October has barely just started but for those of you who sell your handmade jewellery, you should already be thinking about Christmas. Christmas is one of the biggest opportunities of the year to increase sales. People are thinking of getting special gifts for their friends and family and what's more special than an item that has been lovingly hand-crafted?
You should be thinking about the items that you would like to sell and begin collecting the materials that you will need. The worst thing in the world you can do is wait until everyone else remembers that they can make jewellery too because the stock in the stores will fly off the shelves the closer it gets to December 25th.
After you've determined the jewellery that you want to make, you should start physically making these items and stock up. This will make life much easier for several reasons:
1. It's so much easier when you already have items for customers to look at because people often don't know what they want. If you can show them pieces already made up, sometimes you won't have to go to the extra trouble of making something new or trying to decipher what it is that your customers want made. Maybe all you'll have to do is change the colour of an item.
2. When people start requesting that you make specific pieces for them, all your time will go into making these and you may not have much time left for anything else.
3. Another good reason to have pieces in stock is for all those last minute customers who suddenly remember they were supposed to get a gift for someone and rush to you in a panic the day before Christmas, you'll have items available for them to purchase.
Please get a down-payment on items that people special-order. You can decide whether you want 50% of the final selling price or for the customer to at least pay for the materials. The deposit will deter customers from making orders and then changing their minds about collecting the finished piece. Also it means that you don't have to use your own money to purchase materials or to spend on the gas or bus fare you'll need while you're purchasing them.
Take advantage of websites such as Facebook to market yourself to potential customers and show off your work. Read the tips in my post, How to Photograph Your Beaded Jewellery, to learn how to take the best possible photographs. The prettier your pictures, the more they will appeal to customers. Stay away from cluttered backgrounds and remember light is your friend! Include a price and short description of the piece of jewellery. The description should state the type of jewellery, e.g. whether it is an anklet or bracelet (this will be difficult to determine from a picture) and the dimensions of the piece. Dimensions, especially length, are very important as everyone's body is different (not everyone can wear a 7.5" bracelet) and everyone has their preferences (long earrings vs. short). Names for each piece would also be beneficial because it makes it easier for people to reference when they contact you to order or to ask for information. Also naming a piece makes you look a more professional.
Above all, maintain good customer service habits. Ensure you are available during business hours, if you have specific hours, be polite and ensure you finish your work by your deadline, if you have one. If you do all this, you will reap the benefits later, aka repeat business!