Where do I sell this stuff?

When I started my business in March of 2007, I did not realize how much searching it would take to find places to sell my hand crafted jewelry, but there are some tips I can give which I am already following for my 2008 festival circuit.

Find a state map of the state you live in.

  • I usually search for a map on the internet
  • I also look for a map that does not have every single city on it because in general, the more attended shows are in cities that are on a somewhat un-detailed map.
  • I usually start my search with cities that I am willing to drive to.
    Then I search for the cities chamber of commerce web page.
    Usually the local chamber of commerce webpage has a listing of all the events for the year
  • Sometimes there is even a link to an art fair that may have a strange name that wouldn’t have come up by searching generic terms such as “art fair Marquette, MI
  • If I find a particular fair I am interested in, I look for the artists that we in the show last year and find their personal web pages and get a feel for the type of work that is at this show.
  • Also, I look for links off of the festivals page for other festivals in the area, you can also look at the links on other local artists web pages.

Ask experienced people in from your local area

  • I generally ask people about their festival circuits.
  • I try to ask people who are either not working in the same medium as me or, I talk to people who have stopped doing festivals, but have had experience in selling the same types of items I am selling
  • I would say that this is a pretty accurate way of finding lucrative venues, but don’t take this as your only guide. There are other factors such as the what type of item they may have been selling compared to the market. Also, the economy is changing all of the time, so do not expect anything that may have happened 10 years ago for someone else.

  • I would like people to leave comments on ideas that have worked for your festivals, or if you have any ‘outside the field’ advice it is more than welcome!

    Beach Glass and Sterling Silver

Lake Superior Beach Glass and Sterling Silver Bracelet (not for sale) and Ring (sold)

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8 Comments

Filed under Business Tips, Festivals & Shows, Hand Crafted Jewelry, Jewelry Business, Jewelry Making, Workshops

8 responses to “Where do I sell this stuff?

  1. I know who has that ring 🙂

    Beth the bracelet says not for sale but I want it …plllllllllllllleeeeeeeease

  2. Diane Mohr

    Hi, Beth, My daughter & I happened onto your work while vacationing last summer in Macinak Island (Macinak City). First, she got a pretty silver & copper necklace & I need to know the best/safest way to clean it. Second, we really like your work, but I doubt we’ll see you in person again-unless you’d consider traveling to the Quad-Cities.??? So. is there a way to see more. I’m not great with the computer. Thanks!

  3. Diane,

    Hi, I am glad you found my website. I am not sure which piece you purchased from me because I made only one of a kind pieces this summer, but I can give you a few tips on cleaning. If you bought a piece which was only copper or had copper and silver parts, they probably have gotten darker through oxidation. A simple cheap method is to use a mixture of baking soda and water with an old tooth brush. Just get the piece of jewelry wet and sprinkle some baking soda on and scrub a little bit. If you have a green kitchen Scotch Brite Pad, that would also work, but may leave the surface without a high polish. If you want a higher polish version you can get a jewelry polishing cloth at any jewelry store. I like the Sunshine brand, but anything that cleans and polishes silver will work on copper.

  4. All of your tips for how to find and participate in fairs are wonderful. But I did one fair and decided it was not for me. Any tips on getting into galleries and boutiques?
    The ring and bracelet pictured above are truly unique and beautiful.

  5. A recent question was posted by Dianne Lehmann:
    “All of your tips for how to find and participate in fairs are wonderful. But I did one fair and decided it was not for me. Any tips on getting into galleries and boutiques?”

    I guess the best way to answer this is to tell where my jewelry is for sale and how I got it there. I have jewelry for sale at the college I am currently attending (Northern Michigan University). The way I found out that I could sell my jewelry there was by asking the secretary in the office. The art work for sale at NMU is made by alumni or current students. I had to fill out some minimal paperwork and then my items were for sale at NMU.

    I have jewelry for sale at a new local bead store called Bella Beads. I went into her place of business, told her that I was running my own jewelry business. Leila said that she was looking for local jewelry, so I had a second place to sell my jewelry.

    I have jewelry for sale at Tom Wolfe’s Studio because he taught a class at NMU that I took a few years ago. I made sure my jewelry was there for Art Stroll.

    I also submit my jewelry to the Student Art Gallery on campus and generally get accepted to the show.

    I suppose many of my connections are based on the fact that I am in college and am making valuable connections to people with galleries, but I will try to give you some helpful information which could apply to anyone, college educated or not.

    Boutiques and Consignment

    1. Be confident when approaching local businesses.

    2. The best way to have a boutique consider your jewelry is by making an appointment to show them your items. Scope out stores before you call about having your items sold there. See if they have items which would go well with your handmade items.

    3. If you are confident, you may approach the person working and ask if they have an locally made items. If they do, ask to be shown these pieces specifically. If you are feeling comfortable ask if the items are on consignment. You could say to the person that you also are a local artist and are interested in having your items for sale in their store. If they seem particularly interested, ask to set up an appointment to show them your items. If they don’t seem very interested, don’t push it, they might not be in charge of the consignment. It may be a good idea to ask the name of the person in charge of consignment. Also, I would suggest wearing one or two of your handmade items, so they have a preview of your work.

    4. Give them your business card. Call back in a few days and try to set up an appointment to show your items.

    5. Appear professional on any occasion you go into their establishment. They will treat you in the way your attire commands them to treat you. Dress as if you were having a job interview.

    5 . Have a professional way to show your items to the person in charge of consignment. I am still working on this, it is difficult to have portable, professional, compact, and functional traveling displays! I like to make my own displays, but you can order many different traveling displays from jewelry packaging and display companies.

    6. Get some sort of documentation from the person taking your items, you don’t want any strange disputes.
    Galleries and Exhibits

    Coming Soon!

  6. Martha

    What about cost for the space to sell your stuff

  7. There are many different percentage “gallery fees.” In general I am paying out a 30-40% commission to the stores/galleries. In other words, the gallery receives 30-40% of the retail price. I think it is fine to ask a gallery what their take is before bringing your work in. I always figure out ahead of time what I need to get as a base price and then stick to it.

  8. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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