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The popularity and success of handmade jewellery in the Internet age

Once upon a time, the only jewellery available was handmade. But as machine-made, mass-produced jewellery became more common, it crowded handmade jewellery out of the market. No major high street chain could provide a large enough quantity of cheap jewellery if they had to make it by hand! But, in the past few years, handmade jewellery has enjoyed a major resurgence. You might have bought handmade jewellery yourself, or even be tempted to try creating and selling your own.

Handmade jewellery

The Old Handmade Jewellery

Just a few years ago, handmade jewellery was something that you only found at craft fairs, or perhaps in small gift shops. It was something of a niche interest – the kind of thing that you might buy as a novelty gift or souvenir. No doubt there have always been hugely talented people making handmade jewellery, but it was difficult for them to reach a wider audience. At the higher end of the market, in contrast, even jewellery that was made by hand did not tend to be marketed as such.

Handmade Jewellery and the Internet

The rise of internet shopping has seen a revolution in the sale of handmade crafts. Formerly tiny businesses have enjoyed incredible success thanks to fans all over the world and a vastly increased market. People who are interested in handmade jewellery no longer have to wait for a local craft fair – they can buy unique, beautiful pieces at any time of year.

Etsy, a website originally for purely handmade goods, was one of the leaders in this online revolution. While it sells almost all kinds of handmade goods you could possibly imagine, jewellery quickly became a major category on the site. As Etsy’s popularity boomed to incredible heights, so did sales of handmade jewellery.

Handmade shops have also sprung up on other platforms, as Etsy showed how viable handmade jewellery is. Many people have set up independent online shops, taking the opportunity to turn their hobby into a job. Some companies have become so successful that they are now fully-fledged businesses rather than single-person operations. Others have merged handmade jewellery with ethical trading by selling handmade goods from fairly-paid workers in developing countries.
Social media has also played a significant role in the growth of handmade jewellery. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram give small businesses a chance to reach new customers without investing in hugely expensive advertisements. Sellers can take advantage of existing fans to spread the word about their products through a wide-ranging network of people. Instagram in particular, thanks to its focus on images, has allowed many small brands to compete with big jewellery brands without anything more than some beautiful product shots. For the first time, it’s quick, easy, and free for sellers to directly connect with their ideal audience.

So, why is handmade jewellery so popular?

For the people who sell it (predominantly, but not exclusively, women), making jewellery is a fun, creative way to spend time. Actually being able to make money from something so enjoyable is a dream come true! A side job as an alternative source of income is becoming increasingly popular as a way to make a little extra money and to enjoy a creative activity outside a corporate work environment. Jewellery can be an easier craft to begin than dressmaking or millinery, but still produces very beautiful products with excellent sales potential. As such a personal item, jewellery is also perfect for creating unique pieces or adding personalised touches.

For consumers, handmade jewellery is unique and interesting. The increase in handmade jewellery has made it easier for people to buy pieces that they feel suits their own personal style perfectly, without being restricted to what is available on the high street. Handmade jewellery is also an excellent choice for people who want to shop ethically, or prefer to support small businesses rather than large retailers. Many people are happy to pay slightly more for jewellery that is unique, lovingly made, and of a high quality.

27 Feb 2017

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