For artisan jewelry makers, selling can be like “A Tale of Two Cities” — the best of times, and the worst of times.

Here’s an example: A student (we’ll call her “Susan” — not her real name) at one of my marketing seminars made free-form “caged” pendants in sterling silver wire, wrapped around beautiful polished stones in their natural form (not faceted).

At the first major show where she sold from a booth, Susan SOLD OUT of the pendants, which were priced at $200 and up. It was in New York City.

She was elated. Imagine that kind of success!

With the wind at her back, she did a much smaller show near her home town. She couldn’t give the pendants away. No one bought a thing.

She was frustrated, and considered lowering her prices. After all, the reason no one bought them at the second show is because they were too expensive, right?


Say it with me:


Here’s what happened:

The first show was an upscale finished jewelry show in New York City. People who attended the show were not price-conscious. They were quality-conscious. They were looking for one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry that didn’t look like anything else they had ever seen.

Susan had found the “white hot center” of customers for her work. They voted with their pocketbooks. Her jewelry was correctly priced, and may have sold even if it was priced higher.

The second show was a local community fair. There were bargains galore promised in the show promotional literature. It was, essentially, a flea market. The people who came to the fair where looking for bargains, not artisan, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry.

The lesson about pricing in all of this is that the market you’re going after should be one that is not shopping on price, but on quality and the fact that your jewelry is handcrafted and one-of-a-kind.

That means that if you want to sell your jewelry for more, you have to identify a market of prospective customers — whether it’s online, or in a gallery, or at a home party — for whom the price you want to charge is not an issue. They can pay it. And they willingly pay it for well-designed and well-crafted jewelry.

In fact, I’ve seen people pay several hundred dollars for jewelry that’s not well-designed or well-made. But because the price is so high, they think, psychologically speaking, that it must be worth that much.

And that’s what I’ll talk about next time …

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