How to Sell Handmade Jewelry Online

May 7th 2016

Selling handmade jewelry online allows new artists the chance to connect with customers worldwide. In such a competitive industry, artists should be prepared to follow good business practices in order to generate sales. Jewelry makers who aren't familiar with selling items online should choose one website to focus their efforts on. Once they've sold on one website for several months, it may be time to expand their handmade jewelry's online presence.

Decide Where to Sell Handmade Jewelry

Image Courtesy of Rachel Wilder

Artists generally have three options when selling handmade jewelry online. They can sell jewelry on their own website, they can use a large online auction site or they can list jewelry on a specialty website. Personal websites are great for established artists, but may not offer enough exposure for new jewelry makers. Large websites, like Etsy and eBay, have lots of eager buyers, but these sites often attract cheaper jewelry from overseas. Specialty websites for jewelry artists attract clients interested in quality jewelry, but the commission structure can be higher.

Investigate the Fee and Payment Structure

Sites like eBay and Etsy use a double-fee structure for listings. First, artists should expect to pay a small fee for publishing their listing. Then, when the piece of jewelry sells, the website will also take a small commission. Usually the fee is small; currently, both eBay and Etsy charge approximately three percent for a commission. If the buyer uses PayPal or a credit card to purchase jewelry, another small fee will be charged. 

Websites that specialize in handmade jewelry often charge higher commission and listing fees than larger, generalized sites. Other handmade jewelry websites have abandoned that fee structure entirely. Sites like Jewelspan charge a monthly fee to host customized websites for each artist, but there are no other charges. Interested buyers can also search the Jewelspan site to look for new artists.

Obtain Professional-Quality Photographs

Artists who intend to sell their jewelry online will need professional-quality images for their listings. Unfortunately, jewelry photography requires some skill and basic equipment. For jewelry makers without photography experience, bartering with a photographer for his or her services is the best option.

Jewelry makers who decide to take their own photographs should follow a few rules. First, every image should show the correct color of the piece. Second, at least one image should show the scale of the piece of jewelry. Using a model, coin or ruler are all appropriate ways to demonstrate the size of the jewelry. Finally, a closeup of any detail work should be included.

Craft a Well-Written Description

In addition to excellent images, a well-written description will help sell a piece of jewelry. Descriptions should include factual information, such as the material and size of the piece, but should also be written to market the product. Styling suggestions, artist inspiration and other information that may interest the buyer should be included.

Shipping Handmade Jewelry

Once a piece of jewelry has been sold, it's important that it's wrapped and shipped promptly. Artists should keep in mind that jewelry is often a gift for someone else. Therefore, placing the jewelry in an attractive box or bag is essential. If the jewelry is made to order, the jewelry maker should send a brief email explaining when the piece will be sent. Shipping insurance and tracking numbers should also be included with every sale.

Build a Customer Base

For artists who use a website with online reviews, it's crucial that they solicit positive feedback. A thank you note included with the piece of jewelry or one friendly follow-up email are ways to potentially generate positive reviews. Artists who are considering launching their own websites should also ask for testimonials from enthusiastic customers.

After an artist begins selling online, he or she may neglect marketing. Social media is important, but jewelry makers should look for other marketing opportunities. Even with a website, artists should still participate in local craft shows and wear their own jewelry regularly. Often, this type of word of mouth can lead to great sales.

Jewelry artists should treat the sale of their art just like any other business. Providing attractive images, well-written copy and fast shipping are the minimum requirements to succeed when selling online. Of course, once an artist is established at one online marketplace, he or she shouldn't be afraid to experiment with other venues.

Summary

  • Try selling on one website for a few weeks until you're confident with the selling process.
  • Know the fees and payment methods available from your chosen venue.
  • Use professional images and descriptions to entice buyers.
  • Always respond to inquiries and ship promptly.
  • Solicit positive feedback, sell locally and wear your own creations for marketing purposes.

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