Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sell Your Handmade Jewelry - Post 3

Now that I have a case full of priced, organized and inventoried jewelry, a sales letter with a photo collage, samples, the contract and fresh business cards with up to date contact info, I need an order form that will help me stay organized while I complete the jewelry that will be ordered.
Give yourself a good solid evening here with this task. Refer to the inventory list you made of your jewelry case, the notes you made of how many you can make in what colors or other specifications.

Pull up your favorite document program and title it Your Business Name - Orders and add a space for the date that you can fill in when you take the orders.
In Microsoft word, click "insert" and then "table".
A pop up screen gives you options to choose how many columns and how many rows.
I choose 4 columns and 25 rows and then expanded it down to 3/4th of the page. 
In the first row add;  
Type of Piece, in the header of the first column,   
Size in the second column,  
How Many in the third column,  
Notes in the fourth column and a  
Total Price in the fifth column.
At the fourth to the bottom row of the grid, in the second to the last column, type in the following;
Total Due
Amount Paid 3rd row to the bottom
Remainder Due 2nd row to the bottom
Estimation of Completion last row

Now type a paragraph at the bottom of the grid that states the following;

Artist reserves the right to replace any non-contributing findings with equal value due to availability.
(this means you have the freedom to change things like style of chain, jump rings, and clasps with regard to availability in mind and they will not change the designs over all appearance or value.)
The estimated date of completion is within the week.
(You're doing handmade, sometimes things go wrong! This will give you a few days grace period if you do run into problems like a lost shipment of goods or broken things.)
Add a space under this last paragraph  for the Consignor to sign and a space for you the Consignee to sign.
Print many copies of these (Yes! One more trip to the office supply store!) and place them in the folder stored in your case. Add a calculator to your case pocket that you can use to add up the moo-la accurately.

You're set.
There's no backing out now. No excuse. You are completely prepared and ready to do business.
Whom to do business with?
Chances are you have spotted a couple of shops you thought might be good for your jewelry.
If not, put some leg work in and check out your town! Or the closest town to it!
Gift shops, boutiques, markets, they are all there somewhere within driving distance.
Do local searches for key words like "Handmade". Or "gift shops" .
Run into hair and nail salons and see if they have a space for counter displays that would match their decor. Garden shops or nurseries.
(If anyone else has suggestions please leave them in comments for others to read.)
1.Write down a list of stores you have checked out and feel might be a good match for your jewelry.
2. Begin looking for phone numbers or even mailing addresses you could send your sales letter to if you can't get hold of an actual buyer. The internet is a great friend to have in this task.
3. Call, ask for the buyers name or when the owner will be in. 
4.Call back when they are there and ask to set up an appointment to show them your handmade artisan jewelry.

If they say no, ask why.
Ask politely, "Could you tell me what type of jewelry you are looking to stock your store with?
This is your opportunity to learn. Whatever their answer is, it is helpful to us as designers.
Do they stay away from handmade and only purchase certain brands they have contracts with?
That might be a good time to point out a unique feature of your handmade jewelry; the craftsmanship, how well the jewelry complimented the clothing being sold there currently, whatever the reason you want your stuff there, make sure you share this with them. 
If they say they have too much costume/silver/vintage jewelry, point out that your jewelry features a high quality "thingy" that appeals to those who collect artisan jewelry.
If they push you off to a later date, make note of that date and try again.
If they do not want to deal with consignment, offer them wholesale terms.

I usually get a No. No. Yes! So for every 3 stores I visit or speak with, I usually only get to show for 1 person. And even then the deal doesn't always go through. Interest shifts and they do not respond.
Do not let this bother you, because there are always other shops popping up or you will discover another one that will be interested in stocking your jewelry.
I have decided in my hunt for local shops here in Florida to limit myself to 4 stores each month.
This will help me be not so overwhelmed and gives me time to make adjustments to my collection between selling appointments.

When you get some face time scheduled;
Dress nice.
Wear your jewelry well. 
Be passionate about what you do.Be factual about your product. No drama or bad talking other companies or types of jewelry.Present each tray with a comment about your favorite piece or what you like about the jewelry it contains.Take a few pieces out of the tray so they can hold them.Talk about a meaningful part of the jewelry during pauses in questions. 
Bring together clothing or accessories the store stocks that the jewelry you have compliments.
Write down notes on what they say, questions they asked that you were not prepared for.
 Ask to write up an order for them that you can have delivered in such and such time. 

Fill out your order form with the most detail you can think of, it will help later when you are sitting at your bead table. Calculate the total and let them know how much they will owe you upon completion or when you will deliver the goods for consignment.
If the terms are for consignment, go over the contract with them and sign it together. Have them make a copy for themselves or offer to mail them a copy.
Discuss with the store where your items will go. Will they have all of your items out at one time or will they hold some back to stock as items sell?
Decide what is best between you two and get to work making it!

The next post is scheduled for July 17th.
This large gap between posts should give us plenty of time to find, contact and present to at least 2 to 3 shops. 
Once we have a contract to show for our hard work, and we are busy making the jewelry to deliver, we will discuss how to track what their buyer is purchasing, how much to send in, when to send in and when to discount unsold product.
I am also going to post a small list of things to do when things go wrong. I know, that sounds vaguely ominous. But it is better to prepare for them than well, to not.


  1. Thank you Shannon, this is very helpful information.

  2. Perfect timing -- thanks so much for this entry! I have lots of jewelry and need to get it back out there; this will help a lot with both ideas and motivation. Best of luck in getting your beautiful work into new places, too!

  3. Thank you, Shannon, for sharing your knowledge with us!

  4. Shannon, I really appreciate the time you are taking to set this all out. It's so helpful and encouraging. Thank you!

  5. There's a little day spa in our town that carries some this and that, and a nice bath and body shop--I have seen both carry some jewelry, seems like a natural fit. So maybe add those to a list of shops to visit. There's also a funky (and large) coffee shop in our town that carries gift items (including jewelry). I've seen this at other coffee lounges too. My town is only 7,000 people so I would think larger towns might have similar places. Our local handmade pottery store sells a little jewelry too--so don't restrict your recon! Sometimes specialty shops have other items tucked away here and there.


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