If you’re an entrepreneur, the first step to starting a business is to decide which industry you want to be in. Making jewellery gives you creative freedom and allows you to customise your audience to suit your interests. Better yet, the sector makes roughly $38 billion, so there is more than enough demand to help your brand succeed.
So, with that in mind, we want to share the seven steps to take if you’re going to start a jewellery business. Here’s what you need to know.
1) Decide which type of jewellery you want to make
Fortunately, jewellery comes in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so you have total control over the types of pieces you want to make. Also, be sure to figure out the kind of jewellery you’ll craft, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and more. Although there are tons of options, some common styles include:
- Fine Jewellery – You can make high-end pieces for wealthier clients if you have access to precious stones and metals.
- Vintage Jewellery – You can create pieces that look and feel like bygone eras, such as the 50s or 60s.
- Ceramic Jewellery – Clay is a cheap material to work with, so you can make a wide array of products without breaking the bank.
- Indigenous Jewellery – Pieces that use cultural influences can make a powerful statement.
2) Make sure there’s an audience for it
While there is plenty of demand for handmade jewellery, you need to make sure that you can find enough people interested in what you’ll be making. There are a few ways to find an audience for your pieces, such as:
- Social Media Groups – Join online clubs that discuss jewellery and see what people are interested in the most. You can also start your own group using pieces you’ve made already and gauge your audience’s interest.
- Keyword Research – If you’re planning to sell online (more on that later), you should know which terms people are searching for the most. You can use keyword tools to see what you audience are searching for and which words keywords get the most traffic. From there, you can determine how your style fits into that category.
- Fashion Blogs – Bloggers and fashion writers are always looking for the next big thing, and they can give you insight into the top trends happening within the industry right now. Finding smaller blogs will also help you widen your audience once you’re ready to sell. Reach out to the blog owners, let them know what you’re up to, and see if they’re interested in promoting your work.
3) Check out the competition
Unless you have access to a full-size shop complete with manufacturing equipment and staff, you won’t be able to compete with high-end jewellers. Instead, you’ll want to focus on smaller brands that specialise in handmade or artisan jewellery. Etsy is an excellent place to start, but there are other platforms where you can also sell handmade items.
When looking at the competition, pay attention to these things:
- Where do they sell?
- What kinds of items do they sell?
- Are they similar or identical to your pieces?
- Will you be unique enough to stand out?
- What are the reviews saying?
Overall, you want to figure out what other companies are doing right so that you can make your brand even better. Also, pay attention to any customer complaints to see if there is room for improvement.
4) Decide where you want to sell
As a jeweller, you’ll have multiple options for where you can sell your pieces. Ideally, you’ll be able to create various revenue streams to ensure a stronger and more resilient bottom line. Some viable selling channels include:
- Brick-and-Mortar – Either you can rent an entire storefront, or you can take over a kiosk in a mall or similar location. A permanent residence means more overhead, so there’s more pressure to succeed right away.
- Online Shopping – If you want a low bar to entry, selling online is the best option. You can leverage sites like Etsy, but be aware that they will take a cut of your earnings. Ideally, you can build your own website with a payment portal so that you can keep all of your profits.
- Events or Conventions – Selling jewellery full-time may not be an option at first. Instead, you can set up a booth at a trade show or event. Remember that this channel syncs well with an online shop since you can direct potential customers to your full inventory and save yourself the hassle of bringing it all on-site.
- Custom Pieces – If you can build a sufficient audience, you can make commissioned jewellery for your clients.
5) Source your materials
When starting a jewellery business, you’ll likely have to start with inexpensive materials and work your way up. Precious stones and metals are hard to come by, especially if you’re looking for raw materials. Plus, you’ll need some way to cut and shape each piece, requiring technical skills and machinery.
Instead, you may need to start with arts and crafts stores. If possible, try to work with suppliers directly instead of a middleman (i.e., Hobby Lobby or Michaels). This way, you can save money upfront and earn a more sizable profit.
When sourcing your materials, be sure that you can work with them regularly, and see if you can find unique elements that help set you apart. For example, you may have one supplier for metal chains and another that can obtain hard-to-find stones. Also, build relationships with your suppliers so that they’re more willing to give you a leg up.
6) Develop your brand identity
When developing your brand, ask yourself this question: why do you want to make and sell jewellery? This business is challenging and can require long hours and lots of patience, so you had better have a compelling reason. Once you identify that reason, you can incorporate it into your brand identity.
Are you making jewellery because you’re passionate about it? What drives that passion? What do you want people to know about you and your business when they see your name and logo? Branding is crucial because it’s your first impression with new customers. Without a captivating brand identity, it’s much harder to gain traction and build an audience.
Although, developing a brand is important don’t overthink this when you are starting out. The main thing is that you look professional from the start and there are branding tools to help with this. Once, you get some customers you can start to build out the rest of your brand identity.
7) Build a marketing plan
Once you’ve developed your brand, you need to promote it. Ideally, you’ll have some pieces ready to sell immediately. However, you can start marketing with nothing complete. In many cases, building buzz first is better because you can validate your business idea before putting too much money into it.
One good way to get started is by reaching out to fashion and jewellery blogs, you can see if they’re willing to announce your new business venture.
Once you start selling pieces, you can encourage your buyers to become brand ambassadors. Handmade jewellery enthusiasts are often willing to share their experiences with others, so you can tap into organic, meaningful growth.
Overall, starting a jewellery business can be both overwhelming and exciting. However, if you’ve followed these steps, you should be well on your way to success. Happy jewelling!