By ABI faculty member Mckenna Hallett
The retailers that want my line also want (and need) my story. They express great excitement when they learn about my unique raw materials and my unusual tools; like the fact that I sand my metals with a sanding wheel attached to a re-purposed Singer sewing machine treadle. Jewelry made by hand AND by foot!
Selling direct to the public in the early years of creating my line, I quickly learned what got people the most motivated, excited, and lined up to buy. I also heard about the worries and concerns. They ALWAYS fear my work is too heavy and I was delighted when people would pick up a large item and exclaim, “This is so lightweight!” It’s truly my claim to fame and I love seeing people discover this awesome fact for themselves.
But other concerns need addressing, too: “Will this get rusty?” No. “Will it the patina on the copper change?” No. “What is the earring wire made from?” It’s made from totally hypo-allergenic surgical steel; not a re-purposed paper clip as is occasionally expressed with fear from someone who wants to try on a pair.
Seeing that my work had unusual concerns, I created the Start-up Kit. This eventually led to my “Share Catalog”. The Share Catalog became my best tool and my retailers. I took my stories and put them in a booklet and filled it with tips, hints, and fun stories. The smart retailers put it to GREAT use immediately.
It’s a quick-read and real page turner – all action-packed 6 pages! How I do what I do using my unconventional tools and materials is not immediately clear; even to other jewelers. I also took the time to work with clients and learn which earrings go with what pendants. It’s not obvious. In fact, one of the best combinations in my entire line is a beach stone pendant with a pair of earrings made from a car’s radiator. Who knew? So! All that research went into my Share Catalog.
One of my favorite best practices is when a store prepares an area with my little signs, a few props, the sample packaging and the Share Catalog in a kind of “shrine” to the shipment on route. The Share Catalog has no pricing, no contact information, just plenty of stories and pictures of my line and suggestions for matching earrings and pendants. By having this pre-shipment display out in full view, they can begin to create real excitement for their clients. They can even gather emails and create new clients for the work that is “on its way”.
And those smart retailers take it seriously when they get high interest from an empty display! I actually get a bump in the order as they begin to see so much earnest interest. They know several of the items they have ordered are likely sold before they make it to the display and they love knowing this was a solid purchase with a solid turnover rate.
It’s a win/win/win for me, my retailers and their clients. All they need to do is supply a full-length mirror near my display!
See more of Mckenna Hallett’s jewelry here.