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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Picking your brains!

These last few days have had me in deep thought about the future of my little jewelry business. The weekend show was a bit of a bust, and the online sales have really been almost none existent for several months now. Etsy just is not what it used to be for me, and to be honest I am not sure it is worth all the work, keeping that shop open. I am considering some changes in the product that I sell, and would love to get feedback from my readers!  Other artists and crafters have also mentioned lately, that they are re evaluating their product or making changes to their  business.  I too, have many thoughts and possibilities swirling around my head! As you may know, I currently use sterling silver (.925) in my jewelry designs. One change that I may make, is to add some designs using silver plated metals...not for everything, but to have  a selection that will  feature simpler designs of bracelets and necklaces, that will be a more affordable line of jewelry for the budget conscious shopper. I would keep earrings in sterling silver, due to the fact that many people have metal sensitivities, and still have a smaller, higher end selection of designs in sterling silver as well. I still love to incorporate vintage beads into my creations, but may opt for more lucite and less expensive vintage finds. These are just a couple of ideas in my brain, now I need to pick your brains for your help with the following questions!

1. When selecting a piece of jewelry, how important  to you, are the quality of materials used in the design?
( ex. handmade glass beads versus mass produced glass beads...or would you even notice?)
2. What about the metal used in the piece...sterling, silver plate, brass, copper, pewter etc.?
3. What amount of money would you typically feel comfortable spending on a necklace or bracelet for yourself, ... for a gift?
4. Does "one of a kind" matter to you,... or not really?
5. Have you, or would you purchase jewelry online, or is that something that you prefer to do in person?
6. What specifically gets your attention when you are out shopping for jewelry and accessories?
7. What other accessories, other than jewelry, do you regularly shop for ?
Any other input that you may have is certainly greatly appreciated! Thanks, in advance for your help and suggestions.

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ChatElaine said...

Well as you know I have the same problems over here in the UK. People/customers are not buying and when they do it seems they just buy cheap from the stores that mass produce rows of the same thing. Handmade seems to be left out in the cold. But that apart I have also been doing the same and re-evaluating my jewellery business too. I have always been the other way around I have used plated metals first and now introducing more and more sterling silver into my creations. I think its a good idea to have less expensive metals along side the more expensive st.silver. give the buyer choice in what they can afford. Obviously there are some that have allergies to plated metals and copper etc. but with a mixture of items for sale you hopefully cover all your bases!! Even though I am now a lampworker I still use both lampwork and less expensive beads in my work.

I also believe buyers find it hard to buy online as they are unable to feel and see the quality and try on the jewellery (with the exception of earrings of course)to see what it looks like on them.

Lets hope this economic slump improves soon for all our sakes!!!

Good luck in whatever you decide Susan.

BeadedTail said...

Selling online is hard especially since, at least in my case, I don't think my photos look as good as my items.

1. I prefer quality items regardless of the source - handmade vs. mass produced
2. I'm not too fond of silver plate or gold plate.
3. Depends. If I love the piece, I'll buy it for me. For a gift I spend $40 or less.
4. One of a kind is nice but if I have one and someone else has one, I doubt I'll ever know.
5. Yep I buy online!
6. Uniqueness, something I can't make myself, colors, shapes (hearts or paws, etc.).
7. Bags!

Catherine said...

Hello fellow Prairie Girl! Are you getting hit hard with snow? I am getting so tired of it here! sigh...

So let's see, I will answer your questions in order to try and help ~ but I will say ~ no matter the answers ~ NEVER give up on your dream!!!

OK so:
1. I would notice something 'mass produced' as I love beads. The more unique the better.
2. I am into silver right now. I have a sterling silver bracelet ~ love it.
3. Amount of money? It would depend if I was paying or hubby! Ha! But if I really loved it, I would pay more and perhaps not care as much about the price.
4. One of a kind is nice sometimes, unique is always best.
5. I don't know if I would buy jewelry on-line. I think I need to see it and to even try it on.
6. Colors grab my attention first.
7. I have a pair of diamond earings that I never take out and I never change. I LOVE watches...can't get enough of them. I have 11 watches (2 more but can't find replacement batteries for them) and could easily buy a few more if I saw some nice ones. I think I should have a different watch for each purse. (I have about 24 purses...) I just wear my wedding rings though I have quite a few different rings. I have one necklace that I wear once in awhile. And I LOVE bracelets. I have quite a few. I don't usually wear them to work though (they seem to get in the way when I am typing) but do wear them on the weekend. Typically nothing too dangley, again, for typing and writing reasons.

I hope that helped a bit.

I am wondering, do you have your jewelry in speciality shops? Perhaps on consignment or something? I'm not sure how that works but our Pharmasave quite often features different local artists each month. (Photography, jewelry, clay pots, home made cards, etc.) I love going in there as their display always changes.

OK, I've babbled on enough.

Have a good week!
xo Catherine

Nancy said...

I think sales have just been slow. I personally love your jewelry, but I don't wear much jewelry and at the moment could not afford it. Maybe if you could look at doing the same designs, but with cheaper materials so your cost could go down. Although I do love sterling silver, I would opt for another type of silver look because sterling tarnishes and I'm too lazy to keep cleaning it so when I do choose jewelry I would veer away from sterling for that reason. I like silver metals, but not sterling, maybe silver plated is the answer. Good luck, hope you stick around!

Lenox Knits said...

I'm sorry your last show was such a disappointment. Here are my answers. I buy a lot of jewelry on-line so I hope it helps.
1. I like handmade materials but it's not a huge factor in buying for me. I would notice and if I really liked something I would be more willing to pay the higher price if I knew the beads were handblown.
2. Honestly this is also not a big factor for me. I'm ok with cheaper metals if it is for me as it allows me to buy more for my $. For gifts I am more choosy.
3. I generally don't spend more than $20-50 on myself, as I said I prefer quantity over quality for the most part. For gifts I will spend more, particularily for my Mom, more like $70-$100. Gifts for my nieces on the other hand I won't spend more than $20 as I tend to get them lots of little presents.
4. OOAK is nice but def not necessary.
5. All the time.
6. Color, good pictures (which you def have). I like things with that WOW factor.
7. purses and bags of every kind.

Anonymous said...

1. I do not wear costume jewelry. The real thing or nothing - so yes sterling silver. The better the quality the more I am happy to pay.

2. Sterling. Other meals - copper, brass etc are often used as ornamentation, up to the artist.

3. Money is not much of an object with me. I feel I can tell if I am being fairly charged.

4. No, doesn't matter.

5. yes have purchased jewelry on-line and was very pleased.

6. With jewelry it is always something unique that catches my eye and my money. A simple piece with a bit of a twist. I love hoop earrings and yet it is so hard to find something that catches my fancy. And colorful. I like color.

7. I don't do accessories LOL

overthetopaprons said...

Hi, I work in a very nice boutique. People love there jewelry. They seem to like what is unique and different .... no concerned with it being one of a kind. One of the 'hottest' lines we have had for about a year is John Wind .... especial the 'Society Girl' collection. I think it is priced along with your jewelry.

What is interesting to me is that the round 'pom poms' are made from cotton balls (overlaid someway with some jewelry material). It might be fun to check it out.

He was featured in O Mag ... any thing that Oprah endorses sells BIG. It would be great if you could get into her magazine.

Hot Rocks said...

Thank you all for taking the time to comment...they were ALL a big help!

Lin said...

1. I like good quality in jewelry. If I'm going to spend the money, I want something nice. Handmade beads are great--I hate the cheap mass-produced beads.
2. I'm not fussy about the metals.
3. I don't usually buy jewelry for a gift--it's just too personal to pick out for someone. And if the piece is right, I don't care what I spend. Although lately, I haven't been buying for me due to lack of funds. I don't blink at a purchase of $25 or less--it is soooo mine.
4. I like unique pieces, but they don't have to be one of a kind.
5. I don't usually buy online because of the time element. I don't have time to peruse the sites to find what I want or like. I'm also very tactile and I like to hold what I am going to buy.
6. Necklaces or earrings that are unique.
7. Scarves.

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