The jewellery I make is very much designed for those in niche markets. It is not the kind of stuff you would find advertised for Valentine’s Day or prettily surrounded by flowers on Mother’s Day advertising, though this does not mean that my jewellery has not been purchased for those occasions, just that it fills a particular place in the market.
My niche tends to focus around sub-cultures, particularly those of the Goth, Steampunk and LARP cultures, this means I am creating for a particular aesthetic and feel each time I do this, but at the same time how am I unique from all of the others doing the same thing?
The first is finding your style. I have already written a post about this so I will not go on about this too much. Let’s just say it involves a lot of experimentation and lots and lots of jewellery being made, and it is great to have your style, but then how do you know others want that?
Developing my style and finding my niche both went hand in hand. I loved steampunk work, but there is a lot of it out there. So much of it involves watch parts and cogs in resin, and though I really love this look the the market is flooded with it and I would just be competing with many others. I was very much a goth when I was younger, and though the dress code is not there anymore I still adore the asthetic, combining this with my love of Steampunk gave me my ‘When Goths discover brown!’ look. I kept the things I loved about Goth and added in what I love about steampunk. Chains went from Silver to Bronze and charms from bats (though I still like to use them occasionally) to octopuses. It was then off to head out there testing my market. Only one way to do this, talk to them.
Before I even had Ooh Shiny’s page I was pictures up on my own page on Facebook and seeing what people thought, my jewellery generally went down quite well, even if it is a little OTT for some people’s taste. That is not a bad thing we all have our own tastes and there are amazing artists out there for everyone. The second was wearing the items to events. Nothing like seeing how many people come up to you to compliment you on a necklace and ask where you got it to see if it would sell. It looked like my stuff would and I knew after a while which got the best responses.
After that I sold a few pieces at events, just on a small scale, and I made a note of what designs sold and what ones just hung around. I was starting to build my brand.
It was then over to Instagram and seeing other artists at work, I wanted to check that my style was not to similar to other artists, without deviating away from the market really wants. Eventually, after I was sure that I had what I needed I started to create and post on my page.
Building your brand and working with your niche never really stops, every item gives you feedback, some flop and some unexpectedly shine. I love to create and I love my market, and every comment and post helps me make better jewellery for them.