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Starting a Jewelry Business - Make Your Own Jewelry
What Will You Sell?
If you want to start a jewelry business, then the first question you have to ask yourself is what will you sell. Some people start a jewelry business because they have been creating their own jewelry for friends and family, they enjoy it - and everybody's suggested they start a jewelry business.
Others are just interested in jewelry and are attracted to start a jewelry business because they want to choose items to sell from suppliers that they find.
Wholesale, Retail, Bespoke
The next thing to think about is where you sit in the supply chain. Some people might want to sell their creations wholesale, they can produce large quantities of repeat items, so to start a jewelry business they'd just have to find a few customers who would buy from them wholesale.
Most people will be looking to sell retail. This means buying in, or making, wholesale jewelry, then selling the pieces individually to end users. This can be done through local sales, partnering with local businesses (e.g. hairdressers or florists), perhaps taking a table in the restaurant of a large local employer for a lunchtime once a month. Or, you can create a catalogue of your items and recruit people to sell them for you. An easy and affordable way to reach a lot of people is by selling online, perhaps through ebay, or even on your own website.
If you're going to sell retail, at fairs, in a shop, or market - or even online at Etsy, then one fabulous book for pricing your work is "Sell Your Jewelry: How to Start a Jewelry Business and Make Money Selling Jewelry at Boutiques, Fairs, Trunk Shows, and Etsy." - it's an affordable paperback, contains masses of tips and information for you - and is a real investment in your future. It's tax deductible too, as it's classed as a business expense.
Buying Wholesale Jewelry
A lot of small jewelry businesses will simply buy in jewelry wholesale, add their mark up, put the item in a pretty box, then resell it at 2.5-3x what it cost them. Jewelry does have a good markup, and by taking a bag of 1000 necklaces and simply wrapping them in fuscia-coloured tissue paper and placing them in an attractive box, you could charge a LOT more than what they cost you,
Presentation is key. Jewelry is a lifestyle gift, an aspirational gift.
Buying wholesale jewelry, then re-packaging it and presenting it, is the difference between making cents or making sense! Buy 100 solid silver necklaces, put them in a beautiful pouch, or bag, wrapped in acid-free colorful tissue paper, spend a good amount of time taking great photos of it! You'll sell 3-4x as much, for a higher cost, if you just take the time to make it look fabulous.
What Type of Jewelry Will You Be Selling?
Is it silver and gold? Or are you interested in fashion jewelry? Perhaps you want something a bit quirky, like wooden jewelry. There are literally thousands of great designs out there, but you need to start by picking one style, so you can specialise and do it well.
You can't sell $4000 diamond rings alongside $5 imitation gold necklaces. Pick a niche jewelry market, concentrate on one thing at first - then grow your business once you've got a feel for the type of jewelry your customers will buy.
Presentation Makes Profits
If you want to start a jewelry business, presentation is key. A lot of jewelry is bought as gifts - and quite often the gift-giver is drawn in by the presentation of the item.
Putting your jewelry into nice boxes, wrapping the jewelry in nice tissue paper, using lovely organza bags, all add up to making the gift look a lot more expensive than it is.
Target Your Market
In thinking about presentation, also use your presentation to target your market. e.g. presenting your jewelry in white boxes as ideal gifts for brides. Look at how the color of the box, or tissue, or the organza bag color, makes each item look better/worse, more expensive or cheap. Once you start being picky about the colours and presentation you'll use, you'll start to see increases in sales - and profits.
Buying Jewelry Boxes Online
Buying jewelry boxes used to be quite difficult, but now, with the Internet, it's as simple as clicking your mouse button - you could have a selection of great boxes delivered to you very quickly by buying jewelry boxes online.
You'll need a good selection to choose from, see if you can get a mixed samples bag. Otherwise, you can always use the boxes yourself to present gifts in, or even sell the boxes online.
There's quite a good business, for example, in buying wholesale wrapping paper, or wholesale gift boxes, then simply breaking those down into batches of 10-20-25 and selling them again to people who are looking for smaller quantities, often as wedding favors boxes.
Think about whether you need a supplier who will be able to supply you the same designs for months/years to come, or whether you just need good boxes of the right size/type that can be sourced from various people.
I've found buying jewelry boxes on ebay can be a great way of experimenting with presentation and seeing the different boxes that are out there.
Pricing Your Jewelry
Be very careful with your pricing, you need to be making a good profit.
If you're making the jewelry yourself, you need to be aware of all the costs of your materials and the time it takes you to make things. If it takes you 2 hours to make an intricate necklace, then the price needs to reflect the labor costs of that. If that makes it seem too expensive then you have to either try to reduce your materials costs (buy wholesale/find other suppliers), work faster, or make your item of better quality.
People will pay a premium for good quality, hand-crafted jewelry. They won't pay over the odds for shoddy work just because it took you a long time to make it. Make sure you understand the distinction.
I hope this has given you a few pointers for how to start your own jewelry business. Now the fun starts - start looking at different products, see how others present them, buy in some boxes and tissue paper and experiment with packaging methods. Think about how to photograph your products, gather together some props and lighting, to be able to set up a table where you can photograph your jewelry for resale.
- UK Sites Like Etsy
Sites like Etsy are springing up regularly now, so if you are a producer of hand-made items, then you might be looking to get your business online - and looking for sites like Etsy to quickly get your products online.
Selling Your Jewelry Online
Most people will start out using ebay, or creating their own website. These days it's easy to create a full e-commerce website as web hosts have been making it easier and more affordable to go down that route.You might even buy a ready-made jewelry website, through ebay perhaps, then simply upload your own images and products, knowing the site's been built for you.
Etsy & Websites Like Etsy
Beyond that, there's Etsy, which is a well-known site for selling your own hand-made goods - and if you're in the UK, then there are UK websites like Etsy you can try out, selling in your own currency and to people who are most probably in the UK is less daunting than packaging and selling abroad.
Silver & Onyx Chain: by E Drake