As last year, sales during summer are very slow. It’s not even a matter of venue – I discussed this now with many beadmaker friends. No matter where they’re selling: Ebay, Etsy, own webpage or Farmer’s markets – sales are down. A lot.
Even my most loyal customers need to take a holiday from time to time. That means that in my main sale venue, Ebay, many auctions are ending with the starting price or just a few dollars above listing price.
To counteract this trend and be pro-active, I’m trying to switch things around a bit. Hopefully this can attract new buyers, different target groups and tempt buyers that are more budget conscious.
I reduced the number of beads per set, which enables me to drop the starting price for some smaller sets. As a reaction to the fact that many auctions end currently with the starting bid, I decided to stick with realistic listing prices rather than dropping them … I set the start bid to a point, that I can live with it, even if no bidding war happens.
To target other buyer groups, I am now listing again more big hole beads that fit European charm jewelry, for example Pandora or Troll bracelets. Pandora bracelets are becoming really popular in Europe … when I visited Germany, I realized that the charm bracelet demand is really high right now.
Not only is the target group slightly different for big hole beads (mainly end users), the price point for these beads is also lower than larger sets. This will hopefully attract not only “high rollers” but also bargain hunters.
I am currently also researching new sales venues. I’m not a bead show or Farmer’s Market kind of person and tend to be a bit awkward in personal contact with customers. I’m not that great of a sales person and if someone just looks slightly strange at my items, I would drop the price to an insanely low level.
Online I tried last year ArtFire but I am not convinced with the concept. I believe they’re not spending enough advertising money to get the name out to the buyers. I so wish there would be finally an online sales venue that features only handmade, artisan made items. No supplies, no Chinese mass produced imports, no cheap flea market article. Etsy was at one point such a promise and breath of fresh air, and I love the look & feel of the page so much. But all the mass produced supplies and cheap imports are flooding Etsy so much, that it’s hard for customers to find quality, handmade artisan items.
For my finished jewelry I am considering to give Amazon a try. They do command a high commission compared with Ebay or Etsy, but local art galleries expect an even higher cut. I know there are a couple of other lampwork/jewelry seller that have good success with Amazon. Not sure yet how it works with shipping … as far as I can tell, I would have to send the items to their warehouse. That’s the one thing stopping me so far to list on Amazon. I’m not sure I feel good about this and would rather ship them myself. Got to research that a bit more, hopefully there is a way to do my own shipping.
I also read about 1000 Markets, but am not sure if they don’t have the same issue as Artfire.
Dear reader, If you know of any different/new/great places to sell just lampwork beads or finished jewelry, please let me know. I’m always happy to give it a try.
I also appreciate any ideas/thoughts/input to learn about your strategies to survive the slow summer. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it’s not getting as bad as it was last year (at least for me) and that sales are starting to get better soon!