Hi! I am Christine Gierer, jewelry maker, online marketer, and founder of Handmade Results.
I won't beat around the bush. I have an impatient "life is short attitude".
I'd much rather do my time wasting elsewhere... In goofing off, going to the park with my kids, and enjoy freedom and flexibility in my life.
Don't get me wrong, I love working. I love making money doing what I love. I just don't want work to be ALL that I do.
I bet you'd love to live your life that way too. I mean, who wouldn't?!? Work part time, doing what you love, and having the time, freedom, and money to chose your life not have it dictate to you.
That's what I share on this site. Information, guides, and courses about selling the stuff you make.
What's the key focus of the marketing strategies and action plans we share?
- More Efficient
- More Effective
- and Step by step
Because we focus on efficiency and effectiveness, follow us and you'll find you'll...
- Spend Less Time
- Expend Less Effort
- Get Greater Quantifiable Results
...So you can have what money can buy: the freedom to enjoy it!
What are your life goals?
Do you want to
Be home with your kids (like me)?
Spend more time in the studio?
Spend more time on hobbies and friendships?
Travel to far off places?
Have more time to care for a spouse/ parents/ relatives?
Maybe your greatest desire right now is to afford to trash that job you hate!
Let me tell you how I get to live my life dreams
Here are my main jewelry related projects:
I am creator and chief cook and bottle washer of the jewelry marketing blog you're reading right now, along with the courses and guides sold here.
Together they give me the income and freedom to work from home doing what I love. I used to think that was making things. I've since learned my true love is teaching others how to make money from the things they create!
How Handmade Results Came to Be
The story of how Handmade Results came to be is kind of interesting. Here's what happened:
I have a newsletter called "I'm Making Jewelry in my Jam Jams". I was putting together the newsletter for September 2009, and I had previously promised to answer the biggest, most often asked question I get from readers. That question turned out to be, "I want to sell my jewelry. How do I get started?"...
That started a whole roller coaster of events. I wrote a newsletter article called "Is Etsy Stealing Your Money?" It was kinda controversial and got the biggest response ever to any of my newsletters. People had a lot to say, and most of it was agreement, but not everybody...
There was one brave lady who took me to task on what I said, and that prompted me to do a followup on that first Etsy newsletter article. It turned out to be the longest newsletter article ever, but got even more response than the first.
How All This Online Jewelry Business Talk Turned Into a Jewelry Marketing Course
With all this Etsy talk, I started remembering how awful it was when I first came online and started selling my jewelry. There was no useful information anywhere. Yes, there was information, but it was all useless for jewelry sellers in my opinion. As you know, selling crafts and selling handcrafted jewelry are two different things.
I'm getting ahead of myself in the story though. Let's back up to 2006...
My Background in Jewelry Marketing and Internet Based Business
Here's where I was a few years ago...
I heard over and over from friends, family, even strangers on the street from time to time “ as I'm sure you've heard over and over again, "Wow! This is beautiful! You made this??? You should sell these!"
Imagine me back in 2006. My jewelry making addiction was a force to be reckoned with and I needed money to buy beads darn it!
I had sold the odd piece through word of mouth in my local neighborhood and among friends and family but nothing like a real business.
So, naive little me, home with a baby and a toddler and NOT wanting to have to go back to work “ ever “ if possible, started looking at options. I was going to run a handmade jewelry business. Hooray! I thought, "How hard could it be"?
Ha! Famous last words!
My First Online Jewelry Marketing Attempts
The Pretty Website With No Traffic
You might commiserate with me here. This phase was the "beautiful website that got no traffic". I had taught myself how to photograph and photoshop properly and I got lots of kudos from friends and family. I might as well been trying to make orange out of lemons as far as it got me.
The Etsy Shop With Few Sales
Next, I opened an Etsy Shop and tried to promote the heck out of it “ just like they tell you to. I had some small success, but not much.
I tried blogging on Blogger to try to send traffic to my Etsy shop. I actually did get a lot of traffic from this endeavor...But all my web traffic came from fellow jewelry makers, jewelry artists or jewelry enthusiasts looking for ideas!
Frustration and Irritation
I was being œhearted like crazy by people on Etsy, but I saw very few sales. I was getting really frustrated with all the effort I was putting in. I was spending hours and hours crafting descriptions, taking photos, joining œStreet Teams , and re-listing...
What was I doing wrong?
So I went on the Etsy forums and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong way back in 2007. I told them about my work from home goal and that I wanted to have enough time to spend time with my kids which is why I was wanting to stay at home in the first place. And people YELLED at me.
They told me if I wasn t willing to spend the 60 to 80 hours a week they were spending on their business, for at least 3 years before expecting a profit, then maybe Etsy just wasn t for me.
Can you believe that? In my book, any business model that shows you no results for at least three years is a bad one. The whole starving artist thing might sound romantic, and maybe it makes people feel like they are martyrs to their craft, but I think it's ridiculous.
photo by avlxyz
As I read once on someone else's site(forgive me - can't remember where!), "I like Ramen noodles but I sure don't want to live on them."
Jewelry Business Success and Lessons Learned
Those days are gone now but I'm so grateful for them becuase they led me to do what I'm doing now - making a living from making jewelry online. Here's what happened next...
After dumping my internet jewelry selling dream, I just couldn't let the whole thing go. I wanted to stay home and I wanted beads, and I was not going to let the internet beat me. I was going to make it work. I knew it was possible, because I saw other people doing it. I'd just have to do what they did, and I'd get similar results, right?
In 2007, I abandoned everything I thought I knew and started looking at everything through fresh eyes. Like a nut, I obsessively researched marketing, took internet marketing courses, and analyzed what others were doing.
This didn't happen overnight of course. It took a lot of time, patience, focus, and I learned through doing.
(And about Etsy? If I knew what I know now, I could have made it work with Etsy. I just didn't know the rules).
I started building How-to-Make-Jewelry.com in October 2007. I knew next to nothing about HTML, search engines, writing, and how websites were built.
Here was my traffic the first month:
I learned as I went, learned how to do market research and target my content to what people were actively searching for.
Within 5 months of starting, I had built up my traffic to over 7,000 visitors per month.
Was it a fluke? I implemented more simple strategies, kept up with my website maintenance and starting monetizing my traffic. If I were focusing on tangible goods, this is the point at which I would have started adding them. Since I didn't have any, I sold other people's items instead.
I started making money.
Less than a year building How-to-Make-Jewelry.com, I was in the top 1% of websites on the internet.
Among million of websites.
By August 2008 I was getting 21,580 unique visitors per month.
In December of 2008 I saw 27,252 unique visitors.
In March 2009 I received 38,578 unique visitors
And most recently, these are my website statistics:
As you can see, in August 2011, I had 250,189 visitors, and over a million page views.
Update January 2013: Now, in 2013, things are pretty much the same. In July of 2012, I had about 250,000 visitors, and over a million page views. In December of 2012, my numbers were the same as December 2010. It's not as easy as it used to be to get the traffic to keep going up and up and up.
Luckily I prepared for the worst, and I started building an email list from the beginning. Even with the downward turn in traffic, I can still get loyal followers to keep coming back, and remind new followers to return. With over 11,000 people signed up for one of my I'm Making Jewelry in My Jam Jams newsletter alone, and another 11,000 people on various other customer and notification mailing lists, I have the means to keep growing my business whether the search engines continue to like me or not.
The Biggest Marketing Lesson Learned
It doesn't matter what you're selling. The internet has it's own peculiar rules that apply whether you are selling vacuum cleaners, information, or handmade jewelry. When you know the rules, and how work within the confines of those rules, the rest is easy.
If you're reading this because you want to learn more about marketing your jewelry online, you're probably thinking of all sorts of reasons why jewelry is different. Sure, jewelry has it's own peculiarities. But if you don't have a foundation in the laws of internet marketing, you'll never even get a chance to share your own unique vision.
The Decision to Share Internet Marketing Information with Handmade Jewelry Sellers
I love teaching, and I love coaching. In my past life before kids I was a mental health counsellor and I loved it. After I made the sat-home-with-my-kids decision, I went through all sorts of ups and downs looking for a way to stay home full time and work from home too.
I also love online marketing and researching, and my experience trying to sell jewelry online really demonstrated how much misinformation there is out there. Now, as the internet is becoming more mature, and social networking is changing the face of the internet it seems like the time waste possibiliteis are bigger than ever.
The gap between what works and what jewelry makers are actually doing with their computer time is huge so that's why having a resource that is internet marketing based is so important now more than ever.
I challenge you to take a look at how you spend your time. Are your online jewelry marketing efforts getting you where you want to go? I'm not talking about three years from now. I'm talking about seeing real results from real targeted strategies. I think it's a shame that people think they need to starve and work other jobs when they can live their dreams now. Especially when there are so many resources out there to shortcut your trial and error.
The Newest Project
Since it's not yet set up elsewhere, let me take this space to explain the next project on the drawing board. It's an ambitious one. It's called the Great Jewelry Business Experiment Project.
- Previous experience and training as a purchasing manager and working closely on projects with the Operations Manager and production scheduler at a large manufacturing facility gives me lots of experience in getting costs down and improving production efficiency. For you, this means that I can help you figure out how to make more in less time, and I know a few tricks to getting material costs down too.
- Craft show experience. I know, I'm not exactly a master, but craft shows won't really be a focus of what I'll be doing with the Great Jewelry Business Experiment. At least not this year.
What I'm getting at here is that I know what it's like to sell at really big craft shows with huge upfront costs and potentially huge returns. I've done both juried and non juried shows. I've gotten into big juried shows that are hard to get accepted for. I've been in many small shows. Some were worthwhile, and others were a big waste of time and energy. One was a week long waste of time and energy. That was the worst one.
I don't like doing craft shows for many reasons, even though I do enjoy being there once everything is set and on the go. Shyness, time, expense, physical logistics, the massive amount of pre-planning (not my strong suit) , and the amount of unsold inventory to keep on hand are some of the reasons I would rather not do craft shows. I may look at applying to some craft shows or other booth events for 2014, because I do think that doing the right shows can be great marketing, but exhibiting won't be in the cards in 2013.
- 6 years of experience in online marketing. I built a 400+ page website from scratch and did the work (and took tons of courses) to create a thriving online business. My website gets up to 10,000 unique visitors a day, and I have successfully launched a number of information products. You might think its a lot easier to sell information products than handmade jewelry, and you would be right. Hence we come back to the fact that I could be spending my time doing much more profitable activities. The skills of selling are the same though. Know your market, know what people want to buy, and know how to sell it to them.
- 6 years of experience and untold hours spent learning email marketing and marketing psychology. Marketing like this is powerful. Even a tiny email campaign can make more money for you than you expect. I made over $1000 in 4 days on a $10 product a few weeks ago. Knowing how to do something like that is a valuable skill, don't you think? (It shocked the heck out of me to be honest. I only put those classes up for sale at all because they we're already created and I wanted to get them out of the way so I could do this project. I estimated I would make maybe as much as $400 by sending out those 4 days of emails. It just goes to show you that there is power in understanding email marketing)
- Created a 52 week super jam packed course for Handmade Jewelry Businesses called Handmade
Results Weekly, where I taught jewelry business owners how to build an online jewelry business, make it profitable, and then grow it bigger. That course successfully graduated 198 students of the 229 that signed up. That is a massive success rate for a course of its kind. Those numbers mean that of the 229 that began the course, 86% found it valuable enough to keep on paying the membership fees right up to the end of the 52 weeks. The typical membership course has nowhere near that much retention. The only reason it's not open right now is that I need more data to update the course. This experiment will give me updated data, and proof that my methods still work even though the internet keeps evolving.
I covered everything in that course from research to setup to traffic generation. I taught modules in marketing that ran from video marketing to social media to joint venture partnering. I explained things as abstract relationship marketing and business and mindset philosophy and practical things like increasing motivation and how to make a line sheet (for taking wholesale orders). There was also a lot of other information like outsourcing, split testing, one of a kind vs. collections vs. limited editions and how marketing is different for each.
(Don't get overwhelmed by the scope of Handmade Results Weekly. I realize now that it may have been TOO detailed. The Great Jewelry Business Experiment will be much more streamlined, much easier to absorb, and won't be anywhere near as overwhelming. Having this vast amount of knowledge means that I will be able to give practical useful advice on most questions though, or else know who has the best knowledge. I researched everything much more thoroughly than I needed to. I love researching.
- I feel like I'm writing a resume! A really long one that needs a good edit. To continue with my long and drawn out list of qualifications, I also have sold jewelry on Etsy, making all the mistakes that beginners usually make, I've sold supplies, and I have sold jewelry in person through word of mouth. Word of mouth is the best way, and the only way I ever sell things now. In this experiment I won't be selling anything like what I've sold in the past. Fresh slate, new products, new materials, new customers, new website, new shop, new everything. I don't want anyone thinking that I'm capitalizing on past customers. This will be a fresh view.
What this means for you is that I will be going in with previous experience and I have had a few years to see what I should have done differently, and have watched others grow their businesses over time. I'm observant and analytical, and I might even be, my assistant Beth says, a visionary. I don't know if I would say that, but I do have a knack for generating really good ideas for other people's businesses, and generally know how to put them into action (or how to get the tools and resources together to make action doable).
- Experience training other people and running real people groups. I used to be a mental health counsellor. That's the last career I had before settling down to a life of kids and self-employment. In that capacity I trained and coordinated the volunteers, I ran life skills training groups for adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, aspergers, and anxiety disorders. I was formally trained as a human services counsellor and life skills coach. I also co-facilitated a couple of mandated anger management groups and worked in a group home for a number of high-functioning adults with developmental disabilities and behavioural problems.
What all this gobbledy gook of my life means for you is that I know how people learn, and I know how to break things down into manageable chunks so that just about anyone can understand it.
- Here are some last few details, not because I think it's especially important to this course, but just to be complete. I know people read these things not only to know what kind of person they are dealing with and to see if they like them, but also (subconsciously) to find flaws and find reasons not to like them. Here are some additional details to help you completely decide whether you like and trust me. As if you didn't have enough information already. I have Bachelor's Degrees in Visual Arts and Sociology from the University of Ottawa, and I am a self-taught jewelry maker. I don't think I am especially good at design. I am a very good technician. I can learn techniques quickly and explain them to others. My strengths are making, attention to detail, teaching, and understanding marketing, and being thorough. I can also be thoroughly silly and I like people who don't take themselves too seriously tedious. I have a husband. We live together with our kids and our cat and drive each other crazy with our opposing personalities but also function really well together because we have opposing personalities. We have two kids ages 7 and 10, and my family more important to me than my business. And that is as it should be.
If you are reading this because I sent out an email asking for a show of hands, and need to ask a question, you can comment here on this post, or you can hit reply to that email if you want to ask something privately.
P.S. If you're nodding your head, but feeling overwhelmed about where to start, try reading my Results Report to learn how to get started improving your jewelry marketing strategy today.