Custom Jewelry 101: Drive More Sales

Turquoise Heart Necklace

Turquoise Heart Necklace

Handmade Jewelry can  be a tough business to get into, so how can you separate yourself from the competition?  Consider adding custom jewelry to your shop and the doors could open for a potential drive in sales. Before getting too excited, make sure you have a custom jewelry plan in place so the new piece of your business is a success and does not turn into a flop. You do not want to create any extra headaches.


1. Pricing. How are you going to determine pricing for your custom pieces? Many people lose money on custom orders simply because they underestimate how much time, and effort would go into pricing their work.  I would determine how much you are going to charge per bead, and a flat rate. The flat rate is going to be the tricky part, but make sure it reflects time spent. Many people will determine their flat rate depending on the amount of beads and the difficulty of the project. Most of us have been doing this work for quite sometime and can judge how long a piece is going to take. Don’t forget to pay yourself for time, labor, and profit!


2. Off-line, On-line, or Both? I know many jewelry artists who prefer only doing custom orders for customers who can see the beads, often times these are customers they meet at jewelry parties. Many artists I know fear making custom orders because they do not know how to experiment with showing them the possibilities of creations they can make with their beads.  Find a system that works for you. If you want to offer the custom portion on-line, I would take pictures of all your beads and make a page dedicated on your site for all the different beads you have currently in your order. Let customers know if there is something they like from a store that you can purchase the beads for, have them provide you the sellers information and source it for them.


3. Set Realistic Time-frames. One of the most important aspects of custom jewelry orders is making sure you are setting realistic expectation dates for your customers.  It is better overestimate then underestimated, and keep your customers in the loop. If it does turn out it will take longer then expected give your customer that update before the deadline, not the night of them expecting it to be delivered.


Custom Jewelry can be so much fun, and can separate you from the competition but it also can be a failure if you don’t plan it right. Think things through, and remember to have fun! Drive in those additional sales you may not of had if you didn’t offer custom jewelry.


I have launched my newest web page,  where I will be adding a bead chest for custom jewelry orders. Please stay tuned!

Please see my ETSY store at:


1 Comment

  1. Angie said,

    January 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve done a couple of custom pieces, and while I was a little nervous about it, it ended up being a lot of fun and very satisfying for me and the buyer.

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