Home InterviewsShop Talk Shop Talk: Claire Gent
Claire Gent, jewellery, silver, nature, contemporary, British jeweller, jewelry

Shop Talk: Claire Gent

by Camilla

Last year jeweller Claire Gent was the best-selling maker on Folksy by revenue. So what’s the secret to her success? We caught up with Claire to find out, and discovered that it’s down to a combination of having a stand-out product, good product photography, affordable pricing, well-written listings that are easy to find in a search, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck…

When and how did you start your business?
I started three years ago with the type of product I make now, but it wasn’t really a well-planned start-up. I made a few things and a friend suggested I open a Folksy shop, which I did, and to my surprise made my first sale within a day or so! Before I had my son, and when I had a full-time job, I used to make jewellery as a hobby and do parties to sell it in the run-up to Christmas – so I had dabbled a little bit already.

Are you a full-time maker?
I’m fairly full time – it depends on the time of year. My hours change from week to week, as I also have childcare to think about. I work 3.5 days per week but also some evenings, depending on how busy I am.

Claire Gent

Claire took time to develop her branding and designer her logo and banner

How did you develop your brand identity?
I thought about the name for ages before making a decision. When I looked at other jewellers, the majority seemed to use their own name, so that’s what I went with. The logo took me ages too and I have tweaked it since the first design. I wanted something that mixed classic and contemporary, so the font is quite classic but has little details added that relate to my jewellery, which is more contemporary. For the colours I just chose colour combinations that I like and that can easily be changed.

Have you got a method for working out your pricing?
I do, but I don’t think it’s working! I usually add together materials and my time with a bit extra for design/packaging and this is my wholesale price. It doesn’t always work out though, so I adjust it according to what similar products might sell at or what I think customers will perceive its value as.

Do you only sell your work online or do you also sell through shops? How does this effect your pricing?
I sell through galleries as well as online. It means my online prices have to be similar to the gallery prices (allowing for postage), otherwise I would be undercutting them. They take between 40 and 50% of the price, so it makes pricing quite tricky. I find it hard to find a balance between earning enough money and making my pieces affordable.

Do you ever develop pieces with a particular customer (or event) in mind?
Not really. I think jewellery is quite a common gift for all events, so it’s not really necessary. I find a large percentage of my customers are buying for a gift and I don’t think the design necessarily needs to relate to the event.

 

Claire Gent, jewellery, silver, nature, contemporary, British jeweller, jewelry, cuffs

Claire’s anodised aluminium cuffs are one of her best-selling products

 

Is there one type of work that sells better than other?
My cuffs have always been popular –I’d say at least half my sales are cuffs. But I do sell lots of necklaces and earrings too. Sales seem to go in phases – I’ll have a couple of weeks of mostly cuffs, then the same again of necklaces, and so on.

How do you promote yourself and your work?
Only through Facebook really. Marketing is definitely something I need to improve! I like Facebook because there’s a lovely community of friendly crafters there and I know how to use it! I’ve tried Twitter but didn’t really get the hang of it. I love Pinterest too, but I use it more for personal stuff, and I’ve just joined Instagram but I haven’t done anything on it yet!

Who do you follow and is there anyone you think does social media particularly well?
I follow loads of people and they all have something good to offer in different ways. I like The Folt Bolt as they post really inspirational images, and also funny or chatty people such as KateCreates, JuJu and Bubba and Little Burrow Designs. I think most people do social media better than me, as I’m secretly quite old fashioned!

claire gent

Claire photographs her edge of the woods range against a dark grey background to contrast with the frosted silver

Do you do your own product photography? What do you consider when photographing your work?
Yes, I do my own and although I’m still not 100% happy with it, it’s much better than when I started. I try to keep the same format for product categories as it helps my work to be recognisable, but it depends on the shape and the material. I used to use a light background for everything, but my edge of the woods range is frosted silver and just didn’t stand out, so I used dark grey which was a great contrast.

What are the best and the worst bits about being a maker?
It’s great to make my own decisions instead of running ideas by a boss first, and also when customers buy my work it’s so lovely to know people like what I do. The worst bits are doing accounts and working by myself, as it’s a bit lonely sometimes – I’d love to work in a big, buzzing studio!

Do you have any tips on how to make your listings stand out?

  • Have crisp and clear photos.
  • Make sure the title tells customers what the product is.
  • Think about who might want to buy the product and what they would search for – and use these words in the description.

You’re one of Folksy’s all-time best-sellers. Do you think there is a secret to your success?
I don’t think there is a secret recipe to success, just a huge amount of hard work. There are also combined elements that can help, such as having a different product that appeals to a wide audience, keeping designs fresh, having affordable pricing, and a little bit of luck.

Claire Gent, jewellery, silver, nature, contemporary, British jeweller, jewelry

You can buy Claire Gent’s work in her Folksy shop >>

Read our Meet the Maker interview with Claire to find out more about her work and inspirations >> 

 

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