The Business of Selling Beaded Jewelry: Is Your Online Shop Ready for the Holidays?

Okay, I have to 'fess up: I'm one of those people who rolls her eyes when she sees the Christmas and holiday displays being put up in the drugstore or the departments stores before Halloween. And I really despise the hustle and bustle and the feeling of being rushed through the holiday season. But if you're someone who owns your own jewelry business, it's never too early to start planning for the holiday season!

Before the holidays, it pays to take a good look at the photographs in your online shops.

Living where I do in a rural part of upstate New York means that I'm thankful that I can still do a brisk business selling my handmade beaded jewelry during the holiday season through my Etsy and ArtFire shops. Ask anyone who does a lot of selling during the holiday season, and they'll say that you can never start preparing too early. If you are looking forward to a busy holiday season selling your handmade beaded jewelry online, here's a basic plan to help you get ready for your busy holiday season now!

1. Take inventory. And I'm not just talking about your inventory of handmade beaded jewelry. While you're looking through your inventory to see how much jewelry you have on hand and how much you need to make, check your stock of supplies. Things you should order now include:

  • Business cards to include with every order
  • Packaging like boxes, bags, and earrings cards
  • Gift wrap and ribbons
  • Shipping supplies like boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape
  • Office supplies like paper and printer ink for printing out invoices, and thank you cards for customers
  • Any beads or jewelry making supplies you  might need to replenish inventory or for any last-minute custom orders

2. Plan your giveaways and promotions. Holiday season is a good time to offer little extras to your customers. I always offer free gift wrap for all purchases made in my Etsy and ArtFire shops around the holidays, and free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount is another standard practice for many online shops.

One year, I also offered customers who made a purchase over $100 a special, secret discount code that they could use on any purchase in my Etsy or ArtFire shops for a full year. I kept track of who received a discount code and did some targeted emails throughout the year, reminding them that they had the discount codes available to them for any purchases made that year. It was a great way to build customer relations!

Giveaways are another great way to build customer relations during the holidays. Enter everyone who makes a purchase from your online shop in a drawing for a free piece of beaded jewelry.

Take note of dates like Cyber Monday around the holiday season, and plan your online promotions and blogs around those as well. Look around on Etsy and ArtFire to find out if there are other site-wide holiday events happening that you can take advantage of to drive more shoppers to your site!

3. Check your shipping dates. Because the post office is frequently overwhelmed with shipments during the holiday season, I usually set a cutoff date around December 18 as the last day I can ship and guarantee delivery by Christmas.

4. Make your shop updates in a timely manner. Make sure that you have all of your holiday freebies, shipping date cutoffs, and other information noted in your shop announcements and your blog ahead of time. You can schedule your blog posts ahead of time, and then promote them on Facebook and Twitter to let your existing and new customers know that you are ready for holiday business!

Remember to do a little cleaning up in your online shop before you start any new promotions for the holidays. Spruce things up by removing old inventory, and make sure you get any new inventory photographed and listed as soon as possible. A full, robust shop will most likely generate more sales than one that only has a handful of items for sale.

And speaking of photographs, you'll want to take a good look at the photographs you have of your handmade beaded jewelry in your online shops. Remember that when you're selling online, your customers can't touch or hold your jewelry. You have to show them in your photographs just how beautiful and awesome your creations really are!

Get yourself a little early holiday gift this year and get expert advice from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine photographer Jim Lawson in How to Photograph Your Jewelry. You'll watch as Jim shows you step-by-step how to make the most of your digital camera, no matter what kind you have, and how to create an inexpensive and professional lighting setup. You'll also learn how to use your computer to enhance the digital photographs of your jewelry so that they look the best they can to your customers!

Get your copy of How to Photograph Your Jewelry on DVD and think of it as a gift for your handmade jewelry business. Or, if you absolutely can't wait to start learning more about photographing your jewelry from a professional photographer, you can also download How to Photograph Your Jewelry on your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be watching and learning in just minutes!

What tips do you have for online sellers of jewelry during the holiday season? Have you found any promotion or marketing techniques that work? Do you use social media like Facebook and Twitter? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog with your best beaded jewelry business advice for the holidays!

Bead Happy,


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