You are a jewelry designer and have made a business out of the love of your life: making jewelry. Now you want to do better and make more of a living from your passion. How to do that lies in serving your customers. Here are some insights into your jewelry markets and generalized rules of thumb for serving your customers better.
Price your pieces at what the market will bear
Prices for your jewelry can fall into three categories (to put it absolutely bluntly): expensive, moderate, cheap. How you price your jewelry should roughly approximate the kind of location it is. Examples: Large cities on the East or West Coast command high prices. Arty dessert communities in Arizona, New Mexico, and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas demand low prices. Posh neighborhoods in New York and California go for the high-end stuff. You’ll get a good idea where the price is no option, and at the other end, where nothing but bargains sell. Price your pieces accordingly.
Match metal materials to price points
For your high-end markets, use gold. There is a varying level of gold in gold jewelry supplies, and findings ranging from pure (24kt) to gold plated (base metal plated with a thin coat of gold): 22kt, 18kt, 14kt, 10kt, and gold-filled fall in between. Choose your gold according to your budget but use some kind of gold in the jewelry for your high-end markets
Use sterling silver for moderate markets
Silver is a staple in the Southwest. It was and still is, used by the Navajo in their renowned turquoise jewelry. Consequently, silver is the preferred precious metal for the jewelry of all kinds in this area of the country, and the preference has spread toward both coasts from the middle.
Copper, brass, and steel are the metals of choice for your less expensive jewelry.
It costs less for you, and you can still make a profit on your, ahem, cheap pieces. You may be surprised at how good copper looks all buffed and polished up. Like rose gold!
Scale your jewelry to regional preferences
Large, bulky jewelry appeals to younger customers; smaller-scale pieces to more mature women. Stones, rocks, pottery shards, coral, and other natural or rough-cut lapidary will not sell well on the East or West Coast. Ladies there want their stones precious, clean-cut, and set small, relatively speaking. String your stones in a bulky strand and watch it fly out of a store in Santa Fe. Generally speaking, large-scale jewelry sells well from north to south in the middle of the country and scales smaller as you approach both shores.
Use preferred materials of the region
Ever wonder why turquoise jewelry doesn’t sell in Southern California? Or why notable Congresswomen in Washington D.C. wear only perfectly matched, perfectly round, perfectly large strands of Tahitian black pearls? These are regional preferences, guided by the sense of style and socially stimulated buying tendencies of the people who wear jewelry in the area. Fashion is all about trends. Jewelry is fashion. And trends follow women around until they become a part of it. Look at what women are wearing in magazines, to work, and on the street in the region, and you’ll get a good idea about what sells best in that market. Here are some regional market rules of thumb: California wants its pearls, pearls, pearls, wants a lot of them, and wants them to be different; New York wants a single, white, and very expensive pearl pendant on a gold chain, thank you, please; the Southwest needs turquoise.
Realize that the development of regional marketing plans was the result of market research
Whatever kind of jewelry you make and wherever you market it, paying attention to differences in regional preferences can yield a better return for you and your jewelry business because the customer in your market region is always right!