Why Selling to “American Women” Never Works

Never ever try to be everything to everybody.

Have you ever seen "generic" handmade jewelry?

Of course you have.  It's everywhere.  Glass bead earrings.  Handmade beaded necklaces.

Dime a dozen styles without distinction.

And of course low priced because typically sellers who aim to please everybody try to lowball the competition because that's all they really have to distinguish themselves from the thousands of others trying to sell similar generic jewelry.

Or maybe the seller has "product lines" that are vague and unrelated.  Mommy jewelry, religious jewelry, dog jewelry, men's jewelry, and glass bead jewelry are the categories.

Selling low cost generic jewelry or mishmash of styles jewelry lines always seems to smack of desperation.

I know you don't mean to let the desperation show.  You're just trying your darnedest to sell your creations and you're hoping something - anything - will work.

I have news for you.  You can't appeal to "everybody" and be successful.

Vague is never a good branding strategy.

If your products are targeted to “American Women”  you have an impossible job on your hands.  There are so many subgroups, and they all have different needs and desires.

Targeting Obsessive Markets and Markets With a Mission

The easiest way to distinguish yourself is to tightly target either an obsessive niche market or a niche market with a mission.

Obsessive niche markets are ones where people are just crazy enthusiastic about something for the sheer pleasure of it.  Think hobbies and interests.  What distinguishes people from others and makes them unique?  It's often quirky things like collecting "elephant" related items.  Or being an avid golfer or an avid comic book collector.  Maybe it's quilting or cats or a certain breed of dog that they spend oodles of money on.

These are markets that love buying items related to their obsession -- and often their friends and family have no clue what to gift them other than something related to their obsession.

Here's an example of an obsession related jewelry niche -- women who knit.

There is absolutely no logical reason in this day and age to knit.  Yarn costs a fortune and you're certainly not saving any money by knitting, yet hand knitting is a big niche industry.  Women who love knitting buy expensive magazines, specialty yarns and knitting needles, and knitting becomes part of their identity.

If you sell to "American Women who love knitting" you can make knitting related jewelry like sweater brooches, knitting specific charm bracelets, and goofy altered art jewelry with knitting related images.

Shawl Pin ImageSee the image to the left? It's a "shawl pin" and I found it on a site called "The Shawl Pin Store".   Now there's a targeted business.  (Of course do your market research well before you choose any niche!)

So what's a niche market with a mission?

A "niche market with a mission" is the classic "problem" based market.  Someone has a problem, and needs a solution.  Maybe they need special jewelry because they are getting married.   The wedding market is the classic "niche market with a mission" for jewelry.

If you sell to "American Women who are getting married in the next 6 months" you can be focused and seek out brides to be on wedding blogs, wedding forums, wedding magazines, and wedding industry trade shows.  You can write helpful articles with wedding tips and what wedding jewelry goes best with different wedding dress styles.

See how narrowing your focus makes all your decisions about producing and marketing jewelry so much easier?

Paradoxically, narrowing your focus will also make you a lot more money too.

Conclusion

If you are one of those sellers who thinks "everyone" is your market I challenge you to rethink that strategy.  As Dr. Phil says, "How's that working for ya?"

 

Best,

Christine Gierer (yes, my real signature.)
P.S. Are you nicheing it down?  Share your experience and your site links below in the comments :)

About the Author

Christine image
Christine Gierer is the owner and creator of HandmadeResults.com. She's "niched it down" to handmade jewelry sellers that want to sell more online.  For step by step lessons to turn your jewelry business into a money-making machine you are excited to work at instead of a time, money, and energy draining endeavor, try out our Handmade Results Weekly Course for only a $1
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6 Comments

  1. Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    “American woman, stay away from me…”
    That’s what I heard in my head reading this post! lol
    Seriously though, I am soooo this type of seller!!! I am also guilty of not wanting to make the same thing twice or with the same materials!! I need to “Niche” down soon or I’ll go broke. I am going to have to hire your services to find out if I already have a niche and don’t recognize it. I want to make jewelry with polymer clay and other beads for a niche I love but I like alot of things!! Cats, kids, flowers, nature, sweets and music. UGH!!

    • Christine
      Posted June 27, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Janine, I just love polymer clay. You can do so many things with it. I think the key to narrowing your focus is to find one area and keep challenging yourself to be creative within the confines of that niche. Sometimes restricting yourself makes you gather resources within yourself you didn’t have before.

      That’s the strategy I’m working on anyway, because I’m like you. Flitting around here there and everywhere is my nature too. Frustrating, but also a great challenge to somehow use the attention deficit to your advantage.

  2. Dana Bakke
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    So…my main focus is natural stones with simple stringing, or chain work with the natural stones as the focal. My work is clean and elegant. Most of the women that buy my work at the annual show that I was doing are about 40-60 and have moderate to high income. But my work has not been doing well the last couple of years and I don’t know why. I was thinking oversaturation of my market may have contributed to the problem. I just killed my website because it is not doing anything and it was not what I really wanted. Although it was canned, I did change it up a bit, but not enough to really help. So the money that I was spending each year didn’t seem worthwhile. What are your thoughts?

    • Christine
      Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I think you should take a look at this video: http://www.handmaderesults.com/master-class1
      I think that you might be right about the market being oversaturated in the type of work you do, and instead you need to think of a “twist” that you can do to make your work unique in a way that is niche specific.

      Here’s a great formula I learned from Eni Oken:

      The Twist Formula

      Every handcrafted product is created using at least 4 criteria:
      *Technique
      *Design
      *Materials
      *Application

      In order to create something unique, one of the criterias above needs to be changed radically, creating a “twist”.
      The first step is to examine the average wire wrapped jewelry:

      Technique: wire wrapping, wrapped chain.
      Design: traditional rosary chains, two wrapped loops with a bead in between.
      Materials: silver wire and beads, pearls.
      Application: conventional jewelry, necklaces.

      If, using the Twist Formula, you change one or more of those criteria, you can have an original “twist” to the work which can be appreciated by a select audience, creating a niche:

      Technique: knitting
      Design: food, fruit
      Materials: silver wire and wooden or ceramic beads
      Application: conventional jewelry, bracelets, necklaces.

      The first criteria, knitting, is changed, but is not uncommonly found. The second criteria, design, is changed in this example to something radical, unique, such as food and fruit. This is the “twist”.

      Remember, to apply the formula correctly, it is necessary to find out first the most average description to one’s product and then change one or more criteria radically. I used to teach these principles in my fantasy design classes, and it never fails to produce something uniquely interesting.

      A description of my some of own jewelry can be as follows:
      Technique: basket coiling and needlelace
      Design: themed (contemporary events) or animals
      Materials: silver wire and beads
      Application: conventional jewelry, pendants, bracelets.

      Here is another example which appeared some 10 years ago, and which is now one of the highest selling niches of jewelry and personal adornment, especially with younger audiences:

      Technique: commercial casting
      Design: clean, minimalist or neon
      Materials: silver
      Application: BODY jewelry, piercing.

      One of my favorite jewelry brands (which will remain unnamed), uses what I can describe as the following formula:

      Technique: chainmaille
      Design: bezels simulating architectural tension cables
      Materials: tiny chains and gemstones
      Application: jewelry, earrings, necklaces, etc.

      So I recommend to those who want to make a difference, to find a niche and stay at it for a while. There is one but important pitfall to avoid: once the audience gets to know a specific artist for a defined specialty, they may not want that artist to ever change – and at the same time, they will always expect new ideas, *within* the confines of that specialty. It can be tricky to keep ideas fresh and new, and at the same time avoid boredom or repetition.

      So, whichever the twist will be, the choice is entirely yours to make.
      Resource: http://www.home-jewelry-business-success-tips.com/eni-oken.html

  3. SiegretChappell
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    This is so true! I  used to sell stone jewelry but it was pretty run of the mill. I realized how obsessive I could get about looking for cute things online and started making kawaii/cute jewelry and business is way better.
    It’s also much easier to buy wholesale and make larger quanity this way = lower prices.

  4. Posted April 17, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Great рost.

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