Annamarie Sabo had a background as a gallery and retail buyer before she became a craftsperson and wholesale exhibitor. She shares what she learned in the transition.
ABI: What are you most excited about in your current jewelry line?
AS: My “Mesa” line has thus far been the strongest and most unique line featuring the stunning cuffs created from the skeleton of the prickly pear cactus. I am most excited to be adding the matching “open weave” earrings, pendants and gem set rings to this collection.
ABI: Could you tell us about what you call your “point of emergence?”
AS: On my walkabouts through nature, I have discovered a moment that I call the point of emergence. It is the moment when I can see within the botanical a pattern, texture or sculptural element that will become the wearable art piece. From this vision I draw out its essence in precious metals. I envision each piece as an intimate study of nature, a unique creation of form and function.
The jewelry I create cannot be separated from the natural environment. I delight in the constant array of shapes and contours nature presents. In my design and casting process, I am careful to preserve as much of the plant’s innate architecture, preferring irregular beauty over an idealized copy.
ABI: What are the most important factors in creating a successful product line?
AS: Having been a retail store owner and buyer before becoming an artist and exhibitor, I strongly encourage the artist to present their line(s) in a collection. It is important as a buyer to be able to see the collection in their store or gallery.
Also, giving your buyer varied price points throughout the collection not only allows the buyer(retailer) but their buyer(the consumer) the ability to be introduced to your collection at a nice price point. They can then work at adding either more pieces or saving up for the big eye candy purchase.
For example, as a previous retailer it was a delight to be able to sell a pair of earrings knowing that your client is eyeing the big cuff! So as you can see, building a collection as an artist has a huge impact on creating a following for both your retailers and their customers.
ABI: Your story is an integral part of every sale. How do you use it to sell your jewelry?
AS: I have found that everyone loves a story. Creating a strong story for your work or process is very important as it lends value to the final product. I use my story and pieces of the cactus or ocean botanicals within my exhibit space. It allows a point of conversation to begin.
Within my interactive show and tell exhibit, I show the buyer that each piece that will be shipped includes a “crafting the bracelet” story card for their store display case and that each piece has a hang tag describing the botanical origin, the metal content and the components used.
This allows the customer to have a small slice of the artistic journey that created the piece. It definitely creates value at the consumer level, making it a bit easier for the item to sell itself. This in turn makes a great circle of movement – the consumer buys more, the retailer reorders, and the artist has created a repeat account!
AS: With the perspective of having been a buyer previously, it is important as a first-time exhibitor to:
- Have a display that is organized, with space for your eye to breathe
- Strong visuals (i.e. banners and signage)
- Most importantly- CATALOGS or LINE SHEETS. They do not have to be fancy or expensive, but having a photo of the item with a description and the wholesale pricing is most important. There is nothing more thrilling then having your buyer return during show days, catalog in hand, items circled and ready to place an order!
- Sometimes the buyer doesn’t want to carry the catalogs, so having a postcard with your eye-catching piece on the front, your booth number, your website/email/phone, and an enticing offer (“mention this postcard for free shipping and/or 5% off your first order) is just the right piece of printed material.