Getting a New Jewelry Business Off the Ground

© by Zena Herrick; all rights reserved.

Starting a business starts with an idea. Once you have the idea, what do you do next? Create a list of “to do’s” and “must have’s”? Ugh!

Take it from me, the queen of organization – sometimes it pays to be a little unorganized.

I know, I know that sounds crazy, but it’s not. When you have all your lists created and checked off, you have to put it all together – but sometimes your lists don’t have all the answers and it leads you to create more lists. Sometimes your lists are so fabulous and perfect, but prove that all you’ve done is create lists.

Starting a Jewelry Business is About Doing

Wire necklace by Zena Herrick

Of course you have to have your basic lists of things to start and function in your field, but ultimately it’s about getting your feet wet first and working the knowledge you gain.

In my case I jumped in first, then decided I needed to learn how to swim. Okay, not quite that dramatic, but close to it. I knew what I wanted to do; I just had to find the tools to help me.

In my quest for jewelry making home businesses I found our very own Rena Klingenberg. This site told me about plenty of inexpensive and amazing tools, sites, tips, tricks and vendors that would potentially turn my sink or swim idea to “Oh, I can float with a life preserver?”

I had no idea there were so many people out there making their own jewelry and selling it on their terms. Now I am one of them.

What I’ve taken the scenic route to say is that research is critical to any business success.

Know your market, your competition, and your areas for advertising. Without industry knowledge you will have the hardest time getting out of the red.

Network with Other Artists

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It helps to speak to people who are doing what you want to be doing.

My favorite piece of advice is “share information”. After all, it’s another form of networking. Just because Sally Sue makes jewelry doesn’t mean she’s your competition – unless she lives down the street from you. Both of us are are true artisans in our own right, we both might do beads but we won’t make them the same.

So don’t be afraid of others in the same industry. No one can be good at everything. So if you make Poly Clay jewelry and I do Chainmaille, why not shoot me a customer for Chainmaille; I’ll send you a customer for Poly Clay, and we are both happy. But most importantly, the customer gets what they are looking for and introduced to another jewelry artisan in a different niche. We artists need to stick together.

Ultimately remember that a business isn’t built overnight; only created. Things will take time, but all good things come to those who are patient. (Kinda like this article) 😉

Jewelry set by Zena Herrick


So here are some tips for you. I hope they work as well for you as they are for me.

Bulk Mailing

Buy a color printer. Samsung has a nice laserjet color printer for about $300 (of course I got mine on EBay for a total of about $150 refurbished, but I wish I had bought it new.

Print your own postcards

Use nice cardstock and some postcard stamps.

Print flyers

Make a few black-and-whites for public distribution like parking lots or laundromats. But if you’re handing them out to people directly, make them color. It’s much more professional and will catch their attention immediately. Put your color flyers in supermarkets, upscale laundromats, community colleges.

Advertise using the holidays

Send out flyers, postcards, etc. during Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. with discounts and deals. Offer gift certificates.

Create business cards

I was making several templates in MS Word until I found the format I loved. Print them at home (see where I’m going with the printer thing).

Chainmaille set by Zena Herrick


Selling Your Jewelry Online

Check your business email address regularly

You can set up a free email address with Hotmail, Yahoo and others. Just make sure to return all correspondence with your clients – it’s just the right thing to do.

Accept credit cards

If you want to sell jewelry in this day and age it’s a MUST! I use PayPal for the web and ProPay for in-person sales.

Make sure your policies are clear and upfront

When you’re shopping online, there’s nothing worse than trying to find out how much shipping is, and clicking all over a site only to find out the charge is approximated based on weight. I set a flat rate that includes insurance by price point. That way the customer and I are protected from the courier’s mistakes, Mother Nature, and whatever else could happen.

Well, I hope this information has helped you get your big toe next to the water. Good Luck and happy jewelry making!


Author Zena Herrick of Blue Butterflyz offers handcrafted jewelry designs, including sterling silver, fine silver, beads, wire, chainmaille, crystals, and more.

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  • Pam says:

    Thanks for all this great information. I’ve just started my business and still getting my feet wet selling at craft shows. Where I live there seem to be so many craft shows at schools and they are saturated with people selling jewelry. It’s so hard to compete with so many other jewelry artists. The last craft show I did was horrible. Practically no traffic and it wasn’t well advertised. My website is not complete because it takes so much time for me to take pictures when I need to be making jewelry to sell. At the last show I did one of the vendors said that they do better at Fairs and Festivals rather than local craft shows. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Felicia says:

    I think the best advice in this is to network! Embrace all other artisans no matter what it is they create, you can learn and grow so much and always always help people when they need it. These things come back to you in the long run! I have made so many connections and befriended people I’ve never even met in person. Sharing information and knowledge is a wonderful thing, we are not here to compete with each other!

  • Karen Watson says:

    I LOVE your website! Especially your info sections, and how your items are grouped by price.. I may copy a few of those ideas if you don’t mind. I’ve always been frustrated with my website..

  • Sylvia says:

    Hello!

    Thank you for writing this article. Your website is great! I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a question – have you ever sold your wonderful pieces on websites such as Etsy? If so, what prompted you to have your own website?

    So that was two questions! 🙂

    Thank you for your time!

    Sylvia

  • Thank you for a great article ! I too just jumped in and am backing up to regroup starting with researching my competition and networking. This is awesome site that I’ve listened to for over year. Now it’s time for action and look forward to reporting on my journey thanks in large part to you Rena and your great guest articles.

  • Bobbie, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I appreciate it very much. Wishing you much joy and success in your exciting journey ahead! 🙂

  • Karla Taylor says:

    Thank you for the great information. It is really inspiring when you get to network with other like minds and share ideas. Great tips here for everyone!

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