Friday, March 23, 2007

How to Keep Your Personal Style in an Overcrowded Jewelry Market

"How to Keep Your Personal Style in an Overcrowded Jewelry Market"

Let me begin by saying that I think everyone has a unique and individual style all their own. The hardest part of expressing this is weighing what you as the designer like and the jewelry that the consumer truly wants to buy. Somewhere in between is where you should start.

It would be completely unrealistic to think that all jewelry shoppers from child to the elderly would like the same thing. Do you want a target audience for your shop? Or should you diversify and mix up your items? This is what you have to consider if you really want to do well in this business. Some people will stick with one group and fail miserably, not because they aren't wonderful designers, but because they were in an already overfilled niche and couldn't compete with the less expensive or bigger shops.

Some jewelry hobbyists or dabblers don't really care what others are interested in. They just enjoy creating and putting it out there. If someone buys great, if not, no problem. The other category of designers would of course be the serious jewelry artist, who puts a lot of time, study, and money into their craft. This second group can't afford to discount their work and usually already has a very unique style that stands out on it's own in an already overcrowded market.

So how do we stay unique and fresh no matter which category we fall under? Simple answer, don't do what everyone else is doing! Variety, variety, variety! Not everything in your shop has to be outrageously priced gemstones, nor does it have to be kitschy plastic. (Like what I've just added to mine!) But a nice mix of classy and fashionable is always good. You can put your own style such as a favorite color or gemstone into a more fashionable or popular piece. Or, if you enjoy polymer clay, for example, try making something more marketable to the general public, along with your own personal favorites. I do this in my shop all the time by adding different colors, styles, and beads to all of my jewelry designs. Believe me, not everything I create is something I would wear myself! And this is an important point if you want to make money in an industry full of many other crafters.

To do well financially, marketing to many groups of people is the key. This doesn't take away from your artistic vision, it only helps to bring your beautiful creations to more people. Maybe you want to add children's jewelry or more expensive gemstone designs. Sell a few pieces with less expensive beads and findings that are still very well made. All this will help drive traffic to your store and keep it looking fresh and new. This will also bring people into your shop who may not have known they were even interested in your unique style of jewelry.

I also strongly recommend learning new mediums of your art. I recently began using polymer clay and different types of charm crafting. We all feel strongest in one form of jewelry or another, and believe me, there is nothing wrong with artists that just want to string beads! These pieces can be just as amazing and special. But when we educate ourselves and learn new things, it is reflected in the variety and beauty of our new creations. People love to go to a shop and see pieces that are completely different from what they expect an artist to have. Who knows, you might discover you hold a hidden talent for making your own beads! I've recently saved a lot of money designing my own polymer clay beads and charms.

In conclusion, remember, you may like to see only neutral gemstone jewelry all year long, but does someone in the middle of April want something brighter and more affordable? Take into account that not all customers will like one style and break out of the sameness rut. Market to all different groups with a variety of products in your own style. And keep your store and art fresh by constantly learning new techniques in the jewelry field.

Happy jewelry making everyone!

Jewelry by Tara


Kate said...

Great post, Tara - thanks for giving me something to think about!

Mukibubb's Modern Life said...

Well done article. It could easily translate in to good advise for every selling category. I learned a few tips I may apply to my appliqué.

Coco Black said...

Nice article Tara, very well put.

Coco Black

Jen Nixon said...

I love the Barbie keychain!