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Tips & Hints for Making and Selling Jewellery

By Allison Galpin

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You may only wish to start jewellery making as a hobby, or to make gifts for family and friends, but as your talent grows you may find yourself wanting to sell pieces of jewellery for extra cash or even develop a second income from your hobby.


At a craft event where many people sell their goods you are competing with many other sellers for the cash in the visitors’ pocket. Buying jewellery is most often an impulse buy - none of us really NEED jewellery!

If you are lucky you may be at an event where the number of people representing a particular craft are restricted, if not and there are many craft workers selling jewellery you will be at distinct disadvantage if you present your work poorly.

The same premise goes for party plan evenings, which are a fantastic source of income and a great informal way to network and sell your designs.

Jewellery will always sell for higher price if it is presented well. If you put your jewellery in a box you are sending out a message that your work is valuable and to be valued. Increase your profit margins by investing in small gift boxes. And for even greater effect; make decorative labels telling people a little about the design and inspiration behind the work and materials used. Type or handwrite a statement or description of your product on plain white paper and then cut labels with decorative scissors to create an interesting edge. You can use cow gum or blue tack to place labels on the inside of boxes.

Always use a table covering that reaches down to the floor for a professional look. Place a white plain sheet over the table that falls to the floor and then cover with a smaller cloth in a richer texture like velvet. Try two co-ordinating colours as this provides a really attractive presentation.

Next make sure that your jewellery is displayed on different levels – never all flat. You can buy stair like display stands or place books under the cloth to give your presentation different heights. This will make your jewellery more visible and cause the eye to linger longer.


The most important factor is lighting. Spotlights shinning on your work can increase your sales by 50%. Overhead lighting is rarely bright enough and spotlights will make your work shimmer and increase its attractiveness. Mirrors are a must. Try using two notice boards hinged together with a wooden platform for stability and place a mirror against this. The mirror should also be decorated for maximum effect and will also reflect your spotlights.

Pricing Your Jewellery

The most common mistake many people make when pricing their work is not to value it correctly. If your work is original and not massed produced it should sell for a higher price than mass produced goods in high street shops and stores.

There are two methods for pricing your work:

1 - Cost Plus
2 - Market Rate

Cost plus involves costing work and adding a mark up, usually 100%. Itemise the components used in your design, and factor in the time spent making it. Make sure that you make an appropriate charge for your time at no less than the minimum wage. Then add a 100% to give the end price to the customer.

Market rates work differently. The market rate takes into account more of an appreciation of the overall design work that goes into the end product. For example an artist would never cost out the price of how much paint he has used and then apply 100% mark up for a work of art. He considers the intrinsic value of the finished piece.

To apply a market rate you should consider the unique design work that has gone into your piece and then look around at other pieces of jewellery made by designers and consider how your work fits into the market place. People will pay higher prices for one off pieces or pieces that are individual and have good design content. To obtain a market rate look at high street prices and high-end designer costume jewellery and consider marketing yourself somewhere in the middle. Remember if you do not value your work, no one else will.

How to sell your jewellery.

There are a number of ways to sell your work. All require effort to obtain results. But one of the most important things to remember when selling your jewellery is to sell a range of jewellery to show off your designs to best effect.

You may have certain designs or colours in your jewellery collection that are your top sellers. And it is tempting to just make and sell only those designs. But in doing this you will devalue the presentation and end up losing sales.

Customers like to be offered a selection, as it is only within a selection does the customer get the illusion of choice. This is a fact that has been well known and used by the cosmetic industry for years. For example, when you choose a lipstick or nail polish you will be able to pick a colour from an entire range, thus giving you an illusion of choice. However only a handful of the colours within the selection will be true top sellers, the others are manufactured to give the illusion of choice. The cosmetic industry knows that if they only offered one pink, one red, and one orange shade of lipstick (even if these colours represented 80% of their sales) the customer would feel that range had not offered them much of a selection and would instead turn to another brand.

Offer your customers a choice – sales of silver coloured jewellery will usually outsell gold coloured jewellery by 4 to 1. But by offering your customers a choice you will increase your sales and you will also cater for those who prefer gold tones. Display your jewellery in its full range but always make larger quantities of your top sellers and replace those items as they sell within your display.

Know your product.

It is important to appear knowledgeable about your product. If your jewellery is made from bohemian Czech glass then play up on the years of experience the Czech republic has in glass making and highlight the quality of your product. Bohemian glass usually has a better clarity than cheaper products made in India or China.

Sales Techniques

It is important to talk to your customers without them feeling pressured. Highlight the qualities of your jewellery – the things that make your designs special. In professional selling this is called the Unique Selling Point or USP.

Concentrate on what is known as the feature benefits. For example pointing out your works individuality and non-mass produced nature is a feature; the benefit of this feature is that your jewellery makes the customer feel special and unique. They are unlikely to come across anyone else wearing a similar design and therefore the Jewellery makes a statement about individuality. Everyone likes to feel special.

Craft Fairs

Craft Fairs are still a great way to sell jewellery. Jewellery is light and portable and does not take a great deal of time to set up.

As people tend not to carry a great deal of cash these days, if you do not intend to take card payments, it is important to carry a range of items that can be paid for with smaller amounts of cash that people are likely to carry on them. Some venues may be near to ATM machines, which help secure cash for larger items, but it is important to check your venue.

It is important to check out the organiser before hand to make sure events are well publicised. However some of the most successful events can be those run on a much smaller scale but are well attended by local communities. These include mother and toddler group fundraisers, schools and charitable events.

Christmas Crafts fairs are usually particularly successful as this is obviously a time when people intend to buy gifts.

Selling to shops

This is not as daunting as it sounds, but requires perseverance. Start by contacting local gift shops, tourist gift outlets, and hair and nail salons. Try and make an appointment to see the buyer or owner of the shop at a time when they are not busy and be prepared for rejection - try not to take it personally.

If you wish to branch out on larger scale it maybe worth attending specific trade shows that buyers attend on an annual basis to source new products.

Some shops may operate on a sale or return basis, but it is important to keep a check on your stock and be prepared to “loose” some. If you display items in a hair or nail salon then it is important that your designs are kept in an air tight display unit, as chemicals in the air will discolour jewellery very quickly.

Jewellery parties

One of the best, and most sociable ways to sell your jewellery is through what is known as party plan. Arrange a network of friends and colleagues to get together and display your jewellery in an informal setting by providing drink and some nibbles. The ideal behind this principal is to find at least one member of the group with a different social network who is willing to host a party. The party host is usually offered some incentive such as a bottle of wine or a free gift and sometimes a percentage of the takings as commission.

Often it is a nice gesture to hold some party plan evenings in aid of a charitable event. That way people can buy and feel good about supporting a good cause. Contact some local charities who may promote a party plan event in exchange for a percentage of your takings.

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