Business Saturday: Marketing Strategies for Jewelry Artists
Marketing Strategies for Jewelry Artists
with Nina Cooper, owner of Nina Designs (www.ninadesigns.com)
Q: Tell us about how you developed some of your jewelry business marketing strategies.
A: Ever since I was a little girl, I loved making jewelry. I was always trying to figure out ways to get money to buy materials. It didn’t take long to figure out if I sold my jewelry, I would have money for supplies. I got in the habit of carrying my jewelry around with me to show to people. By the time I was in high school, I had a shoe box I kept with me all the time. Whenever I was sitting in public, on campus, at a cafe, at the bus stop, I would pull it out and start playing with my jewelry. Within minutes, I was be surrounded by a flock of women who wanted to see the jewelry and try it on. I had a small mirror in the box so they could see how great they looked! I was the “earring girl” and people got in the habit of finding me when they needed gifts.
I also realized the more I wore my own jewelry, the more sales opportunities I attracted. I call this the Human Billboard strategy. When a woman would comment on my jewelry, I always asked if she would like to see my collection, and then pull out my box. I would also wear my jewelry into nice boutiques, and when the salesperson complimented me on it, I would ask if I could show my line to their jewelry buyer. They usually said yes!
What leads your marketing strategies?
Q: Does your marketing model inform the type of designs you choose to make, or is it the other way around?
A: I think it’s really important to make jewelry you’re passionate about and then let that passion fuel your marketing efforts. There is nothing as effective as passion and enthusiasm to get people excited about your work.
Q: What advice do you have for designers who are just starting a business?
a) Get help with your bookkeeping! Set your books up correctly from the start and you will avoid a lot of hassles later.
b) Write a business plan so you know where you want to go, have a plan to get there, and can track your progress.
c) Start small and build up slowly so you can learn from your mistakes without breaking the bank.
What’s the best use of resources?
Q: What do you think the best marketing investments are for artists working with a limited budget?
A: It’s very important to have a good website, even if it is just a homepage with your contact info. Your website should represent your brand faithfully. If you make elegant jewelry, your website should be elegant; if you make ethnic jewelry, it should have an ethnic look. What makes your jewelry special? Be sure to emphasize those qualities on your website. An e-commerce section is very effective if you can afford it.
Wear your jewelry everywhere, show people samples, give them a business card with your website address and possibly a coupon. You will start to build a nice following!
Learn more marketing strategies and tips on launching your own business from Nina, at www.interweave.com.