What’s the most important aspect of your jewelry business? If you answered “your customers”. you’re certainly on the right track. Your customers are the most valuable resource you can have. How much time do you spend REALLY listening to your customers?
When you exhibit your jewelry designs at a craft show or home party, do you watch how people react to your work and listen to the comments they make? Your customer’s comments and reactions to your work should help to partially determine the direction you choose to take in your design work. Particularly important are comments such as:
“Those earrings would be beautiful if they were a little larger”
“I wish they had some clip on earrings available. They’re so hard to find in jewelry of this quality”
“I wish this necklace had a clasp that was easier to work with. I have arthritis in my hands.”
“I’ve been looking all over town for a ____________. Do you have one?”
Maybe your jewelry is designed for an older population and you never considered the fact that the clasp might be difficult to manipulate for people who have arthritis. Making a simple clasp change might conceivably give your sales a big boost! How about advertising you have a line of necklaces with clasps that are super easy to manipulate?
What about clip earrings? Maybe you never considered adding them to your line, but there are a significant number of people out there that don’t have pierced ears. They want beautiful handmade earrings too!
If you really listen to your customer, you may find that some of your best selling jewelry designs will come from their comments and suggestions. If you don’t want to go into production on an item, you can always offer to do a custom order based on a customer’s suggestion. She’ll be so grateful, you’ll probably have a customer for life!
Craft and jewelry shows provide you with a great opportunity to interact with the public. You can get ideas not only from customers, but from other designers as well. When you’re at a show, be sure to visit the booths of other jewelry and apparel designers and see what seems to be selling for them. You’re not out to copy, but to gauge buying trends. Get ideas for display and presentation. Listen to what comments people are making at the booths of other jewelry designers. There’s much to be learned here also! You may want to take a notebook and unobtrusively right down ideas that come to you during your survey.
It might be a worthwhile idea to stop and speak with some of the apparel designers at the craft shows you attend. Many of them could use some beautiful handmade jewelry to display with their apparel and it could be an additional profit source for them. Why not see if you can work out a wholesale arrangement with them?
Could you create a unique line for their apparel? This could turn into a nice co-marketing arrangement for you. Also don’t forget to ask them which of their apparel items are selling the best. You can learn alot about current color trends from this information.
As you can see, there’s much to be learned from interacting from customers and even exhibitors at craft and jewelry shows. Some information gained from these sources may be just the boost your jewelry business needs!