The March panel discussion on selling jewelry included Sue Stachelski, Traci Otte, Marilee Rockely, and Candi Corrigan.
Cindy Collins moderated as well as adding an occasional comment. Each participant brought a different sales experience to the discussion giving members a nice overview of the topic.
Traci and Marilee both develop patterns and instructions. Traci also sells kits and enjoys teaching at the Bead and Button show as well as Knot Just Beads and other venues. Marilee has published several books on tatting, two are self-published. She also has a Craftsy class which continues to draw students. Sue and Candy focus on selling. Sue prefers smaller venues because of inventory concerns while Candy does juried shows and has begun participating in shows across the state. Traci sells at shows in Wisconsin and Illinois and also from her own website and Etsy site. Marilee has developed a specialty niche selling tatting supplies around the world at Etsy. She reluctantly does occasional live shows to increase awareness of her medium. Candi loves selling at outdoors shows while the other panelists disliked them. Most of the panelists kept shows to a minimum, hand selecting their favorites and keeping the focus on 'fun'. All of the panelists indicated that the LBS Domes shows were a favorite because of the camaraderie among the members.
Members had time to ask questions and many of them focused on pricing. Each panelist had a different method. Traci keeps a very tight inventory control and knows the price of all her beads and supplies. She uses that information and adds a basic hourly rate to her expenses. If an item's price seems out of line she factors in a 'perceived value' amount. Candi and Sue claimed a less scientific method for pricing but agreed with the perceived value idea. They primarily use supply costs and factor in a multiplier to come to a price they felt was marketable. Candi said she doesn't try to sell things that take too much time and the other panelists agreed. Marilee added that tatting is very time consuming and she doesn't sell much more than earrings at shows which is why she focuses on books and teaching.
Everyone agreed that moving 'outside the box' was important when developing a product that will sell. Knowing the target audience was also helps since younger clients have different tastes than older ones. Candi said that right now earrings, bright colors and hand-stitched jewellry are her best sellers. In second place is chain maille. Sue added that her jewellry sells better at certain shows and Candi agreed that she always does her best at a tiny show that has a wonderful ambiance about it.
If time is a good indication of how successful a program is, then this one was a roaring success. It was after 8:30 p.m. when Cindy took the last question and clean-up was a rush.