How to Grow Your Jewelry Business Without Losing Your Mind

How to grow your jewelry business It seems like every day we hear about more and more things we “should” be doing to grow our businesses.

We’re supposed to be engaging with people in all kinds of ways.  Saying “yes” to everything.

Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, publishing newsletters, emailing, and re-listing / updating online storefronts.

Frantically promoting our jewelry all over the place.

But no matter how much of this stuff we do, we always feel like we’re running behind and that we “should” be doing more.

I invite you to step off that crazy train and try a different approach.

This is something that works
very well for me:

  • I skip the business-building activities that feel difficult or that I just don’t like to do.
  • Instead, I choose to do only the business-building things that come easily to me and are fun for me.
  • And I really throw myself into those fun ones, giving them everything I’ve got.

An example of two of my choices here:

Currently I’m not on Facebook.  I had an account there briefly a few years ago, but I found that it just didn’t resonate with me then.

Since I wasn’t enjoying it, I closed my account there.  (I may experiment with it again someday, though.)

(Update: My Jewelry Making Journal site has a Facebook page now – thanks to Alicia, the JMJ content & social media specialist!)

However, publishing a newsletter is something I LOVE to do, and it comes easily to me.

I’ve been publishing my newsletter, Jewelry Business Success News, regularly since March 2004.

Every issue is a joy for me to create, and I completely throw myself into it, giving it everything I’ve got.

By focusing on just a few of the business activities I love to do, it’s all fun and exciting – and everything grows.

But when I try to do everything I “should” be doing, I feel overwhelmed and tired – and I don’t do any of it very well.

(In fact, I wind up procrastinating – and then feeling guilty for not doing the things I dislike!)

So how about you?

I encourage you to try cutting out the business-building activities you find difficult or un-fun.

Instead, try focusing on just a few of the business-building activities that feel easy, and that you really enjoy – and totally throw yourself into them with all your heart.

I bet you’ll be amazed at the difference in your results – and in how you feel about the “business” side of your jewelry business!

What business-building activities do you dislike doing?

And which fun ones would you enjoy doing with all your heart?

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Comments

  1. I found out I really enjoy shows, although it is alot of work. I found out leaving my jewelry at stores for commission has hardly ever paid off, unless you do not have to pay monthly fees. So I don’t do a lot of that. I enjoy “open houses” at people’s homes. Just a few hours and the pay is great. I’ve decided to also NOT feel bad because I do not do Facebook or any social networking either. I don’t have a smartphone, mine is still a studpid phone. So I don’t feel bad (yet) about not having all those fancy apps that might help my business.

  2. Hi Rena,
    As always, you hit on the perfect subject for us! I remember working my tail off marketing myself on FB…and all I did was spend hours a day “doing” what I thought would spur a sales surge in my online shop. Uh-huh…the only thing that surged was wasted time when I could have been designing! haha. I did make some friends, which was the upside, but other than that? It became one of my “un-fun” things. And “tweeting”? I’m sorry, but I don’t call it “Chatty” Cat’s for nothing! 140 characters? Really? And not one sale from announcing a big sale or new work on my site.

    We love your newsletter, and I look forward to every single one. They are chock full of useful ideas…no fluff! I’ve been making jewelry for almost 20 years, and I still learn new things when I read your newsletter. I’m grateful it’s one of your “fun” things for you! :-)

    Cheers,
    Cat

  3. What a welcome article-I sometimes wake up at night thinking that I should be doing XYZ and the word ‘should’ is a big tip off.
    For instance, I have had a website(with a blog) for about 4 years and I didn’t really want either but felt I’ should ‘.Well, what a pain-my husband takes and loads the photos under protest,but insisting he wants to (!!!)Then the descriptions and eliminating items after shows(everything I do is one of a kind)And the blogging made me feel like a self indulgent /self important twit.
    So about 4 months ago I decide to use the site to show what I have done , to administer my e-mail list and as a calendar.Happy Days!
    I think that it is wonderful to read about ideas and advice, but you need to know yourself and your business-how much time do you want to spend on it is a good place to start.How much return on that time are you going to get in terms of money ,satisfaction and enjoyment? When is enough, enough?
    Rena, I can tell you love what you are doing- and I think our customers can also tell if what we are doing is a labour of love or a task.And if you are not loving what you are doing(most of the time) then stop doing it, there are easier and more profitable ways to earn a living!
    Tracy

  4. Aside from making jewelry, I love taking and editing the photos. I think I’m getting better at the photos. Listing items for sale and promoting them are a necessary nuisance so I limit the marketing aspect to almost minimal. My facebook links to twitter so I rarely go on twitter (which I’m not fond of). I love posting my jewelry images on a few social networks and facebook pages just for the feedback and interaction they generate, not necessarily for sales. I have however, had some sales through posting on a few jewelry business-type fb pages (large companies, like suppliers, only. I never post on the wall of individuals like me unless I’m invited.) I’ve always loved writing so I’m trying to get better at blogging. I don’t believe I try very hard to market myself and would probably be more “successful” if I did but I hate it, so I don’t. I do have to say Rena, that If it weren’t for reading your book (Social Networking, Sell Your Jewelry Online) I would be doing a lot less and making no money at all.

  5. Rena,
    always an important topic, work-life balance and prioritizing what to do for your business. I always struggle with wanting to participate in tons of online webshops (Etsy, Artfire, etc) but the key is, as you said, to focus your efforts and secondly, to put your efforts into activities that give you a return. Always try and measure your results (if you’re spending money on advertising, or doing giveaways, etc) and determine if your time is well spent.

  6. i am so glad that i just came across this article! as someone whose business is just starting out, i have been feeling totally overwhelmed by the “shoulds” and i think you hit the nail on the head with this. since my business is still in its beginning stages, a lot of what i’ve been doing, is learning what works and what is fun, but this makes me feel better about not wanting to (or be able to!) do EVERYTHING. thanks :)

  7. Its true, I found this very quickly as well. You just can’t do everything, You need to focus. Things are a lot less hectic since I started to follow this.

  8. Good subject! I have finally given up on doing market tables. In our small area there is only one that was close by to do and I’ve decided that it is a waste of time. I have no idea what to do next. The one store I had good sales at has gone out of business. I’m left with probably having to do online sales. Most likely on Facebook! My preference would be for customers to see my work in person and NOT online so I am currently thinking about my next step.

  9. Thanks for another great article Rena. I often feel overwhelmed with the marketing aspect of the business. I am active on Facebook and made lots of friends I actually also have met and am meeting up with in real life, but sales-wise it hasn’t been that successful yet – I think it takes a lot of time. My page is connected to Twitter and only occasionally I use Twitter on its own. I have collected some interesting followers through my posts – often music or cat related, because I try to mix things up in my status updates and I happen to love cats, comedy and cool music. I also write a monthly newsletter and my subscribers get an insight to my studio and they also often receive discounts. Currently I have spent a lot of time improving my website – it’s an ongoing thing really – because I am not sure if I want to have a separate Etsy/Folksy shop as that would add to the workload and would make administration of it all more complicated. Also both sites are over saturated with jewellery designers.
    I have noticed that I love showing my jewellery in my home or the customer’s home and just spend time with customers and focus on what they like, want or need, but am not keen on craft fairs. I have yet to find a good craft fair with the target audience that appreciates my wares. Ordinary table top type fairs don’t seem to work for me (so far).I also show my work on Flickr and take part in a few forums – but they are mostly craft related so I don’t really reach customers, but get a lot of support, which is also valuable. I would love to go down the personal gift shopping route where customers come to my “studio” regularly or I visit them as I think it’s much more fun and focused. There are so many other networking out there but there’s just not the time and marketing takes a lot of time. I think key to sales is also simply having customers recommending you.

  10. Ricki Ayer says:

    Thank you so much for being the “voice of reason” in this whole marketing, social networking, blog, on-line store,facebook…craziness. I am not very technical and really not into the whole networking thing. My jewelry is basically a hobby – not a business. I sell at craft shows which I have found I absolutely love to do. I sell also to friends, family & co-workers. My whole “business” is low key and I am happy with it as it is. For a while I was feeling like I “should” do the whole networking, on-line store etc. thing, but finally decided it was not for me and I am happy with my decision.
    Thank you so much for addressing this topic and making those of us who are not trying to do it all, feel like it is O.K.

  11. I love blogging and facebook, so they are the “fun” parts for me.

    When I started my jewelry business I knew I would have to “get out there” and attend networking events. I dreaded them, but now love them, and through them I have made some great new supportive friends who have also become customers.

    Orders from networking with other women now makes up a significant part of my bespoke order :)

  12. Following through to this article was an absolute “meant to be.” My marketing focus this year is to simplify my web site while adding even more product. I hate doing Facebook and Twitter, and haven’t updated my blog in 2 years, but I love working on the website.

    I’m inspired seeing your newly revised blog. I’ll revisit often while trying to rework my pages. Clean, uncluttered, easy navigation, and easy to find products to buy; that’s my goal. Thanks for “giving me permission” to not Facebook!

  13. I’m glad to hear everyone’s fun business-building activities, as well as the un-fun ones you’re glad to release. Since we can’t do it all, I feel relieved to focus intensely on just the ones that resonate with me.

    And Bev, I think you’ll have fun uncluttering your website. I always enjoy the “unburdening” of getting rid of un-needed items – whether it’s real items in my house or virtual items on my site! :)

    And if it helps in your website makeover, one guiding principle for me is:

    What you decide leave out is as important to the design as what you decide to include.

  14. Hi Rena,
    Super advice, thank you. I am still trying to do it all and it is slowly driving me crazy. I love writing and designing jewelry but social media is at times trying, is it really helping? There are many days I miss the craft shows and talking face to face with people, maybe someday I’ll go back…
    Best wishes, Jennifer

  15. Rena you are amazing! Reading your newsletters and keeping up with your site has helped me tremendously over the years. I have actually started my countdown to my last day of my full time office job to start working on my business full time and I couldn’t be happier. It is a scary thing but exciting all the same. It got to the point that I just can’t handle my full time professional job and now a growing full time jewelry business. I attribute my ability to do this to the information I have learned from your sites and also by taking part in the handmaderesults courses that you recommended in your newsletter last year. I can’t thank you enough :)

  16. I’m so happy to hear how much this post has resonated with all of you – thank you for letting me know! :)

    And Melissa – I’m so honored to have had a small part in your success! And so very thrilled that everyone’s shared ideas and tips here over the years have helped you forge your success.

    How exciting to be on your “final countdown” to your full-time jewelry business! I wish you all the best – it sounds like you have a fantastic year ahead of you, taking your jewelry to the next level!

    We’re all cheering you on!

  17. Rena,
    This is such a timely article for me. You know I’ve been reading your blogs and attached to your web site for quite awhile now. Your book Social Networking..that I bought was great help. And I have come a long way.

    Yet, I always feel I have to compete with these younger folks who are much easy with FB and Twittter and all that. There are times when I feel so over whelmed.

    I like to write my blog and picture taking, editing are also fun for me. Craft shows are fun but very demanding.

    But I just have to remind myself to take it easy and not deviate from what I really love to do – that is making jewelry .

    Dita

  18. Thanks to Rena and to all of you for your comments. You’ll never know how much they mean to me. I struggle with social media,not being a fan of Facebook or Twitter. It’s so hard to keep up with and to filter out a lot of unimportant nonsense. I’ve started to post on Pinterest just to get feedback. I don’t want to get into shipping and handling if someone wants to buy a piece. What I love to do is home jewelry parties and have had a lot of success with Rena’s suggestion and article “Jewelry Party in a Basket”. Some friends are more successful than others with this also. So I try to focus on them and to give them more jewelry incentives the more they sell and the more baskets they do.

  19. Thank God for you giving me this little piece of comfort. I love making jewelry when my mind is not bogged down with starting/let alone finishing the other tasks that I “should have been doing.” I love writing my blog and updating my online shop with new pieces that I have created. Your tidbits of wisdom has calmed me down so much. The advice of working on tasks that you love to promote your business makes my life sooooo much easier, not comparing yourself to other artists in their approach to meeting/greeting customers, and implementing self-promotion marketing strategies as outlined in your “Black Book.”

  20. Another wonderful article, it’s like you read my mind! Wow! I can’t tell you how right on you are. I have been tweeting, facebooking and promoting my shop on Etsy. Etsy links to Facebook and Twitter so it is not so bad or time consuming. I enjoy home shows, I have done some home shows and think I enjoy them the best. I just need the patience!

    Thanks for all you do!

  21. Wow, what an insightful article. I’m on a few Etsy and Artfire teams and we promote each other. I love Social Media, FB, Twitter, Pinterest, but only a few sales resulted from these sights.

    In my customer surveys, most people search on Jewish headcoverings or whatever and that’s how I’m found. So, I think I should spend less time with my “online friends” and more time with SEO.

    One of my favorite things to do is blog, and I am on a blog team. I’ve gotten a few sales from that too.

    I’m involved in too many activities and my website isn’t up to date – most things are on Etsy or Artfire. So, I’m going to have to let go of doing some things. Appreciate your article to get me thinking about this and prioritizing.

  22. Dear fellow beaders,

    Great article, I can relate to what all of you are saying and agree to many extents! I own a company named Beadtrade and am the inventor of the game bead trade. My passion and focus is and has been jewelry design for the last 26 years, I’m only 38 so yes this means I started when I was 14 years old in 9th grade.

    I started with the hemp jewelry then started buying beads. It helps greatly that my mother is an antique dealer and I always loved art and little trinkets as a child.

    I attend our farmers market and used to do festivals and art shows but the shows get costly and after booth fees ( sometimes a big disappointment if it rains and the show was outdoors!) hotel, gas, food and bringing my family along costs a lot, I would just usually leave with a few hundred dollars if not I would break even! Disappointment and a waist of time I figured out quickly!

    I attend our outdoor farmers market where I do amazing! I’m also in charge of our winter indoor market where I do really well also. This is only our 4th year so it’s still growing, but all summer I promote where I will be all winter long every Saturday!

    If you aren’t 100 percent committed to building your business on a personal level or aren’t really a people person it will be hard for you to do sales personally!

    I have a huge customer following I’ve built alone one on one. I don’t and have never done Facebook or twitter! A waist of my creative time!

    I also feel you really have to be different in this business and cater to your customers fully!

    I collect beads from all over the world and make lamp work beads also creativity wise. This helped greatly too! This is my full-time career not a hobby anymore too.

    Best luck to all
    and happy beading.
    Love,
    Beadtrade

  23. I also would like to add to my above comments, if you want to have a successfull jewelry business, you need to spend alot of time on what’s hot! This means focusing on new fashions, trends and colors are very important!

    Your future customers want to know your story on why you are a jewelry designer and why you are so passionate about what you do? I’ve met so many amazing women and men in my line of business, people want to feel they can relate to you, and that your jewelry tells a story or they in some way feel connected to your jewelry. This is way more important information than any Facebook, twitter, or website that’s a pain!

    I’ve done all of it and I’ve found people want to feel, touch and try on your jewelry along with meet the artist personally. I have an etsy for a year now and just sold my first item after 1 year, the other 40 items I had listed I had to unlist because I sold them 10 x faster personally.

    I hope all of this was helpful to the readers.
    Sincerely,
    Beadtrade

  24. What a great site this is. I sell on Etsy and it has been great.
    I’m just starting redesigning Vintage jewelry and this has been so helpful.

  25. What a relief! I have had a website since June 2012 and it took all my time to set up even though I used a simple online program and I used to do it professionally. ugh! I wanted to be making jewelry and getting better at my art. I have a FB page, Twitter, Pinterest account, and it goes on. I spend at least half a day messing with this stuff. I get lots of good feedback, but have had not one sale related to social media.

    I do love my Etsy shop. It’s easy to do and I have learned a lot and made a lot of friends that do what I do. I network there through their Teams program, where people are willing to share their info with you and give you advice.

    My passion is in doing shows. I love meeting the customer face-to-face and have gotten my best clients from shows. People want to see you, and put a face to the art. This has worked well for me.

    I appreciated your giving me the right to dislike the social media aspect of marketing. Didn’t know I needed it, but appreciate it non the less. Thank you so much!

  26. If nothing else, I am so glad to read all the comments here and know I am not alone in struggling with social media marketing. When I launched my Etsy shop in earnest a couple of years ago, I went all in, did everything “they” said I should do. Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, LinkdIn (or however you spell that!), blog giveaways, fundraiser giveaways, customer club, and now Pinterest too. I burned out pretty quickly, especially since everything was sucking so much time and bringing basically no sales in return.

    I grew to hate Facebook, even though I used to have a bit of fun with it before the business stuff. Blogging…well, mostly, my “blog” makes me aware of how NOT good it is! (And what’s the deal with blogging to drive traffic to your Etsy shop when you have to also figure out how to drive traffic to your BLOG?!)

    Now, I just pay for Etsy search ads, and hang out on Pinterest for fun. I have a pretty good following on Pinterest, but they’re mostly following me for my Friesian horse pins, not my jewelry ;) I’d like to make more sales on Etsy, but have no idea what more I could do.

    Thank you, Rena, for all the ongoing support and advice you offer to all of the jewelry artists out here trying to figure out what the heck to do :)

  27. Yes….because I can’t stand twitter! LOL Although I’m on FB, and I enjoy putting pics up there, I don’t make money through it although ppl show interest. Now, as a vendor, I rock! I love ppl and their energy. So, that comes naturally for me as well as throwing jewelry parties. Love, love, love it. But ask me to tweet this and that. Oh my, I just don’t like it! :) Great post!

  28. Rena,
    I really enjoyed this post. It took some of the burden off of my shoulders….and thank you other readers for all of your helpful tips as well. I am new to the ‘Business’ part of making. I love to make!!!…and I have been struggling to figure out what to focus on as to marketing. Our blog is about to begin and I am on FB and Etsy. I have read your “Social Networking…” and it was fantastic, and a few blog books. I feel I am gaining a greater understanding of it all, but it seems so overwhelming. Rena, you helped me step back, and I thank you!! I am allowing myself to take it in and re-evaluate, rather than thinking I have to tweet, pin, or re-post right now!!! Ha

  29. Newbie Alert!
    This is the first article I’ve read in your newsletter. It reasonates with me, because it seems everyone just luuuuvs FB. Not me. I am so encouraged by your words and will look forward to your newsletter.

  30. Rena awesome article! Thanks for sharing I so feel guilty when I start thinking of all the things that I “should” be doing & that I am especially on-line. I agree with many of the comments here about really understanding what you love doing in the first place & building on it. Personally , I truly enjoy love direct interactions & never get bored of that….so now I channel that energy into conducting presentations at small seminars, schools, social clubs,University classes and anywhere we are invited to share our “expertise”. Its FUN, exciting & quite rewarding; you meet tons of new prospects, get inspired (inspire others) & promote you business all in one go!

  31. I have an Etsy shop, an Artfire shop (which I’m closing in April) and a website, I’m working on.

    On Etsy, I’m on a few teams that promote other members and it doesn’t really result in much for me, so I’ve taken a few weeks off. I am on all the social media, but have not been posting often this past week.

    Recently I took a class about your dream client and focusing in on 1 client. I’m not sure who she is exactly yet, but I’m working on it. Also, I’m working on building my email list and am not sure what freebies to offer to new subscribers.

    I love to write, blog and I have gotten orders from my blog before. The economy is hurting some business I think. And, the online sites are allowing more resellers.

    Am doing my first fashion show in April and am excited about that. And, I’m Jewish and will be adding some Christian items to my line, so we’ll see how that goes. I love to create and am looking into economy of production and creating for that 1 client.

    Any ideas, comments are welcome.

    And, I’d like to know how many pictures of items I need to add to my website, LinorStore.com. It will be redesigned as soon as I figure out what I want it to look like.

    Rena, I love your blog. Thanks so much!

  32. I’ve been feeling guilty because I don’t have Etsy, a website,Pinterest, etc to expand my business. I do have FB but it’s more to post to followers what I am working on, the process of my silversmithing, my dog watching me . . . all the important stuff. When I see what other people post on Etsy, Pinterest, etc, and the quality of their pictures, I know I don’t want to spend my time and energy on that. My pics are usually taken with my phone on my work table. I hereby am allowing myself not to feel guilty and to focus on designing and making my jewelry and the shows I do, instead of what I’m not doing! Thanks, Rena! And all you other posters : )

  33. Ooh, another very helpful article! I think most craftspeople/artists are happiest at creating, and most of us find it difficult to deal with the problem of getting people to see what we make.
    I’m not on FB, Twitter, or any of these other places, and have been thinking about a website (I’ve obviously been thinking about it for a very long time, as I’ve owned my business domain name for the last 4 years!!!), but it’s the time and effort, not to mention energy that all this would take, that puts me right off.
    I sell at the moment through a weekly summer market, and at a pottery which I work at one day a week. I’m finding the pottery day a real trial for a number of reasons, and think that if the potter is agreeable then he’ll just take commission on sales next year, instead of me doing my day there in lieu of that.
    I do feel that if I had a website set up and the details printed on my business cards, then I’d sell to folk who look at the jewellery (or buy it) at the pottery, and at the markets, after they go home. Forgot to say that I live on an island off the west coast of Scotland and we have a reasonable holiday trade during the summer months, but it’s short lived, and very quiet the rest of the year.
    Sales have been badly hit by the recession here too, and it’s exhausting at times trying to work out what’s the best solution to getting more sales – never mind actually putting any of it into operation!
    Thank you for the great article, and also all the comments, it’s obviously struck a chord with everyone.

  34. Margo Clark says:

    Hi Rena,

    Fabulous subject and a help to everyone, I am sure. I have written before, asking for and receiving helpful advice as a person with disabilities. I hope to be officially back in business early next year.

    I am right brained, don’t know a blog from a bug or how to create a website. I thought if I had the money, I would gladly pay someone to create these for me. I wasted a lot of time with the “I shoulds.” It leaves you feeling not only overwhelmed, but wondering why you have nothing to show for all that time spent thinking instead of doing!

    While doing just that recently, I had an “AHa” moment! When I was more mobile, one of the things I loved best was interacting with people! I love to write, but do not want a faceless customer base! I love getting feedback and critique from people in person as much as I love designing jewelry!

    I decided to forget about a website completely. What a boost to my creativity! I may tackle a blog down the road to fill my love of writing and sharing, but right now, my focus is on designing, creating and combining in home events. Since I have also had years of fashion and what you would call “Face designing,” I can not only sell what I create, but help women discover their best “Jewelry style,” based on facial shape, body type, etc.

    I am really excited about this fun direction and find I no longer hear the words,”I should,” in my head. Those two little words prove you are going in the wrong direction! They are also negative because they are always followed by the word, “But,” as in “But I don’t want to……”

    People should be careful about what they think and should pay attention to the negativity in one’s own thoughts. Everyone’s path is different. Make sure you follow your own!

  35. Rena,

    Thank you for expressing what a lot have us have been feeling all along! For me, Facebook is exasperating! I tried creating a business page several times to no avail. I didn’t want my name on the page. Just my business name. I finally gave up. If doing something like that is that maddening, I know I won’t do it.

    I have a shop on Etsy and more recently, on Zibbet, designing/altering vintage jewelry. I was starting to gain some speed a year ago….and *that* took a year to do. Then for personal reasons and a huge house remodel, I took a year off. I am now back full force and working on it full time but it’s like starting over. In reading through Etsy forums and other advice from different successful artists, they always suggest that your content is as important as your art. Writing content on any promotional site is a challenge, which is why I love sites like Pinterest and Instagram. A picture is worth a thousand words. I know photo’s are posted on FB and Twitter but seems like more content is expected.

    With trying to find my way in a saturated market, a lot of trial and error is happening. I’m so thankful I came across this site. Of all the info out there, this has been the most informative site I have found. And since I am a newbie here, I am just scratching the surface of all the useful advice and tools necessary to be successful. Thanks Rena!

  36. Please, beginners, don’t get discouraged. Rena is right about doing what you love and disregarding what you don’t. Well, except for the paperwork, no way to avoid that part, unless you’re willing to hand it off to someone else…. It takes time to build a successful business, and it also takes a lot of ongoing work. Building your business, and trying new ways to see and find customers, never ends!

    I have been in business making and selling my jewelry for over 25 years, and have had my site up for more than 13. I’m slowing down craft shows –years ago I did more than 25 weekends a year– have slowly backed away from most and now only do my most lucrative, and easiest, 3 shows.

    I’ve tried FaceBook, and find it extremely odd; never know where things will show up, so rarely use it, and almost never for business things.

    My website was getting lots of traffic and quite a few sales the last few years. In fact, it was rare to have more than a week go by without a web sale. Two things have changed that, although I hope, temporarily. First, and most drastically, is the change Google has made in their search algorhythms, and second is the complete overhaul of the structure of my web site, wirewrapjeweler.com.

    I feel that of the social style sites out there, that Pinterest is evolving as a good source of traffic, and will continue to grow as a place to be seen. I admit, though, it can be a real time-thief if you let it. :)

    Oh, and for Linda, who asks how many items to add to her site… as many as you can! Take pictures of everything you make and add them often. Do not post poor photos. For ongoing sales it is good to have some items that can be replicated and some one-of-a-kind pieces. Most of my sales are for the simpler styles that can be made to order. The more elaborate pieces are, at this point for me, more for “show what I can do,” than web sales.

  37. Leslie Martin says:

    Thanks Rena!
    I so appreciate all the above comments and to know I am not alone. I have been beading and making jewelry for over 10 years, for gifts to friends/family. Only this year did I decide to try and make a business of it. Trying to get my “website” together has been a daunting task to say the least! Between having to try and capture decent photos of my pieces, and inventory everything, give descriptions, and figure prices for the shopping cart – it’s so time consuming, I have felt guilty for not having my site up and running yet, or not spending enough time on what I love doing – actually making the jewelry. So now I’m going to try and relax about it. My website will go live…. sometime. (Hopefully soon!)
    tropicaltreasuresjewelrydesign.com (Not quite live yet)
    Leslie
    Shoreline, WA

  38. Thank you so much for sharing, Rena. Your article very much affirms my sentiments. I’ve had a FB page for a while, and though I do not post everyday, I feel I keep up with it quite alright. I try to post a variety of things; I know I must learn more & can do better. :) After yeeears of saying “no” to Twitter, I have now jumped aboard…don’t ask me why, lol! I felt I could do something different & simply use it to feature outfits I’ve created that compliment my jewelry (at the same time giving website credit to shops/owners whose items I’ve chosen for the outfit) I think it may be better suited for a Pinterest platform (gasp, I uttered another another social media site! haha) but I’ll see how it goes w/Twitter first before moving on.

    Thank you again. I really appreciate everything you & your team do & share via this newsletter!

  39. I have not been in the jewelry design/creation business as some of you out there, I have been overwhelmed with all the advice from experts as to how to grow my business. As Ricki Ayers above commented, this is mainly my hobby. However, there needs to be some way to pay for my addiction so I was encouraged to open a shop on Etsy a few years ago. I wish I could just focus on just doing what I love doing which is making jewelry and having someone else be my “front man/woman”; my sales & marketing person. Leave me in the background. Unfortunately, I am not independently wealthy and so must wear many “hats” – many of which don’t really fit me. Does this affect my creativity? More than likely the answer is “yes”. I really hate doing the financial paperwork – dislike it intensely BUT again, there is no one else to do the work. I must say that my husband will do the final calculations for me for tax purposes, but I have to record it all which is a real pain for me.

    Regarding social media, I haven’t found that Facebook does anything for me regarding exposure or sales. Same for Pinterest (although I enjoy looking at the pix) or Twitter (which I see absolutely no sense to). I don’t like blogging/tweeting – as someone else mentioned, these venues make me feel like a self-important windbag. If I have something important to say, I will say it. Email lists, while I see their important from a business standpoint – my list hasn’t done me any good when I have notified people of new items or craft shows where I will be. No feedback whatsoever.

    Then there is the pricing aspect that REALLY drives me nuts. Rena, thank you for your pricing formula, but I can’t really price my items at retail – they don’t buy my stuff now at wholesale and I refuse to price my items at a loss. Guess you can see that I am totally frustrated by the whole thing and sometimes regret getting into the jewelry business in the first place. I don’t have local stores to try to sell my jewelry and am in a economically depressed area where everyone has a WalMart mentality and some actually say to my face that they can get my jewelry cheaper there. That’s a whole other subject for discussion at another time.

    I enjoy somewhat doing craft shows and interacting with the public and have met many interesting and talented people along the way. My successes at these events have been somewhat good, although what sells again are the low priced items ($15 or less) and the other items are viewed, admired and then the “sticker shock” arrives on their face and they hurry away. I even accept credit cards, but it’s not a deciding factor in sales for me.

    I would love to just focus on what I enjoy doing and having fun, but I really don’t see how that is really possible for me.

  40. JanieBlue says:

    As always you write just what we need, however I love writing and was so excited that after a shoulder reconstruction, wouldn’t be able to create for a while, I’d finally be able to get my blog going I have blogger but all the joy and excitement of the silver-lining to the op, has gone I can’t figure out how to do it at all now I am wasting so much time.
    Thank you Rena

  41. Anita – don’t give up. I feel exactly like you. Facebook and Pinterest have not generated any sales for me. I have never been a fan of Facebook even before I started making jewelry. I am not very good at self promotion! I don’t have an Etsy business just because I don’t want to have to pay for a store on this site.

    I also struggle with pricing my jewelry. In this economy it is challenging to find the right price point. People don’t have as much disposable income as they used to and they seem to hold back on what jewelry they will spend money on. If I were to price my jewelry according to some formulas I am concerned that I won’t sell anything.

    My biggest success has come from having an open house jewelry party in my home and at events such as wine and music festivals. Wine festivals can be challenging because sometimes most people that attend are there to spend money on wine only. It wears me out to have a party at my house because of the prep work in food, cleaning, etc.

  42. Rock on RenaMeister with this blog! Oh my God how I NEEDED TO SEE THIS to gain complete perspective on not pulling my hair out, lol! I have been trying to do it all and realize it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be a success at everything.
    Ever since I got too sick (with two chronic diseases) to do shows I realized that my only option was online sales. Since my website has never taken off I find that Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are the best sites that work for me. I really believe it’s about making friends, so that’s why I love Social Media. Plus, I love photography and enjoy taking pictures and editing them to make my pieces long beyond the ordinary – only to get feedback within seconds.
    I always emphasize custom made jewelry because people like to have that “added touch” to their jewelry and feel special that I take the time to make their jewelry exactly to their specifications. I think THAT is what sells in social media because these custom orders lead to repeat business.
    I must be the only one here who likes Facebook – but that is what I love to do so I’ll stick with that for now until I can get as good at blogging as you – which could be a lifetime or eternity?
    You really gave me a peace of mind with this one, Rena. Thank you!!!!!

    ~Elizabeth

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