Monday, September 10, 2007

Make Money from Your Handcrafted Jewelry

Someone left me a comment in one of my earlier entry and wish me luck on my online jewelry business. My first reaction was to smile to myself. Smile because I wish I have an online jewelry business with customers from all over the world. The smile wouldn’t go away (imagination run wild!) as people are talking about my designs, how beautiful they are and the non-stop orders I receive, blah! blah! blah!.....back to reality Mei!

OK! First of all I haven’t got an online jewelry business….yet!...been saying this ‘yet’ word for a while now. Even if I have, I will have to quit my full time job to make time to create more pretties and to keep up with orders – just assuming I will get a lot of them! ;o). I really envy people who can start an online business just after a year or less after they started making jewelry and can concentrate full time on it. As for me, I still can’t do that as I still need my regular monthly cheque to survive the ever increasing cost of living in Kuching City. Wire jewelry is still a hobby for me, my addiction. Selling jewelry online will be the next logical step, but the question is when. As it is, I do sell my wire jewelry offline when there are requests. At the moment most of the requests come from co-workers and friends and their friends. Not forgetting family and neighbors :o).

There are several ways to make money from your handcrafted jewelry besides selling online. You don’t even have to put up a store or boutique to sell your jewelry. Setting up store or boutique would involve a lot of money which most of us don’t have enough. Here are some great venues where you can start up.

Handicraft Fairs / Flea Markets
I have participated once but it was at a flea market. I was not very successful then as visitors were looking for second hand stuff rather than unique handcrafted wire jewelry. For spending 4 hours under the sun, I only managed to collect $85. Not bad?

Handicraft fairs are a more suitable venue such as the one I visited last weekend - see my three earlier entries. This is where people of the same interest gather to show their pieces. If lucky, you could make lots of friends as well as contacts such as bead suppliers and other contacts for your future handcrafted jewelry business.

Your Home – Handcrafted Jewelry Parties at Home
This is the best place to start as you have everything within reach at home and this is where you feel more relax and comfortable. You may invite a small group of friends and their friends for a morning snack, afternoon tea or even dinner. Get everything ready – i.e. mirror and your jewelry displayed properly (and little kids away from the show area to avoid disaster!). As the food is serve, you can show your guests your creations. Encourage them to touch and try them on. Tell them stories behind each pieces as this may get them more interested. Be ready with pen and paper in case someone has their own design in mind and would like it custom made.

Once you have enough exposure, you may organize this home parties in a regular basis i.e weekly or fortnightly. You may advertise your home parties by word of mouth, leaflets or business cards distribution.

I have not hosted any home party yet but I will if I have enough wire jewelry pieces to display. In addition, you may also organize short classes on jewelry making for those interested. I have several requests for this but just haven’t got the time.

Online Jewelry Web Shop
Can’t escape this one! Ultimately, one day one must look into online jewelry web shop. Internet has made the world smaller and lots of people are selling their products online. Compared to the two above where the market is local, online shop will market your jewelry to a wider audience, in fact worldwide without you having to leave home or sit under the hot sun.

There are few ways to sell online: 1 is to set up your own website and sell your jewelry directly from your website; 2 is to sell your jewelry in online auction sites such as eBay; 3 is to join online shops that specialize on jewelry or accessories.

Finally, if you love and very passionate about what you are doing, selling is not the most important thing but will be an added bonus. So, create because you love creating beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I am very sure the selling will come eventually when people notice and realize the uniqueness of your creations.

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