Jewelry is a wonderful item, used as a special gift for some, a sentimental keepsake, a piece to make someone feel beautiful, or a work of art that one can wear. The options for what jewelry means to someone are endless.
Just as endless are the purposes and meanings of different jewelry are the ways jewelry can be made. As a child, you may have made your own jewelry out of different kits you could buy from the store. In your youth, you might have taken an arts and crafts approach to make more sophisticated jewelry. Or, you might be an adult and purchase specialized materials to make beautiful handmade jewelry. In any case, homemade jewelry is possible. You can find it all over sites like Etsy or eBay.
But it is not just handmade jewelry that is popular, as there is also a large market for factory-produced jewelry. You might be a jewelry designer who can have the jewelry you design manufactured and then sold. In all, the options for being a jeweler are also endless.
Since jewelry is such a popular gift or even an item to buy for oneself, there is understandably a very large market for jewelry. Some people have developed a large passion for jewelry and want to pursue their passion in the form of a business. Others see large financial opportunities in capitalizing upon a very popular market. In any case, starting a small jewelry business may be financially and personally beneficial, especially when done correctly. In this article, we’ll cover the following topics in depth:
Making a Business Plan
As with any startup, making a business plan is always a good start to developing a business idea. You might start by making a business plan with different templates you find online to be sure that your business plan encompasses all the potential issues and solutions you need to anticipate for your business to be successful. At this stage, choosing the right business name and thinking about your new business would be appropriate, as this will form the foundation for your small jewelry business and brand. It is also important to make a business plan as a sort of step-by-step guide for yourself as a business owner about to embark on a complicated yet enjoyable journey.
What Makes Your Jewelry Business Unique?
One of the aspects your business plan should cover is what makes your jewelry business unique. There is a lot of competition in the jewelry space, so it is important to identify an area where your business will have success.
You may have a specialty in designing or creating your own jewelry. You might have a unique product idea or marketing plan. Your business might be a very specific brand. Or, you might be trying to accomplish a wider societal goal with your jewelry business. Either way, you should consider what angle will make your jewelry products unique. That way, when you go to market, your jewelry sales will be bolstered by the ideas you come up with.
Products You Will Offer
Thinking about the products you will offer is fundamental to a small jewelry business. When starting your own business, you will want to think about your product line.
Your product line might have a certain theme. This could be the kind of material, the kind of look, or the overall inspiration for the jewelry business. In any case, it might be important to consider having a singular theme at the beginning. That way, if people enjoy some of the jewelry in your line, they can buy other items of that jewelry to complement their look.
You might consider jewelry that favors functionality. For some people in their everyday life, having functional jewelry might be important. This could be jewelry that is not overly extravagant or easily damaged. This could be something nice that they could take with them to work, school, or about their daily lives.
You might also consider developing fashion jewelry. This could be jewelry that is in fashion or fits a certain fashion trend. You can cater to contemporary ideas or develop your own ideas about what fashionable jewelry looks like. This might allow you and your small business to hop on new trends that you see in social media posts, for example. As a jewelry company, you might get a reputation for being on top of the newest and latest jewelry trends.
It is also important to consider the kind of jewelry you are going to produce. The jewelry market offers a wide range of options for you to choose from when thinking about your products.
The first of these options is handmade jewelry. Handmade jewelry might be best in local markets or in places where people value someone’s own jewelry business or a particular location or style of jewelry production. The price point for this kind of jewelry will be higher since this type of jewelry is made with a lot of thought and care. This could be a great option if you get the right marketing materials and strategy. You will still need to source the materials to handmake your jewelry and consider the necessary labor and labor structure for doing so.
The second of these options is producing your jewelry in a factory. In this case, you can design your own jewelry as part of your jewelry brand. You might select certain gemstones for certain pieces or design certain characteristics for other of your products. You might focus on designing fine jewelry. In any case, as an entrepreneur, you can find the right producer to produce the jewelry which you design.
The third option for starting your small jewelry business would be to do dropshipping. This involves opening up an online store through platforms like Shopify, for example. You can market jewelry you think your customers would like and sell the jewelry for higher prices. Of course, dropshipping is a less traditional form of jewelry business, but if you are good at it, you can make some money. A marketing strategy to promote jewelry through this might involve influencer marketing, for example.
Finding Your Customers
Another part of building your business plan should be a concrete outline of how you will find your customers. Obviously, a business will need customers to survive. However, in a product-oriented company like jewelry, it will be critical to reach your target audience. First, figure out who your target audience will be. Considering things like the price range of your customers, the age group, or the interests of your customers will be key for segmenting the market and narrowing down the groups.
For example, if you are creating high-quality jewelry in your small business, it will be crucial to reach customers who are looking for that kind of jewelry and are willing to pay that kind of price.
It is also important to think about the medium by which you are reaching your customers. You might consider a jewelry store for your own company or making a deal with a jewelry store to host your brand of jewelry. Or, you could go the ecommerce route. You could reach potential customers through search engine optimization (SEO), pulling them into your e-commerce store as your online jewelry business.
There are definitely benefits and drawbacks to both mediums. Largely, this will depend on your customer base and demographics. If you are selling less expensive jewelry, which depends more on the designs and low-cost nature of the product, it might be better to spend time planning on developing a good ecommerce website to sell your product. On the other hand, if your jewelry will contain precious metals or other valuable pieces of jewelry, it might be best to have a brick-and-mortar location.
Understanding Current Competition
Alongside understanding who your customers are is understanding who your competitors are. The best way to do this is to think generally about who is selling jewelry. Then, narrow down your focus on who is selling the types of jewelry that you are. Next, dive deeper into analyzing competitors with similar kinds of materials, quality of jewelry, and price range of the jewelry that you are selling. Once you have established a list of competitors in the different tiers of proximity to your jewelry market, you can take your market research and assess what will make your small jewelry business different.
It is important to analyze the information you garner from your market research because it will allow you to understand if your products are sufficiently different from the market. While it is not impossible to have a small business with similar products to competitors, it will be an uphill battle. This is because customers in this space looking for similar products will likely be shopping at existing competitors. Getting these same customers to shop at a different store that is similar in price or quality will be difficult.
That is why it is best to find a niche in the jewelry market. Finding a good spot with few competitors can open up the space for you to be the first in the market. If you have a great product, and a great product-market fit, then you can drive traffic to your own website and own online store to promote your small jewelry business. This will give you an upper hand if other brands try to copy your success in the jewelry space.
Projecting Out Costs and Finding Suppliers
Fundamentally, a business needs to understand its costs in order to make a profit. Your small jewelry business needs to know what it should price its jewelry at. There are certain costs, like materials and shipping costs, which are easier to understand. However, your time spent managing the company, packaging, designing, or doing accounting work also needs to be factored in. If you will need to pay for legal expenses or other labor costs at your company, you should include that in your estimated costs.
Trying to figure out your costs is useful, especially if you can accurately predict how much each piece of jewelry will cost you. If you can combine these costs, you can estimate your margin and profitability of the business. This will allow you a great overview of your small jewelry business and its prospective profitability and financial situation. If the opportunity looks lucrative, you might consider starting the business. If it looks difficult, you might consider the need to reconsider the plan you constructed, your product line, or more.
In any case, projecting out the costs of your company will be a great part of your business plan. It will help you understand the financial challenges of running a business. It will also help you ground your plans in the reality of the costs you face. It can also help you price your product line.
Alongside projecting costs is finding suppliers for your products and materials. If you make the jewelry yourself, you need to determine where you will get the components to make the jewelry. If you design the jewelry, you need to find a location to manufacture that jewelry and ship it to your small jewelry business or storefront. If you are dropshipping, you need to be aware of potential suppliers or products to supply your store.
Getting Your Initial Investment
Now that you have made your business plan and have decided to move forward, it is time to get your initial investment.
An initial investment into your business is important. At a small scale, you will need this investment to buy materials or products and begin selling them. As a full-time job or business, you will need a larger investment to be able to draw in enough income and sales.
From your business plan, you should have a good starting estimate of the amount of money you will need for your small jewelry business. You may want to then consider your resume. You can determine if you have a good history of working in the jewelry industry or whether you have a great past as an entrepreneur. If so, you may be able to lower the opportunity cost of using personal savings to start your small jewelry business. If not, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of options.
While not having a resume that supports raising money from investors for your business makes the process harder, it is still not impossible to do so. You can try to raise money from your investors once you have a solid plan and vision to be executed. If that does not work, you can use some of your personal savings. If you have been dreaming of opening your own small jewelry business, you can contribute the starting capital yourself and retain full ownership of the business.
If this is not an option, then taking on debt might be the right choice for you. Be careful when taking on debt, as you will want to make sure that you can manage your debt and that you understand the risks associated with it.
You should note that getting a loan from a bank for a startup is difficult. Some of the reasons for that include the limited collateral and lack of revenue. Therefore, it may be impossible to secure funding from a bank, and you may be better off turning to alternative lenders if you need debt. While some of these sources could come from friends or family, you can also see different lending options online which do not have the same requirements as bank debt. However, the interest rates will be higher, so you will want to consider the loan carefully (as you should do with any loan, regardless of the lender).
In any case, it is important to secure the funding which is necessary to start your jewelry business. That way, you can have enough runway to operate as a profitable business and meet the demands of your clients. You should consider your unique financial situation when contemplating which funding option is best for your small jewelry business.
Forming Your Jewelry Business
Once you have made your business plan and secured funding, it is off to the races! You are now ready to form your own company. It is important to consider the correct type of legal structure for your company as well as how to legally set up your business.
The first legal question in forming your business is whether you are required to have permits for a given operation. You may need to contact your local government to find out this information. It will also depend on where you are running your business and the activities conducted on that site.
For example, if you are running your business out of your home, there may be certain business activities forbidden from happening there. Or, you might have a manufacturing or storage facility which requires permitting. In any case, it is good to be on top of the legal obligations your business has to your government and community.
Once you have permitting figured out, it is time to select the correct business structure. If your small jewelry business is just you, or it is generally a small business, you can do business just as yourself, as long as you are operating in your legal name. If you are not operating in with your business’s legal name, you will need to file a “doing business as” certificate, also known as DBA. Either decision is part of a business structure called a sole proprietorship. While this form is convenient in the ease of setting it up, it is inconvenient in the absence of legal protections that come with it.
A better choice might be to form an LLC. LLCs require slightly more filings to form and have some regulations to keep them up to date, although this will depend on the state in which an LLC is formed. Taxes are rather simple with them as well since they make filing much easier. However, the best part about the LLC is that it separates your personal assets from your business assets. That way, in the event of a lawsuit, you are more protected from personal liability.
This is especially important in the world of jewelry. While there should never be a reason for jewelry to be dangerous or cause problems, in the event that it does, you will want to make sure your personal assets are as protected as they can be. That is why an LLC provides a great option to increase your protection from legal issues.
As a side note, once you form your small jewelry business, it may be time to consider business insurance. Whether it is unemployment insurance or general liability insurance, having insurance policies can help reduce unexpected burdens from charges.
Separating Your Finances
Once you have formed your entity, which in this case would be separate from a sole proprietorship, you will want to separate your finances. Firstly, in the event of a lawsuit, it is better to have your personal assets and business assets separated. This will provide you with more protection. Secondly, it will make your expenses and accounting more simplified to only need to track business transactions and not have to separate personal spending from business spending. A final reason is that separating your finances will make filing taxes substantially easier.
Separating finances can be done by opening a business bank account and getting a business credit card to start routing expenses through. Generally, you should look into ways to separate your financial transactions for your business from your personal transactions.
Building Your Brand
So, you have formed your own company, have secured funding, and have created the ideal legal structure for your business’s operation. Now it is time to start producing. From your business plan, you will want to secure suppliers and place initial orders. You might start pre-selling your jewelry or wait to market it when it comes in stock. In any case, you will soon begin building your brand.
Almost as valuable as having good, quality jewelry is being able to sell it. Selling the jewelry requires a great deal of effort and strategy when executing a marketing plan. Your marketing plan will support your unique brand of jewelry in your small jewelry business.
Before starting your marketing plan, it might be wise to watch tutorials online about the various aspects of marketing and how to get online advertising right. It is worth getting at least an informal education on how to effectively market the brand before you begin. You want to make sure you have enough traction and momentum to make the most out of any marketing dollars or effort you spend.
Social media platforms are a great place to start building your brand. They are cheap in allowing you to post about your product. You can even pay to promote advertisements. Their in-app stores, while expensive, provide an easy way to begin selling your product and brand to consumers. You can also host your own store on sites like Squarespace. You can acquire a great, attractive, and memorable domain name for your own website.
Once you attract users to your website and entice them to buy some of your jewelry pieces, you can collect their emails and pursue email marketing. This can help you facilitate return purchases, a loyalty program, or sales and discounts. In any case, there are many ways to build a successful jewelry business. The best way is to think about the most effective way to publicize your brand and drive traffic to your business.
Selling Your Jewelry
Since you have built your marketing plan and brand, you can start selling your jewelry to your customers. This is the most enjoyable part of the process, where you get to see your business in action and get to enjoy your passion as you manage your company.
As your company grows, it is important to create new lines of jewelry and keep in tune with your customers’ wants and needs. A jewelry company that is in tune with its customers will likely attract repeat business and maintain its reputation as a great place to shop.
Paying attention to opportunities to expand is a great idea too. That might involve different types of jewelry, different styles of jewelry, or different price points of jewelry lines.
Maintaining an active brand and marketing presence with your customers is also important. Whether that is through a website, email marketing, social media, or influencers, you will want your customers to know when you are releasing new products, your company’s efforts to help your community or information about how your business is progressing.
Personal connections are also a great way to facilitate this. Especially if you are in a small community, building connections with your customers is a great way to keep them coming back to shop for not only themselves but also for others through gifts.
If you decide to move forward with starting your own jewelry business, the odds are you will need to consider financing options in order to raise capital for your initial operations. In this section, we’ll cover some of the more popular financing options that you may want to consider when starting your business.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) offers SBA Loans as one of its core programs for assisting small businesses. SBA loans are backed by the federal government and provided by lenders that have been pre-approved by the SBA. This makes SBA loans more accessible to small businesses since lenders face less risk by lending through the program. It also allows SBA loans to have some of the most appealing interest rates available on the market.
One of the downsides of SBA loans is the application process, which is lengthy and very thorough. Borrowers and their businesses are carefully and diligently assessed, with applicants having to provide extensive information on the company, their business plan, their credit history, and more.
The most popular loan program that the SBA runs is its SBA 7(a) loan, which is a term loan that allows borrowers to access up to $5 million in funding. The loan comes with terms of up to 25 years, making it a long-term financing option for many borrowers.
Term loans are one of the most common resources for an initial small business loan. Term loans are easy to use and understand loans in that they provide borrowers with a fixed upfront sum that must then be paid back over a set period of time with interest. They can be acquired with both fixed and variable interest rates and for a variety of different term lengths, giving borrowers options and flexibility.
Terms loans are offered by both brick-and-mortar lenders and alternative lenders (like Biz2Credit!). There are advantages and disadvantages to using both types of lenders.
Term loans that are offered by traditional banks are known to be very difficult to qualify for with very strict qualification requirements. They tend to have very long application processes that require business owners to submit a lot of documentation and fill out a lot of paperwork. This thorough process allows traditional banks to assess the risk of each borrower thoroughly. In turn, those that are able to qualify for term loans from traditional lenders are able to get some of the lowest interest rates available.
Term loans that are provided by alternative lenders are much easier to qualify for and obtain. They have far less stringent standards for borrowers, and their application processes are quick and often offered online. It’s not uncommon for borrowers to be able to receive approval and funding in as little as 24 hours. However, because the application process is much less thorough, it is harder for lenders to assess the risk of lending to each borrower. As a result, interest rates tend to be higher.
Lines of Credit
Lines of credit are a common financing resource for almost every type of business. Lines of credit remain open for many years at a time (often 10) and then can be renewed or reapplied for. Once you have a line of credit, you can borrow money from it at any time up to the limit set by the lender. Then, once you repay what you have borrowed plus any associated interest, you can borrow from the line again.
Lines of credit are great because they are a quick and easy resource for cash, making them ideal for shoring up cash flow in an emergency and short-term financing of smaller purchases. However, they are not ideal for large, long-term financing since their rates are variable and generally higher than you would get with a term loan. As such, it’s best to use them for short-term financing and gap funding while you find a longer-term solution for long-term borrowing.
Equipment financing is very popular for business owners that have to buy a lot of commercial-grade equipment to operate their company. With equipment financing, the equipment purchased with the funds serves as the collateral on the loan. This means that lenders have something they can use to salvage some of their funds if a borrower defaults. This makes equipment financing less risky for lenders, allowing more borrowers to qualify for them at lower interest rates than many other forms of financing.
Jewelry businesses, especially if you are making your own custom jewelry, often need expensive equipment to get started. Equipment financing could be a great resource for financing this.
Starting a small jewelry business, like any other business, will require a lot of hard work and dedication. Setting your shop apart from other local options may not be easy, but if you have the skill and design acumen to impress customers and gain a solid reputation, then there is real money to be made in the jewelry business. As always, prior planning, research, and being realistic about your skills and dedication is critical to properly assessing whether or not you can be successful in this industry. If you think you can, you could be well on your way to starting a long-term and lucrative business.
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