Starting a jewelry business is a serious but rewarding undertaking. What began as a hobby can bring extra cash or a full-time income. As with any industry, starting a jewelry business requires sufficient knowledge and preparation. Here’s everything you need to know to kick-start your business.
Choose Your Jewelry Style
Ideally, you want your products to stand out from your competition. At the same time, narrowing your products into a standard jewelry category can help you target customers and build your brand easier. Standard jewelry style categories include:
- Fine jewelry. This is made of solid gold, sterling silver, platinum, and other precious gems, stones, and metals. Commonly produced for upscale customers and formal events.
- Fashion or costume jewelry. This is fashioned from inexpensive and decorative materials such as plastic, base metals, synthetic stones, or gold plating.
- Artisan jewelry. This is wearable pieces custom-made and usually handcrafted by a skilled craftsman. It is made of a variety of materials with an emphasis on uniqueness and design.
Establish Your Start-up Costs
The cost of launching a jewelry business largely depends on the market you’re aiming at. If you’re targeting upscale customers, expect larger costs due to the price of gemstones and precious metals. On the other hand, you can start things off at the lower end with costume jewelry and slowly work your way up to the finer collections.
Your upfront costs will include materials, tools, and manual design equipment such as sketch boards, 3-D printers, and design software. Anticipate higher production and labor costs as your business grows. Should you want to open a brick-and-mortar store, consider the cost of rent and utilities.
Think about pricing
In the jewelry business, most customers equate low price with low craftsmanship. Authentic luxury gold jewelry, for example, should naturally be priced higher because of its premium quality. Anything lower than SRP could lead customers to doubt its quality.
To come up with fair rates, review competitor prices and products. Apart from the cost of materials, factor in the labor costs spent on each piece. While jewelry may have started as a hobby for you, the only way to earn income is to start remunerating your time and talent.
Protect your designs
The jewelry market is highly competitive, and your future success relies on creativity. So imagine if you find copycat versions of your design sold for half the price. Fortunately, it is possible to protect your work from design theft. The Guild of Jewelry Designers recommends storing a record of your designs at every phase of their development. You can even go the extra mile by registering them with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
Consider adding an intellectual property right statement on your online shop. If you find your design imitated somewhere, call a lawyer immediately instead of confronting the seller directly.
Choose suppliers you can trust
Most jewelry suppliers offer cheaper, wholesale tools and materials, including raw metals and stones. Ask other jewelry artists for supplier recommendations, and attend trade shows to expand your supply network.
Selling jewelry takes creative mastery and an eye for detail. Whether you’re looking to start a side business or make a career move, a jewelry business lets you express yourself through design and turn your passion into profit.