9 Steps to Improve Your Jewelry Business and SELL, SELL, SELL!

Don’t you hate the headline for this post? Jewelry business. Selling. YUCK! If you are like many artists, you HATE selling your work.

But before you click on the next post, what do you think about a group of artistic jewelers earning $11,700 in four days at a summer art fair? If you were selling a service instead of a product, would that make “selling” easier for you?

Let’s break this down.

Fact 1: The $11,700 figure was total sales for a group of seven artists who ran the Michigan Silversmiths Guild booth at the 2018 Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Fact 2: This art fair has been around for a long time and despite occasional rain, traffic was huge. We probably had more than 10,000 people pass our booth each day.

Fact 3: If the average sale was $75, we got at least 156 people to buy during the 43 hours that the fair was open. That’s approximately 3.6 paying customers an hour. But there were always another two to three customers at the booth.

“There is always the grind of rejection. And there is always the next customer.”

How did we do this?

  1. Each artist offered a distinct and cohesive collection of jewelry. We also were a culturally diverse group.
  2. Because I am outgoing, I stood outside the booth and chatted with passersby, inviting them to look at the collection. In fact I was so diligent, I forgot to take photos for this post.
  3. We worked together. I showed customers my work and the work of other artists.
  4. I was offering a service, not a product. This removed the pressure to sell.
  5. Over and over, I reminded myself to sound human, not like an audio loop. And I like people. I noticed things about the jewelry customers were wearing. We got ideas from their jewelry.
  6. We had brochures about our jewelry business and post cards to hand out.
  7. Also, we offered our own jewelry business cards—giving them a mini-portfolio of our work.
  8. We took credit cards, which is now an art show standard for even a small jewelry business.
  9. Finally, we had fun, even though we worked very long hours.

jewelry business Betsy Lehndorff

The takeaway?

  • Working with another artist or even a group of artists can be a good way to get started with your jewelry business, if event organizers allow this.
  • There is always the grind of rejection. And there is always the next customer.
  • We were able to stay fresh, because there were seven of us. We could take breaks. Set up and tear down was much easier, too.
  • We all sold work, and we were all serious silversmiths. Cooperation kept the venture upbeat.

However, this method doesn’t work for everybody.

One artist preferred to sit back silently and not interact with customers. She felt that approaching customers was intrusive, and she, herself, didn’t like to be approached. She also said that her sales were the worst ever of any art fair.


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at betsylehndorff@gmail.com.


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