Friday, March 13, 2015

Getting Ready for Retail

Designing and making jewelry is only the beginning of this business. Then comes time to get out of the studio and into the real world to market product. But how and where?


Webstore listings can be created in the wee hours of the morning, snuggled in a comfy, warm bed with only an ipad. However, unless you promote like crazy through social media, customers will not find your store. I have only made two sales so far via my Storenvy site, and those were to one loyal friend. I have had better luck selling via Facebook. Though I have pinned all my listings on Pinterest, they haven't resulted in sales. I just started toying with Twitter, but frankly, I find it overwhelming to grasp the concept of how to use this platform to promote my business.

What about craft fairs? have participated in only one fair, and that was enough for me. Packing, unpacking, setting up, and sitting around hawking my wares all day (for two days) was exhausting.  I met some nice people but only superficially. Lots of lookers and few buyers meant that I made only enough profit to cover my booth fee. I didn't choose a venue wisely; my jewelry languished in a sea of inexpensive crafty stuff. 

That leaves brick and mortar stores. These, however, are an entirely different thing. You must seek out shops that fit your design aesthetic, approach business owners, and present yourself and your product. The thing I love most about this marketing option is the satisfying opportunity to build lasting relationships. I am fortunate to have meet two supportive, positive, and talented local shop owners that  are excited to carry my jewelry on consignment. Of course, consignment does come with one little negative: pricing. I get uncomfortable having to raise my prices to accommodate the 70/30 percentage, but I try to be as reasonable as possible and make sure to offer pieces at a variety of price points. 



Oh, paperwork. Do I like it? No. Is it necessary. Definitely. Am I good at it? Yes. ! I've always been detail-oriented. Ok, so I guess I really DO like paperwork, but only if it it truly useful. My inventory includes photos because no matter how descriptive I am, I can read a detailed description of a piece and still fail to visualize the actual piece. Inserting the photos is a chore but worth it. 

Tagging Items

With the inventory done, I am ready to tag items. At first I just put some plain tags on the necklaces and bracelets that indicated inventory and price. Then Cindy, the shop owner, suggested adding my business name and materials used. The next thing I knew, my work table was littered with stuff: quality card stock, a paper cutter, hole puncher, ruler, stamps and pad, fine tip marker, pencils, and hemp string. 

I like the addition of a graphic element. I was going to draw something on the tags, but that seemed like a ridiculous use of time. Stamps to the rescue!

My earring cards are made from the same card stock as tags. After trying a few experimental cards, the 2x3" size seemed to work best. 

Business Cards

Fortunately, a while ago, I took advantage of a great sale at Vistaprint and designed new business cards. (I still have about 400 of my old, obsolete cards. I'm sure there must be some use for those.)  Here is a stack of my new business cards and a funky card holder from one of my favorite stores, Astoria Vintage Hardware. These will be included in the shop display. 

Artist Statement 

So who am I, and what inspires my designs? Here is my artist statement plaque to be displayed in the shop. I can't express how difficult this was to compose (lots of soul searching here) and then revise to fit on a 3x5" card. I guess these stamps are becoming an element in my branding. (I just love those visual elements.)


At this moment, 49 pieces of my jewelry are tagged, inventoried, and lovingly packed in a box ready to go to their new home, Sunflower Flats in Tillamook, Oregon. In my next post, I will share more about this lovely store.


  1. What software do you use to track your inventory? Thanks for the incredibly helpful article!

    1. Hi, Maria. Thanks for commenting! Sorry to be so tardy in replying. Missed reading your comment until now. I just use an Excel spreadsheet to track inventory of finished pieces that are commissioned to shops. I'm pleased to hear that you found this article helpful! ~Cindy