Three New Monthly Magazine/Newsletters

I am excited to announce three new monthly magazines/newsletters that I am writing and making available now that I am retired from traveling and teaching. If you have any interest in Silversmithing, Jewelry Selling, and Art Shows you have to check them out! The three are:

Silversmithing Monthly Gazette

Selling Made Easy Monthly Magazine

Art Show Monthly Calendar

You need to take the time to read on if you are serious about making your art, craft, jewelry or anything you create turn into a profitable business, or just make extra income. Each of the three monthly magazine/newsletters will consist of six articles or stories important to the main theme of the magazine/newsletter.

Silversmithing Monthly Gazette

1.      Simple, Quick, Profitable, Easy to Make and Sell Project of the Month. Each month I will pick one of my favorite projects that are simple in design, cost under $10.00 to make, will sell for $20.00 or more for a good profit, easy and quick enough that you can make 50 or more in one day, and easy to sell projects. These are the keys to anyone’s successful jewelry business!

2.      Safety Tip. Each month I will discuss different safety to help keep you healthy and unscarred!

3.      Metal of the Month. Each month I will discuss one metal that we use for jewelry making, or affects our jewelry making. Alloys using these metals will be discussed thoroughly. Of course, how to solder them will be emphasized.

4.      General Tip of the Month (Click for a Sample) Each month I will discuss one bench tip, or trick, to make your life and Silversmithing easier, quicker,

5.      Supplier of the Month.(Click for a Sample) Each month I will talk about one supplier of products, supplies, findings, chains, tools, and metals.

6.      Monthly Question and Answer (Click for a Sample). Each month I will pick one of the best questions that I get during the month and answer it thoroughly.

Each month I will offer discounts on supplies and kits for newsletter participants only.

Selling Made Easy Monthly Magazine

1.      Business Plan (Click for a Sample) Each month I will be discussing how to make and follow a basic business plan. I will simplify this process for you and do it in such a way that you can adapt your business plan to suit your needs. I will also discuss how your business plan not only can be changed, but should be updated each month.

2.      One Way to Sell This Month! (Click for a Sample) Each month I will discuss a way to sell your jewelry, craft or art work. If you want to be successful at selling your craft, this is a must read! I will also emphasize not spending money to sell your creations. I will also discuss how each method of selling should connect to, and extend to other sales methods available to every artist.

3.      One Project Each Month. These will be projects that are easy to make, inexpensive to make, easy to sell and profitable projects. They will not always be metal and not always be jewelry, but none will involve soldering, skills, or tools that the average artist will not already have.

4.      Wire Sculptures. Each month I will include a tutorial on a wire sculpture that can be sold as a stand-alone sculpture, flower stake, Christmas ornament, sun catcher, or jewelry. Why, you might ask, is this part of the Selling Made Easy Monthly Calendar? It is because I owe a lot of my success in selling my art work to these simple wire sculptures, especially the Hummingbirds and Angels. These will help your sales and will make you a good profit at the same time! If you need a little help with Karma these will help you there too! I made a living for seven or eight months with just these sculptures.

5.      My Art Selling Experiences. I am going to start with my earliest sales experience and each month gives you an idea of how I developed my selling “IQ” and actually love of selling. Selling can be fun and I believe that through these experiences you will discover how to have fun selling and come up with you own neat ideas of how to sell your art work.

7.      Questions and Answers (Click for a Sample). Each month I will answer your question concerning selling. If you need ideas, or having problems selling this is your chance to improve your selling skills.

Each month I will offer discounts on supplies and kits for newsletter participants only.

Art Show Monthly Calendar

1.      Why Have You Own Art Show (click for a sample). Each month we will discuss the importance of using this one method of sell your art work, jewelry, and crafts. If you are not planning an art show of you own creations, you are not serious about becoming a successful artist. It is just that simple. Only one other method of selling art is as effective, or more effective, than having your own art show! An emphasis will be placed on spending the least amount of money and your time to create a very profitable show.

2.      One Idea for a Themed Art Show (click for a sample) You must have a theme to your art show! This will not only get more new customers to your show, but keep your past customers coming and give you something to get free publicity for your show. Publicity, not advertising, will be emphasized as we explore options for themes each month.

3.      One Sale Tip to Use During Your Show. This will be one concrete tip to help you maximize your sales, and more importantly, your profits for your show.  We will discuss price ranges, what you should include for every art show, colors, art show set up, scheduling, your time, your costs, and your profits.

4.      Your Presentation Pieces! Each month I will discuss and give you ideas of what I call my “Presentation Pieces”. I am amazed to see art shows, and booths at art and craft shows where the artist has nothing that is similar to a theme or even remotely connected to other pieces. I teach that you must have a presentation, not just a bunch of random one- of-a-kind pieces.

5.      Questions and Answers. I will answer your questions concerning planning, scheduling, setting up, selling during the show, and how to sell after the show.

6.      World’s Largest Art Show (click for a sample). Each month we will be working on participating in the World’s Large Art Show which should be your yearly largest art show too. We need to start planning our individual art shows during the March 29 to April 6 World’s Largest Art Show.

You can sign up now for any of the three Magazines/Newsletters or receive a special discount for all three. Each month you will receive each of the six articles for each of the three via E-mails with the articles attached. You will not have to do anything to receive them once you have signed up for them. I am going to send three of the articles per magazine/newsletter to each list that I belong for you to get a feel for what each will look like. If you sign up for the one, two or all three of them I will resend these to you personally along with the other three articles for each magazine/newsletter for October. For those articles that contain a lot of photos I will put them into a PDF form and attach them to an email for easy access. At the end of October I will make all the articles available on my web site for downloading. As time goes by I would like to develop each of these into more of a web based magazine, and then, maybe, an actual printed magazine.


Purchased by the month.

Choose any one of the three magazines/newsletters for only $6.00 per month per newsletter. You will get all six articles for the $6.00 per month ($1.00 per article).  However if you are interested in signing up for one of the Magazine/Newsletters for a 12 month period I will offer you a 50% off discount. That’s right the cost of any one of them will only be $36.00 for 12 months so each article will only cost 50 cents each.

Purchase all three for twelve months for your best price.

Save another 50% discount!

I will discount the annual price of all three magazine/newsletters another 50% if you purchase all three for 12 months.

Your total price for 12 months of all three newsletters is only $54.00. (This is only $18.00 per newsletter for the year, $1.50 per newsletter per month, 216 individual articles for only 25 cents each!) Hey, that’s only $4.50 per month for everything.

Three ways to order:

Use Credit Cards (Master Card, Visa, Discover and American Express)

Call me at 303-517-1068.


Email it to me using two or three emails and that makes it very safe. In the first one, give me 1/2 the number and your zip code.

In the second email give me the other half of the number and expiration date. In a third email give me the name on the card and the three digit security code on the back of the card.

Just "Send Money” to

Mail checks payable to Don Norris to
Don Norris
PO Box 2433
Estes Park, CO 80517

Solid Band Intermediate Silversmithing Class.
Academy of Silversmithing and Art Metal                                   Don Norris                                   303-517-1068
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Art Show Monthly Calendar Samples First Month

World’s Largest Art Show 1
If you are thinking about having your own art show in the next year I want you to give some serious thought to joining us in participating in the World’s Largest Art Show in 2014. It is free to join and have your art show during the same time as 100s if not 1000s of artist have their own art show all over the world. There are many benefits of having your own art show are thoroughly discussed in the Art Show Monthly, Why have your own art show. There are 10 good reasons. By joining the World’s Largest Art Show you will receive free publicity opportunities that no other art show can present. Where you have your show is up to you, the exact schedule of your show is up to you, the hours of your art show is up to you, and the amount of profit you want to make is up to you. To have your art show included on the World’s Largest Art Show Web site is free. You may list your show, the dates and times, the location, what the main theme is and what you intend to sell. It is all free to subscribers of my newsletters. The web site will launch later this month.
Two years ago I want to have the World’s largest art show all around the world with every artist have their own art show at their location, but all on the same dates. The problem came when I found that Easter, that year, landed right in the middle of the show and one of the most important days of the show, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I did not check out holidays when I began to schedule it and let people know about it, but then had to cancel it. It is now time to have it! Everything is perfect to have it in 2014, March 26 through April 6, Saturday through Sunday. This is nine days, but every artist can set their one times and pick which days they wish to have their art show open. They can have different hours on different days; they can be closed on different days. The important thing is to have your art show during these dates. If you wish to maximize your profits you would begin it on Saturday, March 29 and close it to the public on Saturday, April 5.
What does it cost to participate in the World’s Largest Art Show?
Nothing, it is free to register you show on the World’s Largest Art Show which is ready to launch in the next few weeks.
What are the main advantages of joining the World’s Largest Art Show?
1.Free publicity and that means to you that you will get people to your show, new people that are not now your customers. Just being able to let all your news and media outlets now that you too are part of the World’s Largest Art Show will get more people to your art show than any individual effort that you can do by yourself.
2.Free help in planning our show through the Question and Answer board on the World’s Largest Art Show web site.
3.The dates are set! Sometimes this is the hardest decision to make if you want to have your own art show. That decision has been made for you. All you have to do is plan which days during those dates you wish to have your show. Then decide which hours each day you wish to have your art show.
4.What are the times? You can set your own times. Any time, on any of the days you choose to have your show. You can set your own schedule. I will make recommendations and help you choose what time will insure more profits. My thoughts for my show is hours is listed below
Saturday, March 29, 10 AM to 5:00 PM, Public Welcome, free entertainment!
Saturday, March 29, Opening Party for past customers only. Wine and cheese!
Sunday, March 30, 12 PM to 9 PM, Public Welcome, free entertainment!
Monday, March 31, 6 PM to 1 AM, UFO party and watch!
Tuesday, April 1, 9 AM to 9 PM, Alien Day and alien droppings search.
Thursday, April 2, 6 PM to 9 PM, Alien Music Night
Friday, April 3, 12 PM to 9 PM,
Saturday, April 4, 9 AM to 9 AM, Public Welcome, free entertainment!
Saturday, April 4, 5 PM to 9 PM, End of show discounts.
Sunday, April 5, 12 PM to 4 PM, Customer Appreciation Party and merchandize
pickup. Deep discounts on anything left to sell.
5.Location is up to you too! Each artist will choose their own location.  Your art show could be in your living room, den, dining room, kitchen, basement, front yard, back yard, your neighbor’s house or yard, your local park or pavilion, your church, in your RV, in a warehouse, store front, gallery, an empty barn, a corn field or any where you want it!
6.Increased Profits for you and your business.
7.Participation in the World’s Largest April Fool’s Joke. You do not have to participate in this part of the World’s Largest Art Show. However, if you do you will greatly increase your profits through the extra publicity and sales to the new customers that it brings to our show.
8.Fun to have and during your show is a must. I will show you how to maximize your fun before and during the show.
9.More profits in the months following the show.
10.Guaranteed participation in future World’s Largest Art Shows and Events!

Why Have An Art Show?
It is one of the best tools we have to sell our jewelry, art and crafts. It is not as good as wearing your jewelry and selling to every person you meet during the day. I will cover all ten good reasons to have art show. They are not in any certain order of importance. I will say that I am going to follow my own advice. I only need one or two good reasons to do something. If there are more than four good reasons to do something thing I should do it! I have at least 10 good reasons. This indicates to me that having at least one art show a year is a MUST!
There are a couple of catches. One, you have to pick a date and then begin working towards having that show every week if not every day. Two, you must plan and make enough jewelry, art, and crafts to have a show. This is why I have not had an art show for over 10 years. I have been busy, sure, everyone is busy. This is only one reason that I did not have enough items to sell to warrant having a show. The real reason was that I sold everything that I have made. You must make items for your art show each week, if not every day. Let me convince you to have an art show at least once per year and then we will begin to plan one.
Reasons to have your own art show.
1.One of the easy ways to bring in many new customers in a short period of time.
By having an art show you can get new customers to look at your art work. If you plan it right, use some inexpensive publicity techniques you will get potential customers to see your art work with little or no expenses. I don’t know of any other way to get as many new clients that your own art show will do for you. There are many ways to get these new customers to your art show. Some are listed below. These and other ways will be discussed in future Art Show Monthly newsletters.
Publicity Stunts will bring in complete strangers through the media out lets.
Incentives for your old customers to bring in new customers.
Tea and wine parties throughout your art show for new old and clients.
You will have this new personal art show to give you something to blast to the web.
An art show gives you an excuse to invite new clients in to look at many new items to buy.

2.Give you a financial boosts.
If you need money an art show can be the fastest way to earn a large some in a short period of time. Whether you need $1,000.00 or $10,000.00 and art show can be your answer. Of course you need to have enough items to sell to make the money you need.
3.Your own art show can bring back customers that have wondered a way.
If you have tried to get your old clients to look at some pieces through whatever means and they have sort of wonder off and art show can be the vehicle to get them back. With your own art show they can get excited about see many new items in an atmosphere of fun and exploration instead of a straight sale pitch through an email, or you confronting them in person in what they view as a sales contact for you. They can bring a friend, enjoy some wine, hard liquor or ice tea and relax.
4.Your own art show can bring in those customers that you sold a $20.00 piece to in the past.
Remember this is why I emphasis making and selling $20.00 pieces of art in the first place to make new clients. Sure I will be discussing how to sell more to these new clients in “Making Jewelry Sales Easy” monthly newsletter, but your own art show is the single best tools to get them back in front of you on your terms, in your choice of location and on friendly terms. It is a must for you to invite these clients to your show.
5.Your own art show can be fun for you and your clients.
Oh, yes, having your own art show can be a lot of work, but it also can be a lot of fun if you plan, organize and then enjoy your show.  I will help you plan an art show that will not only be profitable, but will be a lot of fun. Your own art show will most likely be the most fun you can have selling. It can also be the most fun your customers ever have purchasing items for them or as gifts for others.
6.Your own art show can be easy to set up if you do it right.
Every ones knows that planning is the key to making something easy to do and this will be no exception. I will show you how to plan your art show and set it up so that it goes smoothly and profitably. I have had students have an art show in their living room and only invite every past customer, neighbor, members of their church, and members of their local art society. They usually print up some cheap, but artistic invitations and passed them out to those people. They displayed their jewelry, and in some cases other art work, among and on their furniture. They had every item priced for a good profit according to my formula for pricing. They also served some wine, hot chocolate and soft drinks and baked some cookies. Their shows were one and two days they had different hours. About the only thing each art show had in common was good  planning, enough merchandize, and they all made their goals, money and profit. They used no advertising or special props. One used her kitchen and displayed her jewelry on and over pots and pans. She named it something to do with pots and pans, but I wanted her to use the “everything is for sale except the kitchen sink” theme. I can’t remember what she named the show, but it did have something to do with pots and pans. She also served food during some times during the show. She did use most of my suggestions to increase her sales such as having “presentations” of jewelry with similar themes, giving incentives for those that brought new customers in, and started having “home parties” in her customer’s homes. Home parties will be discussed in the “Jewelry Sales Made Easy” newsletters.
7.Your own art shows can be the most profitable way to sell.
.A personal art show allows you to sell retail without splitting any of the profits up with other artists, a gallery, a show promoter or store by selling wholesale. Your only expenses should be your time and whatever you use to promote the show through publicity and not advertising. This does not have to be a lot of money and usually could be next to free. The most important aspect of having your own art show is that all your profits are yours.
8.Your own art show can be inexpensive to have.
I once had an art show that cost me less than $100.00 to organize, build and promote. I sold more than $4,000.00 in profits in two weekends. I was still teaching so I planned it for two weekends, Saturday and Sunday each weekend. I will discuss this show in detail in the article “Art Show Monthly, One Idea for An Art Show: An Ice Cave”.
9.You can get free publicity and advertising for your own personal art show.
With just a little creativity and some courage to take actions you could generate enough free “buzz”, publicity to get hundreds of new clients in a very short period of time. If you conduct your own art show in a professional manor this will mean great profits for you.
10.Your own art show can give your old clients and opportunity to invite their friends and relatives to your show and enjoy your art work.
No other forms of sales can do this for you. Sure an old customer may recommend your web site, but rarely will they take any steps to introduce them to you and give you’re the opportunity to sell them something.
Home shows can also do almost everything listed above, but not as fast as your own art show in your own location.

One Idea for an Art Show: Ice Cave
Years ago I needed to make some money for something according to my wife. We were short for one reason or another that month. She told me that we needed another $700.00 or so for the month’s bills. I told her not to worry that I would make some extra money in a week or so. She knew I would. I thought about how to make this extra money in a week and listed several ideas. I was making some small Sterling Silver sculptures at the time using some 3 inch skeletons. They were fun to make, and I actually continue to make them today. I had 10 or so of them made. One was a skeleton sitting on a toilet reading a newspaper. Several others’s made up a jazz band, and one was of a dentist and a patient in the chair with all the tools attached. Anyway, I had those made and quite a bit of jewelry. The jewelry consisted of western styled rings, pendants and earrings. I had a few bracelets too. I had a hundred or more of the solid Silver pine cones that I had cast from real Mountain Alder pine cones to sell. So I had a fair amount of merchandize to sell and had no real way to sell it fast.
I thought of trying to do a craft show, but did not have or want to spend the money for the show fee. I had done some shows and found that I would always rather spend money on materials and make more merchandize than spend it trying to sell it, especially doing art and craft shows. I decided to have my own art show in our basement where I had my shop. It was actually a fairly large basement with a short all way to my fairly large shop that I could teach up to 12 students at a time in. All I had to do is find a way to decorate it and then enough people there to buy at least $700.00 to a $1,000.00. I counted the cash in my bill fold and less than $100.00 to put my art show together. I also needed something from the lumber yard and decided to go get it and see if I would come up with a cheap idea to decorate for the show.  As I walked by the insulation department I go an idea of using painting tarps to drape over furniture in our basement den and my shop benches and things. Then I was thinking about lighting it as weird type hippy tent. I was hoping to come up with an idea of promoting the show for free without just getting hippies there. That seemed to be a real problem and the cost of the tarps was cost prohibitive anyway.
Then I began thinking of the white ½ inch Styrofoam in the installation department and got the idea of using it to make a cave. I was thinking about painting it like rocks. Then the cost of paint and time ruined that idea. Then I thought that I could use it just as it was and build an “ice cave”. There would be no painting, no cost or time of the painting, just put it up, and put some blue light bulbs in all the lamps and fixtures to make it look cool, maybe even look cold. Then I could turn up the air conditioner to actually make it cold. I figured out how many sheets I needed to make the cave and did not have enough money, but I was trying to cover the entire “cave” with it including the ceiling. I realized that the ceiling of my basement was white and that eliminated one third of the sheets I need and one third of my costs. I bought all the sheets I needed and some blue light bulbs all for less than $50.00. I loaded on top my car and drove home.
I spent most the night until 4 AM making my ice cave and went to bed. When I go up I told my wife of the idea and she was not thrilled with the idea. In fact I think her exact words were, “That sounds stupid. You are going to tell people that our basement froze into an ice cave in the middle of July? How are you going to get anyone here away, and then I really don't want people coming to our house?” I told her that I would have everyone come in the back door and go straight down to the basement, and it would not be too many people because I did not know how to even get anyone to come, but I had an idea. We both went to work.
That night, after getting home from teaching, I cut holes in the “ice” and used that Styrofoam for the shelves to set my art work and jewelry on to display it. I used clear plastic food wrap to cover the holes and make windows so that people could not just grab the pieces. I just used straight pins to hold everything together and strung clear Christmas lights that we had to light the way over head. I found a whole string of blue light too, and put them to use. I was impressed and called my wife down and gave her the first tour of the ice cave. She was impressed but still thought it was a little “over the top” and silly. She still had no idea how anyone would find out about it, let alone come to see it. She did like the way the jewelry and sculptures looked.
The next day was Thursday and I called all the televisions stations, radio stations and newspaper and told them that my basement had frozen solid. I told them that I had carved an ice cave out of it and decided to have an art show in the ice until it melted. Over course they took some notes and told me that someone my call me to come out. I came home from school and there were no calls on my answering machine, a fairly new device in fact. No one had called and I was starting the show on Saturday! I was worried that I spent a lot of money for nothing. However, that night I did have about 20, or so, people come over for a party consisting of former students and some teachers at my school. During the “When Hell Freezes Over Party” that I had invited them to I actually sold several hundred dollars.  I was pretty happy. I made some money, had some fun, remembered most the night, and my wife was happy about the money. All was good that night.
The next morning around 9 AM I got a call from the Rocky Mountain News. The reported said that she was going to be in my neighbor hood and that she would like to come by to see how a basement could freeze solid in July. We made and appointment and I got ready for my art show. I had put some fliers out around the neighborhood and was hoping someone would come. I had only one person come over on Saturday and it was the reporter.
She went through the ice cave and looked at all the art work and we went up stairs and sat down. She said, “This is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen, but I did like some of your art work. May I buy something I saw?” I told her over course, but she could not have it until the end of the show, if it was one of the one of a kind pieces. I explained that if I sold things today that I would not have anything to show next weekend and it would be a bad art show for me. She understood and then asked, “May I go through it again?” We went through the mine again, and she bought some pine cones and one of the skeletons sitting on the toilet. It came to over $100.00. She seemed to like the cave more than the first time through. I asked her again what she thought of the ice cave and she said, “Oh it is really stupid, but interesting and fun at the same time. We talked for about an hour and she left. No one else came that day, and a few neighbors came by, but I did not make any sales.
The reported called me on Tuesday and told me that she had written an article and that it was going to be in the paper on Wednesday. When I came home from teaching my wife was excited and impressed, and a little angry. First she told me showed me the two full pages of my article complete with lots of photos of my jewelry and sculptures, especially the skeletons. She was impressed and I was shocked. Two full pages in the news paper was about $10,000.00 worth of advertising. Then she said the answering machine was full, and that she already had some people come by to see the Ice Cave! “Did you know that she put our address and phone number in the article?” she asked. “This is not cool”, she added.  “Chanel 2 news wants to come out and film it for the ten o’clock news and I have to clean house quick!” she went on to make sure I knew she was unhappy.
Anyway, I called the television station and they came out and shot a short story about the Ice Cave and my sculptures. They gave me almost a minute segment on the 10 o’clock news that night! The short ending is that I sold all my skeleton sculptures, many pine cones and some of the jewelry during the next weekend show. If I remember it right, it was well over $1,500.00, and that was real money back then so we paid our bills and flew to Vegas for the next weekend to catch some shows. Back then you could fly to Vegas, eat well and see some real “names” in entertainment for $300.00 to $400.00.
I had fun, made a great profit, made some new customers and had my 15 seconds of fame. My wife has the article somewhere but has not been able to find it. We have moved about five times since then and everything is boxed up. If I find it I will find a way to share it with everyone. Unfortunately VCRs were not available for about three months, so I did not get a copy of the news show.
Now, am I telling you should build an Ice Cave art show? Well, maybe! Why not! I may do it again. Actually I used the same idea and made a complete pewter mine with the same Styrofoam and painted it and some heavy paper like rocks. We gave daily tours through the World’s only pewter mine for over five years in Estes Park. It was very profitable and a fun way to make a living. My teaching schedule began to take so much of my time traveling that I closed it and have missed it since, but that is a whole other story to be told in a different newsletter. So plan an art show and make an ice cave, or use this idea, expand on it, change it to meet your own needs, but have fun, get some free publicity and make some money with your own art show.

Silversmithing Monthly Gazette Samples First Month

Suppliers 1, Chains
The bulk of what I make to sell are pendants. 99% of these pendant are sold with a chain. 99% of them are sold with a 20 inch Sterling Silver box chain from Azur Imports. Their contact number will follow this article. The chain that I use is a light weight, inexpensive (for Sterling Silver) box chain. I feel that the box chain because they look stronger and heavier than cable and link chains. The important factors for choosing a chain for me is the length first, and then the cost second and how nice is looks third. I have found that the weight of the chain, the size of the chain has never made a difference in a customer’s decision to buy a pendant of mine. With one exception, and that is when I have put too expensive of a chain on a pendant that made the selling price so high that it priced the piece out of the market. I have never had a customer not buy a piece because the chain was too small. I have had them not purchase the pendant because the chain was too short. This is why I always put a 20 inch chain I routinely get comments from customers thanking me for putting the pendants on the longer chains. Most people use 16 inch and 18 inch chains for their pendants. This eliminates about 60 to 70 percent of the customers. Most can’t even try on the pendant. The chain is just too short!
I have had customers ask me if I have a nicer chain. I do not always have different chains for the customers to purchase. When I had my store in Estes Park I did not stock better, more expensive chains. It was simple for me to make that decision.  I found that customers would spend more time choosing a chain than they did choosing a pendant to buy. We only had three to four months each season to make our sales for the year. When we sold a pendant the average profit was between $30.00 to $90.00. The average profit on a different chain was only $10.00 to $20.00 at the most. I did not want my employees spending any time selling chains. I wanted them to spend times selling pendants. The cost of inventory and tying up you funds for chains just does not justify have them. I would tell customers that I did not have other chains to sell and that there were 50 stores within two blocks of my store that have chains for sale. Many time, customers would come back and buy another pendant and say, “I priced better chains at several stores and they were so high that I came back to buy another pendant. I have chains at home, and I can buy cheaper chains than that anywhere.” I let those other stores make them angry enough to come back to my store.
So, the length is more important than the weight of the chain, then comes the cost. I try not to spend more than $3.00 for a Sterling Silver, 20 inch chain. Azur Distributing has several chains that will fill the bill. Rio Grande has a curb link chain or two that can stay under $3.00 also. It is lighter weight than the box chain from Azur, but it will do the job. The job is giving the customer a chain. It is a chain that they can at least get around their neck and be able to look at it. Another reason for my use of a 20 inch chain is that many of my pendants are sold as gifts for someone else. The 20 inch chain assures the customer that the person receiving the gift will be able to wear without buying a long chain. If I put a heavier and more expensive chain on this would price it out of the “gift” price range, and sometimes to make for this I would put the same piece on a shorter nicer chain. This would cause the customers look for a gift to worry that even thought the chain was nicer, it may not fit the person they are buying it for.
Pricing given are either taken from the catalogs or quoted over the phone on the dates given. They are subject to change and usually based the spot price of Silver.
At most high volume, completive price catalog companies we can find good prices on these light weight chains.  At the Silver prices today, 9/6/13 the cost for the 20 inch box chain, Number   is $   each if you purchase 100 or more. I found two chains that would fit my price points in the Rio Grande 2014 Gems and Findings, Display and Packaging catalog. Both are Sterling Silver Box chains that are made in Italy the chain making capital of the world.  The two that I liked are number 612-238/20 for $2.81 each if you purchase 10 to 49 and number 612-239/20 for $3.34 if you purchase 10 to 49. This would indicate to me that you could even get a better price if you purchase 50 or more and they most likely have another price break at 100 or more.
I buy finished chains and do not purchase chains by foot and then add the ends. I have never found that this will save me any money, or make me any more profit. Of course the reason for this is that I value my time. When pricing pieces that you put a chain on that you purchased by the foot you must include your time spent putting the chain together! Now, of course, this does not take into account that you may be making a piece that the chain is part of the focal point, or you are spacing out the chain by including beads within the chain. You must determine if your customer base will support the extra cost of the beads and your labor. This is usually very popular with beaders. For them the chain is the piece of jewelry and I understand this. If you agree with me that no one sees the chain on a pendant then you will not want to spend the time to make the chain pretty. It can price a piece right out of your customers price range, especially if purchase as a gift.
Let’s do some math!
I always teach that you must use the following formula for making a successful jewelry making business.
$8.00 cost of Silver. This is about the average cost of my student pieces that you find on my web site,
$3.00 cost of the stone. I rarely use a stone more expensive on pieces that I make to make the most amount of profit on a piece. If you buy right there are thousands of stone that can be purchased in this price range.
$3.00 cost of chain.
$14.00 Total cost of materials.
$2.80 I add 20% of my material cost on every piece for materials I forget about, solder, flux, shipping, and other things we just forget about.
$16.80 total cost of materials.
$15.00 for labor for this kind of piece. I figure my time at $20.00 an hour, and I can make those pieces in less than an hour.
$31.80 Total cost.
$63.60 Wholesale price: Total cost multiplied by 2.
$127.20 my retail price: Wholesale price multiplied by 2.
Then I can sell that piece anywhere from $64.00 to $130.00 and be happy, and I do sell these pieces routinely for these prices.
However, if I buy a chain that cost me even $10.00 my total cost materials would be $24.00 plus the 20% would $28.80. Then add $15.00 for labor and the total cost is $43.80. Multiplied by two for the wholesale price we are at $87.60. Multiply the wholesale price by two and we have a retail price of $175.20. This is over $50.00 more for the same piece and most likely will not be sellable. I prefer to sell the nicer chain separately for $20.00 after they have purchased the pendant. I can sell it for $20.00 because I have no labor in it and be happy with doubling my money for my profit. However, again, I usually do not want to spend any time selling a different chain just to make an extra $10.00.

Silversmithing Tip #1: Anchor Yourself.
I know this is a tip that does not seem like a “bench tip” like “Ball Burs” below, but anchoring yourself is the most important tip that I can give you for soldering. It is one of the three rules I have for Silversmithing and soldering: Anchor Yourself, Make It Behave, and Don’t Fiddle. I will cover the other two in following newsletters. “Anchor Yourself” is the most important. Remember that I always work at kitchen table height, about 27 inches from the floor. I feel that if it is good and comfortable for eating, it is the best height to work at too. Anchoring yourself is so important for any craft or skill you attempt. With out anchoring yourself you will begin to shake, especially when you are trying to do something very detailed, or have to hold things very still for a period of time. I always say, “If you are shaking, you are not anchored!”
Add photo holding right hand with left.

By anchored, I mean that you have your dominate hand firmly anchored to the table during almost every soldering step. By anchored I do not mean just touching or laying on top the table. I mean I am pushing my right hand down on the table firmly. So that if someone tried to move my hand, they could not do it. When ever possible I try to anchor my left hand from my mid forearm through the heal of my hand to the end of my pinky finger, all touching the surface of the table in front of me. In order to make this possible I always place my soldering blocks, a Solderite Pad and soft charcoal block, a minimum of six to eight inches from the edge of the table. This, also, places the charcoal block so that the torch angel is correct too. Then I hold my right index finger and thumb securely with my left index finger and thumb. The heal of my right hand is also anchored to the table. This insures that my right hand is completely anchored and steady. I especially use this technique while using my tweezers, placing solder in place, or placing anything in place with accuratcy. If my tweezers are still shaking I know that I am not anchored!
A common mistake made by beginners is that when they get anchored good, they can not reach the area where they want to place. So, instead of moving the charcoal block and piece that they are soldering closer to their hand so that it can be reached with the tweezers, they release their grip on their right hand, index finger and thumb, move their right hand closer to the block and try to anchor their hand by holding their wrist or forearm. This allows their hand, fingers and especially the tweezers to shake. Again, if you are shaking, you are not anchored. If shaking is causing you to constantly reposition your pieces and solder then you are not anchored. This will cost you a great deal of time and profit.
Earl Boyd, the man that taught me Silversmithing in one long night, was 80 years old when I met him. He had essential tremors which made placing small pieces accurately and solder in place difficult to impossible. He was going to quit doing Silversmithing because of it. I believed that if he did quit doing Silversmithing that he would not live long after quitting his main interest in life after his wife had died. I wanted to help him continue with this important activity in his life. I began to study myself while soldering and discovered that as the day went by, after about four hours of working at my bench, I also could start to shake a little. This cost me time, profit and was frustrating too. I began to study how I was holding my tweezers and where my hands were. I discovered that if my right hand was anchored to the table in such a way that I could not shake, that I did not get has tired, and I did not get shaky as the day passed. Earl and I would quarrel over this and I find my students are resist anchoring themselves to the point they do not shake. “I am anchored!” I hear all the time as they are cussing because they can not place solder or a small piece in place. “Are you shaking?” I ask. “No!” they reply in anger. I point out that they are shaking and then they have to agree. Then I show them again how to anchor themselves properly and this ends the shaking. They have no problem putting their solder, or small piece, exactly where they want it. I win, but five minutes later, they are right back to do things without anchoring their hands and cussing again. It seems like students, beginners, understand that they need to anchor, Earl understood, but they get angry when they do not anchor and seem to prefer, cussing. It seems to take reminding them and teaching them how to anchor several times before they really understand how important it is and begin to practice it. So, practice it!
Even if I am going to just place one little piece of solder, or some small piece in place while the torch is on, in my left hand, so that I can not anchor my right hand fully as I should, I will anchor my right hand as much as possible. I do this by trying to place my entire right hand down on the table, or sometimes actually using my tools to rest my hand on to anchor my hand. If this is not possible I anchor by placing my right hand pinky finger on the table to settle my right hand down and anchor it to the table through my pinky finger.
Add photo of anchoring my right hand on tools and another with anchoring using my pinky finger.

Anchoring while filing.
Anchoring your hand, your non dominant hand to hold your metal, especially the bezel, as you are filing is very important too. If you are right handed, the file is held in you right hand as most tools are held in your dominant hand. The metal you are filing is held in your left hand. I always anchor my left hand so that they file can cut the metal without moving my left hand. This gives me accurate filing at the right angle that I want to achieve. If your left hand is up off the table it causes the file to push your left hand forward as the file pushes against the metal. The friction causes your left hand to be pushed in the direction that your file is traveling. To counter act this pushing forward you must pull back your left hand against file. This causes you to actually move the metal in an arc. So, if you have filled a piece hoping to get a straight edge on your metal, as you do with the end of a bezel, and it comes out rounded instead of a straight line, squared to the bottom of the bezel. Then you have to file it again. If you have filed a piece and it is not straight then you know that you were not anchored. As the file traveled down the metal it pushes to the left, if you are not anchored, and the result is a solder joint that is not straight.
Add photo of filing correctly

Five good reasons to anchor yourself.
1.You will get straighter, better fitting, joints.
2.You will have to take less file strokes because the metal does not move with the file. This causes the file to cut more metal off with each stroke.
3.Faster because the file cuts more metal off with each stroke.
4.Faster because you file accurately cutting down on re-filing pieces to correct them.
5.More profitable by saving you time.
6.Less fatigue, less shaking, more fun for a longer period of time.

Using Ball Burrs
When using ball burrs, use the largest one that can possibly do the job. This really means the largest one you have that will fit in the space that you are working in. I keep 1/4 inch ball burrs for nearly all operations. The larger the burr, the easier it is to control. Small burrs have a tendency to catch and be jerked around, thus, marring surfaces that you do not wish to have scarred. It can also lead to the burr bouncing, or slipping, off the surface and grinding into you. They will eat right through a glove, even a leather one, and then into your fingers. This is a very bad cut, because it chews into the skin, and rips it up into chunks, instead of just a nice smooth cut. When using a large burr, it cuts faster, is easier to see what you are doing, and by having more teeth on the metal at one time, is easier to control. You can actually "sculpt" with a large ball burr. I do keep some small burrs handy to get to the small areas when needed, but actually try not to use them. A larger burr will require less pressure, hence more control. The more teeth it has the finer the cut, but the longer it takes to do the job. This falls in to the "matter of preference" category. Use a fine one or a coarse one, the speed of the tool can make either work just fine. A coarse burr, at high speeds will give the same cut as a fine burr, and I prefer high speeds. It works faster and gives a smooth cut--smooth enough to go on to polishing with a bright boy wheel or even just white diamond on a yellow treated buff.

Monthly Silversmithing Question:
Why do you spray on your flux?
I was taught to paint on the flux like everyone at the time was taught. One day I was teaching Silversmithing to my Junior High Students. As I sprayed on the flux and dried it, one of my 8th grade students asked me what flux was for. I told them that flux cleaned the metal so that the solder could flow. This is what every metals book I ever read, what every metals teacher taught, and what Earl taught me. So that was my answer. This kid said, “Mr. Norris, the Silver was clean, now it looks dirty.” He was right; the metal was clean, now it was crusty and dirty with dried flux. I told him that I guess I really did not know what it did, but I would find out. I soldered the piece and they were impressed.
I went to the library that evening and checked the card catalog files. That was the Google of the times. I found over 30 books with references to flux and began to go through them. I went through the metals books first. All of them said that flux cleaned the metal so that the flux could flow. The eighth grade student knew more than they did. I finally got to a book on engineering. It had a section on soldering and the use of flux. It said something different. It said that flux coats the metal so that oxygen can mix with the metal, thereby burning it, causing it to become dirty. Solder will not flow into these oxidized, burned areas. That’s when I really learned what flux was for, and it explained something else for me. When I showed Earl all the pieces that I made that first day, I told him that I did not see any fire coat, or fire scale, or fire stain on any of the pieces as I polished each one, after I began spraying on the flux. Earl thought that I had just not seen it; he just knew it had to be there. I had looked for it and knew that there was no fire scale. Now I understood that if you spray on your flux you coat the entire piece. The entire piece is protected from the oxygen and does not get the dreaded fire scale. This means, the piece is easier and quicker to polish. More importantly the pieces do not tarnish. I have pieces, or I should say my, my wife has them, that I made over 40 years ago. There is no tarnish on any of them. I routinely meet old customers and students that are wearing their pieces, some as old as 30 years or more. I had a person come into my store and I looked up and told her, “Hey, that’s a nice pendant you are wearing.” She responded, “It better be, I bought it from you over 30 years ago! I came in to see you and say thanks, again.” I asked her if she had ever polished it during the 30 years and she had not. It looked so good I could have put it into my case for sale. As I have said, I have had many such occasions proving to me that if you solder correctly, flux correctly by spraying  and fluxing the whole piece every time, then polishing the piece correctly it will not tarnish. Well, at least for 40 years or more.
This is why I tell everyone that if you are not spraying on the flux, you do not know what it is for. Now some teach to paint it on the whole piece, which is better than just painting it on the solder joint, but way too time consuming. A profit eater for sure! Some people dip their pieces into flux and then solder. I have never seen any liquid that will stick to metal just because it was dipped into it. Well, maybe corn syrup. Anyway, you should spray on the flux, every time as out lined in the “30 Steps of Soldering” at the end of this book.
The five good reasons to spray on the flux.
1.Quicker, this means to you that you can make more pieces in the same amount of time.
2.Easier, just spray and dry it, put your solder on and solder.
3.It will eliminate the fire scale.
4.It will make polishing quicker and easier because there will be no fire scale.
5.Because there is no fire scale the piece can be polished to a high luster and will not tarnish.

Any spray bottle will work for fluxing.
I once had a person respond to a list on the Web that “I tried spraying on the flux and did not like it. All my pieces moved when I sprayed on the flux! I am going to paint it on as I have always done.” He was responding to an email that I had sent trying to teach the correct method of fluxing a piece. I replyed: “Then you did not read my my post or my book. I teach just to put pieces close to where they are to be soldered, spray on the flux, let them move if they do, and heat the piece to flux properly. Then, as you gently heat each piece with the torch, you can place it exactly where you wish it to remain, and it will be stuck in place. This makes it easy, and fast, to place your solder and  then solder. Everything will be soldered down exactly where you want. It is not a matter of “liking to spray on flux, or not liking it, you must spray on the flux, if you know what it is for.”

Jewelry Sales Samples First Month

One Method to Sell, Wear it, Sell It!

This is not just one way to sell your jewelry, but the best way to sell it. As I do in my classes I will give your five good reasons of why I say that this is the best way to sell your jewelry at the end of this newsletter. If you wear what you sell, you do not need to know anything about sales except for the following sales pitch. “I made it myself and it is for sale!” That is not too much of a sales pitch, is it? It is so easy to say. I want you to repeat it right now.
“I made it myself and it is for sale!”
“I made it myself and it is for sale!”
“I made it myself and it is for sale!”
I can not tell you how many times I have talked to jewelry artists that ask me how to sell their jewelry, and they are not wearing their jewelry. It happens more than 80% of the time. They are either not wearing any jewelry, or they are wearing a piece they purchased from another artist. You must wear your jewelry if you want anyone to buy jewelry from you. Why would anyone buy your jewelry if you are not proud enough of it to wear your jewelry, and are just advertising for some other artist, why even bother selling yours. I was at an art show once and stopped at an artist’s booth. I stopped and was looking at some the nice pieces and asked, “I really like these. Did you make these pieces?” She said, “I make everything in my booth myself. I do not make all the beads, but I do make the jewelry.” I then asked her if she made the piece she was wearing. She looked down and felt the piece to see what she was wearing. “Oh, now, not this piece. I bought this yesterday from the artist in row C.” I then asked her about the show and told her that I was thinking about do the show next year with my pewter sculptures. She told me that it was a little slow and did not think it was advertised really well. I asked her how she was doing. She told me that she had not made her booth fees yet, but she had one more day. It was a three day show. I wanted to ask her, “How in the hell she thought she was going to make a profit with only one day left if she had not even made the fees half way through the show, and she was wearing another artist’s work? If you are going to sell your jewelry you must wear it!
Yes, I know that sometimes you just want to wear some one jewelry besides your own, but if you are selling you should wear yours and only yours. If you want to be very successful you should wear only yours every day, everywhere, all the time. You should not leave the house without your jewelry on. Wear it to the grocery store, the bank, to church, to a party, out to eat, out for lunch, to work if you have a job, everywhere, all the time. How hard is that? If you think this is too hard, or too much to ask of yourself, just quit making jewelry to sell, and start making it for fun and quit wasting your time. You must get serious about selling your jewelry, as serious as making it!
Now if you are a man, you can not wear it to sell it. No, not because it will make you look affeminate, but it will make you look like a jewelry salesman, and no one likes salesman, saleswomen, salespeople. I will discuss this, and how to overcome this hatred of salespeople,  in future editions of this, Jewelry Sales Newsletter. Of sure you can make something for yourself to wear and that. Most likely a man’s ring. My problem with that is that I do not make rings, and I do not make men’s jewelry. Why make anything for only 5% of the jewelry market? I only make women’s jewelry which is 95% of the jewelry market. I will also discuss make rings in future news letters. So I do not believe that I should wear women’s jewelry to sell it, and I have sold more jewelry than most over the past 30 to 40 years. So I had to carry it with me every day and everywhere instead of wear it. I always have some pieces with me. When I wore a suit most the time as a teacher, I loved it. I always had pockets to carry it in. I have thought about wear a suit everyday again just to sell jewelry now that I am retiring from teaching. That remains to be decided.
So, a man wanting to sell jewelry to women, or to men for women, he must have on him, in a pocket or in his computer bag, brief case, or a man’s purse. Then he must mention it to everyone he talks to, just like a women wearing it, but it is harder. Women can wear their jewelry because they CAN! In fact women are expected to wear jewelry. Some would argue that they look odd if they are not wearing some kind of jewelry. I will also discuss this in future Jewelry Sales Newsletters. Men just has to work a little harder. When I am really selling, I will have a pocket, front left filled with my pendants, my $20.00 pendants that I sell for $30.00 most the time. Again, what you should wear, or for men, carry, will be discussed in future newsletters. So men need to carry it and show it everyone they talk to, but how? Well, that is the hard part, but, really is it? How hard it is to say, “Oh, by the way, I make and sell jewelry. What do you think of these?” as you pull them out of your pocket? How hard is that?
Learn “high pressure” sales right now.
This is for women and men to learn. All you need to be a top “high pressure” jewelry salesperson is to learn to say, “Oh, I made this myself and it is for sale!? It is that simple. For really high pressure jewelry sales, you need to wear a $20.00 retail priced piece and learn to say: “Oh, I made this myself and it is for sale for only $20.00!” If you can master this simple sentence you will have more jewelry business than you can handle! It is so important you should repeat it every day before you go out to sell, before you go out!
“Oh, I made this myself and it is for sale for only $20.00!”
“Oh, I made this myself and it is for sale for only $20.00!”
“Oh, I made this myself and it is for sale for only $20.00!”
I will devote one edition of Jewelry Sales Newsletter to why this is so important, but you will have a better chance of getting to say it, if you are wearing IT!
Five good reasons to wear your jewelry to sell it. (Men you will have to carry it, or get your lady to wear!)
1. You make the best and least expensive display for your jewelry.
2. You will be showing it off every day to everyone you see and meet.
3. If you show that you like enough to sell, your customers will agree with you.
4. It will remind you that you need to sell your jewelry all day long.
5. You will meet new customers everyday.
Oh, I have to add this.
I can’t believe how many students and other jewelry makers that I have talked to sabotages their sales by doing this.
I first have to ask them if they made the jewelry that they are wearing. This is unforgivable start with. You must tell everyone you meet that you made your jewelry. If that’s not bad enough, I have to ask them if it is for sell. You should tell everyone you meet that your jewelry is for sell! Then they say, “Oh, no, not this piece. I made this for myself!” AND, I just want to say, “You idiot, how do you ever think you will make a new customer if you are not going to sell things right off the best display you have, you, yourself!” I believe that everything you make should be for sell. Why not? Give me one good reason. Oh, it could be that it is a one of a kind stone. I get that, but then don’t wear that anywhere but out to dinner and you give yourself a night off of selling your jewelry. Some times when I hear an artist tell their potential customers that this, or that, is not for sale, I hear, “this piece is so good, that I am the only one worthy of owning it!” Sure we will all have pieces like this, but don’t wear it, and for damn sure do not let it be the first thing potential customers will see!
Some other things we need to discuss in the future as far as wearing the jewelry that you want to sell.
1.You need to price every piece of jewelry you make as soon as it is finished, but for sure before you put it on and show to anyone, even your mother! If future newsletter I will discuss in detail of how to price your jewelry to sell, but first to make you a good profit.
2.Wear something all the time that everyone can afford. Each month I will show you a piece that you can sell for $20.00 and make $10.00 profit on each, and be easy to make 50 or more in one day. These are the pieces you should wear.
3.You should be wearing a pendant and a pair of earrings that you can sell for $20.00.
4.You can wear a ring, but it should be an adjustable size ring that you can sell right off your body, or have some of the same ring in five different sizes in your purse or pocket. If you are not willing to do this, don’t make rings to sell. Again, I will be giving your samples of these in future newsletters.
5.How to increase your sales, and have so many customers you will have to raise your prices after you have sold a piece that you were wearing .
6.How selling the piece that you were wearing is just the start of your sales to that customer and what to do after that first sale.
7.Did you know that you can sell another piece to the same first time customer within 60 seconds after you have pocketed the money from the first piece that you sell them! AND you can sell them a more expensive piece within this 60 seconds more than 50% of the time! I will teach you!

Buisness Plan
Yes!  You must have a business plan for your business, but you do not want to spend a lot of time on it. Below is a quick, simple business plan for anyone that makes jewelry that is full proof.  It is the best business plan I have seen. Please copy it and use as you wish. If you do not have a plan it would be like setting out on a trip with no plan on where you are going. Although I have done this with my wife and really enjoyed the trip, but it was very expensive! Each day we woke up, to a road and turned off whenever we came to a road that looked more interesting. We ended up hungry some days, and had to stay and some expensive hotels some nights. We agreed that a little bit of a plan would have been prudent. As for sales goals, I like to set several for every day, every week, every month and every year.
The Best Business Plan
Make jewelry, sell it to everyone you know and meet, if every way you can, for a good profit!
That is only the business plan you need! If you feel you must do more work on it you can fill in the business plan below. You can even add photos and customer comments along the way. You will be wasting time. No one cares but you. If you are going to ask for a loan, you will have to spend more time on a business plan, but I don’t know of anyone that would give a loan to a person making their own jewelry and selling it unless you can prove you do not need it. You most likely would regret getting a loan anyway. You can start a good jewelry business for nearly nothing. In Jewelry Sales Newsletter 2 I will cover some ways to start with very little or even nothing.
Business Plan Out Line
(Your Company Name, Address, Phone Number
Business Plan
Product (s)
(List more if you like!)
Everyone you meet!
Mission Statement
To produce, provide and sell quality jewelry for the most profit possible in the least amount of time that will put smiles on my customer’s faces as they hand me money.
Principal Members of the Company
My self
(Maybe your spouse, your kids and your dog or cat, but I do not recommend having partners to start with.)
Legal Structure
You may think about forming a legal company, or just operate under your own name until you begin making some money. I feel it is wasted time and money to think about forming a corporation, or maybe even a tax identification number to start with. Tax IDs are cheap though but do require some paper work each month or quarterly depending on your state that you live in. I do not give legal advice. I have talked to and with so many lawyers that I think I could answer some questions, but will not because I do not want to talk to more attorneys.
Products and Marketing
Handmade pendants and earrings costing between $20.00 and $2,000.00. I rarely make rings except for the once a year World Wide World’s Largest Art Show.
Basic Hand Tools
Dremel Tool

See complete list below.
Sales Goals
You need to set four sales goals for each day, each week, each month and each year.
I will help you set these in Jewelry Sales Newsletter 2.
For now your goal should be to sell as much as you can for the best profit you can everyday!

That is all your business plan needs to include. Some things that I would leave out of my first business plan would be the following.
Do Not Include the following in your first business plan! I will discuss each one of these in future Jewelry Sales newsletters.
A retail location.
Sales through galleries and on consignment.
Sales displays.
Outdoor shows.
Shows in general.
Expensive web site. You should make an inexpensive one. This will be covered in a future newsletter.
Hiring anyone for any reason.
Spending any money for a Logo.
Book keeping software.
Inventory software.
Any tool of $100.00 with the exception of a Foredom Flex Shaft.
Any hand tool costing more than $15.00.
Any torch costing over $50.00, and usually you could start with a torch that will cost less than $15.00.
Next month I will help you decide what you really want from your jewelry business. We will set the goals you will need to succeed and find out just how much you need to make and sell each month, week, and day.

Jewelry Sales Newsletter, Question of the Month: How Do I Compete With Imports
I hear this question all the time!
My quick answer is: DON’T!
That's right, do not do it, do not compete with imported jewelry whether it is crap or it is very well made. You can’t compete with those prices anyway, so why try. I hear this question a lot from those that do shows, art show, craft shows and even trade shows. First I have to ask, why are you doing shows, especially shows that lets crap into the show anyway. But, this is something that will be discussed in future Jewelry Sales Newsletters. For now I just have to say do not try to compete with anyone, especially imported cheap crap. There is always something different to make, be the one with original, “one of a kind”, “I made it myself” jewelry and you will be fine, making more money than those that sell junk anyway. You do have to learn to sell though, and that’s what this newsletter is for!
The long answer!
It the same as the quick answer, but with a little more help in deciding how to handle competition from imported stuff. I will say that beaded jewelry is a little harder to deal with this problem, but you can. First let me talk about the show thing. If you are doing shows and you complain about the other artists having jewelry there that they did not make and it is always obvious, there is little you can do. Oh, you can grip about it. You can even complain about it. At some shows you can even go to the show owners, promoters, or managers, and complain about the junk. Most of these people don’t care; they are making their money off of you and the other venders. They usually don’t care even if it is in their contract. Most are just interested in their profits as you should be. Concentrate on your profits and not what other dealers are selling and for what they are selling their stuff for. I have been at shows when other venders have come by to talk to me, complaining that the show promoters are not enforcing the rule of  “Only handmade items made by the artist can be sold at the show.” Only to find there are people selling things from China that they clearly did not make any of it. Sometimes they just assemble things that they purchased as pieces and parts, or as kits. I hear this about beaders from other beaders, “They did not make their beads, they just strung them.” Wow, I don’t know how to even answer that one. Of course, I do not believe that everyone that makes beaded jewelry needs to make their beads, their own findings, their own chains or leather strips. My advice to these other venders is to go back to their booths and start selling and not worry about who is selling what. This is the job of the show promoter, but again I try to stay away from even doing shows.
The larger question is how to compete with the low prices of jewelry coming from other countries. Again, I don’t, you don’t. Not really. There will always be a market for cheap junk jewelry. There has always been a market for it, so don’t make cheap junk jewelry. I know, most of you will say, “Wait a minute; this is coming from a guy that preaches that they should make $20.00 pieces!” I do, but I don’t say make $20.00 cheap junk jewelry, and I certainly will tell you not to make stuff that looks like it was imported. This is the beauty of making jewelry, there is always something different to make. Something you can put your own individual look to. Seriously most imported cheap junk, looks like imported cheap junk.
Now there is nice professionally made jewelry being imported that is being sold at prices that we cannot compete with. I have not checked lately but the annual income of Bally in 2006 was $29.00 per year. We cannot compete with this. Even if they have doubled this income it is still beyond our comprehension. So how do we compete with this?
First, five good reasons not to compete with anyone selling cheaper jewelry than you.
1.You will go broke or quit selling jewelry all together.
2.There will always be someone selling the exact same thing as you make, or similar, for a cheaper price than you.
3.Not everyone will look at the prices; they will buy from you for other reasons. Did you ever ask yourself why four gas stations on the same corner can be selling gas for, let me just say $4.00 a gallon, but one is at $4.10 a gallon and they are just as busy as the others? There are many reasons this, but there are many reasons that you do not have to compete with everyone on the corner.
4.All you have to do is keep your eye on your profit, and your sales and competition will never be your problem.
5.There have always been places in the malls that sell earrings for $2.00 a pair, but they are not your competition, unless you are trying to sell the same pair of earrings for $20.00 a pair in their store! So make different things or the same things and sell them in different places. I was just in a hardware store today selling the same exact solar holiday lights for $4.99 that I had just purchased at the dollar store for one dollar. Do you think the hardware store worried about the dollar store selling them for $1.00? I guarantee you they did not even know they were selling the same lights.
Five ways to compete with imports.
1.Don’t. It is that simple; do not compete with imports or any other artist. Just make and sell YOUR jewelry. Don’t even waste your time shopping your competitors!
2.Sell in different places than your competition. We will discuss where to sell in future newsletters.
3.Just price your pieces for a good profit without taking into account what others are pricing their jewelry for. I had a very successful store in Estes Park for four years. Within two blocks of this store I had over 50 other stores selling jewelry of some kind. Most were selling cheaper jewelry than I did. Then I had several that sold jewelry for 5 to 10 times the average price of my pieces. These shops did not worry about competing with me.
4.There never is an end to the different pieces that you can make. Just constantly make new designs, new items, or old designs with new twists. After all that’s the fun of making jewelry.
5.Go out and find your customers everyday as you go through life. There is no competition following you around! Have your own art show where there is no competition. I have a newsletter that covers having your own art show. You will want to participate in the World’s Largest Art Show each year. We will all be competing with each other and every artist of every discipline and you will learn that competition does not hurt you; it will make you more money.

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