To start our series I'm going to talk about inventory and everyone's favorite topic: pricing!
I'm going to assume, since this is the Art Bead Scene, that most of you have jewelry that are one-of-a-kinds that feature handcrafted beads. Which is awesome news because you have something that distinguishes your jewelry from the masses and chances are you can share a story about what makes your jewelry unique.
1. Gather your jewelry and divide it into several small collections that would display nicely together. Think of themes or color groups. My example is the Bird and Nest collection above.
2. Take notes on holes in your inventory. Each grouping should have the following:
*Showstoppers - this is a piece or two that stops buyers in their tracks, it will be the most expensive piece in the group and the most labor-intensive or the materials may be of a higher quality.
*Variations of your best-selling designs. These may be a pendant or bracelet style that you sell quickly at every show. They will be in the mid-price range of your inventory.
*Impulse buys - these are your earrings or simple designs that are $35 and under. This should be the bulk of your inventory if you do shows or in-person events.
From now on whenever you display your work and even in your online shop, group these items together. When you show your work to shops, show them in the groups. This type of merchandising will increase your sales. And at shows it makes it much easier if someone is looking at a pendant to say, "Did you see the earrings that go with that design?" and hopefully they are right next to each other!
3. If you have jewelry in your inventory that has been around for quite some time and doesn't get picked up at shows or doesn't has many views online, if the design is dated or just doesn't fit in with the style of the rest of your jewelry - it's time to upcycle it. Take it apart and use those beads in a new design that work in one of your groupings.
*If you have seasonal jewelry or designs you like but just didn't sell - consider having a Flash Sale or Trunk Show to quickly move this inventory.
Designing in collections will help increase your sales at shows and online and it will help in the creative process.
You don't always have to re-invent the wheel. Revisit your best-selling designs and use similar beads to create it in several different variations.
One thing I have learned over the years of doing shows (20+ years) is that too many choices overwhelms buyers and they end up walking away. You are not JCPenny - you will not be able to appeal to everyone. So stick with a few designs you know sell well and focus most of your inventory on those designs and variations of those designs.
You still have room to play and experiment but know your best sellers and have plenty of them! If you are new to shows or selling or haven't sold much yet, what designs get the most likes on social media? It may be a matter of trial and error before you know your best-sellers.
Pricing - that's such a loaded topic. I want you to answer a quick question for me - could you sell your jewelry at a 50% discount right now and cover your materials, pay yourself a living wage and use a portion of it to cover your business expenses? If you can't do this, you won't be able to sell to stores, galleries or shows that want a percentage of yours sales instead of a booth fee.
If not, you are probably charging wholesale prices instead of retail. It's a common mistake. And the first argument is "I can't sell it for what I would need to charge!" A common cry and one that has an easy fix.
A. Design jewelry that fits in the price point you can sell at - it might mean simplifying a design or mixing more affordable beads with the pricier art beads. Or it may mean buying materials at wholesale to reduce your costs.
B. Find venues that have customers willing to pay the higher prices for more artistic and creative jewelry. We'll talk more about this in the next few weeks.
It would be nice if we could just create whatever tickles our muse, but at some point you have to ask yourself if you are in the business of selling jewelry - can I sell this design at a price that covers my expenses and pays me.
A hobby costs you money - a business makes you money. Which one does your jewelry business fall under, is it a hobby or a business? You want to sell more but you also need to pay yourself!
1. Gather your collections and take grouped photos to share on social media this week with a link to your online shop. Share them on Instagram and Facebook throughout the week. Don't share the same photos in both places, mix it up!
Share your best photos on your blog and pin the images.
Take lots of great photos of these grouped collections - you can use them in your marketing in upcoming assignments!
2. Make a plan to fill the holes in your collections.
3.Your required reading on pricing:
Report your successes, questions and share your photos in the Art Bead Scene Lounge on Facebook!