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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