Purple Necklace

Still looking at Etsy, I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of stuff there, just in the jewelry section. I would love to hear from someone who sells there, or another similar site, such as Ruby Lane, on how it works for them.

It’s hard to imagine anyone finding you. I also saw some prices that are clearly too low. The person cannot be making a profit, if they were really including all their costs. Also, there seems to be a lot of competition in the under $50.00 range.

Which brings up the point — what is your niche? What are your price points? How can you stand out in the marketplace?

So many people make jewelry these days, and the barriers to selling are lower than they used to be. Digital photography and affordable lighting set ups make it easier than ever to shoot your own jury slides and enter shows. Likewise, you can shoot your own images and post them yourself on a sales website. Lots of people do it, making it even more important that you have a “voice,” and can stand out.

This is probably the hardest part about making jewelry. I think everyone starts out just mastering techniques — and there are a lot of them in metalsmithing and metal clay. That will keep you busy for a few years.

Then, just like artists in any other medium, we have to find our own voice. There are different ways to look at this, depending on your market.

If you do shows, sell to galleries and stores, you probably need to think in terms of “lines,” a fashion industry model.

If you’re more of an “artist,” selling larger, more expensive pieces to galleries, you may need to think in terms of “series,” in addition to having some bread and butter lines.

Subtle difference.

But it really matters in terms of marketing. I think many beginners don’t take the time to figure this out. Or, have trouble being able to see their work as others do, and being able to talk about it. Having at least one trusted friend in the field who can give you professional feedback is wonderful.

Some guilds set up monthly critiques. For some reason, this kind of critique is more common in other mediums. If you have a thought as to why, please post a comment.

How to find your voice? How to determine your look?

One way to have a signature look is to use a limited number of materials, techniques and finishes.

But you need to figure this out on your own. So what questions should you ask yourself? What should you do?

First, keep a sketchbook, even if you can’t draw. Doodle as best you can and write explanations.

Second, ask yourself these questions:

1. Why do I make jewelry?

2. What inspires me?

3. What do I offer that no one else does?

4. What do I do best?

5. How can I take what I do best and make sure that that gets across in my

6. Who is my customer? What does she want? Why am I best suited to give her
what she wants?

I hope these questions get you started in figuring out how to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.

Copyright Elaine D. Luther 2007 All Rights Reserved

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