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How to Start a Jewelry Business

It takes planning to start a jewelry business, but the process is simpler than that of many other types of businesses.

Having your work shared with the world is one of the greatest joys of being an artist. In particular, jewelry designers understand that, as jewelry can be especially sentimental to their clients. Creating your own jewelry business is the best way to expose your work and forge new connections with grateful clients.

Most likely, you think of yourself as a jewelry designer first, and as an entrepreneur second – if you think of yourself at all like one! Although starting a jewelry business may seem difficult, it’s not as complicated as you may think: It’s mostly about time, effort, and perseverance (and a few technicalities, too). To start your own jewelry business, we’ve broken down the process into seven essential steps.

1. Determine your target market

Getting your jewelry business off the ground will require you to clarify exactly what it is you are starting and what your jewelry business entails before getting into the nuts and bolts (or beads and clasps) of creating jewelry and starting your business. This is best done in writing, or, more specifically, by creating a business plan.

Writing a business plan can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be so complex or jargon-ridden as you may think. Essentially, a business plan is an attempt by entrepreneurs to organize their thoughts about their business, take stock of their finances and resources, build their marketing strategy, define their business goals, and create a game plan to achieve those goals in the short term.

Answer the following questions at least in your business plan:

  • Would you like to sell fine jewelry or trend pieces?
  • Do you make your own pieces or outsource them to a premium manufacturer?
  • Are you planning to operate from home or will you need to rent an office space?
  • Can you handle the workload on your own, or do you need to hire staff – either now or in the future?
  • What is your pricing strategy?
  • Why is your jewelry better than your competitors’?
  • How do you define your target audience?
  • Approximately how much money will you need to start?
  • What marketing plans do you have?
  • Which markets do you plan to target?

It is important to keep in mind that your business plan is an evolving document. You can fill in whatever gaps you left in your preliminary plan when you launch your business, gain hands-on experience as a jewelry business owner, and learn more about the costs associated with running a business and your audience’s buying behavior.

Establish a business budget.

Creating your business budget should go hand-in-hand with your business plan. You should first create a detailed list of your initial startup costs, such as tools and equipment; marketing materials; licenses, permits, or educational courses; office or coworking space; wages for any staff you may hire; and your expected daily expenses.

Lastly, determine how much cash you need to launch and operate your business over the next few months and how much additional funding (if any) you may need. In addition, there are a number of small-business budget templates available if you need more guidance.

Check out the competitors’ budgets.

To make your product more successful, you should do a bit of market research in the pre-launch phase. Consider other, successful jewelry businesses you admire and would like to emulate in some way: What’s their angle, and why is it successful? Which audience do they cater to, and what marketing tactics are they using? Do they sell their goods on their website or another selling platform (like eBay or Amazon), or do they also sell in brick-and-mortar shops? In order to price your jewelry appropriately for your target audience, you must also conduct market research.

2. Make sure your business is legal.

Following that, you’ll need to cover all legal bases so that you’re operating your jewelry business legally. You must check with your local clerk’s office regarding home business licenses and permits if you plan on operating your business from home.

When you’ve chosen your business name, decide on your business entity and register it with your secretary of state (if there is already a business operating under your chosen name in your state, you’ll have to start over). If you do business under your legal name, the easiest way to register is as a sole proprietorship, which doesn’t require you to register with your state. If you are operating your business under your legal name, you will only have to register your business name as a DBA. Despite this, a sole proprietorship won’t offer you any protection if your company faces legal issues.

To be on the safe side, you should register your business as an LLC. The process of registering as an LLC is easy, and you can complete the process online in just a few minutes; you can check out the SBA’s step-by-step guide for some more guidance. Furthermore, LLCs protect your personal assets from business-related legal issues, but filing taxes as an LLC is fairly straightforward.

If you wish to further protect your business, you might also consider purchasing business insurance. Look into product liability insurance, which protects businesses against legal fallout in case their product injures a customer or another third party; and general liability insurance, which provides coverage for many common legal claims. If you hire employees, you’ll need workers’ compensation, unemployment, and state disability insurance.

In addition, you may want to register your business name, logo, or designs with the United kingdom Patent and Trademark Office, which can be done online.

3. Maintain separate personal and business finances.

As soon as your business is legally operating, you should separate your business and personal finances. There are numerous reasons for this separation. Starting off, this separation will keep your personal finances safe from business-related legal issues; more practically, it will simplify your tax-filing process.

Open a business bank account (most new businesses just require a business checking account, to begin with) and only deposit business earnings there. Sign up for a business credit card that you can use to pay for your business’s smaller everyday expenses. On top of that, depending on the card you sign up for, you can earn points, rewards or cash back that can be redeemed and put right back into your business.

4. Access startup funding

There’s no need for you to be an entrepreneur to know that starting a business requires money, and you probably also know that many new business owners struggle to secure business loans from their local banks or online lenders. In the absence of financial history, lenders have no way to judge a new business’s risk level, so they cannot make an informed credit decision.

Startup funding, therefore, often comes from the owner’s pockets. The majority of new entrepreneurs bootstrap their way up, using their personal savings, loans from friends and family, or personal loans from banks or online lenders to fund their growth. You could also try your hand at crowdfunding, where strangers who believe in your business donate small amounts of money to your venture.

5. Make your jewelry by finding suppliers.

Once you’ve established the legal and financial foundations for your business, you can create your jewelry with an eye toward selling it.

To make jewelry, you should purchase wholesale jewelry-making tools and equipment, including safety equipment, as well as the necessary materials. A good way to find a reliable wholesaler is to ask other jewelry designers; otherwise, do a little research and research, research, research. You may also want to get a reseller license so that you can avoid paying local sales taxes when buying in bulk.

6. Promote your jewelry business.

As soon as you’ve accumulated a solid inventory, you’ll need a place to sell it. Your primary sales channel will most likely be your online store.

Consider building your store using a service like Shopify, which makes it easy for entrepreneurs to create and manage e-commerce stores. Many of these services come with useful features, such as custom sales reports and analytics, customer relationship management tools, and marketing tools.

As well as selling your products on a dedicated online store, you can also sell them on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay (or a combination thereof). New entrepreneurs should take advantage of these platforms, as millions of customers are searching for products like yours every day – so leverage them for their built-in traffic. In addition to testing which products sell better, and at what price point, you can use these sites to determine which are best.

No matter where you sell your jewelry online, it’s worth investing in a professional photographer (or a good camera, if you can do this yourself) to photograph your jewelry in good light, at several angles, and both on and off a model. The quality of product photography can often make or break a sales decision, so creating a trustworthy brand requires quality photos.

Selling jewelry analogically is just as important. You should start by selling to your family and friends, and let your brand grow through word-of-mouth. Additionally, you can become a vendor at flea markets and crafts fairs, or approach local retailers and ask if you can host a pop-up shop or sell your jewelry on consignment. Ensure that you create business cards that include links to your online store and social media channels, which you can keep at the till.

7. Develop your brand and market your business.

You should also begin developing your brand identity and implementing a small-business marketing strategy during the process of establishing your sales channels. An appealing logo is a great place to start, and it’s essential for establishing the aesthetic of your business. There are plenty of online services that can help you create a logo if you cannot find a graphic designer in your network.

Paid marketing strategies, including Google Ads, can be implemented as your business grows. As a first-time entrepreneur, it’s best to take advantage of as many free marketing strategies as possible, and social media marketing is a must. It will depend heavily on which platforms your audience engages with most to determine which platforms will be most successful for your business. Start by creating a Facebook page for your business, an Instagram account, and a Pinterest board, and make sure your bio includes links to your online store (or your brick-and-mortar location).

You must optimize your website and blog (if you have one) for search engine optimization in order for prospective customers to find your website. While Shopify stores come with SEO best practices, if you’re using another e-commerce or blogging platform, you’ll want to brush up on some essential SEO tactics that you can keep in mind each time you create content.

Developing an engaged audience on social media – as well as establishing a brand identity on a larger scale – takes time. Be active and engaged to build your audience. It’s best to post on your social media channels at least once per day, respond promptly (and kindly) to any comments you receive, and vary the types of content you share.

In conclusion

Once you’ve launched your jewelry business, the work doesn’t end; it’s the beginning of your journey. Nevertheless, don’t get swept up in the business side of your jewelry business to the point where you lose sight of why you started it in the first place: the love of your craft, which successful artists never stop honing. So even if you have experience as a jeweler, consider taking online or in-store classes to keep up with your skills. You can find free jewelry-making tutorials on YouTube if you don’t want to spend a portion of your business budget on education.

Also keep in mind that starting a business is a time-consuming process, even if it is just a side business. It is critical to carve out a sufficient amount of time in your schedule to devote to launching and managing your business, even if it is an hour after work to create a social media post, review your sales reports or keep up with your marketing strategy.

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