handmade jewelry

4 Easy Ways to Turn your Craft into Cash at the 11th Hour.

 

Author’s Note: (Even if you’re short on inventory or time to do these tips for Christmas,   you’ll find this article valuable because you can do this days before Valentines Day or   Mother’s Day.  It really WORKS. Many crafts people report making more money IN A FEW HOURS this way than at a huge craft fair.) 

 

Do you think it’s too late to sell your crafts the last few days before Christmas? You’d be amazed at how many crafts people tell me they have made more sales in a couple of hours a day or two before a holiday than in the three previous weeks combined. It’s all about using the bad habits of procrastinators to your advantage.

 

Here are a few tips for making some last minute cash:

 

Many people wait until the last minute to shop. I don’t want to stereotype or alienate my male readers, friends and loved ones but from my experience,  guys tend to shop at the 11th hour and this is a good thing for YOU as a crafter. Hanging out where men are captive audiences is a guaranteed way to turn your craft into cash at the last minute. Particularly if you make wearables like jewelry or scarves, jump on this. Many guys have no idea what to buy their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers so they appreciate your suggestions.

  • Pick the most upscale men’s salon or barber shop and offer to set up a display of your wares at peak hours. Make sure and approach it as if you’re doing THEM  a favor rather than the other way around because you are. (The owner and operators likely haven’t done holiday shopping yet either so they can have first pick without having to leave work.) Also, mention that setting this up will be an attraction for them as well so it will draw in new customers for the salon. You will sell more than you would in a craft show or retail setting because guys won’t be cheap in front of other guys. There’s kind of a magnet effect. One buys and they all start opening their wallets.

 

  • Even as late as the 24th, if you get permission to set up at a large office building in the lobby or break room, you’ll be doing the employees and the employers a favor because  lots of guys (and gals) are planning to leave work early on Christmas Eve and stop on the way home to pick up last minute gifts. I’ve heard crafters say they sold more in a lunch hour Christmas eve than all month long.

 

  • Medical personnel often have to work on Christmas eve so a hospital is a great place to have a last minute sale. Ask the HR department if you can set up in an area that the nurses and doctors gather on their breaks.

 

  • Another great place to set up a last minute pop-up display is a nice neighborhood sports bar where regulars gather for lunch and dinner. (think Cheers). If you get the guys at lunch time, you have a captive audience. Many of us eat out the days before Christmas because we’re going to be cooking the next few days, so you have the advantage of couples as well and believe me, if there is a table of handmade jewelry set up, women will crowd around. They’ll not only buy for friends and family but will show the guys the pieces they like.

In all of the above instances,  be sure to have plenty of cards and brochures with your contact info and write a description on the card what the person liked if they don’t buy it so that they can call or email you later. Also, do a drawing for a piece of your work. Just put out a bowl to collect business cards or scraps of paper for them to put their name and email address on. Ask permission to add the to your newsletter list so that you can let them know in advance when you’ll be back at that location or somewhere near by. (Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, etc.)

There are lots more ideas like this in ““21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow

 

 

 

The single best thing you can do to sell more crafts this summer.

If you’re exhibiting at craft fairs tot he public or trade shows to shops and galleries this summer, you might be missing the most important thing you can do to increase your sales. It’s so simple but can make all the difference in selling more of your work.

Get your pieces in the hands of your customers. Don’t ask “is there something you’d like to see?”. When you notice someone looking at a particular piece, simply hand it to them. If you sell wearable crafts like jewelry or scarves, keep a mirror in your booth and invite and encourage attendees to try things on. Engage them in conversation about how your pieces are created and where your inspiration comes from. The longer they spend in your space, the more likely it is that they will purchase.

The difference between a handcrafted piece and mass produced items is the human-ness of handmade so make sure attendees know you as a person and get to touch your work. The next time you exhibit, make it a goal to put a piece of your work in the hands of everyone who stops by your booth. Then let me now how much your sales have increased. See, I told you it was simple.

Why it isn’t too early to be thinking about next fall?

 

It’s just mid February and already we are hearing news from the fashion and home decor industries about what will be on the runways and in the showrooms for fall. Pantone just released the Fall 2013 Fashion Color Report. Crazy, right? Well, not really. And here’s what it has to do with you as a crafts person. If you wholesale to galleries or shops, they are buying a couple of seasons ahead so you should be designing your jewelry, wearables or home accessories with that in mind.

 You’re probably already applying for craft shows for next fall and when you send in your photos, the jury will be looking at how in-tune your work is with trends.

For more on how the color forecast affects you as an artist or crafter, check out:

“Are you using the right colors in your crafts?”,  

  “What colors should you be using in your handmade jewelry and crafts?” 

and “What’s the new hot color for 2012?” 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Easy Ways to Turn your Craft into Cash at the 11th Hour

  Author’s Note: (This tip was written for Christmas Eve but works equally well the day before or on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. It WORKS. Many crafts people report making more money in a few hours this way than at a huge craft fair.) 

 

Do you think it’s too late to sell your crafts on Valentine’s Day? You’d be amazed at how many crafts people, particularly jewelry artists,  tell me they have made more sales in a couple of hours a day or two before a holiday than in the three previous weeks combined. It’s all about using the bad habits of procrastinators to your advantage.

 

Here are a few tips for making some last minute cash:

 

Guys, I apologize in advance for the stereotype, but let’s face it,  men tend to wait until the last minute to shop. (Yes, some women do too.) Still, hanging out where men are captive audiences is a guaranteed way to turn your craft into cash at the last minute. Particularly if you make wearables like jewelry or scarves, jump on this. Most guys have no idea what to buy their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers so they appreciate your suggestions.

  • Pick the most upscale men’s salon or barber shop and offer to set up a display of your wares at peak hours. Make sure and approach it as if you’re doing THEM  a favor rather than the other way around because you are. (The owner and operators likely haven’t done holiday shopping yet either so they can have first pick without having to leave work.) Also, mention that setting this up will be an attraction for them as well so it will draw in new customers for the salon. You will sell more than you would in a craft show or retail setting because guys won’t be cheap in front of other guys. There’s kind of a magnet effect. One buys and they all start opening their wallets.

 

  • Even as late as the 14th, if you get permission to set up at a large office building in the lobby or break room, you’ll be doing the employees and the employers a favor because  lots of guys (and gals) are planning to leave work early on  Valentine’s Day and stop on the way home to pick up last minute gifts. I’ve heard craters say they sold more in a lunch hour Valentine’s Day than all month long.

 

  • Medical personnel often have to work odd hours so a hospital is a great place to have a last minute sale. Ask the HR department if you can set up in an area that the nurses and doctors gather on their breaks.

 

  • Another great place to set up a last minute pop-up display is a nice neighborhood sports bar where regulars gather for lunch and dinner. (think Cheers). If you get the guys at lunch time, you have a captive audience. You have the advantage of couples as well and believe me, if there is a table of handmade jewelry set up, women will crowd around. They’ll not only buy for friends and family but will show the guys the pieces they like.

In all of the above instances,  be sure to have plenty of cards and brochures with your contact info and write a description on the card what the person liked if they don’t buy it so that they can call or email you later. Also, do a drawing for a piece of your work. Just put out a bowl to collect business cards or scraps of paper for them to put their name and email address on. Ask permission to add the to your newsletter list so that you can let them know in advance when you’ll be back at that location or somewhere near by. ( Mother’s Day.)

For more suggestions like this,  put your info in the upper right of this page and  get a copy of “13 Easy Low-Cost or NO Cost Tips to Turn Your Crafts into CASH NOW” ——————————————————————-

 

 

What colors should you be using in your handmade jewelry and crafts?

I’m seeing green. Not just any green. Specifically emerald, a vivid, verdant green. According to Pantone, the color trend-setter for fashion and home decor, emerald enhances our sense of well-being by inspiring insight, and promotes harmony and balance. In many cultures, emerald green represents renewal, prosperity, healing and unity.

So what does this have to do with you and your business? Everything. As you design your handmade jewelry, home decor or other craft, you need to keep in mind what the buyer will be wearing or displaying it with. This doesn’t mean your entire line has to be the hot hues of the season but your work should compliment and coordinate with the popular colors.

In addition to emerald, the palette for Spring 2013 will be “dusk blue, tender shoots, grayed jade, lemon zest, linen, monaco blue, poppy red and nectarine.” As you are purchasing yarn, ribbon, fabric, beads and other materials of your craft, consider that your fashion forward buyers will be attracted to the season’s trendy hues.

Is there something you know you should be doing for your craft business but you just feel overwhelmed with it?

Are there tasks you know you should be doing for your craft business that  you don’t know how to do?   Things you have no interest in becoming proficient at?

Do you ever wish you had a fairy godmother who could handle a part of the craft business you dread doing?  It could be a step in the process of making your craft or an administrative task. Not all parts of being an artist are creative. For example, you love to design and make one-of-a-kind jewelry but if you have to replicate the design, you find it boring. Or, you might find you enjoy making an original mold but casting or finishing might feel too tedious. Maybe throwing clay on the wheel and making your own glazes excites you but you’d love to have someone else handle the whole firing process.

If you’re like many creative people, you  find the technical or book keeping end of the business overwhelming.

It may be your goal to eventually hire an assistant but as you’re building your business, how can you get someone else to do the work you don’t want to do?  Believe it or not, there are probably people you know who enjoy doing the tasks you find downright boring. And it’s likely that some of those same people have difficulty with skills that are second nature to you.

There are a number of ways you can get the “icky” aspects of your craft business done without having to hire an employee. By teaming up with someone whose skills are complimentary, you can save time and energy for the parts of your handmade business you enjoy.

If you want someone who’s really invested in your success, you can partner with a more left-brained, linear type and share the profits. One of my favorite ways to get things accomplished without exchanging cash is to barter: trade skills or products. Get the word out that you love to know pearls and hand forge silver but you’re looking for someone to solder or stain or do your books. You might find a virtual assistant who’s happy to update your website in exchange for some pieces of your pottery or jewelry.

The first step to getting help is to know there really is someone out there who loves doing that thing you despise and can not do something you excel at.  Believe she exists. Then,  get out there and find her.

Are you looking for more ways to get exposure and sales for your handmade jewelry and craft?

How can your work translate into something that you and/or  your friends can showcase in the workplace? Even if you don’t work outside the home, here are some tips for getting more people to see and buy your craft.
If you or your friends work in a hospital, bank or institution that requires employees to wear a badge, you have a great opportunity to get your handmade jewelry or other craft noticed. Particularly if you make beaded jewelry, you can add a badge holder attachment to any of your necklaces. Invite your friends or co-workers to wear them and make sure they have your card or contact info. Then when patients, clients or other employees compliment the badge holder, you or your friends can let them know you make these and can make them as necklaces or eyeglass holders as well.
If you are a metalsmith, you can also make a version of badge or eyeglass holder as a pin with a loop to hold the badge or glasses.
Whatever your medium, be creative about making pieces that people can see in the workplace and spread the word about your work. If, for example, you work in ceramic,  polymer clay or even fused glass,  consider making a business card holder that you and your friends can put on their desk where others will see and comment on them. You can also make picture frames that you keep on your desk and when people will comment on them, let them know about all the other work you do.
Even if you create high end pieces, putting more moderate work out where people can see it will interest them in your art and give you an opportunity to introduce them to the rest of your line.
Think about what other objects can can you add to your line that will showcase your art in the work arena.
The whole idea is, get it out there because you aren’t going to sell it if it’s sitting in your studio unseen.

Are you using the right colors in your crafts?

Last week, Pantone announced the color trend pallette for 2012. The color of the year is Tangerine Tango. Yes, it’s orange but a very specific orange. Even those of us who aren’t particularly up on fashion need to pay attention to these trends because they do affect the way your potential customers see your work.

A lot goes into choosing the pallette and the selection is primarily based on making the colors different enough from the past year that people feel they must update. Yes, it’s all about merchandizing. So, while the colors for 2012 Continue reading

3 Reasons Artists Should Go to Gem, Mineral and Bead Shows, Even if you Don’t Make Jewelry

 This may sound like crazy advise, but even if the art you create has nothing to do with beads, gemstones or precious metal, you are shortchanging yourself and your business if you don’t attend a bead show this season. Ideally, you should visit a major show like the Tucson Gem Shows, but if you can’t travel to Arizona, there are likely smaller gem shows within a few hours of your home.

Here’s why you must attend a gem show:

Inspiration:

Even though I seldom make jewelry anymore, I get inspired to do other creative projects every time I walk a gem show. You can’t see all those colors, textures and shapes without a burst of new ideas.

Trends:

Whether you create sculpture, wearables, fiber art or wall art, you need to be current on trends and any trade show will give you an overview of what’s happening in fashion, home and lifestyle. Even if you make vintage crafts, you MUST be up on popular colors and styles.

Original VS Knockoff:

For years I sold venetian art glass and beads handmade on the island of Murano in Italy. If I didn’t attend mainstream tradeshows, I’d have no idea that thousands of vendors now sell what they call “Murano glass” which is factory-made in China and looks to the untrained eye like the real thing. I wouldn’t have known why my sales of venetain glass slowed down and people thought the prices of the handmade pieces were outrageous. Learning that what you make is being knocked off for a much lower price doesn’t mean you should stop making that item, only that you must be sure your creations are different enough from the copies to warrant the much higher price. And, you should make sure that you or anyone wearing or selling your work knows your personal story and why your work is special and commands a higher price. (The designer whose venetian glass jewelry I sold had been an opera singer and her story was part of the intrigue. See “why your art needs a story” HERE. )

Gem shows are also a source of connection with other artists in different media. I’ve never attended a bead show that didn’t include vendors other than gems and jewelry. As is the case anywhere you assemble artists, you’ll find a high level of creative energy and opportunity to learn and network with like-minded people. And if those aren’t reasons enough, you’ll have good, clean FUN. Go play.

Where’s the American Craft in America’s Heartland

This past weekend, my friends went to a western shop in Dodge City, Kansas, expecting to purchase some handcrafted “Cowgirl” jewelry. Disappointed, but not surprised, they found everything they picked up was made in China. Thankfully, my friends are conscious shoppers and didn’t buy imports believing they’d found authentic American cowgirl goodies. But how sad that the shop owners, like retailers all over the US, stock their quaint shops in historical buildings with imported knock-offs when there’s an abundance of authentic, handcrafted merchandise they could carry instead.

I appreciate that a sole proprietor of a small shop in Kansas may not want to spend the money to go to one of the semi annual wholesale handmade in America shows,though, I’d argue that smart sourcing is money well spent. Even so, a savvy retailer doesn’t need to leave her home town to find some of the best Continue reading