While I am a writer by trade, I am also a craftswoman. In fact, I have spent the last several years making jewelry, wreaths, knit and crochet items, and just about everything else. My collection of handmade goods looks a bit like I went through the local craft store and picked one thing to do off every shelf. However, handmade jewelry is where I started and is the area of crafting in which I have the most experience – including the experience of feeling as though it is impossible to make a living off handmade items.
What I discovered, however, is that you have to be just about as creative in where you sell your jewelry as you are with designing it. There are many places where your jewelry could really make an impression, and many ways of marketing it, that you might not have thought of. I hadn’t.
This might seem relatively obvious, but you would be amazed how many jewelry sellers feel that craft shows are more trouble than they’re worth. Yes, the booth fees and travel expenses often add to the costs and sales may not always be outstanding, but craft shows offer you much more than your initial sales. Here’s why you should go:
- Craft shows offer you a networking forum where you can meet prospective customers. Even if they don’t buy there, they may go to your website later.
- Your name is being inserted into a community of people. In two words: brand recognition.
- Present your work well and you never know where it might lead. Customers attend craft shows, but so do marketing directors, heads of magazines, craft editors, and the like.
Yes, museums. Chances are your city or regional area has a local museum, and then, of course, there are museums all over the place which focus on different things. Go visit some of these museums and see if the jewelry you make is a fit for the theme or a current or upcoming collection. Museums aren’t always full of old things and archaeological finds; sometimes the curators want local art that captures a time period or motif. Look for museums that…
- …are similar in theme to what you create – for instance, you create western themed jewelry and it’s a western museum.
- …have a color scheme, panorama, display, or overall feel that meshes well with what you create.
- …are local, as local artists are usually preferred at smaller, regional museums.
Consider pitching to the museums with your portfolio and an introductory paragraph or two.
Many jewelers woo over publications like Belle Armoire Jewelry and the beautiful creations therein. What many jewelers don’t know is that you can pitch a guide or how-to straight to the editors and possibly land yourself a feature. This is an area where writing and craft cross paths, but it presents an excellent opportunity.
Teach classes. You are an expert in your craft, and other people would like to learn. This is not an assumption, it’s a simple fact. Also, a number of schools, community centers, and stores are often willing to lend empty rooms to those teaching classes to the community. Parks are also a great place to teach. Whether you offer them for free or you charge a fee is up to you, but either way you expand your network, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and you may make sales, as well.
Bridal Shops and Wedding Planners
No matter what the economy, people are always getting married, and brides always need jewelry. Market to your local wedding boutiques, event planners, and other similar businesses as they can be extremely valuable resources in obtaining new work.
Hopefully, this list of ideas will spark a “Eureka!” moment for someone. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will get back to you quickly! Happy crafting and happy selling!
“The Kiss” Bracelet, a creation of mine from 2012.