What to Do When Your Handmade
Bead Jewelry Isn't Selling

Your handmade bead jewelry is good and it still isn't selling? Poor sales happen to all of us, even when we are convinced we have a sure winner on our hands. A small modification in an item selling poorly can increase sales dramatically.

There is always a reason why one of your jewelry pieces are not selling and usually it is a very simple one. Obviously you must either make one or two changes or make something else. Investigate why your items won't sell by seeking the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have it in the right place?

    One of the first things you have to do is to check to see if you are marketing your handmade bead jewelry in the right marketing channel. Not every product sells well in every market. Something that will sell well at craft shows may not sell in a clothing boutique or specialty shop and something that sells well in a gallery will most likely be a disaster selling through mail-order. If your product has a modern or contemporary appeal it will probably not sell well at a country crafts and collectibles show or store.

  • Are you targeting the right customer?

    Will your handmade bead jewelry be most likely bought as a gift or as a personal item? Will the customer most likely be male or female, young or old? Does it matter? It is important to position your jewelry to attract the right group of buyers that it is intended for.

  • Are you selling at the right time?

    The time of year or the season in which you are selling your handmade bead jewelry may have great impact on it's selling success. It is difficult to sell products with a Christmas or winter theme in the spring or summer, and vice versa. Colours also follow seasons. You will probably have a hard time selling handmade jewelry as Valentine's or Mother's Day gifts using black and orange, or red and green beads.

  • Are you selling at the right price?

    It is possible that your jewelry may be overpriced or underpriced? Just as different markets attract different buyers, they attract people willing to pay certain prices. If your item is significantly lower in price than most of the other products similar to yours the customer will wonder what is wrong with your jewelry giving the perception that it is of poor quality and will not buy. If, on the other hand, your products are priced significantly higher than similar produced items, and are of the same quality, then the buyer will most likely purchase the lower priced ones.

  • Are your handmade jewelry designs in style?

    Do your designs look updated and fresh or do they look like last year’s offerings. Customers seek newness! One difficult aspect of the jewelry business is that it’s subject to trends which makes people want to always see something new.

  • Is your handmade bead jewelry functional as well as decorative?

    You could design a beautiful and unique piece of wearable art but if it is too heavy, too long, not long enough, too clunky, too chunky, too fragile, parts that easily catches on things or threads from the clothes or the wearer, extremely difficult to get on or off, or can fall off the wearer to easily then it is not really considered functional.

  • Are you using the right materials?

    Take a close look at the materials you are using and see if there is anyway you can improve your jewelry designs by changing them. Maybe they are outdated, or the wrong color, or of poor quality.

  • Maybe you need to change your designs.

    Barbara Brabec, in book Creative Cash, suggests that you must develop creativity and design ability, she also says that "Your craftsmanship may be superior, but if your designs are poor (or worse, copied from other craftspeople) you may experience difficulty in selling, particularly to established shops and stores. Sophisticated buyers can spot copied designs and kit products a mile away." Design is all-important if your crafts are to gain sales and your skills are to receive recognition. Develop a design that is uniquely your own yet fulfils the functional wants and desires of your customers.

  • Do your customers know about your product?

    People perceive things according to their standards and what they know about your product. The more you let customers know about your handmade bead jewelry the more they will pay for it. If your jewelry design is a difficult and time consuming process and therefore warrants a higher price tag then let your customers know this by simply attaching an explanatory card to each piece, stating the process involved in the production of the item.Does you it have a story or history behind it or made for a particular purpose? Again let your customers know.

    This is what separates your jewelry from mass marketed jewelry. Let your customers know about you, the designer and why your designs are so special. Establish a connection with your customer and you’ll make your customer feel much more comfortable buying from you.

  • Is your product a fad that has fizzled?

    If the handmade bead jewelry you make are a fad, don't make a large supply even if it is selling very quickly. You don't know when the fad suddenly will die. While you are making this item, look for other ideas so that you will be ready to switch to a new item when this one is no longer popular. On the other hand, if you are right in the middle of a fad, take advantage of it by trying to incorporate some of these designs into your pieces, if moons and stars are big use them in your design, if roses or pansies are popular use them. Just be careful not to produce too many in case the fad dies quickly.

  • Is your product attractively packaged?

    Packaging not only helps protect your handmade bead jewelry but when they are attractively packaged, they are more likely to be purchased as gifts. Also by packaging your products as a set may help to influence the buyer to purchase more than just a single item, especially when customers see how nice your products look together as a set.

  • Does your display grab attention?

    The display and presentation of your jewelry is a critical factor in getting customers to stop and look at your work. If you fail to attract the consumer's attention they may walk by your work—no matter how good it is. A good display must create interest and desire to motivate the customer to stop and browse at the merchandise for sale in it. (For more detailed information on creating an effective display, see Displaying Jewelry to Sell.)

  • Do you provide quality customer service?

    Not only does your handmade bead jewelry have to be of high quality to sell but so does your business have to show high quality in customer service.

    No matter how beautiful and unique your designs are or how well your jewelry is made, if the customer isn't happy with your service they will take their business elsewhere.

    Studies have shown that 60% to 80% of a business' sales are from repeat customers, this is why it is so important not to worry so much about making a sale, but to create customers. You must therefore treat each prospective customer with enthusiasm, courtesy and consideration.

    Be friendly and attentive to their needs at all times. They may not buy much from you on the first sale, but if they are impressed with your service, you can be guaranteed that they will be back, and with no doubt, pass your name on to other prospective customers.

  • Pay attention to detail.

    Take a good look at your jewelry. Maybe some of your pieces needs that extra little touch, that special little detail to take it from mediocre to outstanding. On the other hand, does it have any detail that may take away from the overall design, that little extra something that over does it.

  • Is your handmade bead jewelry unique?

    This is probably one of the most important questions to ask yourself. Is your jewelry different? Is it original, unusual, distinctive? People buy craft products not only because of the better quality, but also because they are unique, something that is not found mass produced in stores, something that they can be proud to own. The product itself or it's function doesn't have to be so unique but it's design should be. It should be creative and imaginative, something that stands out from the rest.

It is important to stand back and look at your handmade bead jewelry critically and be honest with yourself, is it time to make some changes? One word of warning, don’t make more than one change at a time. Start with one simple change and test your market to see how it responds. You need to be able to identify which change brought the results.

Related Articles:

What Makes a Good Beaded Jewelry Design
Find out why a good jewelry design must be distinctive enough to influence buyers, leading them in the decision to purchase it.

Beaded Jewelry Designs: The Importance of Quality
Discover why quality is so important to a good jewelry design.

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