The reason that I do so well during economic downturns stems from the fact that jewelry lifts women's spirits and it doesn't have to be expensive to do a lot of lifting. My business has never been better.
Many people who would like to get into business say that they're ok with the jewelry-making part but they are uncomfortable going out and trying to sell to strangers. Well, I understand, I was exactly the same way myself. I didn't get over my nervousness overnight but I found that people love to talk about jewelry--I haven't found anyone who wasn't perfectly nice to me. The longer I work at meeting people, the easier it gets--plus I've met so many great new people.
So let me share with you some of what I have learned on the road to financial independence--by doing what I love:
First, believe in yourself and do not be afraid of rejection. Remember that for every door that closes a new one opens and there is always more than enough to go around.
Be excited and enthusiastic about your creativity--it is contagious and people like that!
Homework inspiration can come from the most unexpected places such as catalogs, magazines, advertisements, store displays, boutiques, bridal and tuxedo stores. Seeing someone walking down the street wearing that special piece that catches your eye. Stop and compliment that person, ask them where it came from. It may have an interesting history. This may inspire your creative imagination and give you that ''Creative Kick Start'' you have needed. We all need these ''Kick Starts'' every so often.
When you see a piece that sparks your interest, ask to take a picture. Use this picture as a reference. You will remember what caught your eye and be able to change part of the style, colors or stones to make your design a piece that is uniquely yours, based on your own artistic talent. It is important for you to focus on current fashion trends, colors and styles out in the market place.
Have a business card made so that people can contact you and get your name and creativity out to others. Remember, many of the people that have seen your work will tell others and word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
I have placed into my portfolio cards, letters and notes sent to me by clients, thanking me. Also I display certificates of appreciation I have received from various organizations for participation in their events. Clients are thrilled to learn about you and your successes. They enjoy seeing the ''kudos'' you have received.
So decorate a notebook or photo album and always carry it with you when you go out to see clients and prospective clients. Always remember to place it on your booth or table when you do a craft fair or fundraiser.
Again, I must say be excited, be yourself, be sincere, clients and potential clients admire and appreciate honesty.
Once you establish this relationship with your clients and potential clients you will discover that many times they will purchase your jewelry because they like you and can tell others that they are wearing an original by ''your name and business.''
Craft fairs and fundraisers are always happening, check with churches, schools, women's clubs, service clubs such as Lions Club and Rotary. Even your Chamber of Commerce may have information of organizations that have upcoming events. Contact them for dates, details and costs. Sometimes you may be charged a booth rental fee (sometimes not), they may require you to provide a raffle prize (another way to get your name and product out there) or they may require you to contribute a percentage of your sales to their fundraiser's beneficiaries. If they do, this may be a tax deduction for you.
After you do a craft fair or fundraiser, always enter these names in your contact database. Following up is especially important--send notes, postcards with a thank you, letting them know that it was nice meeting them. Ask them to call you if they have an event coming up that you could be of assistance with by showing your work. Also ask if they have a bridal party they need gifts for, or if they want a piece of jewelry just for them that goes with a special outfit that they have.
At shows, you can build your prospective client list by holding a drawing--display the piece that will be won, be it a necklace, bracelet, earrings, bookmark, eye glass holder, badge holder, hair barrette or head band.
Set up a glass bowl or box for people to deposit their business card or give them a paper form for them to complete with their name, address, phone number and email on it. Include questions like: would you like to be informed by phone, email, or postcard of future events in which you will be participating? You can also ask whether they would like to set up an in-home jewelry event.
This way you can send a flyer out to all who have entered your drawing to thank them and let them know that you appreciate them and look forward to seeing them again. Invite them to call you, should they have a special piece of jewelry to be designed for them or a gift. Let them know about your next showings.
Build your clientele list by having a notebook (I use a 1-1/2'' notebook; on the front and back cover I have photos of my pieces to spark an interest). I make a sign-in sheet on the computer (but you can do it by hand) that asks for their name, address, phone number, fax number and email address. Also, it asks if they would like to receive a phone call, postcard or email of upcoming events. This lets them know you look forward to seeing them again!
Remember, people who participate in your drawing or sign your notebook already like and admire your designs enough that they provided you personal information about themselves. Which means that they will tell other people about your artistic, unique talents ... Thus more word of mouth advertising!
Display a ''Remember These Special People,'' sign on your display table. Make hand-outs of the idea list to pass out. This will bring repeat sales and new clients. (Be sure your name and phone number is on the hand-out.)
''Remember These Special People''
Pricing your product. This was hard for me at first and I continue to get better, as will you.
When pricing your items, remember everything that goes into your pricing. Here is a guideline that I use and it has been working quite well. It still gives you latitude to change your price at the time of purchase, if necessary.
Clients always like a nice presentation for the item they have purchased from you. Which once again gives you word-of-mouth advertising. Thus potential future sales. Therefore, I recommend that you have the following items also:
I hope these suggestions will help you succeed and enjoy your artistic creativity.
Best wishes for a profitable season.
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