Business Saturday: Designing for the Holidays
Jen Zeiger, lampwork beadmaker, bead-shop owner, and jewelry designer, on Designing for the Holidays.
Q: When do you start preparing for the holidays?
A: You have to start early. I usually begin making holiday beads and jewelry in September. This gives designers who use my beads time to make their holiday jewelry, and it prepares me for selling my own work at holiday open houses, which can begin as soon as early October. I also sell on consignment and need time to amp up my selection to offer stores.
How Much is Enough?
Q: How much merchandise do you make for the holidays?
A: I’d say I make about double my usual beads and jewelry to sell on my website, at the store, and on consignment. People aren’t just buying for themselves at this time; they’re buying gifts for others. During normal, nonholiday times, I don’t make more for consigners unless they ask me to. During the holidays, though, I offer them a lot more merchandise, especially if they’re going to have an open house.
Designing Best Sellers
Q: What sells best for you around the holidays?
A: I find that winter designs—for instance, snowflake and snowman beads—sell better than holiday-specific designs—such as Santa and reindeer beads—since they’re more versatile and people can wear them longer. I also make a lot more earrings and pendants to sell around the holidays since these items aren’t very expensive ($12 to $17 for earrings and $20 for pendants) and therefore make great gifts.
Q: Are you designing anything differently when you make jewelry to sell around the holidays?
A: I make sure the jewelry is even more versatile than usual as it’s often intended for gifts. Since many people don’t know the wrist size of the person they are buying for, I make my bracelets with a toggle clasp that has three rings the bar can fit into. That way the bracelets expand from six-and-a-half inches to eight inches.
I always make my necklaces with a two-inch extender chain for more versatility. Also, after a shop owner told me she had requests for clip earrings, I started to make some of those for the holidays.
Photos by Jen Zeiger.