Can turning down jewelry orders actually be a good thing for your business?
When I first started selling my handmade jewelry, I never turned anyone down.
I needed the money, and I didn’t have much of an established customer base.
So unless the project involved skills or tools I didn’t have (and couldn’t acquire quickly), I said “yes!” to every jewelry order that came my way.
But then I came up against a jewelry order that made me do some re-thinking.
A new customer asked me to make a wire prong ring for a large, expensive, faceted gem she had.
Wire prongs have never come easily for me, and I was intimidated by the gem involved in this project.
But I still said “yes!”.
Then I got home and started to panic
about creating this ring
For several days I struggled with creating practice versions of wire prongs, trying to get the technique just right so I could create a secure setting for this valuable, imposing gemstone.
But I still couldn’t consistently come out with prongs that were the right size, nicely formed, and without tool marks.
I wasn’t getting anything else done, and I was stressing and sweating over not feeling ready to step up and make the final version of this dreaded ring.
Finally I accepted the fact that I would never feel comfortable doing this project, and that the time I’d already wasted on trying to get ready for it had probably eaten up the profit I would have earned from making it.
So I gathered my courage and contacted the customer to explain that I wasn’t able to do this project after all.
Naturally she wasn’t happy about the delay I’d caused her, but she appreciated my honesty.
As soon as I returned her gem to her, I felt hundreds of pounds lighter, and so much happier.
And I realized that I shouldn’t have accepted that order in the first place.
Reasons why turning down a jewelry order
can be the best choice:
- You don’t have the skills or tools required for the project.
- The customer wants you to copy another artist’s work.
- The customer is difficult to work with.
- You’ll have trouble meeting the deadline for the finished piece.
- You already have all the work you can handle.
- The project would take your work in a direction you don’t want to go.
- You wouldn’t be able to make a fair profit for your work.
- For any reason you feel that you couldn’t do your best work on the project.
Customers actually respect artists
who graciously decline orders
They appreciate your professionalism and your focus on quality.
Whenever you do turn down a jewelry order, try to recommend another artist who might be a good fit for the project.
The customer (and the other artist!) will appreciate that – and it’s likely the other artist will refer some work to you someday in return.
Do you turn down jewelry orders sometimes – and how do you handle the situation?