How to Start a Jewelry Business

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Image of a gold necklace

A Quick Overview of the Jewelry Business

Starting can require a bit more startup money simply because of the financial scale of this business.

This is true whether you want to design and sell your own handcrafted, garage-made jewelry, or set up a retail store of your own.

If your tastes tend towards diamonds, gold, and silver, expect to take out a sizable loan or get some serious investors involved. On the other hand, pendants, and stainless steel beads can be quite cheap.

In creating your own jewelry, you’ll need to outfit yourself with a few tools. You may want to convert part of your garage or a part of your home into your personal shop. Even if you don’t intend to create jewelry from scratch, you’ll probably be asked to do repairs.

If you want to set up your own retail store is, you’ll need a shop in a part of town that gets a lot of traffic. Check if any shopping malls have an open spot.

If you plan to sell upscale, high-end jewelry, a somewhat classy presentation is in order. Make sure your shop is well lit and clean, and keep display cases well polished to let your wares sparkle.

Security is also an issue with regards to theft and robbery. Keep display cases locked and make sure your employees know to do the same. Invest in a security system and maintain the proper insurance coverage of your merchandise. Make sure your employees understand that their job is to sell the jewelry, not to defend it with their lives.

Should you sell your jewelry at craft shows? At home jewelry parties? On eBay? To shops and galleries? On Consignment? Wholesale it? Build your own website for it? Jump in and experiment with selling jewelry via all these methods and more. The only way to find out for sure what direction is to test, record and go with what works.

Skill Set:
  • Thorough knowledge of gems and metals
  • Knowledge of how to determine gem authenticity
  • Watch repairs
  • Attention to detail
  • Sales experience
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee & Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase Or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

You will hold retail business hours if you have a storefront; if you do parties, craft shows, and online sales, your hours will vary and are a personal choice.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:

  • Soldering iron
  • Various metals, beads
  • Copper wire
  • Diamonds and other precious stones
  • Polymer beads
  • Silver, gold
  • Stainless steel
  • Jeweler’s loupe
  • Tumbling drums for stone polishing
  • Kiln
  • Wax (for lost wax method freestyle jewelry design)
  • Jeweler’s glasses with magnifier and built-in light
  • Storage drawers for materials
  • Digital camera with macro lenses
  • Polishing cloths and solutions
  • Ring seizers
  • Magnifying glass or glasses
  • Good lighting
  • Pliers, tweezers
  • Clamps
  • Digital camera
  • List of Essential office Equipment
  • See Our List of General Retail Equipment
Monthly Expenses To Consider:

List of Common Monthly Expenses

Licenses:

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Tips & Considerations:
  • Find out all you can about the trends in the industry. Know your competition: in particular, their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify your competitive advantage. In other words, this will help you figure out what you can give your customers that they’re not getting from the other businesses. Keep from emulating the competition’s strategy. Instead, make the most of your own advantages.

 

  • Purchase your beading and stringing materials at low-cost stores such as Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or the Artbeads website. They generally offer low prices on supplies if you are starting on a low budget.

 

  • Purchase your first business cards from the Vistaprint website. You can order 250 business cards for free during their specials and only pay shipping and handling.

 

  • Place your projects in sandwich baggies as storage. This keeps them clean from dust or any other dirt.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Your hours are your own
  • Jewelry can be very profitable
  • You have many avenues in which to sell jewelry
  • Jewelry ‘repair’ can be a side niche
  • Jewelry design is in demand

The Cons:

  • It can be expensive to get into if you plan to sell high-end products
  • Jewelry sales can be low if the economy is low
  • Competition is high
  • It can be difficult to provide unique items
  • Catering to different tastes can be hard
Type of Customers:

The type of customers you need to attract come from all walks of life around the globe and include men, women, and children.

Jewelry sales depend partly on consumer income. Small jewelers can effectively compete with large chains because the price isn’t the main factor determining retail sales. Profitability depends on the volume of sales because sales costs are high and fixed. Because gross margins are very high, often 50 percent, mass merchants like Wal-Mart have taken market share by controlling costs and cutting prices.

Depending on your niche, your jewelry customers can be anyone who loves to wear fine or custom-designed jewelry or trendy design elements such as beads or copper.

Statistics:

Jewelry is often classified as bridal merchandise (engagement, bridal and anniversary rings compose about 35% of the market), fashion jewelry (rings, bracelets, earrings, pins, gold chains), and watches, silver flatware, and other giftware.

Diamond jewelry and diamonds account for the largest share of total jewelry store sales (46%); gold jewelry for 11%; colored gemstone jewelry (rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.) 9%; and watches 4%.

The most current reports are available at Valuation Resources

Revenue:

The US jewelry retail industry generates annual revenues of about $44 billion from 28,000 specialty, department, and discount stores. Specialty retailers hold about 50% of the market. Wal-Mart is the biggest jewelry retailer in the country, followed by Zales, the biggest specialty jeweler with over 2,000 stores and kiosks.

The industry is highly fragmented: the top 10 jewelry chains hold less than 25 percent of the market. Other large specialty retailers are Tiffany and Sterling, the US branch of British jeweler Signet Group.

Resources:

Forums:

Jewelry Forum

Franchises:

Franchising.com

Associations:

World Jewellery Association