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Gloria-Jean Browne : What to Do When Your Jewelry Isn't Selling

What to Do When Your Handmade Jewelry Isn't Selling

By Gloria-Jean Browne

Your handmade jewelry is good and it still isn't selling? Poor sales happen to all of us, even when we are convinced we have a sure winner on our hands. A small modification in an item selling poorly can increase sales dramatically.

There is always a reason why one of your jewelry pieces are not selling and usually it is a very simple one. Obviously you must either make one or two changes or make something else. Investigate why your items won't sell by seeking the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have it in the right place?
    One of the first things you have to do is to check to see if you are marketing your handmade bead jewelry in the right marketing channel. Not every product sells well in every market. Something that will sell well at craft shows may not sell in a clothing boutique or specialty shop and something that sells well in a gallery will most likely be a disaster selling through mail-order. If your product has a modern or contemporary appeal it will probably not sell well at a country crafts and collectibles show or store.
  • Are you targeting the right customer?
    Will your handmade bead jewelry be most likely bought as a gift or as a personal item? Will the customer most likely be male or female, young or old? Does it matter? It is important to position your jewelry to attract the right group of buyers that it is intended for.
  • Are you selling at the right time?
    The time of year or the season in which you are selling your handmade bead jewelry may have great impact on its selling success. It is difficult to sell products with a Christmas or winter theme in the spring or summer, and vice versa. Colours also follow seasons. You will probably have a hard time selling handmade jewelry as Valentine's or Mother's Day gifts using black and orange, or red and green beads.
  • Are you selling at the right price?
    Is it possible that your jewelry may be overpriced or under priced? Just as different markets attract different buyers, they attract people willing to pay certain prices. If your item is significantly lower in price than most of the other products similar to yours the customer will wonder what is wrong with your jewelry giving the perception that it is of poor quality and will not buy. If, on the other hand, your products are priced significantly higher than similar produced items, and are of the same quality, then the buyer will most likely purchase the lower priced ones.
  • Are your handmade jewelry designs in style?
    Do your designs look updated and fresh or do they look like last year's offerings? Customers seek newness! One difficult aspect of the jewelry business is that it's subject to trends which makes people want to always see something new.
  • Is your handmade jewelry functional as well as decorative?
    You could design a beautiful and unique piece of wearable art but if it is too heavy, too long, not long enough, too clunky, too chunky, too fragile, parts that easily catches on things or threads from the clothes or the wearer, extremely difficult to get on or off, or can fall off the wearer to easily then it is not really considered functional.
  • Are you using the right materials?
    Take a close look at the materials you are using and see if there is anyway you can improve your jewelry designs by changing them. Maybe they are outdated, or the wrong color, or of poor quality.
  • Maybe you need to change your designs.
    Barbara Brabec, in her book Creative Cash, suggests that you must develop creativity and design ability, she also says that "Your craftsmanship may be superior, but if your designs are poor (or worse, copied from other craftspeople) you may experience difficulty in selling, particularly to established shops and stores. Sophisticated buyers can spot copied designs and kit products a mile away." Design is all-important if your crafts are to gain sales and your skills are to receive recognition. Develop a design that is uniquely your own yet fulfils the functional wants and desires of your customers.

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