If you are a craft artist who makes and sells jewelry, you face some stiff competition. The craft fair scene and online retail space is crowded with tons of other handmade jewelry sellers, not to mention all of the mass-manufactured jewelry and high-end luxury jewelry brands out there. Many juried craft shows even put a cap on the number of jewelry artists they will accept, and some long-running shows feature waiting lists for jewelry artists. Etsy is overrun with jewelry artists selling their work, and many artists use the same suppliers to source their materials.
Want to stand out from the competition? Here are 5 tips for jewelry artists who want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Advice for Selling Jewelry: 5 Ways to Stand Out
1. Become crystal clear about who your ideal customer is.
If you’re trying to please everyone, you’ll wind up selling to no one.
One of the first things you should do, no matter what type of business you run, is get crystal clear about who your ideal customer is. Knowing who you are trying to create products for and who you are marketing those products to will influence everything you do in your business. The more you truly understand who that person is and what motivates them, the better you can service them.
Spend some time really thinking about who your ideal customer is. You’ll want to consider general demographic information:
- Are they male or female?
- What age are they?
- What is their annual income?
- Where do they live?
- Are they single or married?
- Do they have children?
You will also want to consider deeper questions about their interests, their problems and their views on the world:
- What types of magazines do they read or tv shows do they watch?
- What keeps them up at night? What bothers them about the world or their daily lives?
- What are their values? Do they lean towards one end of the political spectrum or belong to a certain religious group?
The more specific you can be about who your ideal customer is and what they love, hate and need, the more closely you can tailor your marketing efforts to them as well as create products that fit their needs.
Take it one step further: give your ideal customer a name and create a secret Pinterest board to paint a clearer picture for yourself about who this “person” really is.
2. Use keyword research to find specific niches to focus on.
Jewelry is often a splurge item, something people buy either as a gift for someone else or as a treat for themselves. So remember to think in terms of your jewelry as “gifts” as well as fashion accessories.
You can gain insights into what types of jewelry people are looking for, as well as what types of gifts people are looking for, by doing keyword research to determine the most popular keywords for your industry. There are a number of ways to do this to determine the most popular terms that people use when searching for jewelry, gifts or other products.
Google Adwords offers a tool called Keyword Planner within it where you can research what keywords people are typing into the search engine. You can also use Google’s Autocomplete feature to get new ideas of popular terms that people use when searching. Etsy and Pinterest both offer similar autocomplete features that are also helpful.
Want a head start? I’ve gathered up some of the most popular SEO keywords for jewelry artists for you already.
3. Dig deep for unique materials and inspiration, and become secretive about your supply sources.
In order to stand out from the many other jewelry artists you’re competing with, try to avoid using the same sources for jewelry supplies that everyone else is using. This is easier said than done, but as much as possible, look for truly unique sources that haven’t been picked clean by other jewelry designers yet.
Vintage components can be a great way to make your jewelry unique, as the materials are more rare and harder to find. Scour antique shops, flea markets and thrift stores for possible materials to incorporate into your jewelry.
Think outside of the box when it comes to your material sources as well. Maybe inspiration will strike when you’re at the hardware store instead of the craft supply store – unexpected materials can make for truly exceptional jewelry pieces.
You’ll also want to seek inspiration outside of traditional jewelry designs or even fashion. Look to architecture and geometry for inspiration. Let the shapes and colors found in nature be your muse. Or if you are inspired by poetry and literature, let that find its way into your jewelry designs.
Secret Pinterest boards are a great way to keep track of visual inspiration for your jewelry brand. You can easily bookmark inspiring websites and possible supply sources while keeping your ideas away from the prying eyes of competitors.
4. Up your craftsmanship.
It’s fairly easy for anyone to learn how to string beads or add a clasp, but learning how to solder or make your own jump rings takes your jewelry artistry to a whole new level.
If you are submitting your work to a highly competitive juried craft fair, what would make your work stand out more… using store-bought glass beads or lampwork beads you make yourself?
Seek out classes, both locally and online, and learn how to make as much of your jewelry yourself as possible, rather than just assembling store-bought parts.
5. Focus on what makes YOU special, and make others feel special too.
In the words of Maya Angelou:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Remember that you are selling more than just a product. You’re selling an experience and a feeling. Jewelry is a way that we adorn ourselves. Jewelry can make us feel beautiful, or strong, or loved. It is those feelings that you are truly selling, and the more you can remember that in your marketing efforts, the more effective you will be.
You should also remember that the primary thing that makes your jewelry designs different than everyone else out there is you. You have a unique combination of interests and skills and life experiences that no one else has. You may not think that those things directly affect your jewelry business, but those things are what make you special.
Some people may be motivated by price alone, but if you truly value building long-term relationships with your customers, that comes from a human connection. Your long-term customers will value who you are as a person just as much, if not more, than the jewelry itself. This is another reason why it is so important to become truly clear on who your target customer is.
Keep your target customer at the forefront of your mind, and focus on making them feel amazing, at all times. Worry more about how you make your customers feel and less about how your product stacks up against the competition. The feeling that you give to them is something that will be hard for a competitor to take away.
How do YOU stand out in a crowded marketplace?
What do you think about the tips I’ve shared here? Do you have any tips of your own or personal experiences you think would be helpful to other artists? Please share them in the comments below or reach out via Facebook or Twitter – my contact information is right below!
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