Someone emailed me about my last blog to see if I had any wisdom to impart to her about selling artisanÂ products both on the web and off that were on the high end of the pricing structure and after a long reply to her, I decided it would make a good blog.
First of all, there is, unfortunately, no secret formula, and nothing guarantees success, but I think that just applying sound business practices is the way to go.Â If you price your work fairly and commandÂ the retail price that it deserves, you are going to have resistance selling on the web. That doesn't mean you won't sell - just that it will take longer.Â I look at my web site as my catalogue.Â I make mostly OOAK pieces and the main reason for the site is so that retail stores can see my products. Any selling that I do is gravy, I cannot nor will not compete with people who price their product below the cost of supplies or who sell at a wholesale price in a retail environment.
I think that I have resistance selling on the web because I need older women with disposable income to buy my product and I don't think that the majority of those women are comfortable buying here.Â When I was one of those women, the web was the last place that I would have looked for a piece of jewelry. I admit that this is a situation in flux and more and more people have a higher comfort level with on line shopping all the time...but in general, I think that this is true. Still, one of my best clients, a friend of a friend, could not purchase from me without my web site.
I used to give a lecture series to dentists and one of my favorite lines was - "Marketing materials are like cow dung -Â they do you no good if you don't spreadÂ them around."Â If you have spent money on cards, bios, whatever - use them.Â I give them to every person that I come in contact with, waitresses, hostesses, bank tellers...you name them, IÂ give them cards.Â Any stranger on the phone gets my web site address.Â You never know when you will hit someone who is dying to buy your product.
The last part of my advice to this person concerned getting our products into retail outlets.Â We are in a large city, Phoenix, so I have many options.Â I feel that getting into shops takes usually 6 to 12 months...I always check them out first and see if my jewelry fits, if it does, I ask for the owner/manager and try to set up an appointment. They usually want to see my web site and will then set up an appointment. But it takes forever and they don't answer messages.Â I hate cold calls, but I have not figured out a better way to do this and if you get lucky they will look at your stuff that day, but don't count on that. I always apologize for the cold call but tell them that that is the only way that I have to evalute their shop.Â Try not to do consignment but if you do, make sure it is 60% to you and 40% to the shopÂ - why should a shop owner have your product for free and then only give you a wholesale price, it's wrong.Â But for my first shop in Scottsdale, I did 50/50Â because I wanted and needed to get in that first door.Â Â I have sent large numbers of cold emails and followed up with telephone calls and that has not been as effective as going to the shops and talking to someone in person.
Always be looking for outlets, at home, on vacation, beauty shops - think outside the box..we are buying a new car today and I am telling the guyÂ - if he expects me to buy this car, he can buy a necklace. I won't be quite that blunt about it in person. Â We bought the car and the salesman bought a pair of earrings.Â I think that I handed out the most business cards I have ever passed out at one stop, at least 50.Â Never leave the house without your jewelry on - you are your own best advertisement.Â
Just like any business, I feel that we have to treat our clients with kid gloves...go the extra mile that no one does today. Give the type of service to your clients that you would like to recieve and is almost impossible to find today.Â Be conspicious by your attention to detail, bend over backwards for everyone and these tried, but true adages will help your business, no matter what you are selling.