Follow trends? Or set them?

Q: I have a certain style of jewelry that I love to make. It’s a more delicate and sparkly design than I see at department store jewelry counters, where “big and clunky” seem to be the trend. My husband says I have to change my style to fit what is selling right now. I wouldn’t be happy making that type of jewelry, but I’m concerned he might be right. What should I do?

A: This dilemma is one that seems to impact almost every jewelry maker. It reminds me of an old saying that has been attributed to different people (including Confucius!):

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Keep in mind that what you’re seeing at jewelry counters now was purchased months ago by the buyers who are responsible for trying to predict well in advance what people want. They are not always correct.

The types of consumers who buy artisan, handcrafted jewelry – as opposed to mass marketed jewelry – may be more likely, in general, to want something that is different than the prevailing trends. In fact, your prospects probably want something that is unique.

Finally, consider the fact that all trends start somewhere. Someone had to make one small decision to do something different, and from there a trend was launched. You may want to zig when others are zagging.

Your husband is certainly trying to be helpful, but by the time you switch gears, what is currently popular will already be old hat.

I strongly encourage you to continue to make what you love. You will be more motivated to do so, and your energy and passion will show you how you market and sell your jewelry. And that is powerful stuff.

Have a question you’d like answered in this space? E-mail questions@marketingjewelry.com.