Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Selling Your Jewelry Through Instagram With Special Guest The Wild Pine

April 01, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 13
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Selling Your Jewelry Through Instagram With Special Guest The Wild Pine
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode I will be discussing four tips for selling your jewelry using Instagram with special guest Laura Niblack. Laura is @thewildpine on Instagram, she currently has over 56,000 followers and has made thousands of sales to all fifty states and over ten countries, all through her Instagram page. She has been supporting her family through her artwork for 7 years.

Follow Laura over at @thewildpine on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewildpine/

Check out her incredible work at: https://thewildpine.com/

Start email marketing with style! Check out Flodesk for free and save 50% off your first year with my link: https://flodesk.com/c/METALSMITHSOCIETY

Follow Metalsmith Society for all the jewelry tips: https://www.instagram.com/metalsmithsociety

Check out my jewelry @corkieboltonjewelry on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/corkieboltonjewelry

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host. Corkie Bolton Metalsmith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious looky-loos eager to learn about jewelry making. Together, we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section.

Corkie Bolton:

So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me. In today's episode, I will be discussing four tips for selling your jewelry using Instagram with special guest Laura Niblack. Laura is the wild pine on Instagram. She currently has over 56,000 followers and has made thousands of sales to all 50 states and over 10 countries, all through her Instagram page. She has been supporting her family through her artwork for seven years. Laura, I'm so honored to have you as the first guest on the Jewelry Making Tips with Corky Bolton podcast.

Laura Niblack:

Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. Also Get Out. I didn't realize it was the first guest. I feel beyond honored Like. Are you kidding me Well?

Corkie Bolton:

you're one of the first people I thought of, because a question that I often get from our community is how to sell jewelry through Instagram, because many people starting out they have no marketing budget, they don't have money to pay people to do sponsored posts, even a lot of that stuff. It's kind of unclear as jewelers like where that even happens in our world. There's some natural sort of influencers that might pop up sometimes for people when they're lucky, but for a lot of us it's not. Like we have people you know offering us these opportunities. So it's hard to know where to start and I think you do a beautiful job and it's clear in your success and sales. So you know, the first tip I want to talk about is how you've used personal story and authenticity to craft a narrative which helps you sell your amazing jewelry.

Laura Niblack:

Thank you for all the compliments. I don't even know what to do with myself. Amazing jewelry. Thank you for all the compliments. I don't even know what to do with myself. So when I first started my Instagram, it was back in 2016. And so it was kind of before all of the guides for how to sell through Instagram and all the tips and tricks you need to do blah, blah, blah and so I didn't really know where I was starting either.

Laura Niblack:

But what worked for me was just really honing in on the things that I loved most and things that were important to me to convey through my life and through my jewelry, and so what I did is I was super consistent.

Laura Niblack:

I posted pretty much every day and broke down kind of my core values of my brand and for me as a person in general, number one must love dogs Just kidding, but also not.

Laura Niblack:

But it was creating a really strong brand identity, which kind of was just things that I love to begin with, so really rich colors I use a lot of turquoise and yellow and orange and just continually telling a brand story, so that my page was really attractive when you look at it, first like everything coordinates, and then also telling my story. So this is where I came from I was. I started out as a wilderness guide. This is why I really love making wilderness inspired jewelry and then telling personal stories. So this is how I met my husband. This is the crazy story about how I decided to quit my full time job and teach myself how to metalsmith, even though I basically knew nothing what I was doing. And I think a lot of people through telling the personal stories, even like this one time people through telling the personal stories, even like this one time my dog literally threw up on my homework and my homework was packaging a bunch of orders.

Laura Niblack:

And it was hilarious because people could relate to that and through relating to that, they were able to remember who I was. This is that weird girl that posts all about her huskies and geeks out about pine cones and, oh, she shared this thing about foraging. And so through sharing all of that, I was able to eventually start serving my customers and giving them things for free. So, essentially, providing education, giving little tips about what I don't know, even sharing, like meals that I was eating here are some recipes you could have and through all of that, or even I don't know, sharing, trying to think different hikes that I like to go on. So, basically, providing free information where your customers feel like they're being served already, so that they're more likely to come back and want to support you through purchasing some of your artwork. So, I think, serve, serve, serve. And then eventually I was able to gain momentum in making sales and also just making a really high quality product and constantly, constantly remind, like telling the customers where my the jewelry is coming from, how I create it. Yeah, just being very consistent, I guess later on our fourth tip, I'll share more about how I've kept the momentum going and grown organically.

Laura Niblack:

I rarely, if ever, have used an Instagram ad. I think I've tried it like twice. I've never used really any other type of marketing other than organically and very slowly growing my Instagram page. It's not about how many followers you have. It's about how many people you're genuinely connecting with on a daily basis and I think a lot of people see the huge number and they think, wow, incredible sales. But if you go and look at engagement, are they commenting on every post? Are they in their DMs genuinely connecting with people? Are they, I don't know, sharing the love, if you will Like. I love, love, love my customers and, at the end of the day, jewelry is just a vehicle in which to connect and empower and get people excited about the outdoors.

Corkie Bolton:

Definitely, and it's clear that you've done that. Like you look at your brand, but it's not just a brand, it's you as a person, an artist, and it's like all the things Huskies going for, hikes, your marriage with your husband, your love of skiing and this is an important consideration for someone that's listening, that's getting into this for selling their jewelry is you should be crafting a story, there should be cohesiveness in your work and you shouldn't be afraid to share who you are as the artist, because this is what separates us from the mass produced jewelry. It's someone connecting with the artist and being like. You know, I like their vibe and I have a similar vibe and I want to support them, but also like I love their work and the story behind it.

Laura Niblack:

So you know, bravo work and the story behind it.

Laura Niblack:

So you know, bravo. I also, if I think about just other artists, I think I did research by seeing, like, what artists I want to support and what other artwork I was attracted to, or even like my friends that do a really, really good job of selling their artwork or their jewelry it's I love hearing the stories about what they're geeking out about, like you could be talking about the most mundane thing you could, I don't know telling me about a I don't know like soil composition. But if you're really excited about it and like, draw me in and give me all of those tips, I'm going to buy some dirt. You know what I mean. So I think, if you like, the people that I'm most willing to support are those that just show me their passion, and so that's what I mean. So I think, if you like, the people that I'm most willing to support are those that just show me their passion, and so that's what I kind of used in being able to tell my own story and build my own brand.

Corkie Bolton:

Yeah, and I think one good thing to close on this concept is it is a good idea, if you're on Instagram, to follow other artists and see why am I attracted to them. It doesn't mean you're going to copy their content. It just means, like you know well, I like the way that they shared that. I find myself connecting. I feel comfortable sharing in this way because we're not all extroverts, we're not all going to wear our hearts on our sleeves. I certainly do that. I have no hesitation sharing. You know a fair amount about what's happening in my life and how it affects my work, but some people have a different approach, and so I would encourage our listeners to All right. So the second tip I want to go over is your collection drops, your famous collection drops. Tell us all about it.

Laura Niblack:

Tell us everything started at the beginning show for a while and I think what also tying in with crafting a narrative when I very first started out, I really latched onto turquoise and how much I was super interested in where it came from. Some of the highest quality turquoise is mined in the US and I didn't know that. So essentially I did a whole collection going through all the different types of turquoise, how they're formed, where they're mined, and then incorporated that into my ear jackets which I just stumbled upon. They were a huge hit.

Laura Niblack:

It was really cool seeing people also resonate with this design that I happened upon and also getting really stoked about all the information I was sharing about just this beautiful material. So once I saw that doing the batches and the collections and really crafting the story again around each collection, it got people excited. And then there was kind of a countdown, if you will. So you constantly are showing previews of the work, telling stories about individual pieces of the work, showing behind the scenes of how you're creating each thing, and then you eventually have like a huge launch, like a drop, and I think what also has been helpful too is just creating strong themes around each collection and it doesn't always have to be the same thing I think that's what's really cool about being an artist is your art can evolve as you evolve. So once.

Corkie Bolton:

I moved to Maine. I'm sure you don't get bored either, because you're constantly creating new designs.

Laura Niblack:

Exactly, and I think if people Something I can't reiterate enough is if people see your passion and you doing what you love, love, love to do and not trying to conform to what other people are doing or, I don't know, trying to follow somebody else's rubric If you're following your own rubric, people are going to see that and want to be a part of that. And if that's purchasing a pine cone necklace, so be it. If it's purchasing a mug, so be it. People just want kind of little inspirational reminders of wow, I could also do something that's super passionate as well, just like this person has. So I think also with collection drops, which is important, I learned was to vary price points.

Laura Niblack:

So, as I've grown my business and sometimes I have expensive taste, unfortunately, and I love working with, like the really high quality stones like Maine, where I live, is really amazing for tourmaline some of the highest quality tourmaline comes from Maine, which is nuts like 20 minutes from my house, but that's a much higher price point than, say, turquoise or other materials or even cast materials.

Laura Niblack:

So what I'll do is, with these collection drops, I will pair them with smaller price production pieces. I've worked a lot with casting which, oh my gosh, I thank you so much for all of the tips that you gave me Corky, with getting into casting. So selling, like my pine cone pieces that are more affordable and kind of like a initial investment piece that can help attract more customers and then eventually, if they choose that they like your work which if you're making high quality work and you love it, people are going to be convinced anyway then they'd be more likely to invest in some of your higher priced items and also, if you're telling the story around it and you're using high quality materials, it's not going to be too difficult in my opinion.

Corkie Bolton:

And I have to imagine I know, I'm sure of this that you have many repeat customers because once they see your amazing packaging, they have the experience of the unboxing. You know they've been watching you. I mean I love what you said about you know you are giving the opportunity to create content as you're building these collections and getting people excited, and so your feed isn't just filled with finished pieces of jewelry. There's this whole process that's happening along the way is getting people excited. But once someone makes that smaller buy-in that's, you know, pretty affordable then they can invest, you know, they know the quality is going to be good and down the line they'll probably invest in, you know, a nicer piece from you and I've seen the same thing with my work. You know, at the time of this recording I switched to doing exclusively gold pieces in August of last year and I have already seen that I have a few customers that have bought four or five gold pieces from me.

Laura Niblack:

And that is like that's exciting.

Corkie Bolton:

I mean, it means the world to me, because I don't, you know, in balancing metalsmith society with my jewelry, I don't have a ton of pieces that I'm able to do, but, like you, I do a little release of a piece or two, or maybe two to four pieces if I'm a little more prolific in a month. And yeah, it's just exciting to see that once people are introduced to your work, they will then go on to likely buy more.

Laura Niblack:

Well, and it's really cool also to see you follow your muse and not be afraid of deviating from what's worked in the past. I think that's what's really, really cool. I loved all of your planters that you made. That was sick. It's been a pleasure to watch you follow your muse and I think that's what's been attractive to customers and to me as just a friend of yours. Is you not being afraid to move into, like the higher price point items, because sometimes it's quality over quantity? Like, oh my gosh, your gold pieces are insane, especially the ones that you incorporate turquoise with, because you know I'm a sucker for that. But like, once you already have those customers and they get the piece, of course they're going to want to collect more. I think that's what's really cool is, when you release the big collections, you also are serving people that are collectors and it's like this huge pinch me moment. Like they're literally Corky Bolton collectors and they're literally the wild pine collectors. Like, are you kidding me? How lucky are we Living the dream?

Corkie Bolton:

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Laura Niblack:

So, at the end of the day, social media is social and I think people forget that a lot. A lot of times like it's really great to be a consumer and be able to watch a bunch of content throughout the day, but at the end of the day, social media is to be social. So I think one of the best pieces of advice I got was constantly commenting on other people's work, also responding to every single message and every single comment I mean within reason and doing those personal connections. It's been really, really cool behind the scenes to connect with some of my customers and also just make friends through Instagram. Like I literally have some customers you know who you are you're amazing who I've been talking to for years, every single week. They'll respond to some of the things that I'm posting.

Laura Niblack:

It's not even just about jewelry. I think that's. What's really cool is I've gotten so much fulfillment through continually being social on social media and, honestly, most of my friends come through Instagram, which is really cool, because when I moved to Maine and worked myself, I was really really worried about making friends and also my customers following me here and what's really neat is all of my quote unquote co-workers or other jewelers who we've connected with over Instagram and we joke that when we get together it's a staff party, because we all work for ourselves and all of them.

Corkie Bolton:

If you're getting lunch, that's definitely a business expense, just saying, oh, definitely a write off.

Laura Niblack:

Going to a gem show Definitely a write off. But it's been really cool to also see my friends really connecting with people in their niche, because we all have, like, a type of person that we're attracted to and if you're posting the things and posting jewelry that is really expressive of you, it's going to be easy to connect with people that comment on stuff. And so another thing tip that I got was don't post and ghost. So, instagram algorithm aside, you've just taken all of this time to talk about your work. Post a really beautiful story or a reel or just an Instagram post. Don't just post it and leave. Stay social. Don't post and ghost. Respond to every single comment, maybe even post an extra comment underneath the post that tells more of the story.

Laura Niblack:

Yeah, and then what's really cool is through me doing this consistently over years, I've made friends in real life and the craziest, coolest full circle moment has been actually running into people wearing my jewelry while out hiking or skiing or just anything. It's been really really neat connecting with people over just pine cone necklaces, you know, like, like, it's wild, yeah, that's amazing. Yeah, so I think, through seeing people in real life, it's all honestly, it's all personal connection. I think that's what's been the most successful for me in terms of marketing is just I don't know learning about people.

Corkie Bolton:

I find so much more fulfillment through that and being social on social media instead of like constantly say look at me, look what I made, buy it no-transcript Instagram to my website, but that's really been my main way and you know there have been times on and off where I've had a little work in some boutiques, but primarily it's been through connecting people to Instagram. So it does hold an incredible power.

Laura Niblack:

I think also why people are attracted to your work too is going back to what I said earlier is that you're constantly serving your community. You're giving all these tips, you're giving free information, you're telling parts of your story. So if you're constantly serving your community by giving them free things and tools that they can use, they're going to want to turn back around and invest in your work because they're like wow, corky like gave me so many incredible tips about how to start my jewelry business, or I was just so inspired by this. I would love to have a little piece of her work as a memento, you know.

Corkie Bolton:

It's so true, and I've also seen other people use their own passions which may be even other things besides things that we've mentioned hiking and other things, but like causes that they want to help or other things that are really important in their life, and so I think that's another way to connect with community. Give back it's all really awesome but, yes, serving people, educating them, connecting, spreading the love.

Laura Niblack:

All the core values of metalsmith society. We love it.

Corkie Bolton:

Exactly. The last tip I wanted to share was something that I've been doing in the last year on my own Instagram, which is I'll occasionally share an item that is a silver piece. That is a bit more of a sample for me, like perhaps I was engraving on it or it's a mix of silver and gold, but it's not explicitly a gold piece, and what I'll do is I'll take some fantastic photos and then I'll post on my Instagram and I'll offer it up for auction for people to comment on the post. And the only reason I wanted to mention this is because I'm happy for anyone else in our community if they want to try that for themselves, because what I found was is it helped increase interest and engagement, because now, suddenly, even in the act of commenting on the auction to try to get the piece, or even just saying, hey, that's great Suddenly the algorithm is liking this post a lot more because people are being more active on it, and it's been a really great way to connect with new customers that maybe weren't ever over on my website.

Corkie Bolton:

Maybe they didn't think they'd ever be able to get one of my more recent gold pieces because of the price point, but now they're getting a piece of my work that's just as quality but a lower price point because of maybe the materials or whatnot. And I've even found that someone that started off buying one of my pieces in an auction has then come back and just bought another piece on my website as well. So I just wanted to throw that out there and just encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to trying to get those initial sales.

Laura Niblack:

Well, and also there's just some excitement and thrill in the auction, like ooh, like a little bit of competition and also feeling like, oh my gosh, I'm getting such an incredible deal. Yeah, Like it's been really cool to watch those auctions too. And then I've also seen people that have done like auctions for causes too, where a portion of the proceeds go to a cause, and then that's also really attractive to people too, Like wow, I get this incredible piece of jewelry. I'm supporting a small business, like an artist and also potentially tying in a cause that's important.

Corkie Bolton:

Absolutely. So I feel like we kind of nailed it. Yeah, we did.

Laura Niblack:

That was fun.

Corkie Bolton:

Laura, I wanted to thank you for your time today sharing some of your tips. Do you have any closing advice for people that are maybe sitting listening to this and they haven't made their first sale? Maybe they feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Maybe they launched a collection but they only sold one or two pieces. What would you say to that person?

Laura Niblack:

Oh my gosh, it's almost like talking to me years ago, which is really cool, but I would say, just keep following your passion. It's going to take. It's probably going to take a lot of time, a lot of tries and avenues in order to find what works best for you personally and what will serve your community best. So I would say, yeah, keep on keeping on. If the same thing that you've been doing for a while doesn't work, try something new. Maybe one of these tips would help you Also.

Laura Niblack:

Metalsmith Society has been incredible in connecting different people, and so even just reading through some of the tips and the comments that are on all of the posts on Instagram have been really, really helpful. Don't be afraid to to ask for help. Look for mentors. Honestly, I slid into so many DMs of people that I really admired here and there and I would say like nine out of 10 people would be super generous and offering advice. So kind of look at different people that have come before you and look to emulate some of the things you admire about them, and then also, like, ask for advice here and there and maybe ask somebody that's not in your industry to give you kind of a fresh perspective.

Corkie Bolton:

Love that and also I think perspective is huge, because if I had a 10 piece collection and I sold two pieces, I would admittedly maybe go to my husband, kyle, and be like I only sold two pieces and he'd say you sold 20 percent. Yeah, that's right, yeah, it's like, that's like. And so you really have to celebrate those wins, because that opportunity to sell to that one person they could be a future customer, they could show their friends it means so much more, so you got to stay positive, yeah, honestly, positive mental attitude is everything.

Laura Niblack:

and I mean it's harder to do in practice than it is to say it, because I've definitely had those times where I've been disappointed. But honestly, just through continually trying new things and following your muse and also asking for help and asking your community to help support you when you're having a tough time, those have been huge, huge for me.

Corkie Bolton:

Amazing Laura. Thank you again. Your work can be found at thewildpine. com and folks should definitely follow you over on Instagram at thewildpine.

Laura Niblack:

You're so kind. I feel the same way about you at Corkie Bolton Jewelry, at Metal Smith Society. The feeling is mutual. I have just so much love for you. I'm so grateful and also beyond honored that I was able to be your first guest. This was such a joy. Thank you.

Corkie Bolton:

And if folks enjoy me having special guests, please let me know. And that's it.

Laura Niblack:

Thank you, cheers.

Corkie Bolton:

Thank you again for tuning in for today's episode. It was truly so fun having Laura on the show. Your support means the world to me. If you enjoyed today's podcast and want to keep the podcast going, there are a few ways you can show your support. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, whether that be Spotify or Apple Podcasts, and you can even leave a rating and review to let others know what you think. Every little bit of support helps me continue the podcast. And thank you again to today's sponsor, Flodesk. While we didn't talk about email marketing in today's conversation, it is 100% a way that you can take your Instagram sales to the next level. I'll catch you on the next episode. Bye.