Now that we’ve got our feet under us in terms of establishing this blog and our other various social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook), I’d like to start up a new series. This one is called “How to Sell.” I’ll be breaking down the best ways to sell a certain item, and what you should definitely include in your listings if you wish to sell that item. Handy, right?
First up is costume jewelry.
I LOVE selling costume jewelry. It’s cheap to buy – we can easily spend $200 on a flat of jewelry and then double our money when we turn around and sell it. It’s also easy to list. I can put up right around 10 listings in an hour. During an ideal (read: unrealistic) workday, that means I can do about 80 listings. In one week? 400 listings. Wow! But the best part of selling jewelry? It can make you a lot of money. You probably won’t hit that many home runs with it, but all of those little profits of $10 or $20 really add up in the end.
Plus, I’m a girl. It’s fun to look at.
So, here are our tips for you:
A. Buy in bulk. If you’re buying pieces individually, you’re probably not getting the best deal. We usually try to count up the number of pieces and multiply that by $10 – the maximum amount we’ll spend on each piece. If you’re buying a box that contains roughly 200 pieces, people aren’t going to want to bid up to $2,000 for the lot. But if you’re buying it piece by little piece? You’ll quickly find they have no trouble dropping $10 for one of them. People tend to overspend when they buy individually, whereas they will drop out much sooner if they’re trying to purchase a bulk lot.
B. Buy the good stuff. Don’t buy cheap jewelry, no matter how pretty it looks. I’m mostly talking about those plastic bead necklaces and the rings that look like they came out of a gumball machine. Avoid them, because they won’t sell well. Instead, go for the better looking jewelry. It should be bright and shiny, covered in rhinestones, or signed by a maker. (And if you’ve got all three, you’re golden!)
C. Learn your makers. It pays to do research. Some companies are selling better than others. (Trifari, for example, is pretty popular right now.) You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into buying jewelry from only one company, but you want to be aware of this information. In your listings you want to sound professional and knowledgeable. Would you rather buy from someone who says, “This is a pin signed Trifari,” or from someone who says, “This is a pin signed Trifari. Trifari began making jewelry in 1918, however the copyright symbol indicates this was produced sometime after 1955.” Here’s our favorite reference site. You can also find it (and more!) on the side panel under “Links – Research Database (For Sellers & Collectors).”
D. Take close and clear pictures. This is a good rule to follow in general, but an extremely important one to follow when dealing with this type of merchandise. You want close pictures so your buyer can see every rhinestone – they want to make sure they’re all there. You also want clear pictures for the same reason, but also because you want them to look professional. I would much rather buy from someone who looks like they have a professional setup than from someone who took a picture of a pin on their kitchen table with their cat in the background. (Again, this applies to more than just jewelry.) Be sure to take pictures of both the front and back of a piece, so they can see total condition and what sort of clasp it has. It’s also important to take a close up of the maker’s mark. Different marks from the same company can identify when it was made, and even if you don’t know this information, your buyer might.
E. List in bulk. Get all of your picture taking and formatting done and then sit down with your jewelry and try to get out as many as you can right away. I usually like to spread everything out and put them in groups according to type (necklaces, earrings, brooches, etc.). Then I split them up further into signed/extremely nice pieces and unsigned/lesser pieces. That way I get the better pieces up first.
F. Don’t be afraid to list items with missing rhinestones/tarnish. We’ve had plenty of luck in the past with pieces like this. Some people like to repair them and then either wear or resell them. Just make sure you’re not selling pieces that are beyond repair, or you’ll probably never find a new home for them.
These are an identical pair of pins that were both missing rhinestones, so we sold them together in hopes that one could be used to repair the other. We ended up selling them for $30!
G. Make sure your description is very, very clear. Most people don’t like to buy jewelry that is broken, has been repaired, is missing stones, or is tarnished. If your piece has any of those attributes, make sure you state it clearly. Someone will still want it, and it’s better to be honest than to leave out that information and have to deal with a returned item or negative feedback. You should also include the following information in your listings: type (necklace, pin, etc.), clear description (ie. “This is a pin shaped like a cat. It is silver with black rhinestones on the body, and two green rhinestones for eyes.”), maker’s marks (including any relevant history or dates in reference to the company or the individual piece), measurements (length and width), and condition (BE SPECIFIC). Be sure to mention you’re listing other jewelry or that you have a stash in your store. Provide a link so they can browse your selection.
H. Don’t be afraid to price high. This is especially true of your signed pieces. Do your research if you think you’ve got something really great on your hands, but otherwise find a price you’re happy to start your listings out with. We usually try for around $19.99, but will go lower or higher if we feel that’s necessary. You’d be surprised at how many we can sell at that price. If it doesn’t sell, we throw it in our store at a higher price (around $30) and set the Best Offer option. Sometimes they offer the price we had it up for at auction, and other times it’s a little lower. Either way, if we can sell it for at least $10, we’re guaranteed our money back (and probably profit on top of that).
This is a gorgeous set that we knew would be a home run for us. It was from Trifari and signed with the designer's name - Kunio Matsumoto. We started this much higher than our other pieces (around $100) and it ended up selling for $180! The best part was that this was hidden amongst the rest of the jewelry we bought that day, so we got it really inexpensively!
I. Find an easy way to ship your jewelry. Another reason why we love jewelry so much is because it is EASY to ship. We spend a little extra money here buying Tyvec envelopes and little boxes. It pays off, though. Instead of having to bubble wrap each piece and hope we have a tiny enough box, we just throw it together and get it on its way. It looks nicer, too.
J. Don’t toss the junk jewelry. You’d be surprised how well junk jewelry that’s broken or missing rhinestones will sell for. We’ve sold a small lot (4-5lbs) for about $50. People use it to repair other pieces of jewelry or make their own. They can also use it for all sorts of other crafts, too. Buyers love to get this stuff in bulk, so keep a bag of it handy. When it’s full to the brim, throw it on eBay and see how it does!
There you have it! That’s a sneak peek into how we sell and list costume jewelry. Did it help? I hope so! If you’ve got any questions, tips, or success stories, please feel free to mention them in the comments below.