SELLING and BUYING JEWELLERY
Probably most craft jewellery designer/makers sell their jewellery personally. They go to craft fairs, markets etc. where they have a stand for a day or two. Or they may have a stand which ‘pops up’ in a hotel foyer, sports centre, transport terminus etc. Here they meet their public, get reactions and ideas. That personal interaction is important and enjoyable.
The effectiveness of this is dependent, amongst other things, on ‘footfall’ and the frequency of interaction. Being regularly at the same place is advantageous, for whilst a person might not buy a piece on first seeing it they may do so when they next pass by, having had time to think about it. So, for example, a stand in a large holiday hotel, where the same people pass by for t a week or more, are not in a hurry, and are relaxed - is attractive. But the more attractive locations usually cost more!
Usually in most parts of the country there are general craft weekend or holiday period markets. They attract large numbers of sellers and buyers. For the buyer there is economy of scale – a large number of sellers in a small area. For sellers the advantage is they know in general why people are there, but there are ‘distractions’ as they may not all be interested in jewellery. Sellers must aim to attract the attention of people who are just ‘browsing’, and the competition is often high.
On-line selling is the opposite to what many designer/makers rely on. Distance replaces personal interaction. Sellers and buyers rarely meet. Sellers know why buyers are there but they can be distracted by other offerings especially on the general Craft Marketplaces which dominate (e.g. ‘Notonthehighstreet’, Etsy, Foksy, Shopify. Pinterest, ‘Madebyhandonline’ etc.) Competition is also high – for example checking for earrings (all types) on 03/02/20 on ‘Notonthehighstreet’ there were, it seems, over 11,000 items for sale, of which more than half were £25 or less. The site charges a commission of 25% plus Vat on sales and £199 to set up in the first year. Jewel Street is jewellery only. For comparison on the same date there were 2703 earrings for sale at higher average prices. It charges an average 27% on sales. To stand out in such crowds is difficult. Justexquisitejewellery.co.uk features pieces by less than 10 designer/makers so prominence is easier. .
You dont have to sign up to a large on-line service, you can do it yourself. You can sell via Facebook or Instagram. Moreover anyone can have their own website. A simple one which says who you are, where you are and what you do will not cost much. But to promote and sell your jewellery you will need an e-commerce site which will cost rather more. Once you have it, are you in business? No, because if you do nothing more you will be dependent on people you send to your shop i.e. you give them the address or they happen to come across it. To get good sales you need prominence on the internet just as elsewhere. Getting that probably requires as much effort as setting up the e-shop, and it’s an ongoing task.
The interaction of seller and buyer behaviour creates markets. No single ‘route to market‘ will normally be sufficient, especially in retail, which is probably why all the designer/makers on this site deploy several of the methods referred to above.
BUYING RINGS ON LINE / RING SIZES
Anything that must fit you presents a problem when buying on-line rather than in a shop You cannot try on garments until you have them, however there are well established, generally used and well understood means to specify size and you usually know what size you are. Unfortunately this does not apply to rings.
If you cannot try on several sizes, you need to know what size you want or to have a way of finding that out.
Be sure to get your accurate ring size. Your ring will be made to the size you specify. You cannot then be able to change it. Consider these methods:
Measure your current ring. Accurately measure the inside diameter of a ring that fits the intended finger. Your new ring will be round so the one you measure should also be, unless you are prepared to take two or more measurements and average them! Convert the measurement into a ring size by using a size chart
Measure the intended finger. Measure it several times during the day.
Dont measure it with anything that stretches or shrinks, then convert it into a ring size.
Use a ring sizer. You can buy one on-line. They are quite cheap - but you are not going to use it very often. There are two parts –
1) a large number of simple test rings, from rather small to rather large. Find the one that fits you. Some sellers will send you one of these to get your size before they supply you.
2) a long taper rod – with sizes marked all along it. Slide your test ring onto it and read off the size.
You could probably manage with just with the rod if you have your own (still round) ring to measure.
There are rings that are claimed to be adjustable. Some have a ring part that can be bent open or closed a bit - to fit. These are probably not expensive rings as few jewellery makers will want their silver or gold rings bent in this way. There are other methods of adjustment but probably intended for jeweller rather than wearer use.
Ring size charts
You will find ring size chartson the online sites of many high street jewellers. A chart will be useful, when looking at rings on line where rings are often described as having a particular size or a range of size.
This is a summary, for guidance:
UK Ring Size/Diameter mm
I/15.2 J/15.5 K/16.0 L/16.4 M/16.8 N/17.2 O/17.6 P/18.0 Q/18.3 R/18.75 S/19.2
T/19.6 U/19.9 V/20.4 W/20.8 X/21.2 Y/21.6 Z/21.8