It was a great joint venture between our company and Collective-E last week... Beth Schoenfeldt and I each moderated a panel and the 50+ attendees were really on their game. The questions were plentiful.
Tips from the experts include:
Make yourself unique -- we don't need more beautiful jewelry we need more jewelry that has a unique point of view. Sarah Graham has made her name on her blackened metal alloy mixed with yellow and white golds.
Be persistent but not a stalker for press and retailers.
Pitch appropriately -- don't send funky jewels to bridal mags, nor mega-diamond jewels to Redbook. Don't pitch Lucky if you don't have any national distribution.
Court retailers for a while -- they have to cycle people out to let you in so it can take a season or three. Be patient but persistent. And very very friendly about it. Empathy is the key.
Sales reps are very hard to find in the fine jewelry business so before you're established (and some come to you or you meet them at trade shows once you're doing them!) hire an enthusiastic advocate for your designs.
After the seminar we had a tour of the show floor and many of the attendees were so thrilled to meet the exhibiting designers. Here, Erica Molinari, gives great advice to these young entrepreneurs.