Starting a Jewelry Business

© by Nina Cooper; all rights reserved

Thinking about starting a jewelry business? You’ve been making jewelry for a while. People always stop to compliment your work and ask where you purchased it.

Precious Angel Bracelet, by Leah of Nina Designs

Perhaps you’ve already sold a few pieces.

Now you’re thinking about taking the next step and turning your hobby into a business.

Before you take the big leap, here are a few factors to consider:

Keyhole Earrings, by Leah of Nina Designs.


Advantages of
Starting a Jewelry Business

On the one hand, there are some clear advantages to starting a jewelry business.

First and foremost, making purchases at wholesale prices can sharply reduce the costs of supplies and materials, especially if you’re buying in large quantities.

As a businessperson, you will have greater access to resources such as catalogs and trade shows.

In the process of creating and selling your jewelry, you will be exposed to and inspired by the work of many other designers.

Finally, being accepted as a professional by peers and clients is a wonderful source of self-esteem.


Disadvantages of
Starting a Jewelry Business

On the other hand, running a jewelry business can be very demanding and requires a considerable amount of paperwork and fiscal discipline.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort involved in bookkeeping.

It is crucial to track sales, inventory, and expenses accurately, a task that may seem daunting to the uninitiated.

Collecting and reporting sales tax adds to the job if you plan to sell retail.

Many artists are uncomfortable with the accounting and money management aspects of owning a business.

To avoid expensive mistakes, it is worth consulting a professional to help you understand your legal responsibilities and to set up a bookkeeping system when starting a jewelry business.

Marigold Necklace, by Clara of Nina Designs.


Marketing Your Jewelry

Think carefully about where and how you plan to market your work.

Selling to friends and colleagues is a great way to launch your business. Once word spreads, you will be surprised how many people will ask to see your jewelry.

Home parties can also be good venues. Keep a mailing list of all the people who buy from you so that you can send out invitations and announcements.

You might explore craft fairs, flea markets, and conferences as well.

In time, you will develop a feel for your market.

When you know who your customer is – age, sex, profession – it becomes easier to decide where and how to sell.


Wholesaling Your Jewelry

Wholesale sales can lead to rapid growth, but there are many risks involved in growing too quickly.

Wholesale shows are very expensive. Also, large orders require large investments in materials.

Where will the capital come from?

What if the client cancels the order after you’ve started production?

Can you produce inventory fast enough to meet delivery deadlines?

If you plan to produce a great deal of stock, what happens if it doesn’t sell?

These are all important questions to ask.

If you do want to pursue wholesale jewelry sales, start by contacting the buyers at local boutiques and department stores.

Get their feedback before you make huge investments in materials and equipment.

Windswept Lovesong Bracelet, by Erin of Nina Designs.


Advantages of
Starting a Jewelry Business
by Going Small

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the beginning: the stones you were sure would be popular, the show that bombed, the customer you trusted who never did pay his bill.

If you start your business small, you can take the hits, learn, and move on.

You need to develop solid business skills and not rely on other people to “take care of the money.”

Even if you hire a bookkeeper, you want to know enough to keep an eye on the figures and spot problems before they turn into crises.

Many companies have gone under because their “creative” owners didn’t pay attention to the numbers.

Diverse scenarios can result in fatal cash-flow crunches: too much money in dated inventory and materials, accounts receivables that average 60 to 90 days instead of 30 days, overhead that creeps up faster than sales.

Starting a jewelry business by going small also avoids the issues of payroll taxes and the headaches involved in becoming an employer.

Once you have a solid customer base and steady sales, then you can choose to take on overhead selectively.

Overhead includes all expenses that you have to pay monthly, regardless of how much business you do.

These expenses include office rent, utilities and employee wages.


Can You Part with
Your Creations?

Last, consider the following:

It can be very rewarding to see people wear and enjoy jewelry that you’ve designed and brought to life.

Nevertheless, some artists experience a sense of loss when they sell a piece of their jewelry.

Sometimes the feeling fades; in other cases, artists decide they can’t bear to part with their work.

It’s important to ask yourself how you would feel about sending your creations out into the world.

Queen of the Night Earrings, by Carly of Nina Designs.


Are You Ready to
Start a Jewelry Business?

Now that you’ve taken the time to reflect on the pros and cons of launching a business, what do you think?

There are many roads to success, but I suggest you start small, learn business skills, and don’t quit your day job just yet.

Good luck!

For more information on starting a business and how to create a business plan, contact the Small Business Administration.


Author Nina Cooper has 25 years of experience in the jewelry industry. Her company, Nina Designs, creates and markets exclusive sterling silver charms, pendants and jewelry findings. Her mission is to inspire jewelry designers around the world. Visit her website for free How To Videos.

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