How to Use Trunk Shows to
Market Your Handmade Jewelry

By Kristie Leong

Selling your handmade jewelry through trunk shows at galleries and boutiques can be both lucrative and rewarding for a variety of reasons.

How many times to you get the chance to display your jewelry to a targeted audience of customers without having to pay for display space? Plus, it gives you an opportunity to connect directly with the jewelry buying public and get feedback on your jewelry line, as well as find out what the jewelry buying public wants to buy.

Generally a trunk show is conducted on the premises of a fashion boutique or gallery. When you think of trunk show possibilities don't just limit yourself to clothing, jewelry, and art/craft outlets. You can also host this type of show at such retailer centers as a bridal boutique, hair salon, spa or fitness center, or even at a school or church. When you consider outlets to approach for your trunk show, think out of the box. Brainstorm a list of possible sites for your show and write them down so you'll have them available when you choose the site for your next show.

If you already exhibit your jewelry in boutiques or galleries in your area, you can approach these retailers first since they already know you and area familiar with the quality of your work. If you're approaching outlets that don't currently carry your jewelry designs, this is a great way to establish a relationship with the store so they'll be interested in marketing your jewelry in the future. Always approach store owners in a professional manner with a professionally designed brochure and business card along with price lists and samples of your work.

If the store owners you approach are unfamiliar with trunk shows, explain to them how a show featuring your jewelry can draw more traffic into their store and give their store added credibility as well as generate retail excitement. Plus, they'll benefit by receiving a commission from the sales of your jewelry with no upfront costs to them. It's truly a win-win situation.

It's important to determine the commission rate for sale of your items prior to hosting your trunk show. I've heard of commission rates going as high as 50/50 for some higher end stores with heavy traffic. For most stores, the commission should work more in your favor, in the 60/40 or even the 70/30 range. This is negotiable and should be discussed before a date for your show is set.

The store or gallery who's hosting your trunk show will be responsible for publicizing and promoting your show, although it helps if you email your current customers of your upcoming appearance. Emphasize this is their opportunity to meet the designer and see and touch all of your newest designs. Encourage the shop or gallery owner to send out a mailing or postcard advertising your upcoming trunk show. You may want to give the shop owner a disc with high quality digital photos of your jewelry designs to use in their mailing.

Trunk shows are usually set up in the front of the store's entrance in order to attract the attention of customers as they enter the store. You'll want to have an eye catching, professional display of your jewelry designs along with any relevant literature about your business and a prominently displayed business card. If the store agrees, you can also display an email sign up book to collect email addresses for future marketing campaigns. Be sure to dress professionally and be ready to answer questions in a helpful and friendly manner.

You'll want to pay particular attention to what customers at your show look at or purchase. This can help you to determine local jewelry trends and can help you decide what future adjustments you need to make to your jewelry designs. Plus, if you'll be pursuing a wholesale or consignment arrangement with this store in the future, you'll want to know what items will move best in their particular store.

All in all, a trunk show can be a valuable research and learning experience as well as open up new markets for your handmade jewelry designs. Why not give it a try?

Author Kristie Leong M.D. specializes in helping handmade jewelry designers find new markets for their jewelry. She publishes a blog and has website full of information on jewelry marketing at Article Source: EzineArticle.

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