Oct 232010

If you’ve been making jewelry for any length of time, you’ve probably thought about selling it.  There are a lot of different ways to make your hobby pay for itself (or develop your hobby into a full-time business!), including consigning your work in a gift shop, boutique or beauty salon.  Here are a few tips that I’ve found have helped me when I’ve decided to consign work.

Agree with the shop owner on what the consignment fee will be BEFORE leaving your work in the shop.  Most places I have worked with charge a percentage when a piece sells, but some will ask for a flat monthly fee or other arrangement.

Make a list (inventory) of the pieces you are consigning.  A couple of easy ways to do this are handwritten lists, a list on your computer (Excel or Word work well for software), or even a photo of the pieces being consigned.  Make sure your list includes a brief description, item number (which should correspond to a tag on the piece), and the item price.  Leave a copy of the list with the shop owner or manager.

Talk to the owner/manager about how you will be paid.  You should know up front if you will receive a check in the mail, have a deposit made to your Paypal account, if you will need to pick up a check, etc.,  I also like to know when the owner makes payment – once a month, once a quarter, on the 15th, etc.,

Know up front what the expectations are regarding displays – if you are expected to provide displays, make sure you inventory them like you do your jewelry.  I have not had it happen to me, but I have heard horror stories about displays and packaging materials that have been used for someone else’s jewelry…so make sure you know what you are leaving behind and how it will be used.

Have fun with the consignment – chances are, you and the shop owner/manager will develop a good relationship…after all, you both have the same goal – sell your wonderful jewelry!!

Aug 132010

Every show is unique – I never know exactly how I’ll be set up until I get to the site!  Today, I am setting up in the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha for the Art in Bloom festival.  This show is unique in it’s garden setting…I’ll be outside in my 10×10 tent with an 8′ table (provided by the Gardens).

I try to stay organized in between shows, but it always helps to have a checklist to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.  Here’s a list of the things I make sure I have for every show:

Display materials

  • Tables
  • Table coverings
  • Earring, bracelet, ring and necklace displays
  • “Floof” (sometimes a vase with some dried flowers or other interesting items that will bring attention to my booth but not draw away from my jewelry!)
  • Business cards and holders
  • Risers
  • Shelves
  • Mirrors
  • Guest book
  • Signage, including credit card acceptance, return policy, artist statement, etc.,
  • Wheeled cart or 2-wheeler to haul boxes to and from my car

Point of Sale (POS) materials

  • Cash box and bank (1’s, 5’s, coins to make change)
  • Receipt book to write sales in
  • Calculator
  • Cash register (optional)
  • Pens
  • Charge slips (for knuckle buster type credit card sales)
  • Knuckle buster
  • Credit card swiper
  • Clipboard (for customers to use when signing a credit card slip or to write out their checks)
  • Bags for items sold (I use small recloseable plastic bags that I pre-stuff with a business card and anti-tarnish strip, and organza bags to put the jewelry and receipt in)
  • Notebook (write up custom orders, customer questions, items to replenish before your next show)

Cleaning materials

  • Window cleaner (for displays and mirrors)
  • Lint brush
  • Paper towels or lint-free cloths
  • Trash bags (you’d be surprised how often you are NOT near a trash container!)

Personal items

  • Tissue
  • Chapstick or lip balm
  • Water
  • Small, easy to eat (and not messy) snacks
  • Eyeglasses
  • Baby wipes (nice if you are outside and it’s hot!)
  • Chair if not provided by the venue
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel

Jewelry supplies

  • Spare beading wire, crimps, ear wires, clasps, chain, jump rings, wire…anything you can use to make a quick change or repair.  I’ve gained many a sale simply by offering to change a style or ear wire or clasp for a customer, on the spot!
  • Tools you will need to perform those quick changes or for projects (see next bullet).  Don’t forget a crimper, pliers, cutters as essentials!
  • Projects to work on.  Rather than reading a magazine or book, I recommend jewelry makers work on easy projects during down time.  Not only does it show that your work is handmade and created by YOU, but many times, people are interested enough to cluster around your “demo”…a booth that’s full of people draws more people in!  Just be sure you are working on something that you can put down at a moment’s notice if a customer needs help or has a question.
  • Work surface and/or beading mat.

If you are outdoors, you’ll also need a tent or canopy (check with the venue to see what is acceptable), weights and/or stakes.  Add in sun screen, bug spray and a fan if needed!

And FINALLY….don’t forget your jewelry!  I’ve known a couple of people who did a fabulous job of setting up their booth, then realized their product was back home by the back door!

Jul 272008

I am having a wonderful time at Westfair this week. Today is the last day. It’s always a little sad to pack up, but life goes on!

A great idea from Rena Klingenberg that I’ve used at the last couple of shows is to “showcase” my older stock to move it along.

I’ve really moved a lot of my older bracelets, earrings and necklaces using this little tool. I left the old price tags on the items, so customers can see what a bargain they are getting!

Finally, Michelle and Alyssa of the LumberJills asked me if I’d make them some pendants with axes on them. I was up to the challenge, and worked yesterday on designing prototypes and finalized the pendants late last night. It was an unusual request…but I had so much fun doing it! After I get pictures of the finished pendants, I’ll post the “work in progress”. Hopefully you’ll get as much of a kick out of them as I do.

Off to the fair!!

Jul 172008

I love Rena Klingenberg’s site – Home Jewelry Business Success. I had the pleasure of interviewing Rena, and I must say her story is incredibly inspiring!

One of the fabulous things about Rena’s site is that many of the articles have been written by jewelry business owners, so I’ve found many times, the struggles that they’ve faced and the solutions they found are something I can use.

I submitted my article on creating a business rewards program to Rena earlier this month, and was thrilled to get an acceptance notice from her. The article was published in Rena’s newsletter and will have a permanent place on her web site. I’m thrilled to have been allowed to share my experiences to fellow jewelry makers!

Jul 092008

I hate my business web site (not BeadingHelpWeb.com – I love the way that one looks!).

After much consideration, I decided I had to carve out some time last weekend to work on a new one. I purchased a new domain and set it up to be hosted…no going back.

Staring at a blank page doesn’t do much good, but that’s about what I did for a good couple of hours. Finally, an idea started forming, and then taking shape.

I’m not an HTML-queen, but I know enough to be dangerous. So between my minimal coding abilities, PhotoShop, and Adobe PageMill, I put together what I thought was a pretty good prototype.

I wanted minimalistic and clean. I wanted a shopping cart and the ability to update things myself. Most of all, I wanted something that reflected my personality and work.

While it’s not perfect (I’d like to have a cart of my “own” but for now, I’m sufficing with linking to sections in my Etsy shop), I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – take a peek at C-My Designs, revisited.