Creating and Marketing Limited Edition Collectible Beads

My background in retail has helped me in the bead business. The idea for marketing special geisha for Christmas came from my experience working years ago in the toy department of a large department store. During my stint in retail I remember stocking Christmas Barbies. Women would come around asking when they would come out or if we had any stashed in the back, hot items because each year was a new holiday design. Something to look forward to, wondering how the next year’s dress would look. One year Barbie wore a deep red velvet dress, another year a glittering poinsettia design.

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I thought this would also be a great idea for my little glass geisha dolls. Each one is unique to begin with, no two ever look alike. They all seem to have their own little personalities, some look proud, aloof, sweet, shy, joyful, dignified. But to make a design that will never be repeated is quite a commitment. If you’re going to do this you must keep your promise to your customers.

When I made this year’s geisha based on the the 3 Wise Men I had second thoughts. Would I really be willing to never make another Magi themed Christmas geisha? I decided yes obviously because here they are.
I’m happy with how they turned out, their little guiding Star of Bethlehem (cz) in the front of their kimono. I made six this year, 3 with red and yellow trim and 3 with red and gold. Only 3 are for sale to the public and it’s important your customers know how many were made total for that year.

So, if you choose to make limited edition collectible beads keep in mind:

1. Keep your word, make sure you’re willing to give up the design and truly never repeat it. Don’t try to sneak a few more in for customers, friends or family that decide they want one too and missed out. I made six 2007 Christmas Geisha this year and that’s all that will ever exist.

2. Be consistent. My 2 favorite holidays have always been Christmas and Halloween so those are the 2 annual limited edition beads I chose to make. I made them for 2006, 2007 and I will make them next year also. Something to look forward to.

3. Be selective. Don’t try to make a “collectible” every week. Limited edition beads should be special. If you’re cranking out “special beads” every time you turn around they won’t be special for long and people will probably start rolling their eyes.

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These are my own personal marketing guidelines of course, so do as you wish. I hope sharing this has helped you and inspired you to come up with your own special beads. Don’t limit yourself to holidays either, I think seasonal beads would be great also: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Great opportunity for those of you who do murrini! Imagine a big, beautiful round bead full of falling autumn leaves, flower blossoms or snowflakes, etc. Do what you love.

Tracy Jerrell Akhtar blogs from her home in Southern Michigan. To see her webpage and more of her creations, click on TracyBeads

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3 Responses to “Creating and Marketing Limited Edition Collectible Beads”

  1. Angie Garren Says:

    I think these are all wonderful examples of how to do special collections, Tracy! I’ll bet the owners of these are all very proud of their treasures.

  2. Sheila Morley Says:

    Tracy,
    what a great post! I make one of a kind work, for some reason I was a little confused about how to do Limited Editions. I have been hesitant. HMMM…inspiring.
    Should I start making the odalisque kissing Santa Clause? Or the Goddess with a Santa hat? Next year an elf?
    I love it when artists celebrate the inspiration like you are.
    GREAT BIG Thank you!

  3. tracybeads Says:

    Thank you ladies!
    Angie, I saw your Mr. And Mrs. Claus and they have the year on them don’t they? Great Christmas ornaments to be passed on to your children and their children and… 🙂
    And Sheila, they could be as simple as a goddess in a different color each year with your sig murrini and the year, doesn’t even have to be holiday related. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.


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