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Designed and Handcrafted in Bisbee, Arizona

What Sells

Posted on June 18 2019



For some time now, I have been musing about what it takes to turn your lovely beads into money.

It is not easy to do.

If you make them at home and trust to Ebay or Etsy or any of the other Internet sites, you will have some takers, but unless you have made the beads up into jewelry, or established yourself with other designers, things can go too slowly, am I right?

I have been working as a bead jewelry designer for over thirty years and have learned a thing or two.

First of all, if the beads you make are fairly large focals, most designers will find them hard to incorporate into their own pieces because of the individuality of the design. Some of you will be developing ideas, sharing your talents perhaps with a silversmith or PMC artist. This can be mutually beneficial, resulting in beautiful and original work.

When I visit The Best Bead Show or some other event, I see beads set out for sale on tables, asking to be put together as wearable pieces. On the first day, designers swoop down, picking out sets and focals. Things look good. But after that, sales are inclined to drag for most bead makers, especially the "newbies".

There may be a simple way to increase sales. Dress up your beads. Make them into simple pendants. Hang some of them from a cord with two sliding knots. This may seem obvious, but I can tell you that when I began making my own long 18 gauge silver head pins, re-drilling pearls as accents and making pendants in 1990, I was alone, selling my work on Ebay. As time passed, this simple idea took hold and I like to think it has made a difference to many bead makers.

Now that I have a gallery, I no longer do the shows and as time passes, with the help of a good advertising budget, some magazine articles either written by me or about about my work by others, I make a living for both myself and my sales staff.

So, here are some of the ways I use my beads in jewelry. These ideas are not rocket science, nor are they complicated or even clever. The truth is that simple and easily wearable jewelry sells best to the general public. You want to make your beads into pieces that end up being favorites for those who buy them, things they wear almost every day, jewelry they take on vacation because they are comfortable, even to swim in!


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