Each year my neighborhood hosts an event called Arts In The Park. Over 100,000 people come to see and purchase work from about 350 artists. These artists come from states as far away as Michigan and Florida. Jewelry is a big category. As I was looking at all the exhibitors I noticed an incredible sameness about what they displayed. Small silver medallions on chains; crocheted strands with beads – nothing really stood out. It also didn’t look like many sales were being made. These artists were spending a lot of time and travel money just to come to an event and blend in with the crowd.
About a half mile away a local jewelry designer, Kay Adams, was busy selling her creations. Her work is so successful that she can afford a nice shop, the Anthill Antiques Unlimited, in part of Richmond’s popular shopping district called Carytown. Customers come to her and she has a backlog of 80 custom-made orders in addition to all her displayed pieces for sale. People collect her work and it’s not uncommon for a woman to own 30 to 40 necklaces all made by Kay. What does she understand that people traveling across states to search for customers don’t?
Kay attracts people who want their jewelry to tell a story. Her customers wearing her work communicate that they’re creative and interesting. She’s selling conversation starters not necklaces. Each piece is unique, made from combinations of old items fused together into new designs. Kay says, “I connect the voice of the jewelry pieces to the essence of the person I’m making it for.” People often come in with old family pieces such as a grandmother’s brooch that Kay incorporates into part of something contemporary and new after taking the time to connect with her customer on possibilities.
Her jewelry is often family history that a person gets to wear. Much like a charm bracelet notes personal interests, Kay’s custom work combines personal keepsakes in more unexpected creative ways.
While Kay’s in the jewelry business she understands what a distinct niche of customers crave. Her work isn’t just jewelry, its art. Each piece has its own unique personality just like the people it attracts. Customers who enjoy the attention and conversations it starts.
Niche questions you need to answer to be successful.
- What can you bring to a select group of customers that really connects with them?
- What problem are you solving for them?
- What kind of work really motivates you?
I’d love to hear from you if you have questions that I can answer on my blog. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll work to address your concerns quickly. Also let me know of other small businesses offering products that really make a difference for the better. It will be great to feature them.