Selling Jewelry Retail

When you are selling jewelry retail, also called direct selling, means selling your products directly to the consumer on a person-to-person basis in small quantities.

To do your own retailing you must register your business which gives you the ability to buy supplies from wholesale suppliers.

Wholesalers typically sell for about half the price of retailers (and have better selections.) Purchasing your jewelry making supplies wholesale will allow you to price your work more competitively.

Laws regarding business registration requirements vary from place to place. Contact your local business development office, chamber of commerce or town or city clerk’s office to determine the registration requirements in your own location.

In Canada if you sell jewelry retail you must apply for a Vendor Permit. There is no charge for this permit and you can register through your area Revenue Canada Taxation Retail Sales Tax Office.

Your responsibilities to selling jewelry retail is to charge the correct retail sales tax on the total value of all taxable goods and services. You must collect and send the tax and completed tax returns to the Minister of Finance.

Your local retail sales tax district office will provide you with more information and also issue you a vendor's permit which is a certificate of authority to collect the tax, send you reporting forms and all the necessary instructions, and advise you of dates (usually monthly) for remitting tax collected.


Many jewelry designers enjoy dealing with and talking to their customers and appreciate the comments they get from the people who like and buy their work. By wholesaling your work you have no personal exposure nor direct feedback from the public.

Another advantage to selling jewelry retail is that you know your product intimately and can probably sell it more effectively than anyone else. Also, if you can keep your selling costs low, you can charge double your wholesale price and all the profits are yours.

Direct retail selling also gives you the chance to see what the competition is doing, especially in craft shows. When dealing directly to the public you can also build a mailing list by getting names and addresses of customers for future sales.


The biggest disadvantage to sell jewelry retail is the time spent exhibiting at shows—when you could be producing.

When calculating time spent attending shows you must also consider the time spent in preparing for it, travelling there and back, setting up and dismantling your display, packing and unpacking your products then repacking the unsold merchandise, and of course the hours spent sitting in your booth.

Another disadvantage is that the selling costs of retailing your work can be high: entry fees into craft shows, travelling and accommodation expenses, display costs, bags and other packaging materials, etc.

Unless you are able to keep your selling costs low, you will have to price your products high enough to cover these expenses and yet still make a profit.

If you plan to sell your work strictly through craft shows, the most popular being at Christmas and in the Spring, you may find yourself living on a financial roller coaster.

Establish a Merchant Account

If you sell jewelry retail then you should consider establishing a merchant account so you can accept credit cards. It is not difficult to establish a merchant account. It does take a bit of research to determine which company and type of account will be best for you. Most banks where you hold your business bank account will be able to help you get set up or you could check out 1st National Processing Merchant Services a resource for wireless & portable payment processing needs.

A lot of people hate carrying cash with them, or they may have spent their cash and would love to purchase one of your unique pieces of jewelry. Don't lose that sale, they may not come back or forget where they had seen you exhibiting. Being able to accept credit cards will go a long way to helping you increase sales in your home based jewelry business.

Methods to Selling Jewelry Retail

The following is a brief description of some of the numerous ways to retail your work. Throughout this site you will find articles devoted exclusively to some of these marketing channels giving you a step-by-step approach on how to market selling jewelry retail through them.

Craft Shows & Fairs

A craft show or fair is a showcase of craftspeople who get together, exhibit and sell their work to the buying public. Show organizers rent booth spaces to these crafters, and are responsible for all the advertising, promotion and management for the show.

Craft shows have been the launching pad for many successful jewelry designers, and is the best way to get your business off the ground. Selling jewelry retail through craft shows give beginning craftspeople their first sales experience, allowing them to gain confidence in dealing with the public. Testing prices, the saleability of products plus generating first profits are other advantages.

All kinds of shows and fairs are run varying in size from a Sunday-afternoon event (with a few tables set up in a church hall) to a two week or longer event (with hundreds of booths) at a major craft show. Craft shows are held indoors and out, at street fairs, in exhibition halls, in school gyms, community centers and shopping malls.

There are two types of craft shows:

  • Juried - where hopeful exhibitors have to submit slides or photos of their work to prove it is of a type and quality desired for a particular event
  • Non-juried - which are open to all comers on a first-come-first-served basis, and are usually the starting point for many crafters.

Click here for more detailed information on how selling jewelry retail through craft shows.

Niche Markets

Niche markets are core groups of people who have similar occupational and/or lifestyle characteristics that you can target with excellent results.

Just about every niche industry has their own speciality store or show that sell products and services to their own niche target customers.

Selling jewelry retail through niche markets with specialty shows in a related industry can be a good option beyond the traditional jewelry or craft show and an excellent opportunity to expand your market

By brainstorming through the different niches, you could design and create a whole new line or modify some of your present jewelry designs to meet the needs of a particular niche.

Click here for more detailed information on how selling jewelry retail through Nich Markets. (This new page coming soon)

Studio Sales

Many jewelry designers set up private studios in their home where they work, teach, and sell either on a custom-order basis or on a browse and shop basis. Where zoning laws permit, these jewelry designers may elect to open year-round retail shops in their home to sell their work and possibly other crafter's or jewelry designer's products as well. Some may even wish to sell supplies from their studios.

Many artisans hold "open houses" in their studios two or three times a year and/or participate in organized studio tours. These events are where you open your studio to the public and people come, not only buy your jewelry, but also to watch the techniques you use in creating your work.

Vendor Carts & Kiosks

There are many opportunities for jewelry designers selling jewelry retail from kiosks and pushcarts. As well as street vending they are great for setting up in malls, parking lots, outdoor markets and in other stores for high-volume traffic. Revolving mainly around small impulse items or unique gifts, well structured, eye catching, kiosks and carts are a viable alternative to opening a retail shop.

Many malls and outdoor markets have ready made kiosks and carts that they rent to vendors. If you have found an area or mall where you would like to rent or set up a kiosk, ask to speak to the marketing or public relations director. Ask about fees and kiosk sizes, explaining the type of product you would like to sell. If you have your own kiosk enquire about the cost of setting it up in their location.

Rented Shelf Space

Renting shelf space or a small area of a craft or gift shop, or a specialty boutiques is becoming a more popular way for jewelry designers to sell their work. Although consignment is an inexpensive, no-risk way for shop owners to stock their shelves, it is often an unsatisfactory arrangement for jewelry designers. Rented shelf space arrangement, on the other hand, have benefits for both the shop owner and the jewelry designer. The shop owner is still able to stock her shelves without buying outright, and the jewelry designer retains control over possession of her work.

The arrangement is simple: The store owner agrees to provide a specific amount of shelf, wall, or floor space for a set period of time and the jewelry designer agrees to pay a certain rent (plus sometimes, depending on the store, a commission of about 5 to 10 percent). Renting shelf space insures the shop owner a definite income each month, and he or she continues to handle all aspects of selling the goods. The jewelry designer sets up, decorates and displays their items in any fashion they choose as long as they stay within their own space. They also may remove or change the items on their shelf during the month. Its up to the jewelry designer to re-stock their shelf space after items have been sold.

The success of this arrangement for both the jewelry designer and the shop owner is based upon a mutual appreciation of each other's efforts to sell the work. The complete agreement, including all the specifics, should be written down and signed by both parties. At the end of the first rental period, a meeting should be held to discuss any complaints and to offer suggestions for improving the relationship.

Your Own Web Site

Selling jewelry retail through your own web site is an alternative way of reaching customers both nationally and internationally —without ever leaving your workshop or studio. This is the fastest growing method of marketing in the country, because it offers convenient and easy shopping for the buyer and for the seller. North Americans accept and appreciate the convenience of web purchasing, and the jewelry designer can do everything from their studio or workshop.

Selling jewelry retail through the web simply means conducting a business without personal contact. In such a way orders are solicited on their web site. The merchandise is shipped by any means of suitable transportation, and the money is generally sent by mail.

Click here for more detailed information on selling jewelry retail through your own website. (This new page coming soon)

Home Party Plans

The home party plan is a profitable way to selling jewelry retail and is a method of product marketing in which you ask a hostess to sponsor a party for her friends. At this informal party you demonstrate and display your jewelry to the hostess and her invited guests, orders are taken, but merchandise is not delivered until later.

Today an almost limitless variety of products are marketed through party plans—everything from well known staples such as Tupperware to such nontraditional items as crystal, makeup, clothing, toys, artwork, jewelry, intimate lingerie—and now handcrafts.

Selling jewelry retail through a party plan can be a very economical way of marketing your jewelry because you don't need money for booth or table rental and you can choose the dates when you would like to sell or demonstrate at a party. If you feel that you cannot produce enough products for a party plan then you could consider acting as a sales agent for other jewelry designers to add to your own line.

Click here for more detailed information on Selling Jewelry through a home part plan.

Holiday Boutiques

A holiday boutique is another great opportunity to selling jewelry retail it is often set up to run on a weekend can be a profitable and rewarding alternative to selling at craft fairs or through local shops. A holiday boutique or an open house is a craft or jewelry show that is operated once or twice a year. Usually, they are organized and operated from your home or garage, but they can take place in very special places, such as historical houses or church halls.

These exciting events are usually organized by one or two individuals who take on the responsibility of selling the craft items to the buying public. All the work is done by the organizers such as promoting the boutique, finding suppliers (other artisans willing to participate in the show), setting up displays, selling, replacing inventory, advertising, and so on.

Click here for more detailed information on selling jewelry retail through Holiday Boutiques. (This new page coming soon)

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