
You also need to consider hidden costs.These include:

  • Designing time.
  • Time to source materials.
  • Time to add the piece to your website or sales platform (e.g. etsy).
  • Time photographing the piece.
  • The cost of selling the item – at a craft fair, online etc.

Working out the price

If you are wholesaling (selling to stores) a calculation to consider is
Materials + overheads + labour + profit = wholesale price

If you are retailing (selling items yourself online, at craft fairs etc) the rule of thumb is the same as above and then multiply by 2 (or 3) to work out the retail price.

Use these calculations as a starting point, they are not hard and fast rules

“But I couldn’t possibly charge that”

What often happens when we do our sums is that my students say “I couldn’t possibly charge this much”. My answer is, of course you must!
There are a couple of psychological barriers that underlie this statement.

1. My work isn’t good enough to charge this much

A lack of confidence in your work is understandable when you are first starting out. You don’t have much feedback on what you have made. You look at a piece and only see the flaws. But let your customers be the judge of what they want to buy and what they are willing to pay.

2. You wouldn’t pay that price for a piece of jewellery

If this is the reason for your reluctance to charge what your work is worth then this is GREAT! Repeat after me. I am not my ideal customer. I AM NOT MY IDEAL CUSTOMER.

If your jewellery would be out of your price range this is reason to celebrate. Those of you selling cheaper pieces (between £5 and £50) are probably finding that you are not selling that much at the moment. It is this market that all but disappears when we’re in a recession. If you are looking at prices in the hundreds of pounds you are actually likely to be doing better. You may not be selling in volume but people who will spend that much on jewellery are more recession proof and are still looking for unusual handmade jewellery.

So don’t think about cutting your prices, look at upping them. If something looks too good to be true people will be suspicious of the quality. You are handmaking excellent quality items and you want potential customers to know this. One of the ways of telling people this is by your pricing. Do not sell yourself short.

One Christmas I was commissioned by a famous British actor to make a necklace for his (arguably) more famous actor wife (it was a private gift so no names). I set a price that I was pleased with and made the piece. It was picked up by a courier. When I checked my bank account I found that the actor was so happy with my work he paid me £50 more than I’d asked for. I know, we could all do with customers like that but this taught me an important lesson about the value of making something bespoke for someone who can afford (just about) anything.

So repeat after me – I am not my ideal customer, I am not my ideal customer…

Anna Campbell is an experienced teacher and enjoys different types of jewellery making including beading and metal clay. She runs her own business, Light Boat Jewellery and has made jewellery for celebrities.

Preparing for summer craft fairs

Summer is approaching (although it may not feel like it!) so now is the time to prepare for the summer markets and craft fairs. There are a few things you need to think about when getting ready for and budgeting for these events.

Anna Campbell has a list of handy questions to help you prepare.

summer craft fairs

How to display your jewellery is only one decision you need to make if you are planning to sell at fairs ©Anna Campbell

Where should I sell?
There are lots of markets, school fairs, open days etc that you can choose from so there will be something local to you. Make www.stallfinder.com your first port of call and do a search for your area and the month you’re thinking of selling.
However, there is more to think about than location. Before you sign up look at
● does the event have a good website?
● does the website include clear information for stall holders and shoppers?
● how is the event being marketed? Is it being advertised in the local press? At the school? Will there be leaflets in local shops? Do you think this is sufficient to draw in a crowd?

Sometimes the small, local events can be more lucrative than the bigger markets that charge you more. If you can, talk to people who have sold at the event before to get their opinion.

How much will it cost?
There are lots of things to consider when working out the cost of selling at a summer fair
● How much will the stall cost?
● How much will it cost for you to get there and back? Include all costs e.g. parking, petrol or train fare etc
● How much will display items e.g. busts cost?

What are the logistics that I need to consider?
You need to consider all of the things you will need to do to have a successful day. Think through your day carefully from packing up your stock, travelling, setting up etc and make a list of the things that occur to you. Here are a few questions you need to answer

● How do I get there?
I don’t have a car so when I go to markets I need to make sure that I can get public transport there, work out how long it will take and how much it will cost
● How do I get my stock there?
I carry mine in a large wheely suitcase. You need to check that you can fit everything in including any display items you will need
● What is provided and what will I need to bring?
The event organisers should give you a list of what is provided e.g. a table (don’t presume you’ll get one – make sure you aren’t expected to bring one!). You may need to ensure you have a cloth for your table (I use a large bed sheet), your own signs etc. At one market I sell at you need to bring your own lightbulbs to plug in! Make sure you know what to take.
● How will I take payment?
Bring a money belt or similar with lots of change. You can guarantee that the first customer will pay with a large note! Also consider allowing people to pay by paypal if you have a smartphone or tablet and internet access
● How much stock should I take?
This is a tricky one. Spending a lot of time and money making stock that doesn’t sell is a waste but so is selling out early.
My advice is to consider the size of the table you are being provided. Have a practice setting up your display and see how much makes sense. Remember that you won’t want everything out at once. I tend to put out one of everything and leave the rest in my case under the table (hidden by the sheet I use as a table cloth). That way I can easily see what I have and can spot if something goes missing.

How should I display my jewellery?
● Think about new ways to display your jewellery and catch people’s eye. I sell jewellery that looks like sweets so I bought a children’s play sweet shop and use that as the centre of my display
● Think about having different levels to your display rather than having everything just on the table. Get some busts to display necklaces, use some shelving to create different levels
● Consider getting a sign professionally printed if you are going to be selling at lots of craft fairs
● Make sure items have prices on them. People don’t always like to ask. I use small pieces of slate and chalk to write prices on

How do I make sure I’m comfortable?
Make sure you prepare for all eventualities of a British summer! Bring layers of clothes. If you are outside you can quickly get cold in the shade so don’t presume you won’t need a coat.
I always bring a flask of tea and a few snacks to keep me going! It’s also a good idea to have a friend come to take over from you at some point so you can go to the loo!

What if I don’t make many sales?
Of course making sales is important but there are other benefits to selling at summer fairs
● Networking
Make sure you have a chat with other sellers, perhaps find out about other selling events they recommend. In my experience there is a lot of camaraderie rather than competition, a craft market needs a variety of different sellers to make it successful
● Mailing list
Make sure you have a mailing list on your table and invite people to give you their email address. This allows you to keep in touch with those that are interested in what you make
● Business cards
Make sure you have some available for people to take. I love the mini cards from Moo (use this link for 10% off your first purchase with them)

If you have sold at craft fairs, what advice would you give? We’d love to hear them in your comments.

Anna Campbell is an experienced teacher and enjoys all types of jewellery making including beading and silver clay. She runs her own business, Light Boat Jewellery and has made jewellery for celebrities.

Jewellery Business Week: Creating a one-page plan for your jewellery business

jewellery business week

This week we have looked at lots of aspect of running a jewellery business. Now London Jewellery School founder Jessica Rose talks about ways to pull them together to create your business plan.

Business planning is important and it is useful to do a full plan with all the different sections covering your market research, overview and background to the business, those crucial financial figures etc… But, business planning takes time and one thing most business owners lack is enough time to get it done or update it regularly. This is where the one- page plan comes in.

It is as simple as it sounds and is a great tool for either the early stages of starting your jewellery business or for getting a visual update throughout the year of what and how you are doing. I try to do one at least every quarter as I find it helps to set priorities, keep you on track and have something manageable to work towards. It is like setting yourself mini-targets to keep you going.

This is how it works. You have one page (A3 or A4) and nothing more and you can use it to write on, draw on, brainstorm on create a collage, anything but you can only use that one page. In the content of the page you need to say what you are working on for the next year (or how ever long the plan is for, it could be 3 months or 6 months).

Here are a few ideas of how it can work…

(Please note that none of the action points or goals in these diagrams are suggestions, they are simply there for illustration purposes).

1.      The brainstorm plan

I think this is my favorite. Use a mind mapping tool such as Simple Mind – or you can do it with a pen and paper, and create a map of your aims for the year. Put it on your computer desktop as a screen saver or on your wall next to where you work to remind you what you hope to achieve and by when.

business plan mind map

Once you have created your mind map put it in a place where you will see it everyday

2.      The Orbit Tool Plan

This is great for longer term, overview planning. Draw three circles on a piece of paper and then lines going out for your axis. Put the key areas involved in running your business on each axis and make a note in the relevant circle of what you plan to achieve in that year.

This is usually a three-year planning tool. The great advantage of it is you can easily compare your goals and see if they relate. For example if you plan to double your sales in one year, will you be doubling your marketing too? If not how do you plan on reaching that goal? This could also be used as a three monthly tool or other timescales to suit your business.

orbit tool jewellery business

The orbit tool is useful for long term planning

3. The Creative Collage plan

This is a fun one for anyone that likes to see pictures instead of words (who doesn’t!). Again, group the key areas of your jewellery business into sections on the page and then add images, cut outs or whatever else helps, even post-it notes. This will help you to see what your plans will look like over the coming months.

What ever you do remember it is for you, to help you keep focus and inspire you to go in the direction you want with your jewellery business.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on with your one-page plans

Jessica