Do you sell your handmade jewelry to retail stores?
Hi everyone! We just returned from our out-of-town shopping trip yesterday. I’m excited because I was able to talk to some owners of fashion boutiques about what they look for when they purchase handmade jewelry from artisans for their stores.
I found out that they are quite interested in seeing the works of jewelry artisans particularly if the artist is doing a unique type of jewelry. They all emphasized that they are looking for items that are of well made, of high quality, and uniquely different from what you see in the department stores.
Retailing your jewelry through boutiques and other specialty stores can be a winning situation for you because:
1. Your jewelry gets excellent exposure as it’s on display throughout all the hours the shop is open.
2. It frees you up to spend less time on marketing and more on designing and producing jewelry.
3. It provides a showcase for your work. When someone asks about a piece of handmade jewelry you’re wearing, you can refer them to the store to view what you have to offer.
4. It’s a good market research tool. Displaying your items in a retail store will give you a quick way to find out what is selling. You can also test new ideas and designs relatively before investing the time and money to make multiples.
When I spoke with shop owners here are some of the things I learned:
1. Retailers want unique and interesting merchandise that will help to set their store apart from the mass merchandiser.
2. Once a retailer establishes a relationship with you, they want you to check back frequently to restock items that have sold. One common complaint I heard was that jewelry artisans will display their items in the store and not bother to replenish items that have sold in a timely manner.
3. Retailers are particularly interesting in locally produced jewelry. They like to feature local artisans to show their support for the surrounding art community.
4. They like jewelry that tells an interesting story or has a strong theme that fits in with the store’s merchandise mix. A descriptive hangtag that tells the motivation behind the jewelry line is a real plus.
5. They would love to have an exclusive on a line of artisan jewelry. Of course, this isn’t always practical for you as it would limit your retail sales in that area to a single store. I would only agree to this if the store proves to you that it can sell very high volumes of your jewelry.
6. They want you to approach them in a professional manner armed with marketing materials and samples. They prefer to see you by appointment as their store can require their full attention at times.
Always be on the lookout for new stores that could be a market for your handmade jewelry. When you find a potential store, look around carefully at what they have to offer. Make sure your jewelry is a good fit for that particular store. For more information on finding retail outlets for your jewelry, I’ll refer you back to this blog entry:
I’ll have lots more information on selling your work to retail stores in the near future. Have a great Sunday. 🙂