A few months back, when I was in Toronto, I met a woman named Jane Dallin (pictured right) who sold jewelry.
The more we spoke the more impressed I was with her marketing street smarts and hustle. Somehow, it came out, she’d managed to get the hosts of MTV’s shows to be wearing her stuff. Say what?
She also clearly had a very solid intuitive understanding of niche marketing based of the separate lines of jewelry that she sold.
I asked her some questions and she gave me some answers. And here it is.
We sell hand-made designer fashion jewelry for men & women. Using stainless steel, vintage brasses, found objects, and semi-precious stones we create necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more.
SOOS Rocks has 3 main collections: House of Rock which is our unisex line that is geared towards men & women that are looking for slightly edgier pieces that are inspired by rock music, urban culture, and individuality.
Our Duchess collection is more girly and frivolous and is inspired by childhood keepsakes, and antiquities, and lastly our Believe line is based in world religions, spirituality, and what inspires people.
how did you market your jewelry when you first started?
When Bryn (Bryn Nihill) and I (Jane Dallin) first started out we marketed our jewelry quite literally at the base level. Making local appointments with small independent stores, showing them our wares, and growing the brand slowly. We made sure to be accommodating to buyer’s budgets, and didn’t have any minimum orders so that it would be easier on a retail store, allowing us to establish some initial roots.
how did you land the MTV gig? and what has resulted from that?
We heard through our friend that worked in the accounting department at MTV that the stylist for all the hosts of the shows were looking for a new accessories provider.
We packed up our samples and immediately headed over.
We armed ourselves with everything we thought would be perfect for the genre and managed to land a short meeting with the stylist. After showing our line, and chatting about how we thought that SOOS Rocks was a great fit for them, they agreed to use our jewelry!
We are also extremely flexible and made them aware of that. We then set up a time to go in and showcase our complete line to everyone there and have them select the looks that each host wanted. It was a great pairing, and we built a solid relationship with a lot of people at MTV as a whole.
This has allowed us access to a number of special events, and intern, we have met many celebrities and musicians that we have were able to get our jewelry on! This was especially great for our American customers who seem to be a bit more interested in celebrity culture, where “who’s wearing” your goods holds a lot more weight.
how do you get famous people, iinfluencers and hubs to wear your stuff? and what’s the impact of that?
I think the best way to get celebrities, and influencers to wear your product is to create as many relationships as you can.
When you have an opportunity to socialize and meet new people in design, media, film etc. you need to make sure that you take it, and don’t shy away. Be it going to certain galas held by art institutions, film events, launch parties, CD releases etc., and if you see someone that you consider to be an influencer, then you need to walk right up to them and introduce yourself and go from there! Also, I think it’s great to be involved with charities and special events.
Organizers and PR companies are always looking for ways to impress their clients, and if you become their “go to” resource for “gifting” the rewards can be colossal! We’ve met a lot of editors, actors, and people who are interested in new and exciting things by donating, participating, and contributing as individuals, and as designers.
Offer your product as a prize, an auction item, and always look the part too! If you are decked out in your goods people usually notice and want to inquire about who you are and what you do! It can result in magazine features, television appearances, and ultimately sales!
why do you think most jewelers struggle so much with marketing their stuff?
I think most jewelry designers struggle with marketing their work because they are used to operating behind the scenes for the most part.
When you have a passion that you would like to turn into a business you have to wear many “hats” and if you never fancied yourself an entrepreneur you may become overwhelmed by all the hoops you are finding yourself jumping through just to get things off the ground! A lot of designers love to design and wish they could leave the business side of things to someone else.
This might mean partnering up with someone that is excited to market your product, where you can create a successful business for the both of you. But, if it’s you, and you alone, just take things slow. Don’t get overwhelmed, and think of the top 5 things you can do get your goods out into the world, and put goals in place to make that happen. Slow and steady always wins the race.
what’s your take on Etsy?
I think Etsy is a great venue for people to sell their designs because it gets their work in front of a broader audience.
Etsy is especially great for one-of-a-kind pieces, or vintage findings, and is a relatively seamless way to show as much work as possible! It is also a great space for designers who sell a niche product. For example if your designs are more eccentric and you are unsure of where your product fits in a traditional retail environment, Etsy allows you an entrance into a huge marketplace, and the possibility to make some great money!
I think designers could definitely benefit from taking some time to comb through all the intricacies of the site, as there is a lot of information on there about how to become a top seller!
any other advice for other jewelry makers and crafters?
I think the best advice I could give to artisans and designers is to keep creating what you love, be as proud as a peacock for taking the road less traveled, and start getting the word out as best you can! Create an on-line presence for yourself, keep getting your goods in front of as many people as possible, and continue making as many connections as you can.
It will pay off in the end, as everyone loves to brag about the amazing things they’ve found, and the cool people who are making them.
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