Your Profitable Jewelry Business: Specializing in Just Earrings

by Rena Klingenberg.  © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

How to Have a Jewelry Business Speciaizing in Just Earrings, by Rena Klingenberg

Earrings are many people’s favorite type of jewelry.

There’s something magical about the way earrings frame your face, raise your spirits, and add panache to anything you wear.

Many jewelry artists start out by making and selling only earrings (in fact, that’s how I started out), and there’s a good reason for that.

Earrings tend to sell well, they’re basically “one size fits all”, and because they usually use only a small amount of jewelry components, they can be one of the highest-profit-margin lines in your inventory.

But can you build a successful
jewelry business around just earrings?

Yes – you can definitely become known exclusively as an earring specialist.

There are enough of us earring addicts around to keep you quite busy selling your creations, and there’s power in specializing in a particular type of product.

Here are some potential advantages, disadvantages, and success tips for a jewelry business that specializes in just earrings:

Advantages of
an earrings-only business:

  • Lower costs – you need to buy components, displays, packaging, etc. only for earrings, not for all kinds of other pieces of jewelry too.
  • You’ll likely get lots of referral business, as your customers tell other people, “Oh, if you’re looking for earrings, you’ve got to go see what that earring gal (or guy) has!”

Disadvantages of
an earrings-only business:

  • You may burn out on creating most thing in pairs.
  • You’ll miss out on sales to people who want to buy additional, non-earring pieces of jewelry.

Tips for a
profitable earring business:

Expand your customer base by offering a huge variety of ear-findings (including several different types of clips, hooks, metal allergy styles, etc.), and changing out the ear-findings at your customers’ request to customize their earrings.

It’s a quick and easy thing for you to do, and people love this type of personalized care when they shop.

In addition to your regular earring customers, this will gain you a base of fanatical repeat customers with “special-needs ears” who can finally have a great selection of earrings they can wear comfortably.

  • Stock a huge variety of earring styles – pierced and non-pierced, from mini-posts to shoulder-dusting chandeliers – and everything in between.
  • Offer unusual ear fashions that people have a hard time finding elsewhere – ear cuffs, single earrings, etc.
  • Offer asymmetrical and other types of mismatched pairs of earrings.
  • Have a wide variety of price ranges.
  • Carry earring styles for children.
  • Have plenty of styles of teenagers, at teen-friendly prices.
  • Advise customers as to the most flattering earring designs for their face and personal style.
  • Offer an earring club with a “punch card” deal – such as buy 10 pairs of earrings, get the 11th pair free.
  • Offer volume discounts when people buy multiple pairs of earrings at a time. Common discounts occur at 3 and 5 pairs.
  • Create seasonal earring designs (prom, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, etc.), and start marketing them 4 to 6 weeks before the intended occasion.

If you’re going to specialize in earrings only, then I recommend truly specializing in them.

In addition to serving traditional earring customers with all sorts of tastes, also serve the vast market of people who have special earring needs but have a hard time finding anything suitable for them elsewhere.

By having earrings for everyone, you’ll have customers flocking to your display!

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  • Jude says:

    Rena, I’ve two additional suggestions too. Offer earrings made using gemstones for those who love the ‘real’ thing & not just pretty beads. But they need to be aware that stones are heavier so earrings could weigh more & make them accordingly. Also be willing to make matching bracelets &/or necklaces for customers who ask if they have matching sets. I have a couple of friends who only buy matching sets as it gives them a choice of only wearing one piece or the set.

  • Bob Keil says:

    we are doing exactly that. The modification is my wife works from the bead side in her designs and I work from the wire side in my designs. We fit in my wire sculpted pendants and show about 500 earrings all allergy free.

  • Tamara says:

    That’s interesting, because for me earrings aren’t my best-sellers. I sell more necklaces and bracelets than I do earrings. I’m not sure why that is. I use sterling silver wires. I suppose there could be several reasons why, and I guess I’d have to work at trying to figure out how to increase earring sales. The appealing thing about earrings is the high profit-margin for sure, and how quick they are to make in comparison to other things.

  • Jude, thanks for those additional suggestions. You’re right – I started making just earrings and hadn’t planned to make anything else to sell. But so many people asked for matching pieces that I wound up expanding into all sorts of jewelry items in addition to earrings!

    Bob, I like the approach you and your wife use for creating earrings!

    Tamara, maybe your necklaces and bracelets are so compelling that people gravitate to them instead of earrings? Or maybe it’s something to do with how everything is displayed – the necklaces and bracelets might really stand out so people don’t notice the earrings as much?

  • Pat Gray says:

    Earrings are my favorite piece of jewelry too, but it took months for me to figure out how to make earrings that I liked, let alone was willing to sell! As I make stone jewelry and big earrings, I think I’ll take Jude’s advice and start weighing them… One thing I haven’t decided on is the ear wires – should I go all allergy free, or should I offer a free “upgrade”?

  • Jude says:

    Pat, go allergy-free. That covers people buying earrings as a gift for friend or family. Most people will know if they have a nickle allergy but few will know if a friend does.

  • Pat Gray says:

    Good point, Jude, especially as we are moving into the gift giving season – Thanks!

  • Elizabeth Simpson says:

    Sounds like a good idea, maybe i will start off with one of my special peaces be for i venture out on different things.

  • I switched to lever back wires exclusively for my pierced earrings, and since doing that, people seek my earrings out. They love the fact that they no longer have to worry about losing an earring from a pair. Allergy free hasn’t been an issue, but I do think I’ll try to find some hypoallergenic lever backs to keep on hand, just in case.

  • Bob Keil says:

    We considered that as well, thus we provide ear nuts with all our earrings. We never did find a hypoallergenic earring. The only items that are hypoallergenic are aluminum and argentium sterling silver. The sterling earrings did not fit our pricing structure.

  • Carol says:

    Earrings are not usually my best seller, either. And my customers very often want a matching set, either a bracelet, necklace, or both. Likewise, if they like a necklace, they want earrings to match. I’ve done a lot of thinking and observing customers and found that most of the time the driving force is color. People are often looking for earrings to match an outfit or a necklace they purchased either from me or someone else. Beyond color, my customers seem to be looking for something different that they don’t see anywhere else. I do provide alternative findings and earnuts, including hypoallergenic (surgical steel, titanium, or nobium–see hypoallergenicfindings.com). I’m thinking of moving to using only hypoallergenic, but that complicates my current practice of making my own earwires.

  • Margo says:

    In reading everyone’s comments I see the allergy-free is the way to go. Does that mean that one needs to work with silver or silver-filled only?

  • Hi Margo, you don’t necessarily need to have sterling silver earwires on every pair of earrings. Many people are fine with other metals, and never ask about allergy-free options.

    But it’s definitely a good idea to have allergy-free earwires available, and be ready to switch out other earwires for the non-allergy ones. Also let people know you offer this option.

  • Pascha says:

    As an “earring junkie” myself, this is very helpful. I’m still debating whether to sell my earrings or not and can definitely refer to these tips. The obstacle I’ll most likely encounter is learning to make matching pieces. I’m not really a necklace person because I turn necklaces into earrings.. Who knows… Maybe I’ll venture out one day. Thanks for sharing, Rena.

  • Rups says:

    You are right Rena. I am doing so good with my MOST earrings selling.
    I am supplying in local galleries and they always sold out of it.
    I know now what is my unique style which attracts most customers 🙂
    Thanks for sharing the tips.

  • Julie says:

    I’ve been ignoring my earring making and I don’t wear ” sets” but many people do. Earrings are one of the most fast and creative things to make. You can find deals online for bulk packs of sterling silver wires, but surgical steel is the standard for hypoallergenic. Don’t forget, UNMATCHED pairs of earrings are trendy and creative too.

  • Boysie E. Brown says:

    Wow you make some cool earrings. You have a great gift when it comes to making Jewelry. I enjoy reading every email that I get from your site. I’m a male, a person who enjoy making Jewelry, I’m always open for new ideas.

  • Thank you for your kind words, Boysie! That’s lovely to hear. 🙂 I so agree about always being open for new ideas – that’s one of the things I most love about making jewelry!

  • Eileen Newmark says:

    This discussion is really helpful. I am a beginning jewelry maker and have loved earrings all my life. I like working in silver and with stones so people would have a variety of colors to chose from within different styles. However the pricing when using gemstones drives up the cost materials and time to fabricate . Any thoughts on how to pursue this in order to eventually begin to sell my jewelry is appreciated. Also if I wanted to get a booth in a local craft fair how many pieces do you need to have? If someone wants a different color in a different style is it worth taking special orders? Is there different pricing for that type of customization? Thanks.

    R

  • Welcome, Eileen! Here are some posts that should answer your questions – and be sure to read all the comments below each of these posts:

    Jewelry Pricing Formula

    How Many Pieces of Jewelry for a Show?

    Taking Custom Jewelry Orders

    Wishing you all the best, Eileen! 🙂

  • Mandy Tussah says:

    I opened a website selling only earrings earlier this year, and it’s been a lot of fun! The struggle is getting seen amongst the internet crowd, but with time and effort I believe it will pay off. I have always had an earring obsession, and am happy to have a website that specialized in earrings, because I am passionate about them, and it helps me to focus on one thing vs. having other accessories.

  • Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    Rena,
    I must say that I hav never seen artisans offer “clip on” earrings. The finding for making clips ins are usually poor quality also, as I have thought of making them. My pierced ear holds closed up a long time ago, and I just am not interested in repiercing my lobes.

    The only clips ones are old vintage pairs found in thrift stores. It would be nice if there were more available options.

  • Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    Tamara,

    Many people have metal allergies. My step sister can only wear 14 k gold or gold filled. Some folks can only wear stainless. So it’s better to offer a variety or be able to swap out the ear wires if possible at the point of sale.

  • Nicole Green says:

    I have found pre-made ear wires made with surgical steel. I’m pretty sure they were from Fire Mountain Gems.

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