Handmade jewelry attracts customers who like wearing fashion accessories different than the everyday selections at major department stores. Handmade jewelry features precious metals and bead work, and often costs more because of the time it takes to produce individual pieces. Whether you make jewelry yourself to sell, or sell handmade jewelry on behalf of an artisans co-op, you can find local and national retailers looking for handmade jewelry by searching online and knocking on doors.
Take high-quality photographs of your handmade jewelry inventory and design color brochures. You can design professional-looking marketing materials using desktop publishing software. Brochures must include detailed product descriptions, materials information, your business contact information and your website address. Take the desktop publishing files to a local copy shop to print a small number of brochures or to a local printing company if you need to print a larger quantity. You can also use the brochure templates provided by an online brochure printing company.
Make a website to market your jewelry. You can setup a one- or several-page website using a blog platform and include photographs of your jewelry, product descriptions and your contact information. You can also add a form to your website that allows interested buyers to contact you with questions. You can purchase a custom domain name for about $10 a year, as of July 2011, depending on the domain name provider.
Browse the Internet for online retail stores that sell jewelry that looks like the jewelry you make. Contact stores by email, especially when a store's website includes a special contact email address for product vendors. Include a link to your website, your contact information and a price list, if requested.
Visit retail stores in person. Knocking on doors, a traditional selling method, can help you get the word out about your jewelry. Pack samples of your jewelry and take them with you for when you get immediate interest. Ask to speak to the person in charge of buying, or the store manager, and always provide those in charge with brochures.
Dress to impress on sales calls, which includes wearing your handmade jewelry, so that store managers and buyers can see your work right away. In some cases, you may be able to gauge reactions if potential buyers take an immediate liking to your jewelry.
Make follow-up phone calls. Call the retail store buyers that you visit, especially those who express an interest in your jewelry, but are not ready to make a decision during your initial visit. To make follow-up calls less nerve-wracking, ask the buyer's permission to follow-up with them during your initial visit. You should, however, make follow-up calls regardless of whether you ask for permission, to keep from losing potential future sales.
Sell your jewelry on consignment. Although some retail store owners might be reluctant to buy your handmade jewelry outright, some will allow you to display and sell your jewelry to their customers for a percentage of sales. Terms of consignment arrangements vary and must be negotiated with the store owner or manager.
Rent exhibit space at an artisan's trade show and show your best original work to store owners. Retail stores that specialize in handmade jewelry such as boutiques, jewelry stores and museum shops, send buyers to such shows to make connections with artisan-vendors. Artisan trade shows are generally closed to the public and buyers must present professional credentials as retail buyers to gain entry. Buyers Market of American Craft says that buyers interested in purchasing your handmade jewelry must submit documents stating their interest in your products to trade show administrators, rather than purchase the jewelry at the show. The documents provide you with the information you need to arrange private sales meetings with the buyers in your workshop or showroom.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.