This week we're visiting with one of my favorite jewelry designers. A couple of years ago when I first started beading, Erin was kind enough to feature me on her blog. She was the first to do so, and since then I have followed her faithfully and she's never dissapointed yet!
I hope you enjoy what Erin has to say about being published and selling your work and that you get a little more inspired seeing her amazing jewelry.
I've always enjoyed the arts from a young age. I've tried various crafty things in the past such as painting, thread embroidery, candle and soap making and ceramics to name a few. In my twenties, I started attending a number of art shows and craft fairs. I found myself constantly drawn to the jewelry vendors and when I walked away from any show I had always purchased an item of jewelry. This pattern actually went on for several years before I finally got the hint that maybe I had a passion for handmade jewelry and maybe I should give beading a try for myself! Duh! :p That was over 6 years ago. I've been beading and making jewelry ever since then. I still go to a lot of shows and I STILL buy jewelry all the time! LOL! I can't help it!
Well, I have sold my jewelry at local shows and fairs and I also have some experience selling online in the past, but more than that I've been a long time customer of artisan items. I'd like to share my perspective from that point of view and tell you what I like to see when I go shopping. Now, some of this might seem really simple and common sense type stuff, but I've experienced some professional artists not doing some of this basic stuff so I think it's important.
#1 At shows: A beautiful booth and display makes a great first impression. It lets the customer know you are professional and you know what you are doing.
Online: A nice banner and Great photos of your jewelry or handmade items!
#2 At shows: Greet your customer when they come into your booth and be friendly! A simple "Hello" and a smile will suffice. You'd be surprised at how many people don't do this!!!
#3 At shows: Don't talk too much at first! Give your customer a chance to take in your work and have a look around.
#4 At shows: Have all of your items clearly marked with a price.
#5 At shows: If a customer seems interested in a piece, then at that point proceed to tell them more about it. How you made it, what the materials are, etc.
Online: Detailed descriptions of EACH individual item. Try to avoid vague, general descriptions and don't put the same description on all your items!
#6 At shows: Do have some type of card that tells a little bit about you and/or your work.
Online: Completely fill out your profile page with info. about you and your work, your customers want to have some connection with who you are, since they can't see you in person. Also, fill out your policies page the best you can as well.
#7 Online: After a sale, send the buyer a thank you email or convo.
#8 At shows and Online: Keep the packaging simple but attractive and include a thank you note.
No, I haven't done any wholesale. I sell my jewelry on consignment at a local gallery shop in my hometown, The Riverwalk Bead Shop and Gallery , where I also teach a series of beading classes and private jewelry sessions.
Well, I've only had my jewelry designs published a few times so far, I'm currently working on more of that now. My tips would be #1 Try to establish your own unique style and submit pieces that are different from what you've seen and #2 Follow the publishers guidelines to a T. If you do those two things you shouldn't have any problem at all getting published.
How do you market your work?
I market my work mostly online through my Blog, Facebook and Flickr sites.
Thank you so much Erin! I really hope you learned something from Erin, and I think I'm gonna print out her 8 points for selling and make myself a little checklist. If you want to keep up with what Erin is doing, you can stalk her here: (Oh, and she's expecting a little one, so if you wanna drop by and wish her congrats, I'm sure she wouldn't mind!)