Design Idea C556 Earrings
by Barbara van Look, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

What do a "shaggy dog," a "sob," an "inside" and "the same old" have in common?

Well, that would be the rest of the story.

Every Earring Tells a Tale: The Power of Storytelling for Selling Your Jewelry This is Your Brain; This is Your Brain on Stories

Research into the human brain reveals the power of stories to affect the brain--and the person attached to it. (Why do you think the best advertisements use a story to get you to buy their products?) Brain scans show different parts of brains activating when exposed to different types of information.
  • When you share factual information with people, their Broca's area and Wernicke's area light up--the part of their brain that handles language. It's a good reason to share your materials list: cotton ribbons, gold-filled beads, metal drops, etc.

  • When you share sensory information with people, their sensory cortex lights up--the part of their brain that handles input from their senses. It's a good reason to include descriptions: velvety-soft ribbons, corrugated beads, hammered metal drops, etc.
  • When you share motion information with people, their motor cortex lights up--the part of their brain that handles physical movement. It's a good reason to include movement: ribbons drape, beads cluster, drops dangle and sway, etc.
  • And when you share emotional information with people, their insular cortex lights up--a part of their brain that experiences emotion and connects it to their body. It's a good reason to share a story: the ribbons stand for flexibility, the beads are the steps they take along the way and the drops symbolize each cancer treatment they go through.
Storytelling is such a vital part of what it means to be human that there have been suggestions that we aren't really homo sapiens (wise man)--we're homo narrans (storytelling man). Our brains are wired for storytelling--both giving and receiving. That's a powerful selling tool for jewelry makers. Every bead and component has sensory information. And every jewelry design has a story.

The Selling Power of Stories

We all know it instinctively, that stories have power. And we see stories around us, every day, making an impact. We remember these because they're stories: some tragic, some heartwarming, some uplifting. What they have in common is that they're powerful.

Jewelry designers have been using the story of their creativity, too. Some work with celebrities, to design jewelry for that celebrity's charity. Others are creating because the story is a personal one of loss or hardship--or hope. Here are some thoughts for using the power of storytelling in your jewelry-making:

Every Earring Tells a Tale: The Power of Storytelling for Selling Your Jewelry
1. Stories are true, even when they're stories
For some jewelry makers, the idea of telling stories feels weird. It feels false.

Do you know what allegories and parables are? What about fables, like Aesop's? Or fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood? They're stories. They're also lessons. And since they're in a story, we remember them: The prodigal son. Sour grapes. What big eyes you have!

We remember the story and the emotional truth behind the story. Just telling the truth isn't enough to stick in our brains. We don't remember the facts or the lesson. But we remember that story and the way it made us feel.

2. Stories are everywhere--even in you
Too often, creative people don't think they're very important. But, as a very wise man once said, "Nobody important? ... nine hundred years of time and space and I've never met anybody who wasn't important."

Of course, the Doctor is right. Everybody is important. And everybody is interesting. Of course, the people who think they aren't important or interesting are often the same people who have fascinating lives, who have somehow stumbled into jewelry-making through trial and error, or great hardship, but don't think it's something to talk about.

"Sorry" (not sorry) to break it to you--you are interesting. Your life is a story. It's okay to tell it.

You're brilliant.
3. Stories about jewelry have a beginning and a middle
But not an end. Because the end is up to the customer.

If they choose your piece and take it home with them, they're part of the story. They helped raise money to support the arts, to fight cancer, to save kittens and puppies, to feed kids. That's why offering a portion of every sale to a cause you're passionate about is not only being a good person--it's also good business.

Help customers add themselves to your cause's story by having a range of prices in your designs. Some of the most generous people are those who have the least to spare.

4. Stories are nothing to apologize for
You know those people who tell you how terrible they are at public speaking and apologize for how boring they're going to be--right before they give a brilliant off-the-cuff maid of honor speech? Aren't they annoying? They're also a little untrustworthy.

Because if they don't believe how awesome their story is, how can you? And if you don't believe how awesome your story is, how can your customer? Don't apologize for caring. Don't apologize for loving beads and jewelry-making. Don't apologize for what you make and sell.

Don't apologize for your passion. Believe in your cause. Tell your story.

You'll be fantastic.
Every Earring Tells a Tale: The Power of Storytelling for Selling Your Jewelry

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