Free advice on how to sell your products- for schools and charities
Below is an extract from a book written by Stuart Myler founder of The Number One Bead Shop.
' How to make jewellery and How to sell it' soon available for download on this site.
Schools – Charities and other organizations that want to raise funds.
Making jewellery can be a good way to make money for schools, charities and many other organizations. The initial investment is low, the returns are high and can be part of a long term money raising development plan.
From experience I have found primary schools are ideally suited to take advantage of the money making opportunities that are available from making jewellery, in addition it gives the children a great fun activity to do in school or at an after school club and can be part of the schools enterprise scheme or fundraising for trips and new equipment.
Head teachers love it because it won’t cost the school a penny, although the school will have to make an initial investment, this can be returned once the products are sold.
Although our company has taught jewellery making directly to the pupils it is more cost effective for the school to have a teacher or school volunteer trained in the skills they will need. Bracelets sell best so the training needed is very minimal and could be taught in a single jewellery making class or by watching online tutorials.
If the class is a fun after school activity where the children make a bracelet for themselves and not for resale, give them a tray of beads of mixed colours and sizes to choose from, letting the children create their own unique designs, we have found this to be a very successful and popular with the children.
Enterprise & Fund raising
Before choosing beads and designs, it is important to understand the market where the products will be sold and who the customers will be. A school in an affluent area can charge higher prices for their products than a school in an area of high unemployment, do some market research to find the price level your customers will pay, two schools in different areas can make exactly the same bracelet but will have to sell them for different prices. Once an approximate selling price has been established a target cost price can be set, as a rough rule the selling price should be around 3 times the cost to make it.
If it is thought £3 for a bracelet would be a price customers would buy easily then the cost of products to make it should be less than £1, the higher the selling price the more choice there will be when buying the products. A school may decide to manufacture a bracelet for £1 then sell it for £3, making a profit of £2 per bracelet, another school may buy more expensive materials to make a more beautiful bracelet with a cost of £3 and then sell it for £5, assuming both schools sold the same amount of bracelets the profit would be the same but the way it was achieved completely different, by doing some market research to understand your customers better, will allow you to make more informed choices.
The final profit that will be made on any project will be determined by the sales revenue less the costs of materials purchased and training costs, it is important to choose your materials wisely, calculating exactly what beads and findings you will need will cut down on left over materials, any extra materials you may be left with should be used, make some other designs and sell them, even if its just for the cost of materials used.
Kits can be purchased that provide the exact amount of materials needed for each project this eliminates any waste.
It is important to comply with EU regulations and only buy products that are lead and nickel free, choose a reputable supply that complies with these regulations, often products purchased from online supplies abroad from countries such as China will not be compliant as companies are not governed by the same regulations as in Europe, the cost of producing findings using nickel plating is considerable cheaper and is used by most countries around the world outside of Europe. Nickel can cause rashes and allergic reactions to the skin of some people.
Charitable organizations often have shops to sell their products, those that don’t can use any of the techniques described in this book, for schools the selling techniques listed below have proven to work very well.
Get the children to make the first bracelet for themselves, they can wear it home and show their family and friends how clever they are. The child will be armed with a good sales pitch, something along the lines of;
“look what I made, I am learning to make jewellery which we will sell to raise funds for new toys for the playground, its also part of our school enterprise scheme which will teach us the basic principles of business, its for a great cause, mum which colour would you like to order?”
Each child will have order forms with images of the products that can be purchased, you may offer 3 different models for sale but each model is available in a variety of colours, make sure the order form is clear and simple to follow.
Once orders have been received more materials can be purchased to fulfill the orders, this method allows you to sell before you buy, getting paid in part or full when the order is made will give you the money to partly fund the project which means less initial investment capital will be needed.
When the first orders have been completed deliver them with another order form, ask the person who made the purchase to show it too their friends and if they like it they can order one too! This type of marketing can be very successful and its FREE!
Parent’s night is a great opportunity to exhibit the jewellery the children have made and a great opportunity to get sales and orders. A table should be set up displaying the products on offer, order forms and most importantly the children who made the products should be in attendance. Children should invite passers by to look at their products, explain they made them themselves, what they are fundraising for and most importantly clinch a sale! As most parents will know children can be very persuasive, this makes them great sales persons.
When positioning your stall put in somewhere parents must walk past, ideally partly blocking the route forcing them to look. I was involved in an Enterprise scheme in a North Lanarkshire school, on parents night a table was put across the corridor, leaving a gap for people to walk through, this gap was quickly filled by the sales team, It didn’t take them long to work out if they stood in this space everyone was forced to look at their products and listen to their sales pitch, I was amazed at how professional they sounded and how happy they were when a sale was clinched, as well as helping develop business skills it helps to build confidence. Some children do get a little too enthusiastic trying to clinch a sale or disappointed when a sale is not made, some coaching should be given to the sales team to prepare them in advance.
Teachers are great customers, make sure you a have a display in the school staff room.
Exhibiting jewellery the children have made will be very popular with parents and family of the children who were involved in the project as well as hundreds of other visitors that may attend. School fetes usually offer a range of stalls selling a variety of goods, professional or semi-professional companies may be invited to purchase a stall to sell their wares, if you plan to sell jewellery the children have made at the fete, then it is best to elimate any competition, don’t let other exhibitors sell jewellery!