Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Bead Biz: Market Diversification - Tapping new markets

Is that a big enough title for you? I like big titles. They make me feel like I know something. But this is one title that I'm serious about. With imports flooding the market and the number of bead and jewelry makers out there growing by the minute how do we make ourselves stand apart from the crowd? The obvious answer is to have unique work. That is true, but unique work can limit your market too...and that is another post for another time.

So, what am I talking about? I'm talking about being a bead maker or a jewelry designer that pushes not only our creative envelopes but our marketing envelopes as well. Exploring new ways of selling...new venues...new products. Seeing how our products can be used in different areas that aren't being fully tapped yet. Some of these ideas have already started to take on popularity, such as wine glass charms or cell phone fobs. But what other ways are there to reach new markets? What new products can we make with our art beads?

While in Tucson this spring I was approached by Pamela Hawkins, editor of Bead Unique Magazine, as were many other glass bead makers. This isn't an uncommon thing at big bead shows. But this was the first time I received, in hand, the forecast for the next year and a half or so of their publication. This little half sheet of paper told me the focus of each issue, color schemes, projects, etc. I found it amazing and inspiring to see the wide variety of topics and items in the forecast. Things like home decor, clothing, even pet fare! I'm guessing that magazines do that all the time, I just never saw it spelled out right in front of me. It opened my eyes a little more.

It got me thinking...there are whole markets out there that aren't being fully tapped by us art bead and jewelry people. That doesn't mean they don't exist but who is actively marketing to them? Who is out there making doggie collar jewelry? Or beaded pet beds? Or who is selling candle collars (I made that one up but I bet it's a real thing). You name it, and I bet there is a beaded market just waiting to be created.

So, my challenge to you is, come up with something new. Think of an area out there where people are willing to spend money (pets are a great example) and tap tap tap away! And when you do, share your success stories. I'll share mine if you share yours.


Joan Tucker said...

Lori, I just made a connection with a wedding magazine editor and am producing a wedding event line. I hope this turns into something beautiful and a way to extend the market for porcelain work. Joan Tucker Off Center Productions

Cynthia said...

Hello-so excited to see you thinking about this...I think it is important!

Oh, the candle collars are called 'bobeches' (plural) or 'bobeche' (singular). It is pronounced BO-besh.

A good idea, by the way!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I found it very thought provoking. It is true that cheap imports make it much harder to survive as an artist of any kind and especially within the field of jewellery. I am sure beaded 'candle collars' would be an excellent seller at Christmas if done in festive colours. I have also recently noticed a big increase in the numbers of people making beaded tiaras - when I first started making them it was very hard to find any tutorials or examples. The wedding jewellery market has now also become flooded. Lately I have begun making my own beads because I wanted to create something completely different, something that was truly individual where I could express my creativity and which would make my jewellery unique. I am glad to see this blog established for an exchange of ideas between us 'art-beaders' and a good supportive network. Thank you.

Lori Greenberg said...

I'm glad you all liked this post and it was thought provoking. The business side of art beads and jewelry is a passion of mine so watch for more.

The wedding line is a great idea. That opens up a whole new world, even beyond wedding jewelry!

Bobeche...I learn something new every day. Thanks readers!!!