February 26, 2013 by Ling Abson
Another popular question I get asked sometimes – “How do I start listing my sterling silver pieces when they are so expensive, and I don’t have any orders yet? How do I list samples without actually using my sterling silver?”
That used to be the number one reason I felt was holding my Etsy shop back. I was so eager to create and sell, I had all these ideas in my head but no one was buying as I didn’t have many listed at the time and I didn’t want to create samples on expensive sterling silver. It was a vicious cycle and my shop took some time before I had enough listings to make it look more professional.
If I had known what I know now, I would do things differently. I wouldn’t wait!!
I would buy a stock of similarly sized aluminum or nickel blanks and start stamping. This way I get to practice on cheaper metals and feel less guilty when I mess up a blank. I would list them and set it as a price for sterling silver. I would try to photograph them so they look more like sterling silver. For example, nickel is a bit darker so I would photograph it where the light hits, making it look more like sterling, make sense?
If you are offering different metals, you can then reuse that listing for say, aluminum, at a much lower price point. And now you have two listings for the same necklace! 😉
Add or change the birthstone charms, add another stamped pendant or use a different chain and you get a few more listings this way.
I used to get a lot of requests for hand stamped necklaces from my family as birthday gifts, Mother’s Day gifts when I first started making them. Even neighbours, other daycare parents who had seen me wearing my necklaces wanted to know where I got mine. I would make the necklaces, make sure I give myself enough time to photograph them at different angles and then list them on Etsy. Also, your family and friends will be able to give you feedback on your jewelry, allowing you opportunity to work out any issues (for example, tarnishing, scratches, necklace packaging or chain breakage issues).
Set aside a monetary amount for up front investment into your business. I believe this option is great when you are serious about this business and is thinking long-term. The samples you have created can then be use for craft shows or jewelry parties.
So what do you think of these options? I hope they will give you ideas and kick-start your creativity. Did you use a different way that I didn’t mention? I would love to read your experience in the comments section below.