Artisan Markets are a great place to start selling jewelry. The basic premise of these markets is to create a weekly gathering place for people who make things by hand whether it be cheese makers, goldsmiths, soap, painters, or knitters, and uniting them with their admirers (and potential customers).
They tend to be long running weekly events, usually during the warmer spring/summer months, rather than the 2-3 day weekend events such as craft shows.
In my case, I was fortunate enough to live in San Francisco, where there were three (yes three!) of these programs! I literally started my home based business on the sidewalk, through the San Francisco Street Artists Program.
Depending on the market, there may be a screening process before you can start to sell your work. What this involves will vary depending on the program but may include bringing in your handcrafted jewelry in for review, an audit of receipts, and demonstrating that you are the person producing the work that you are selling.
Other requirements may include having a business license, tax id number, and business insurance.
Space is usually limited at these venues, so displays tend to be limited. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the table size limit is usually four feet by three feet. Not really a lot of space if you are used to doing craft shows.
But for the amount of exposure and market testing opportunities they provide, it's definitely worth it!
“Not only did this local market offer me a place to sell my work, it was a great way for me to learn about what kind of audience I was attracting, and offered a great low cost opportunity to test market new designs before introducing new lines to my wholesale jewelry clients."
Marketplaces in the US
Below is the start of a list of markets in the United States, listed by state. If you know of any great ones out there, please feel free to share below and we can start building a resource for all you designers!
Also, if there's a strong enough interest, I can start a list for other countries as well. Let me know!