Life is full of choices. In business we make choices many times everyday.
In 2009, I began doing website work for artist and business entrepreneur, Shari Dixon. I was introduced to the exciting world of artisans and craftsmen and women, and the business side of the art.
As Shari is headed to the Buyer’s Market of American Craft in Philadelphia, her fourth show of the year, I pondered what makes a successful show for a designer/wholesaler? Of course, sales is the obvious answer. However, what drives those sales? What makes one show more successful than the other or one show season better?
The economy in the country surely plays a part in the solidity of any business choice while the attendance and reputation of the show itself are factors as well. Beyond that, I was wondering “what do jewelry buyers look for at shows?”
Shari Dixon Inc has marketed at shows for several years. She has increased her online marketing presence through websites, facebook and twitter and increased print marketing through postcards and bi-annual catalog mailings. Establishing accounts with quality successful re-sellers has developed the Shari Dixon name into a recognizable and marketable designer brand.
As I walked through Americasmart Atlanta for my first time last summer, I was overwhelmed by the number of vendors and the variety of styles, media and prices. As I observed from the Shari Dixon Inc. booth, I listened to prospective buyers who stated they recognized the Shari Dixon brand. Voila! That must be it!
Brand/Label recognition transcends to the retail customer as well so the importance cannot be overlooked, but successful sales has to result from more than that.
It’s got to be a good design and product. It’s that simple (or difficult depending on your artistic skill level). Among the rows and rows of displays at any given show, the new buyer has to be drawn in by the jewelry itself. Price points, minimums and delivery time may close the sale, but first and foremost, the pieces must be appealing. The buyer’s instinct on what will sell in their retail store is the deal-maker. Giving them a selection that meets those instinctual challenges is the key.
Shari’s artistic instincts have successfully met those challenges as she continually creates stunning, popular fashion jewelry derived from nature. Her price points provide consumer affordability while producing both her and her customer’s profits. Studio and administrative staff provide re-sellers service after the sale and are key to Shari Dixon Inc’s continued growth. She has developed a loyal customer base of reputable and successful re-sellers because of her designs.
So, what do jewelry buyers look for at shows?
- Great Looking Designs that meet their store’s target customer style.
- Brand Recognition that helps market and sell for them
- Quality materials and workmanship reflective of the price
- Seasonal Additions to the line for fresh inventory
- Price Points that allows everyone to make a profit while still providing the end consumer value in their purchase
- A sincere dedication to service after writing the show order.
Again, I am not a jewelry buyer and I am just basing this off my three year observation of and working with a successful jewelry business and artist. Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear comments from Buyer’s, jewelry reps, other artists or retail owners.
Randy Hensley is a freelance web-designer, digital photo editor at urgescape digital who has performed work for Shari Dixon Inc and several craft artists. He has also spent over 30 years as VP of a family-owned business.