Guest Post by Carolyn Edlund
Executive Director of The Arts Business Institute*
You love making jewelry. It’s your passion, your creative outlet, and perhaps even a bit of an obsession. But could you make jewelry in your studio and sell it to stores as a business?
Thousands of artists and jewelry designers make a full-time income by producing jewelry and selling it to galleries, boutiques, museum stores, and online catalogues. They sell their work at wholesale trade shows, through sales reps, online and directly to local store accounts.
Wholesale is not consignment. It is an outright sale to store buyers who place an order for your jewelry line and then mark up your merchandise to retail price to sell to their customers. This markup is usually 2.3 times – which means that you must be able to make your jewelry and sell to the store buyer at less than half of their retail price.
How is this done? Artists who sell their work wholesale design their jewelry line from the ground up, which means that it is created to be profitable for the artist at a wholesale price. Jewelry materials should be purchased at wholesale price from your suppliers.
Then, systems are put into place to create jewelry in production in your studio. This means that the same design is duplicated many times, packaged and shipped on time to fill orders. Your wholesale buyers will place orders from actual samples or from “line sheets” which show your entire collection. They will expect to receive merchandise that is very similar to your samples, although because your work is handmade there may be some natural variation.
If you want to sell your jewelry wholesale, you will need to create collections. These are unified groupings of products such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pins which have a signature style that pulls them together visually. Artists may have more than one collection, and sometimes their collections span different price ranges.
Whether you are self-taught or an art school graduate, you might not have a good understanding of how artists and craftspeople actually work as entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this is because business training is rarely available at art school. The Arts Business Institute is a nonprofit organization that exists for the purpose of practical business training to artists and craftspeople to help them learn the basics help provide a pathway for them to the wholesale marketplace.
Images courtesy of the Buyers Market of American Craft* - the largest trade show for handmade luxury goods in the country, where top artists and craftspeople sell their work wholesale to galleries, boutiques, museum stores, and large retailers. The Arts Business Institute partners with the Buyers Market to teach artists how to succeed in the wholesale marketplace and create more stable, thriving businesses.
*also serves Canadians
Before You Go:
- 6 Traps to Avoid when Pricing Jewelry
- Hilarious Site about when Customers are NOT always right
- 4 Easy Ways to Promote Your Online Store
- How to Package and Ship Jewelry
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips