The Business of Beadwork Tips

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Beading for Profit

Jewelry making can be a very rewarding way to earn money. The first thing you must do once you've decided to turn your hobby into a business is to set a price for your work. Your cost to make the jewelry needs to be calculated. Everything you spend to make your jewelry must be figured into the cost. Besides the beads and findings, remember to include gas and the use of your car, packaging costs, advertising costs, telephone costs, and wear and tear on tools. You must also set a price for your time and keep track (at least roughly) of how much time each piece takes. After the cost has been figured, you need to get a feel for what other similar jewelry are priced. This can be easy with the Internet or you can go to some craft or jewelry shows to compare prices. Once you've figured prices for your pieces, you need to turn to marketing. You should wear your own jewelry as often as possible and keep business cards with you at all times. Again, the Internet is a great resource. There are many places on the Internet where advertising your wares will be easy and inexpensive. Street fairs and craft shows are a profitable venue for some people. Your business will be off to a great start in no time.

   
How can I add interest to my booth?

Tree Limb Display

Make a tree branch display for beaded Christmas ornaments or beaded jewelry. Spray paint a tree limb (choose one with several branches), put it in a clay pot with plaster of paris.

   
What items are important to bring to a craft show?

Things to Bring - A Mirror

Always bring a mirror with you when you do a craft show or bazaar. That way, potential customers can see how wonderful they look wearing your jewelry.

   
What items are important to bring to a craft show?

In the Cashbox

In addition to adequate change, you'll also want to include a calculator, extra pens and pencils and a scratch pad.

   
How can I promote myself at a show?

Advertising Material

Be sure to have business cards or fliers for anyone to take. Also include one or more with every item you sell.

   
How can I generate interest in my beadwork at a craft show?

Demonstrations

Bring a simple project to work on. People love to see live demonstrations and it helps you look busy.

   
How can I draw more people to my booth?

Display considerations - Lighting

Add light to your booth! Bring a couple of clamp-on swing arm lamps. You can use them to highlight those special pieces and potential customers can see how your work sparkles.

   
How do I know what to price my work?

Pricing Your Work

A rule of thumb for pricing your work is cost of goods (materials and labor) + indirect costs (booth fees, light bulbs, office supplies, etc.) + profit = minimum price.

   
What items are important to bring to a craft show?

The Receipt Book

Use a receipt book or invoice pad that makes a duplicate of every transaction. Give one to the customer and keep the other for your records.

   
What kinds of beadwork should I bring to sell?

Take Some Inexpensive Pieces, Too

Make sure you have some inexpensive pieces: earrings, bracelets, rings for impulse buyers and teens or children looking for gifts for mom or grandma.

   
How can I add interest to my booth?

Thrift Shop Display

Thrift shops are a great resource for unique display items: a funky old hat for earrings and brooches, an old vase to drape bracelets around, or an old tea cup and saucer to drape that victorian style necklace over.

   
How do I display my jewelry at shows?

Jewelry Displays

I searched through the local thrift shops and found several inexpensive items that make great displays for my earrings at shows. I found a couple small "curio shelves" (my favorite is one intended for mounting in a corner) and a framed mirror. The thing they have in common is that they are made from wood. I painted all of them the same off-white color, then added one of those spray on texture finishes. They all look color coordiated and professional. Then I got a bunch of the "L" shaped cup hooks from the hardware store - and put as many as I could all the way around the edges of the shelves and frame. They are spaced about 1/2" wider than the size of my earring cards.

I have seen bracelet holders made in a similar way - the basis of the holder is a "Pringles" potato chip can - but when covered in a velvet fabric and mounted on a little wooden stand, they look great!

   
How can I add interest to my booth?

Display Considerations - Different Heights

Display your work at various heights. This adds interest and keeps potential customers' eyes moving around.

   
What can I use to display my beadwork at craft shows?

Display Considerations - Wire Cube Shelving

Wire-cube shelving (available at most Target stores) is great for craft shows. They set up quickly and because they're so versatile, they can adapt to any size space.

   
How can I get my booth noticed?

Get Noticed

Display your best pieces prominently and at eye level so they can be seen by people walking by. This will draw people to your booth.

   
What items are important to bring to a craft show?

Electric Extension Cords

Bring a couple of electric extension cords with you. Some craft shows provide these for you, but often you have to provide your own. Having extra extension cords gives you greater flexibility with your display.

   
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