8 Business Strategies for Designing Jewelry That Sells!

For many of us, making jewelry has allowed us to live creatively with meaning and purpose. We as makers and artists are role models for our children, grandchildren, family, friends and neighbors.

Making the jewelry that we create into a business that is financially successful is an important part of living the lives that we want. Following a business strategy for designing jewelry that sells can also be fun. I know that I LOVE it!

Here are 8 business strategies to explore!

1. Track Your Sales!

Tracking your sales and knowing what is working and what is not, is a critical part of being able to design new jewelry collections.

Nunn Design items: Charm Mini Daisy (cmd)Charm Rustic Cross (crc) & Toggle Bar Hammered (tbh)

Here is an example of how this strategy applied to Nunn Design. As I have been pulling your orders for the past two years, I have been able to see first hand what our top sellers are within the Nunn Design Collection of Jewelry Findings. Three of the findings that were very popular year round were the Charm Mini Daisy, Charm Rustic Heart and the Toggle Bar Hammered.

New ND items: Tiny Bezel Daisy (tbds)Tiny Bezel Rustic Cross (tbrcs) & Tiny Bezel Hammered Rectangle (tbhrs)

As I started to explore the process of product development, I knew I wanted to see if I could push these known great sellers a little bit further. I also knew that allowing our customers to make things uniquely their own was a core value that our findings offered. So, with that in mind, Nunn Design developed and released a collection of Tiny Bezel Charms!

If we hadn’t been tracking our sales, we wouldn’t have known what was working and what to strategically expand upon.

2. Blend in the New with the Old

One of our customers refers to the jewelry that sells in her wholesale jewelry line, season after season, as her “wall of fame.” Her customers come back to her each season because she is exploring new designs, yet she will continue to offer her “wall of fame” because she knows what has sold well and what her customers will reorder.

Credit: Jenny Melsha of Fairwells Jewelry

3. Be Ready for When Your Top Sellers Peak!

Eventually, top sellers will peak in sales and slowly start to decline, requiring new jewelry to feed into the sales funnel. You will know this because you are tracking your sales, right?

Here is an example of how Nunn Design has applied this to our own collection of jewelry findings.

ND items: Elongated Heart Charm (ehcc)Charm Itsy Circle Heart (cich)Charm Itsy Spiritual Lotus (cisl)

These charms have been in the Nunn Design Collection for many years, yet they still sell again and again.

New ND items: Charm Mini Heart Tag (cmht)Charm Small Elongated Heart (cseh),
Charm Mini Hammered Circle (cmhc)Charm Small Hammered Circle (cshc)

When thinking of new charms to add, we expanded on the success of already great selling older charms. We not only had a great seller in a new charm, we increased the sales of the old! Yah baby!!

Credit: Brandi Light of Little Blue Bus

4. Push the Envelope Ever So Slightly

Nunn Design customers vary greatly. Some of us have very small niches we create for, while others have large wholesale collections.

The key to repeat sales, for all of our customers, has everything to do with MAYA. I have mentioned the principle of MAYA, Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, several times over the years. I was first introduced to this concept when I read the book; Hit Makers by Derek Thompson. Derek also talks about why people like what they like in his “The Four-Letter Code for Selling Anything” 2018 TED Talk. The intro reads:

“Why do we like what we like? Raymond Loewy, the father of industrial design, had a theory. He was the all-star 20th-century designer of the Coca-Cola fountain and Lucky Strike pack; the modern sports car, locomotive, Greyhound bus and tractor; the interior of the first NASA spaceship; and the egg-shaped pencil sharpener. How did one man understand what consumers wanted from so many different areas of life? His grand theory of popularity was called MAYA: Most advanced yet acceptable. He said humans are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a love of new things; and neophobia; a fear of anything that’s too new. Hits, he said, live at the perfect intersection of novelty and familiarity.

ND items: Hoop Organic Grande (hog)Hoop Organic Large (hol),
Hoop Flat Small Circle (hfsc)Ornate Mini Pendant Circle Single Loop (ompcs)

We want things to be fresh and new, but just the right amount of fresh and new.
These designs have been very strong sellers for Nunn Design for the past 5 years.

New ND items: Hoop Small Heart (hsh),
Itsy Bezel Sunflower SIngle Loop (ibss),Mini Bezel Aster Single Loop (mbas)

By pushing the envelope only a small bit, we released products that we are confident (and you already have confirmed!) are going to be great sellers.

Credit: Janet Sanda of Sistas with Bad Habits

5. Explore New Techniques!

Maybe the style of jewelry you first started your business with was based on a certain technique. Maybe that technique was using 2-part resin. Maybe you started with metal stamping on Nunn Design metal blanks. Maybe it was wire wrapping.

The beauty of the Nunn Design Collection is that you can easily introduce a new technique using the same findings that you already have in your inventory.

Over the years, we have witnessed firsthand the customers that build their small jewelry companies into successful brands have been willing to learn and explore new techniques.

6. Market Test New Ideas

Some new jewelry designs will sell, some won’t. It is important to test designs prior to a full on launch so you have confidence when you release a new collection.

This strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as making something, wearing it and getting feedback from your friends. Or give your jewelry to a group of friends, each in a different social circle, and have them market test your latest ideas. In addition, post your first prototypes on social media and get a gauge of what people like. Are these pieces resonating with your core customers? Through the strategy of market testing, you can eliminate items that might not have sold well.

7. Expand Your Customer Base!

By exploring new techniques, you will attract a much wider customer base. Not everyone is going to like bright colors. Not everyone is going to like contemporary or ornate jewelry.

By building out complete collections that make a statement in a variety of looks, you will be able to attract a wider customer base, resulting in additional sales.

8. Think Long Term!

Designing jewelry that sells builds trust with your customers. From the first sale, be thinking long term. You now have a new friend! Stay connected. Be in service to them. Make their lives better by creating beautiful jewelry that they adorn their bodies with. Help them to find that perfect gift for a loved one! Help your wholesale store owner by creating new collections to sell to their customers!

Thank you for being committed to living a creative life. The life you enhance isn’t just your own, but also the lives around you. Keep making!

– Becky

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