Handmade jewelry is one of the most popular categories here on IndieMade. From fun and funky, to statement pieces with rare gems, there really is something for everyone on our platform. That’s great for buyers, but sellers without a distinct brand can get lost in a sea of beads. Why should buyers choose your store over any other? It’s all about narrowing your brand and in turn your audience.
Narrowing your target audience may seem counter-intuitive: but trust me, a smaller audience is what you want. Why? First of all, shoppers don’t do well when faced with too many choices. Too many options is confusing and can leave a buyer wondering if they made the best decision. This kind of shopping stress often leads to cart abandonment. They like everything, but will end up buying nothing.
By narrowing your audience, you’re helping buyers find exactly what they want without wasting time or stressing out about the wrong things. Don’t believe me? Have you ever visited one of those “have it your way” pizza or burger restaurants? Cheese or no cheese? Pick from 5 different cheeses? Which one of 5 sauces? 3 types of bread, pickles or tomato, pepperoni or bacon. . . . Lunch shouldn’t put that much strain on the brain. Really, there’s a reason they also offer a list of “pre-built” choices.
But narrowing your product list isn't always easy. Start by taking a long, hard look at what you’re currently selling. Which pieces are you truly proud of? Which pieces speak to you? Save images of your top three pieces in a folder on your desktop.
Next, take a look around your work space. What kinds of materials have you had to replenish in the last few months? Which items have been stored, untouched for the better part of a year? If the sparkly rhinestones keep disappearing but you haven’t yet found a use for those rustic, clay beads, that’s a clue to your artistic identity. Grab photos of your top 3 favorite materials and add them to your desktop folder.
Next, let's talk about color. When you’re browsing through a magazine or surfing the net, what types of colors pull you in? Are you attracted to pastel colors? Jewel tones? Nature colors? 80’s pop? Add three color swatches or colorful images to your desktop folder.
Lastly, dig into your artistic history for recurring themes. Do you have a history of using animal prints? Are you way more excited by Halloween than any other time of the year? Are you mesmerized by the night sky or a garden full of flowers. Find three examples, either in your own work or in the work of others and add that to your folder.
Now, walk away. A couple of days from now, open that desktop folder and scan the contents. Just absorb what you see there; not so much the individual images but the feeling you get when you take it all in. This is your brand story. This should be your blueprint for everything you make and sell.
Right now you’re thinking, I can’t work with restrictions! I need to be free to create whatever I want. Fair enough but remember this: people go back to familiar stores because they know what they’ll find there. Imagine going to Tiffany’s and finding a rack full of fun and funky, plastic bead necklaces. That would be weird. But if you walked into a Claire’s that’s what you’d expect to find. Is Tiffany’s a better store? That depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s quality, yes. If it’s fun, party pieces for a young teen – then Claire’s wins, hands down.
You can't be and don't want to be all things to all jewelry shoppers. What you want to be is memorable and you do that by developing and sticking to a brand story. What does a new customer see when they visit your IndieMade shop; a random collection of jewelry or a well-thought-out collection that speaks to who you are as a designer?