Selling jewelry is popular with working RVers. Jewelry sells at craft shows, flea markets, fairs, antique shows, etc. Match the venue with bling -- handmade, vintage, or cheap costume jewelry.
A Workers On Wheels reader writes, asking about selling jewelry at flea
markets and farmers markets. She writes, "It is jewelry that we make
ourselves. We hope to finance our trip with these jewelry sales. Has
anyone else done this?"
Here's my reply:
Yes. Many working RVers are paying for their travels by selling jewelry. It may sell at flea markets and farmers markets. You may have better results at other kinds of venues, such as craft shows and holiday bazaars.
Farmers markets are a good option -- if they allow non-food items.
Handmade goods are usually welcome, along with homegrown produce and
baked goods. But, ask to be sure.
You'll find some flea markets are better suited to jewelry sales than others. When looking for a market, ask the manager what kinds of things sell well. Read the listings in the guidebook or check the website to get an idea of what they are promoting. At some, most everything is used, much like a giant garage sale. Other flea markets have mainly new, cheap import merchandise. Your handcrafted pieces may not do as well at those markets as you'd like.
The price point of your jewelry makes a difference as to what to look for in selecting a market. Here's an example from our experience selling handmade jewelry (though we did not make it ourselves).
At one market where we set up with jewelry, we failed miserably. The people there were looking for low dollar items. They wanted cheap things inexpensively. A dented can grocery store on the premises was doing a booming business. We had turquoise and sterling silver jewelry, handmade by Native American craftsman in New Mexico. People oohed and aahed about it, but very few bought. If we had had 99-cent a pair earrings, we would have done well.
Not long after, we worked a flea market in a summer resort, tourist
area. Same jewelry; completely different response. Those folks were
buying antiques and artwork. The carefully crafted, handmade jewelry was
Look into craft shows, holiday bazaars, gem and jewelry shows, fairs, antique shows, and festivals. People attending these events are often in a buying mood. They are looking for quality, as well as for unique items. Vendor booth fees range from free to thousands of dollars.
One advantage flea markets do have over other shows is that they are a lot of them every weekend. Oftentimes, it isn't necessary to reserve a booth -- you can just show up the day of the market and get a space. During our years of on-the-road vending, we found weekly flea markets great for backups. When we didn't have another event to work, we could fill the open date with a weekly flea market. Depending on the market, we could put out the one-of-a-kind handmade art pieces, vintage brooches and necklaces, or the buy-by-the-gross cheap earrings.
A couple more thoughts about selling your handmade jewelry while RVing: online sales and selling it wholesale to gift shops. You might consider these to supplement the money you make selling jewelry at markets and other vendor events.