I know you lovely jewelry makers love to make One-of-a -Kinds. It’s not only fun, but it’s practical because you just use what you have. When I first started in jewelry I would do the same thing as well, but I soon found out that this wasn’t helping me grow my business and it wasn’t sustainable.
At least for me, my pieces weren’t expensive enough to make any significant money from the sale of only one item per design. The first thing I had to do was to consider all my costs, and make sure I was earning a profit from every sale. Once I knew that, then I had to be smart about the selling part.
Let me share a story. In the very, very beginning, I had a boutique that I was selling to at least once a month or every other month in addition to my trunk shows and random sales to family and friends. The boutique wanted to see new, fresh, and fabulous stuff every single time. So this was all fine and good until I added another store, another store, and so on. I was exhausting myself trying to come up with brand new sparkling designs basically every few weeks, and now not just for one store, but for a few. Not to mention the time buying little bits of inventory here and there. Consider all the time you take to create one piece, start capitalizing on that creativity. Make the most of every design you come up with or you’ll burn out. Remember, these are brand new designs to anyone who hasn’t seen them yet, even if they’ve been in your studio for months.
In truth, once you have one store buying from you on a regular basis, you really have to start thinking bigger. If you want to make this a business, and I assume you do, then you must actively pursue more stores.
From the time you buy your supplies, beads and components, you need to anticipate more than one sale per design. A good start can be, buy enough for three duplicate pieces. Pieces that will be your sample to show and sell to stores, maybe one to have in stock for your online store, and a back up that could go to a trunk show, direct sale, or another store.
You also need to make up a reference book of your designs. For me, this was simply, laying down my completed piece on my home copier, making a copy of it, and keeping it in a binder. This is going to do a couple things; first you will have a record of your designs, which you can then give a style number, second, you will be able to easily breakdown all it’s components, so you can cost it out, and third when you go to remake it, you can make an exact copy of it. And, big, big bonus, when you start getting production help, that person can look at the image to more easily remake the item.
Keeping an up to date design book, is going to help you so much! I can’t tell you how many designers I talk to never make this reference image/ library for themselves, that is until I make them do it and it is life changing. It will save you so much time in so many ways.
Obviously, this advice applies to those of you who want to grow your business. You want to sell to stores, have an online shop, and sell to customers directly. Making only one unit per design is not going to get you there. You have to think a little bigger, and in the end, that will save you time and help you to grow your business.