How to Sell Jewelry at a Holiday Market or Fair

Whether it’s a trade show, a trunk show, or a good old-fashioned Saturday market in the local town square, every jewelry-selling platform has a unique set of tactics that can set you up for success.

For an indie studio designer, even one like Ariana Boussard-Reifel, who has risen to acclaim thanks to her work with fashion designers (and oh, hey, Beyoncé), holiday markets are an ideal way to get your customers to come out and shop your latest and greatest, and forge relationships with new customers (and potentially nab their email for your mailing list), while gathering valuable feedback on your collection.

“You can’t undersell the importance of listening and watching customers interact with your designs,” says Boussard-Reifel, who has been selling her jewelry at the Grand Central Holiday Fair in New York City for the last few seasons. “There is so much to learn from your customers. Do they always gravitate to earrings with posts? Are they concerned with how the ring balances with their wedding set? Do they ask for bimetals? Spending so much time talking to potential customers helps me develop (and sell) my product offering for future seasons.”

Here a few more chestnuts from Boussard-Reifel, who is also quoted in the Nov./Dec. issue of JCK (see ’Tis the Season for Sales: 19 Last-Minute Holiday Hacks).

Provide exceptional customer service.
Make sure you’ve staffed your booth with someone who aligns with your values, is knowledgeable about your product, and likes the work. Having a sales staff that is always engaged with the customer and offers a genuine and inviting environment makes all the difference. Even on the worst and slowest day, if negative energy is projected in the space you see the results in the bottom line. Discretionary purchases are made because of how they make a customer feel, so make them feel great!

Intuit customers’ needs.
Does your customer need Christmas gifts for their wife and mother and niece, but wants to make sure each woman’s gift is appropriately impressive (and doesn’t make anyone else jealous)? Do they need a Hanukkah present tonight before they catch their 7:45 train? Do they hate the way their earlobes sag? Are they recently single and want to gift themselves? To make the sale, you have to empathize with why they are buying and how you can help them.

This might mean organizing your booth so that three price tiers of similar things are curated together. It may mean that you are set up to fulfill and wrap gifts really quickly. It might even mean that you are prepared to convert earrings to clip backs with a two-day turnaround.

Have enough product.
It is a delicate balance to have enough jewelry on hand, but not so much that you put yourself in a financially untenable position if it doesn’t sell (or gets returned). You really need to make sure you have enough inventory on hand, or are able to produce it, to get through the whole season. If having that much inventory scares you, maybe your bank account isn’t ready for a big market.

Focus beyond the quick sale.
Often [selling at a market] is about building a relationship and being memorable to the customer. You’ll be amazed at how many come back and purchase from your website or email with a request to purchase six months later. Suggest that they take photos of what they like, that way they will have a reminder of you on their phone every day. A successful creative business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Top: A shot of New York City–based jewelry designer Ariana Boussard-Reifel’s wares at the 2019 Grand Central Holiday Fair (photo via: @arianaboussardreifel)

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All That Glitters writer