If selling your jewellery is not bringing in quite enough income, selling the beads alone or kits for customers to make up your pieces themselves can be very profitable.
Bead shops are thriving in the UK and with several cities still without a decent bead shop; now is the time to get in there. It isn’t hard to find suppliers of wholesale beads and findings on the internet.
Selling beads online is hard, selling beads in a town without a bead shop is profitable. Selling beads in a town full of retired people who don’t know how to use the internet or young families that enjoy the hobby, even better! You will be amazed at the amount of jewellery designers longing for a place to get beads locally. I’ve heard cries of delight when they’ve seen my beads. No more travelling miles to get to the nearest bead shop.
Your jewellery will sell the beads. If you have fabulous jewellery displayed next to your beads, and instructions on how to make it, you will sell the beads. Even better you will gain customers that don’t want to make the jewellery but would love something made up, commissions galore!
So how does one go about selling beads in a town? There are a few options.
Firstly can you rent a shop? If you have the financial backing and business sense this is obviously ideal however not many of us do.
The next option is bead parties. Buy some stackable bead boxes, fill them to the brim with gorgeous beads and findings. Advertise in the local paper, spread the word.
The last (and best) idea is to attend craft fairs or the local market.
Bear in mind that if they’re outdoor, this sort of thing is best for the summer months when customers (and sellers) are happy to stand about admiring the beads and carefully choosing what they want for their piece.
Remember to display that beautiful jewellery you’ve made and spread your best beading books out for people to browse through. Create a small leaflet with basic bead techniques for beginners. Once you get newbies hooked they’ll be back I promise!
As for displaying the beads – I can highly recommend acrylic boxes. They stack and have lids to stop the beads escaping. You can buy small white stickers at all stationary shops. Write out the prices for each section and stick them at the back of each compartment so customers can see how much each bead costs.
It’s a good idea to make two stickers per compartment, one for the front, one for the back so you can see how much that section is as well as the customer. Put findings in zippy bags and put them in individual baskets or on stands – use a punch hole to make holes to slide the bags onto special stands. This will also keep the findings from tarnishing.
You’ll also need a trestle table. Great for stalls, very reasonable on eBay and easily folded away. Make sure you have boxes and note pads so the customer can write down the beads they want and add the to the box. Also buy zippy bags and paper bags to put their purchases in.
Selling beads is a fantastic experience and you’ll meet some very interesting people. Introducing people to the wonders of beading or creating a perfect piece of jewellery for that commission is very rewarding indeed.
Which beads sell?
Beautiful pendants such as murano and leather thong are great for beginners and always sell well. Kits for charm bracelets with a length of chain,headpins and beads are also popular. A good selection of reasonable glass beads and seed beads in as many different colours as possible never fail.
In my personal experience I didn’t sell many gemstones when mixed up with glass. Make ‘gemstone’ trays and label them individually. Make a sign about gemstones, tell people about how special they are. I also found sterling silver findings to be very popular.
Let me know how you get on!