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2010 Aug 24

 

SpokesDog Boomer for Beads, Jewelry Tools and Jewelry Making Supplies by WigJig Web SiteWigJig Jewelry Tools Presents our Jewelry Making Newsletter -- AKA Boomer Sez:

Our Spokesdog:  If an insurance company can have a gecko, we have decided that we can have a spokesdog.  Boomer, shown at right, is our spokesdog.  If you select Boomer's picture, you will be able to view Boomer at his work. 

How to Unsubscribe:  If you signed up for our newsletter and then decided you don't want to receive it any more, the proper way to unsubscribe is to select the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every newsletter e-mail or to follow our sign up link above.  On that sign up page we also provide a way for people to unsubscribe. 

Free WigJig Jewelry Tools Demonstration in September:  

We have another WigJig Demonstrations scheduled for September.  Gary Helwig, inventor of the WigJig, will be providing a presentation at the September 8th meeting of the San Antonio Bead and Ornament Society (SABOS).  The meeting will be held at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels, in San Antonio.  The meeting will begin at 6:30PM and our WigJig presentation is scheduled to start at 7PM.  You can find a map to this location here.  You can find information on the San Antonio Bead and Ornament Society here.  If you have questions on how to use our WigJig tools, or want to see some of the jewelry we have made with our WigJig Tools, please visit us either at the San Antonio Bead Society meeting.

Peridot Jewelry Making Gemstone AAA GradeBirthstone for August:  The Birthstone for August is the peridot.  Please select here to view more information on peridot gemstones.  This month we are discounting our 8mm real, mined from the earth peridot by 20%.  Please select the picture at right to view this product.  Please note that these are real, grade AAA peridot gemstones and were mined from the earth.  Finally, we ask our customer's to remember that wearing peridot gemstones was considered, in European Folk-lore, to give the wearer success, peace and good luck.  Who can't afford a little extra peace and good fortune right now? 

Sapphire Gemstones for Making JewelryBirthstone for September:  The birthstone for September is the sapphire. Pink Sapphire Gemstones for Making JewelrySapphire is the second hardest gemstone making it four times harder than most sand.  For this reason, sapphire is a very good choice for making jewelry as they will withstand wear and tear very well.  Sapphires can come in almost any color, but commercial sapphire gemstones commonly come in clear, pink and blue.  We sell man-made sapphires are chemically identical to sapphires mined from the earth but sell for a very reasonable price.  You can view information on sapphires here.

For the month of September, we will have a special sale on 6mm, man-made pink sapphires at a 20% discount from our normal sale price.  A matched pair of man-made, round 6mm man-made pink sapphires (Item 3335) will be sale priced at $3.99 for the pair. 

Input on Making Jewelry as a Business:

We try to solicit input from our newsletter subscribers and others on what is working for them in making a business out of their jewelry hobby.  When we receive input, we post it here.  It has been a while since we last solicited input from our subscribers so we are asking again.  If you have any ideas that you want to share about how you have structured your jewelry making business, or what works for you in selling your jewelry, we request that you send us an e-mail with your ideas.  Here are some thoughts of ours:

  1. The toughest way to begin selling jewelry is to develop your own web site and store.  This should be your last option and not your first.  Right now if you search Google on Jewelry there are 110 million web sites that match that search criteria.  Any new store goes to the bottom of that list and must then start working its way higher.  WigJig has been on the Internet for over 15 years with a jewelry related web site including over 3,000 web pages.  We rank number 125 on Google for the search term "jewelry".  If you don't rank in the top ten, you won't get significant orders from a search engine.  The bottom line is that selling jewelry via a web site is very, very difficult.  (Fortunately, wigjig.com ranks number 1 or 2 for "jewelry wire" and in the top ten for many other jewelry making and jewelry tool search terms.)
     

  2. Many people are very successful in selling jewelry on the Internet, but most of these people are using E-Bay, or etsy.  Before you decide that E-Bay or etsy is the vehicle for you, do some market research.  Try searching for jewelry on these sites.  Right now there are 178,916 auctions on E-Bay for Chandelier Earrings.  Most of the people who shop on these online stores are looking for values so this is a place where less expensive merchandise seems to do better.  Making a real income from selling on E-bay or etsy is a matter of hard work.  You need to post a lot of auctions over a prolonged time until you get a reputation on that selling venue.  Don't go to any online selling venue and think that just because you make beautiful jewelry that you will be successful.  
     

  3. Craft shows can be a very effective way to sell hand made jewelry.  The one thing to remember is that items displayed at a craft show rarely sell themselves.  To be successful selling items at a craft show you have to try to strike up a conversation with every person who slows down as they pass your booth.  "Selling" is an active verb.  When you are selling at a craft show you are selling yourself as much as you are selling your jewelry.  Many people will buy hand made items just because they like the personality of the person who made that item.  Try to develop a question that you can ask people as they look at your merchandise.  One example of a question that we have used showing our jewelry is "Can you guess what we call this design?"  We use that when showing our Money Earrings because the Money Earrings look like a dollar sign.  That simple question gets a conversation started with a potential customer.  Once you have a conversation started you can find out what the potential customer likes and show them your products that might interest them.  The bottom line is don't try to sell, instead try to engage people in a conversation about your products with the view that if a sale happens that is great; if a sale doesn't happen that is great also.  If the customer feels that you are trying to hard to make a sale -- they will walk away.  

    Another thing to consider is that not all craft shows are created equally.  Some shows will do well selling low priced merchandise, some shows will do well selling high priced merchandise and some shows won't sell jewelry period.  Be selective in choosing shows that match your target customer.  Once you find the show that does well for you, be consistent.  Become a regular at that show.  That way you will end up with repeat customers.  

    Finally, when selling at a craft show, you must have merchandise at many different pricing levels.  Have some items that sell for under $10 as well as some of your better merchandise that sells for under $100.  Sometimes a customer will stop to look at a $10 pair of earrings, but then  find the $100 earring that they really wanted.  
     

  4. Some people can be very successful in selling jewelry on consignment.  The problem with selling on consignment is that you will have to cut your margin and reduce your profit to pay the consignment shop their fees for selling your products.  For products where you don't have a lot of labor tied up in the item, this is fine.  
     

  5. One way for selling jewelry that we really like is jewelry parties.  Think in terms of Mary Kay or Amway.  If you have a lot of friends, parties may be the selling venue for you.  Start with parties at your own home.  This will allow you to practice what works in your party and at the same time control your expenses.  Plan on having some refreshments, but hold the caviar.  Remember every dollar you spend on Champaign is a dollar of profit lost.  Find the happy medium between a lavish party and a frugal one.  You need to spend enough to make it worth peoples time to come, but not so much that it seriously erodes your profits.  If you are successful with parties selling jewelry at your own home, then we suggest that you grow the business by paying friends to have a party with their friends.  

    When you are having a jewelry party, consider it a craft show with a captive audience.  All the advice for selling at a craft show will also apply to a party.  Develop a speech to give to the party that will educate the potential customers on jewelry.   Talk about interesting things about your jewelry.  Which jewelry items use colors that match birthstones?  What is the source for the materials?  Explain Austrian crystal versus Czech crystal.   Explain mined gemstones, and man-made gemstones versus CZ.  Explain how mined gemstones are enhanced by heat or radiation.  Explain gold versus gold-filled versus gold-plate.  Have enough of a speech that it will help your potential customers to learn something about jewelry that they didn't know before they arrived at the party.  If you are the type person who is good at telling a joke, then tell a joke.  The bottom line with parties is you are selling yourself, just like at a craft show.  If you can teach the people something at the party that they didn't know, they may feel indebted to you for that education and they will reciprocate by buying something.  
     

  6. Consider selling your jewelry as part of a yard sale.  Just remember that you will need to sell more than just jewelry to get people to stop at a yard sale.  Jewelry can be another item at the yard sale.  With a yard sale it is more important that you have inexpensive jewelry in addition to some nicer, more expensive pieces.  
     

  7. Try to have a gimmick.  Birthstones can be one gimmick to help sales.  Many people who are shopping for a gift will by birthstone jewelry just because it is more personal.  Try to have jewelry made in colors that correlate with all 12 birthstones if possible.  Birthstones can be one way to help close the sale.  We knew of one lady who had color combinations that matched the seasons.  When she talked about her jewelry she talked about reds, oranges and browns being fall colors.  White, crystal and black are winter colors, yellows and blues are spring colors and greens are summer colors.  These combinations of colors are an example of another gimmick.  Naming your jewelry as we did our Money Earrings is another gimmick.  Our Interchangeable Earrings is another example of a gimmick.  (These are earrings where the beads can be removed and changed out.)  The bottom line here is to develop a gimmick that works for you and use the gimmick as a discussion point in every selling venue.  Talk about your gimmick to anyone who will listen.  
     

  8. Develop a mailing list.  Even if it is only an e-mail mailing list.  Try to get the e-mail address of every customer.  Try to get e-mail addresses of people who are interested in your jewelry even if they aren't customers.  That way you can send out e-mails when you are having a party or attending a craft show or even having a trunk show or yard sale.  Many potential customers will thank you for making their Christmas shopping easier by letting them know about your pre-Christmas sale.  This takes work, but it also pays big dividends if you are really serious about making jewelry as a business.  
     

  9. When we display our jewelry, we like to put only one earring out on display and retain the second earring in our secure storage.  We like to do this to avoid theft.  In many venues, like a craft show, 99% of the people will be honest.  1% of the people won't.  We have seen people who work as hard at stealing in a craft show as the vendors do in selling.  One female (not a lady) in Milwaukee, at the Bead and Button show, had her clothing specially sewn so that she could drop items into the cuff of her sweater into pocket that was built to be hidden and hold her stolen swag.  She got caught many times and had a police record of being arrested many times, but she was never prosecuted.  It cost the vendors too much money to return to Milwaukee to prosecute, so this thief never went to court.  People won't bother stealing one earring.  Just one more thing to consider.  
     

  10. Remember that pricing is an ongoing task.  You need to price your merchandise so that it will sell in the venue where you are selling it.  What we have done is the past is decide what minimum price we would accept for an item before trying to sell it.  If you have a lot of time in a piece or if you really like a certain piece, price that piece higher.  Where you don't have a lot of time in a piece, or where you don't like a piece as much, price that piece lower.  One general rule for pricing hand made items is to sell the item for three times the price of the materials.  When you find an item that sells really well, then you can raise the price on that item.  When you are getting started, it is probably better to take less money and sell more merchandise.  Once you have some experience selling and begin to understand your market place, then raise the prices on the items that sell best.  Always remember the third sub-paragraph to paragraph 3 above and have items to sell in a very broad spectrum of prices.  Having inexpensive items to sell can help to sell your more expensive items. 

The above ideas for selling jewelry are just a sample of what can work.  The one common denominator for all suggestions is that selling is an active verb and requires lots of hard work.  It may have been in the past that you could invent the better mouse trap and people would beat a path to your door.  Unfortunately, it isn't that way in the 21st century.  Having the better mouse trap, or the most beautiful jewelry design is not enough.  You also have to find the best way to market and sell that product and in many ways marketing and selling are much harder than making the jewelry was. 

WigJig Centaur Lite jewelry making toolNew Jewelry Making Items:

We have one new item in our Internet store this month.  The item is our WigJig Centaur LiteItem 5003, shown at right.  Item 5003 is sold at a new price ($34.95), with a new package and with fewer pegs (10 instead of 20) than our regular WigJig Centaur, item 2983.  For item 5003, the plastic base for our WigJig Centaur is made in China.  For item 2983 the plastic base for the jig is made in America.  We intend to continue selling both items 2983 and item 5003 going forward.  Our customer's can choose the Made in America product with 20 metal pegs for $46.95, or the product with the acrylic base made in China and with 10 metal pegs for $34.95.  The quality of the product made in China is the same as the product Made in America.  We fully inspect both products.   This is an opportunity for our customers who have wanted a WigJig Centaur to pick one up and an excellent price.  For those who want more than 10 metal pegs, you can purchase item 0115, a package of 20 metal pegs for the Delphi, Cyclops or Centaur.   

Jewelry Making Supplies On Sale:

We update the jewelry supplies that we have "On Sale" with every newsletter.  A small sample of the products we have for sale at discounted prices are shown below.  Please click on any of the links below the pictures to view our entire list of sale items.  Select the picture itself to view that specific item in our Internet Store.  This sale will be effective through October 1st, 2010 or until we run out of that item. 


Swarovski Round Crystal 6mm Faceted Beads
Swarovski 6mm Round Crystal Beads 
$3.59 per package of 12 beads. 

6mm Round Swarovski Garnet AB Beads
6mm Round Garnet AB Beads
Sale Priced $4.15 per Package of 12 beads

 6mm Man Made Pink Sapphire Jewelry Making Gemstone
6mm Round Man Made Pink Sapphire Gemstone
Sale Priced $3.99 per matched pair


WigJig Crossover Pegs Jewelry Making Tool

WigJig Crossover Pegs
Sale Priced $2.39 per package of 4
One end fits our WigJig Delphi, Cyclops or Centaur, the opposite end fits our WigJig Olympus, Olympus Lite or Electra
 


 WigJig Metal Chasing Hammer Jewelry Making Tool

WigJig Chasing Hammer
$11.27 each
Slightly rounded head minimizes marks on your wire. 


Gold Filled Ear Wire for 6mm 1/2 Drilled Pearls Jewelry Making Finding    Black Swarovski 1/2 Drilled Pearl Beads
Gold Filled Ear Wire Finding for Setting 6mm 1/2 Drilled Pearls
Black Swarovski 6mm 1/2 Drilled Beads
Sale Priced $1.43 per pair of ear wires
Sale Priced $1.35 per Pair of Beads
 

22 Gauge Non-Tarnish Silver Jewelry Wire

22G Non-Tarnish Silver, Silver-Plated Wire
$3.92 for a 24' Spool
(This wire resists tarnish.)

 

3 Leaf Bold Clubs Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectFree Jewelry Making Design:

Our new jewelry design for this month is a follow-on to our Round Bold Clubs wire component.  This month we have modified the shape of the three loops at the bottom so that they look like leaves.  Please see the shapes at right and below. 

These pieces require wrapping wire around itself.  For this reason, the projects shown are probably advanced beginner's projects and not suitable for a beginner. 

The components shown can be used as the centerpiece of a necklace, or can be used as an earring body. 

3 Leaf Dangle Wire Jewelry Making Project 3 Leaf Dangle Wire Jewelry Making Project 3 Leaf Dangle Wire Jewelry Making Project 3 Leaf Dangle Wire Jewelry Making Project

Please select here, or select any picture above for our free jewelry making instructions on how to make our 3 Leaf Clubs wire components. 

Past Jewelry Making Techniques:

We maintain a techniques web page that provides links to the discussion of techniques in our prior newsletters.  You can visit this web page here.  Follow the links on that page to the discussion of theHow to Use Beads with Large Holes Jewelry Making Techniquetechnique in that newsletter. 

Current Jewelry Technique:

This month's jewelry making technique is our discussion on how to incorporate beads or gemstones with large holes into your jewelry.  We will discuss a few different approaches to making jewelry where you have large holes.  The first and most obvious is to make a head pin with a larger head.  In the head pin shown at right, we made a head pin with a spiral as a head.  Our instructions for making a head pin using our spiral maker can be found by selecting here. Bold Clubs Jewelry Making Project

A second approach for making a head pin using a pattern on one of our jigs can be found in the "Clubs" technique discussed in our new jewelry making project for this month, discussed above.  We have many different approaches to making a clubs wire component to be used as a larger version of a head pin.  You can view our free instructions for making a "Clubs" larger head pin by selecting here.

Our third approach for using beads or gemstones with large holes is to use either 2, 2.5, or 3mm round metal beads, or seed beads on either side of the large hole in the bead.  These smaller beads will partially fill the large hole and will stablize the larger bead on your wire.  Where you want a more stable solution, you can glue the small round metal beads or the seed beads in the larger hole.  You can use Jeweler's Cement or any kind of Super Glue to permanently fix smaller beads into a large hole in a larger bead. 

Hopefully we have provides some ideas for using beads or gemstones with large holes that will be valuable to beginning and intermediate wire workers. 

Nostalgia Corner -- Some of our favorite jewelry making projects:

Low Wall Bezel Jewelry Wire and Beads Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectLow Wall Bezel Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectThis week's featured design in our Nostalgia Corner is the design for our Low Wall Bezel Earrings shown left and right. This can be made using any of our jewelry making jigs and is suitable for beginners.  We show these earrings decorated with our low wall bezel finding.  They could have been decorated with 6mm beads on head pins just as easily.  

These earrings demonstration an important concept.  It is easier and often better to make wire components by combining several easy to make components, rather than trying to make one very complex wire component.  The earrings shown are made from a bottom wire component made on five pegs and made with two spacer bar components and these components are connected by a single medium jump ring. 

Please select here or select either picture above to view our free jewelry making instructions for our Low Wall Bezel Earrings.

 

Sunset in Texas:

Now that we live in Texas, one of the highlights of our day is watching the sunset.  Below we will share just a few of our sunset pictures:


August 16, 2010


July 24, 2010


July 4, 2010

Announcements:
Online Books.  If you are looking for new and interesting jewelry projects -- try one of our Online Books.  Our most detailed instructions are for sale online.  Please select here to view our selection of online books.  These books are delivered over the Internet and there are no shipping costs on an order with just online books. 

Shipping Policy.  We waive the shipping charge on orders over $60 shipped within the US (as long as these orders remain over $60).  For International orders we ship via Global Priority Mail and charge $5 over the US Mail charge for this shipping service.  Please select here to view our entire shipping policy.

WigJig University.  We provide over 3,000 web pages of free information, tips, techniques and free jewelry making designs in WigJig University.  We encourage everyone to view this information as a source for new ideas, projects, or a way to learn new techniques.  We now have a page in WigJig University that shows our designs sorted by the WigJig tool used to make them.  Please select here to view that information. 

International Vendors.  We do have vendors who sell our WigJig products outside the US.  We encourage customers to contact these vendors in their home country.  Please select here to view our list of overseas vendors.  We are also happy to sell our WigJig tools to stores.  Please send us an e-mail if you are interested in selling our WigJig tools. 

Classes.  We have a listing of various jewelry making classes using our WigJig tools that are offered by bead stores throughout the country.  If you are interested in classes, please select here.  If you know someone who has classes in using our WigJig tools, please ask them to send us an e-mail at info@wigjig.com so that we can include them in these pages. 

We are continuing to improve our newsletter, so please feel free to provide feedback at info@wigjig.com

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Last modified: 08/24/2010

 

 



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