Katie Hacker on Boosting Your Jewelry Making Income

One way to expand your jewelry making business or help fund your hobby is to teach jewelry making classes. I’ve taught jewelry making classes in a variety of venues, from home parties to national conventions and have been a student as well.

Teaching jewelry making classes takes your maker skills in a whole different direction. You have to break down the process of making something you know very well and present it in a way that makes sense to your students.
Patti in a class taught by Michael Thee and Mary Wohlgemuth

Preparation and communication are the keys. Students will need a supply list ahead of time so they have what they need for class. In addition to specific materials like 1-ft of sterling silver wire, it’s also helpful to suggest tools like the Wubbers ProLine Travel Kit and Free Zipper Case because students take your recommendations seriously.

You’ll also want to send students an email reminder before class that includes general information like, “our classrooms are cold, be sure to wear layers,” or other relevant tips that will help them feel comfortable and successful.

On the day of the class, set the stage by welcoming everyone as they enter the studio or classroom. Provide a step-by step handout that they can use to follow along and make notes, making sure to include your website and social media contacts and hashtags. Encourage students to look at your class samples as they’re settling in.

Once the class is rolling, be ready to interact with students at different levels of expertise. Some people will need a very elementary introduction to what you’re doing, while others will really want to pick your brain about your techniques.

Roy Talahaftewa providing instruction to a student.

Instructor Jeff Fulkerson says, “As the teacher, realize that there are students who have sacrificed a LOT to take your class; time, vacation day(s) money, fear, so give them their money’s worth. To me, that means give them all the info they ask for, even if it isn’t in the class syllabus. You also have to walk the fine line between helping your students and doing the work for them. Fight the urge to say ‘Oh, just give me that!”

A student working while the teacher advises
After your class, it’s time to reach out to your students again with a quick survey and request to join your email list and/or follow you on social media. Include links to your next classes and online shop. Share photos that they can post on their social media.

Remember to make notes to yourself about the class so you can be even better prepared next time. And, be sure to unpack right away so you don’t end up like me – I have a class box still untouched from 2015! Once you unpack, you can even offer any extra materials for sale in your post-class email.

Whether teaching jewelry making classes adds an income stream to your jewelry making business or helps supplement your jewelry making hobby, it’s a great way to expand your skills and share your passion for making jewelry.

~ Katie Hacker
Patti Bullard and Katie Hacker on the set of Beads, Baubles, & Jewels
Thank you for this wonderful article, Katie Hacker! Katie is the host of Beads, Baubles & Jewels on PBS. She specializes in bead stringing and wire-wrapping – and she might start unpacking that class box soon.
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Posted in From Making to Marketing, Handmade Business, jewelry making, Local Classes, Tools

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