This review originally appeared in the Spring 2007 Issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine
David Weiman Shares Marketing Wisdom in The Jewelry Selling Answer Book by Nina Graci © 2007, Interweave Press, Inc.
David Weiman has combined his jewelry background, 20 years of marketing experience, and a nose for common sense marketing and selling strategies together to produce The Jewelry Selling Answer Book: Expert Answers to the Most Popular Questions Jewelry Makers Have About Selling. It is 150 pages of jewelry-specific advice not available anywhere else.
Although jewelry making has grown by leaps and bounds as a hobby, until recently, jewelry was still being sold mainly by brick-and-mortar retail jewelry stores, accessory boutiques, and department stores. Without any useful selling resources, jewelers were forced to find their own markets using trial and error methods to find effective ways to sell their work.
Weiman is not a jeweler but he is the third generation in his family to work in the jewelry business. Weiman’s grandfather and father owned Weiman’s Diamonds in Philadelphia. Weiman did not go into the family jewelry business. Instead, he became an advertising copywriter until, in 1986, he joined another family business and became Marketing Director of Lapidary Journal.
“My aunt, Sonia Gilbert, and my cousin, Leif Klein, owned and ran Lapidary Journal, Colored Stone and Accent, a fashion jewelry and watch magazine, andThe Jewelry Merchandiser, a publication that taught retail jewelers how to sell more jewelry. They gave me my start in the field.”
Klein took him to jewelry and gem shows all over the country, introduced him to the top dealers and retail firms and encouraged him to help the magazines’ advertisers with marketing and advertising suggestions to help them grow.
This collaboration was a success and, although Gilbert sold the magazines several years ago, Weiman stayed on as marketing director. Weiman also began spending more time helping jewelry companies and individual jewelry makers become more successful. “We took our role of helping jewelry makers learn how to market and sell their jewelry very seriously. If they succeeded, we would succeed as a publisher,” Weiman explains.
In 1992, while still working for Lapidary Journal, Weiman went back to school, for a doctorate in psychology. The psychology training taught him about motivation, desire, and why people buy. It changed fundamentally how he viewed the process of marketing to jewelry buyers, because he started to understand more about their core motivations and wants. Armed with a solid background in marketing, psychology and sales, Weiman was equipped to handle the questions asked by advertisers in Lapidary Journal and the jewelers he met at trade shows. They all wanted marketing strategies that worked.
LJ’s publisher, Joe Breck, encouraged Weiman to write a monthly column focused on marketing and selling jewelry for Lapidary Journal and Step by Step Beads.The column became so popular that Weiman began giving seminars on marketing and selling jewelry.
“Regardless of how long you’ve been making jewelry, certain aspects of selling are always an issue, like how to handle criticism, how to display your jewelry effectively at shows, or how to price it. For example, a jewelry maker with 20 years of experience told me how he priced a ring at $75, which he thought was a pretty good price. Later, the original buyer re-sold it for $850. So what was the ring actually worth? I explain in the book how to make sure something like that doesn’t happen to someone else.”
Meanwhile, Weiman had begun writing down the questions he was asked at his seminars. He combined them with the questions from readers of his column and the telephone calls from jewelry makers who needed expert help quickly.
The result is The Jewelry Selling Answer Book.
“Selling doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And for many creative people, it doesn’t easily follow from their existing skills. It takes them beyond their comfort zone. In the book, I try to frame the answers in a way that I know appeals to jewelry makers and taps their natural skills.”
In the first chapter, Advice for Beginners, Weiman addresses the most common error of first-timers. “Many people start selling without having established clear goals for why they’re doing it. It’s like building a house without any plans. You really have to understand why you’re doing it and how you plan to sell it before you sell that first piece,” Weiman explains.
“It’s not even so much about having a specific goal. It’s about understanding the deep-seated reasons why outlets for artisan jewelry, jewelers at all levels often can’t decide how to prioritize their approach.”
Trunk shows, art shows, fairs, home parties, galleries, and the Internet present endless opportunities, but which one is right for a given jeweler? Weiman advises jewelers to consider their primary and secondary markets first, and then plot a strategy for the best ways to reach those specific markets.
Another important consideration is the jeweler’s own personality. As a psychologist and marketing expert, Weiman helps readers understand how to identify those methods of selling that best fit their own preferences.
The questions in The Jewelry Selling Answer Book come from real jewelers asking advice from an expert. For example, in the chapter Handling Criticism, a jeweler asks, “How do you respond to a customer who says your jewelry is too much, (too big, too busy, too loud)? Most of the pieces I make are large, busy, ethnic, and chunky and I understand they don’t appeal to a large audience. When people make this comment, I don’t know what to say.”
Weiman gives step-by-step advice on how to handle that comment in a way that helps the jeweler learn more about the objection, while not turning off the customer. “The natural reaction to criticism is to get defensive,” says Weiman, “but that’s an example of where your instincts are leading you in the wrong direction.”
In the chapter Commissioned Work, a jeweler asks, “Sometimes I have trouble asking for a deposit for custom-made pieces that are pre-ordered. How would you handle this? I recently delivered an order for a ‘chunky’ beaded piece as ordered, after picking out just the right beads and colors. When I delivered this to the customer she said it was ‘too chunky’ and she didn’t want it. Time and money wasted. What are your thoughts about this?”
Weiman breaks down this complicated question down into parts—such as the issue of building trust with clients, establishing an effective agreement for custom Websites; and Publicity, Mailing Lists and Newsletters. Navigational links within the text help you click from place to place and back again.
No matter what compels jewelers to go into business, when they need to know how to sell their jewelry, The Jewelry Selling Answer Book has the answers. Weiman not only delves deeply into the psychology of selling and buying, but he also tackles the subtle issues of developing a unique style, ways to handle rejection, criticism and jeweler’s block and the trickier one of knowing when to dissolve the business. His successful strategies and resources will keep the wheel of creating-and-selling turning effortlessly.
Because of his doctorate in psychology, Weiman has become known as “the Jewelry Marketing Doctor,” and although he doesn’t make house calls, he is available by telephone to guide jewelers over their business hurdles.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Dr. Weiman is also the author of the CD/Workbook program Introduction to Marketing and Selling Jewelry, available through Interweave Press. His jewelry selling seminar, The 5 Keys to Selling Jewelry, is conducted at Bead Fest (www.beadfest.com), Jewelry Arts Expo (www.jewelryartsexpo.com) and Wire Jewelry Fest (www.wirejewelryfest.com)
To order yours: Click here to order the Jewelry Selling Answer Book by instant download or in a new printed format.
Nina Graci writes about the inspirations and techniques that bring jewelry into the world. She lives in Toronto, Canada, but has been spotted weighing and bartering for silver in remote desert villages.