One of the biggest challenges in the world of handmade jewelry is market saturation. It seems like no matter what craft someone does, somewhere along the way they're going to do something with jewelry whether it's related to their craft or not. The next time you go to a craft fair, take a look around and see how many tables are peddling all manner of cutesy rustic craftwork - and have at least one display of beaded jewelry on the side.
Making your jewelry unique can be difficult, or it can be so unbelievably easy you'll marvel that you didn't realize how that could be done before. No matter what medium you choose for your jewelry-making, you can make truly unique pieces. However, not only must the buyer see your gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces, they must also realize how it's unique and what really makes it special in order to really seal the deal.
Finding a market that will effectively reach the kind of audience that will buy your jewelry can be a little tricky. Craft shows, word-of-mouth, in-home jewelry shows and online marketplaces such as http://www.etsy.com or auction sites like eBay all present possible sales opportunities. Which of these methods will prove most effective for you depends largely on what audience your creations cater to. Do you live in a small town but love designing high-end jewelry fit for black-tie affairs or posh night clubs? Online marketing will help reach more of this selective market. Does your preference run to everyday office jewelry or cutesy accessories in the $10-$50 range? Craft sales and jewelry parties may prove much more profitable than spending listing fees and dealing with shipping.
Lowering your price just to make a sale is almost never the answer. Not getting any sales? Make sure your pieces are priced so that you get what you need out of them, then look for the niche market that can and will spring for it. Often it's a good idea to carry pieces for all budgets - anything from the $10 stocking stuffer on up to the $900 bridal piece - so that whoever is looking can find something they can afford. If you're not sure what to charge, you can either search for similar pieces, or figure the price of materials and amount of time spent making the item and decide on a fair hourly wage for yourself and price accordingly.
Don't limit yourself to one market. You may choose either online or offline methods for selling, you may sell items for yourself or put them on consignment - whatever you decide for your primary sales focus, make sure it's not your only focus. Diversity in marketing will result in a wider, more diverse selection of potential customers. Sales is a numbers game, the more people you reach the better chance you have of a sale.
If you're not proud of your own creations, how can you expect anyone else to be? Always wear something you've made unless safety or work regulation prevents it. Keep a few business cards tucked into your wallet and display your jewelry proudly, you never know who might see it and comment. Every, "That's so pretty! Where did you get it?" is a golden opportunity to tell the admirer about your business and offer them a business card.
Repeat sales in jewelry are, as with everything else, the lifeblood of the business. Finding the customers with the tastes that match your styles and the budget to buy can be tough, so you don't want to lose them once you have them. Keep expanding your skill set and experimenting with new looks, if your selection becomes stagnant your existing customers will stop looking. Selling handmade jewelry for a decent profit is tough, but it's far from impossible, with a little bit of perseverance and creativity you can make it happen.