Serena Van Rensselaer was originally a student of Art History and Cultural Anthropology, but while studying abroad in San Miguel D’Allende, she discovered her untapped passion and aptitude for jewelry design. She is now an inspired creator, perceptive businesswomen and shrewd gallery manager in Manhattan’s picturesque Soho neighborhood. We recently visited Serena’s gallery and spent the afternoon speaking with her about the industry.
Here is part fourteen of our series, “Life of a Jewelry Designer.”
It’s no secret that online sales hubs are quickly becoming more conventional, convenient platforms for designers. With over 21 million active shoppers browsing Etsy today, it’s a difficult sales option to ignore. For stylists with limited access to a large customer population, the practicality of selling online is self-explanatory. For small business owners alike, during times of slow in-store traffic, amping up social media promotion and goading some online income can be a practical way to counteract seasonality and revenue fluctuations throughout the year.
Despite this supposed convenience however, there are surely some drawbacks to this promo platform when compared to in-store, face to face transactions.
“I’ve absolutely experimented with online sales,” Serena shares. “But there were certain aspects to it that really turned me off as a creative person.”
As designers who likely grow attached to their creative work and finished pieces, it’s important to consider these truths when developing a career structure you find rewarding.
“For me,” Serena continues, “It’s extremely fulfilling when I put my heart and soul into a piece of jewelry and then watch as it’s sold to the perfect person. I like to be a part of that process, to know who’s going to be wearing my work and why they like it. It makes the entire process seem more circular and complete overall.”
For many similar artists, this interpersonal connection will prove emotionally rewarding as well as constructively practical. “As far as stylistic feedback, there’s nothing quite as helpful as listening to shoppers’ instinctive reactions to your work as they browse the store,” Serena admits. “When you’re selling online, it’s hard to say for sure why certain pieces are popular and others aren’t.”
In determining how online marketing fits into your business’s sales plan, try to establish a concrete balance. If you own a store or sell at markets throughout the year, consider beginning an analysis of seasonal revenue tracking. Determine which months prove consistently slow in sales, and use those slower months as opportunities to explore online sales more carefully.
Once you find a nice harmony, you’ll be able to effectively benefit from the interactive feedback of live sales, as well as the backbone of an online revenue stream.
Want to learn more? The New York Institute of Art and Design offers an online jewelry design course that can teach you how to create and sell your own unique line of jewelry. Request your free course catalog today!