How To Start Your Own Handmade Jewelry Business
If you’re looking to start your own handmade jewelry business, odds are you have an idea.
Whatever this idea may be, I’m here to tell you it’s fantastic, but it’s going to take some work to bring to fruition. In this article, I’m going to explain how you can get your business started quickly and easily. I feel as though many small business owners don’t know whether or not to keep going when things get hard. Selling handmade jewelry is a thankless process, from start to finish, at least in the beginning. There’s no denying that.
Once you get some customers, the tune changes.
Therefore, getting started is certainly the hardest part. But if you’re looking to start your own handmade jewelry business, all hope is not lost. With the Internet and countless other aids at your service, starting your own small business from the ground up has never been easier. With that being said, here are the 6 steps involved in creating a fantastic, marketable handmade jewelry making company.
1. Define Your Line.
Rhyming unintentional! Before you get into the nitty-gritty of creating the jewelry you’d like to market, get clear about what it is you’re selling to customers. What is your jewelry business? What does it do, and who does it cater to primarily? What will your customer base look like? Before you do anything, you need to find the answers to these questions. The best way to do this is through constructing a business plan.
Even though writing out business plans gets a bad rap, it doesn’t have to be complex or mind-numbing. A business plan isn’t made to be jargon-y, it’s designed to organize an entrepreneur’s thoughts and finances into a marketable idea with plans and an eventual goal. Business plans help business owners take stock of their finances and resources while building a marketing strategy that helps them define their business goals. The plan’s objective is centered around achieving these goals and the steps that need to be taken along the way.
Answer the following questions about your business before doing anything else:
1. Are you selling fine jewelry or trendy pieces?
2. What is the number one marketing tactic they use to pull in customers?
3. Will you be able to operate from your home?
4. Will you need employees, either right now or in the future?
5. What will the pricing of your jewelry look like?
6. What makes your product stand out amongst its competition?
7. Who are you selling your products to, specifically?
8. Do you have enough money to invest initially?
9. Where will you sell your products – online, at a physical storefront, or both?
Keep in mind that your business plan is what’s known as a “live document” – it’s subject to change as your business grows and your vision shifts. Once you launch your company and get some hands-on experience as a jewelry business owner, you’ll become more informed about the costs required to run such a business. You’ll also define how much income you’re pulling in from customers, and you’ll be able to adjust your product output/financial investments accordingly.
A business plan will never be perfect to start with – that’s why filling in the gaps as you go along is such an important part of remaining successful and adaptable.
Create a Business Budget.
Alongside your business plan, you should aim to construct a business budget. Doing so will help you determine your preliminary startup costs, which can include the cost of purchasing tools/equipment/marketing materials/business permits and licenses/educational courses/office space/potential staff wages. You must also account for your daily expenses, and only then can you have an accurate picture of the cash you’ll be left with.
Once you’ve taken stock of your available money and any money you’ll be putting out over the next few months of operation, you can make more informed decisions about how you spend your money. Small business budget templates are everywhere, and finding the right one for you is easy to do. Simply tweak it and make it your own.
Learn From Your Competition.
In order to accomplish this lofty goal, you need to ask yourself a few more questions regarding the competition.
1. Who is their target audience?
2. What is the number one marketing tactic they use to pull in customers?
3. How and where do they sell their goods – Amazon, a storefront, their website, or all three?
4. Where can I improve on their business model?
Conducting market research is the final critical step of learning from your competition, and exercising just a little bit of caution can prevent you from making the same mistakes as the last 10 startups.
2. Legalize Your Business.
Before you can become a legitimate business, you need to make sure that everything you’re doing is legal. Getting hit with taxation or fees for ducking under the books is no fun. If you plan on running your company from home, check in with your local clerk to figure out your business permit and licensing requirements.
The next step is creating a business name! This name will represent your company and should speak directly to the demographic you’re trying to target. Once you’ve created a business name, you’ll need to decide on a business entity and register accordingly with your secretary of state. No two businesses can have the same name, so you’ll need to go back to square one if you’re informed that your name is taken.
The easiest and quickest route to take is applying as a sole proprietorship, because it doesn’t require you to register with your state. Instead, you can file your business name as “DBA” (doing business as) unless you’re operating under your legal business name. The only drawback to entering a sole proprietorship is your lack of protection should something go amiss in the process.
Therefore, the safest route to take is registering your company as an LLC. Registering as an LLC is a very easy process and it can be done in a matter of minutes online. For more guidance, take a look at the SBA’s step by step guide for registering your business. Because LLCs protect your personal assets from business related legal issues, filing taxes as an LLC is relatively simple.
You may also look into taking out business insurance in order to further protect yourself from any issues that may arise with your product liability. Product liability insurance is able to protect a business from legal fallout in the event the product causes injury to a customer or other third-party user. On the other hand general liability insurance is able to protect businesses against a slew of common legal claims ranging from lack of fee payment to other legal issues. If your company looks into hiring employees, you’ll also need to evaluate other types of insurance such as worker’s compensation, state disability insurance, and unemployment.
Finally, registering a trademark for your business is the final step towards legalizing your business. This can be done through the United States Patent and Trademark office, whose website can be accessed online.
3. Separate Your Business and Personal Finances
Because you are now illegally operating enterprise it’s a good idea to start separating your personal and business finances for a number of reasons. In addition to simplifying your tax filing processes the separation will help to keep your personal finances safe from business related legal issues.
In order to properly separate your business and personal finances you’ll need to open a business bank account (most new businesses only need to start out with a checking account). You must make sure to only deposit business earnings into that account lest you face the consequences. Being able to account for all of your business earnings when it comes time to pay the piper makes it a lot easier to avoid legal issues for your business. You may also consider signing up for a business credit card which you will then be able to use for your business’ smaller daily expenses.
Depending on the card you sign up for, you’ll be able to earn valuable points, cash back or rewards points that you’ll be able to redeem and put right back into your business. Separating your personal and business earnings is a great place for any new budding entrepreneur to start.
4. Find Startup Funding
It may be difficult to find the startup funding you’re looking for, at least at first. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to know that starting a business requires some up-front investments, but you do need to know that it’s tough to obtain these initial investments from a bank. Either an online lender or your bank has no financial history to base their loaning decisions upon, and therefore are unable to determine your business’ risk level. This means that more often than not banks will not be able to come to an informed credit decision – leaving you penniless.
That’s why most startup funding comes directly from your own pockets. You may either try your hand at crowdfunding or you can bootstrap your way up from the ground. Crowdfunding is a practice in which generous strangers who believe in your business model donate funds to your entrepreneurial endeavor. Alternatively, you can use your personal savings, ask for loans from friends and family, or take out a personal loan from banks or online lenders who don’t have a problem crediting new entrepreneurs with money.
5. Find Suppliers and Get To Work!
In addition to completing the previous steps on this list, you should have a design in mind for your jewelry. Now that you’ve laid the proper legal and financial foundations for your business to rest upon you can begin to create jewelry with an eye for profit.
If you haven’t done so already you will need to purchase wholesale jewelry making tools and equipment. This will include proper safety equipment as well as the materials necessary to create your jewelry. In order to find a proper and trustworthy wholesale material supplier it may be useful to ask other jewelry designers about their product suppliers. If you don’t know anybody else who would like to sell jewelry you can simply conduct your own research in order to find a sustainable and trustworthy jewelry material supplier.
You may also want to look into getting a reseller license in order to forgo paying local sales taxes when you buy your materials in bulk. The odds are you’ll be dealing with a lot of customers and you don’t want needless taxation to eat into your profit margin.
6. Sell Your Jewelry!
Once you have built up a solid inventory of jewelry you’ll most likely need to find somewhere to sell it. In order to make a profit, many entrepreneurs have moved to online stores in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may want to consider building your own Wordpress website or building a store through Etsy or Shopify.
Etsy and Shopify are software platforms that make it easy for entrepreneurs to create and manage their professionally designed and fully functional e-commerce stores. Because both platforms are also loaded with useful features such as customer relationship management tools, built-in marketing tools, and custom sales reports and analytics, you have full access to your customer insights. Having this access makes it that much easier to sell your final product.
You may also look into selling your goods on Amazon or eBay, which are two larger selling platforms that don’t offer as much flexibility. However, you’ll reach a much larger number of people selling your jewelry this way.
Above all, Trust your Creative Voice and Good Luck!