Selling Jewelry Online: How to Become a Needle in Needles Haystack
By Cathleen McCarthy
So, you've checked out Needle's Haystack and you like what you see. Here's a little intel on selling jewelry on the site before you sign up.
Site owner Stephen Lehn had seventy sellers by May of 2011 and hopes to have 500 by the end of the year. "I'd love for it to be in the thousands, but it's going to grow based on quality of product," he says. "I would be shocked to see us getting to 1,000 this year."
When he began researching handmade jewelry, Lehn says he was amazed at the depth and variety on offer. "I realized there are millions of people in the U.S. alone who design their own jewelry," he says. "The talent pool is so great and there are so many different styles and types of jewelry."
While he has been known to approach Etsy sellers, Lehn says he is not taking everyone who applies, as other e-commerce sites do. "A lot of people have come to our site and we've had to tell them that at this time we can't accept them, but please check back," he says. "Sometimes it's because we don't want to oversaturate the site with one particular style. Sometimes it's first come, first served in that respect."
Does that make Needle's Haystack a juried site, as the now-deceased 1000 Markets once called itself? "In a way," he says. "Designers contact us or we'll contact them after coming across their portfolio online. A lot of times, it comes down to price point, quality of pictures, their reputation. We have been to many, many trade shows and craft fairs and recruited the best that are at those shows, in our opinion."
Does a jewelry maker need to have an established online presence to be accepted at Needle's Haystack? "Definitely not. We have taken on a few designers who have never uploaded product to the web before and there is a huge market for them. That's one of the groups of talent we're trying to go after. We invite them to send us some pictures, then we call them back or email them to ask questions."
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories on design, travel and business have appeared in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, http://TheJewelryLoupe.com.
NET PROFITS appears regularly in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more about selling your jewelry on Needle's Haystack in "New Needle in the Online Haystack," September/October 2011.