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Want to Start Your Own Jewelry Business? Start Here

Written by Anna Currell
October 12, 2023

The jewelry industry has experienced steady growth over the past decade, even during economic downturns. In fact, watch and jewelry revenue is expected to increase by $44.8 billion by 2026, about an 11% climb. For creative entrepreneurs interested in beginning a career in the jewelry industry and launching their own brand, the market outlook is bright. But before you start your own jewelry business, it’s important to carefully plan and create a strategy. In this article, we'll explore the foundations of how to start your own jewelry business

Choosing Your Jewelry Niche

The jewelry industry already offers customers a wide spectrum of product styles and materials that customers can explore. To stand out in this competitive market, new designers need to become experts in a specific niche. Here are some jewelry industry niches to get you started:

  • Handcrafted necklaces and earrings combining techniques like metalsmithing, wire wrapping, and beadwork
  • Custom engagement rings and wedding bands 
  • Minimalist fine jewelry made with precious metals, diamonds, and other gemstones
  • Vintage-inspired jewelry made from upcycled components like watches or brooches
  • Jewelry repair services focusing on restoration of heirloom pieces 
  • Costume jewelry and trendy, affordable statement pieces

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To start honing in on your niche, spend some time conducting thorough research into the jewelry that’s already out there. Take a deep dive into current jewelry trends and forecasted styles. Look to runways, red carpet events, and fashion magazines to see what is resonating now and get a sense for what’s on the horizon. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great for discovering patterns in consumer demand.

Next, reflect honestly on your own passions, skills, and resources when selecting a niche. For example, if you’re a passionate gemologist who loves working with natural gemstones, concentrate your collection in that arena. If vintage jewelry repair and refurbishing comes easily to you, you’ll want to focus your styles there. Make sure that you have the resources and access you need to acquire the necessary materials, tools, and anything else you might need to make jewelry in your niche.

Once you settle on a specialty, it’s time to develop the concept of your brand. Your brand identity is how your future customers will recognize your business. A branding identity includes elements like the colors, design, logos, and other visual features of your company, but it also includes the tone, values, and personality of your brand. To help you narrow down on your brand concept, identify your target market to make sure your branding is aimed at their interests. Hone in on specific target demographics like age, income level, geographic location, and values. These key traits will inform the way you build your brand identity, develop your products, and strategically market your jewelry. 

Business Setup and Planning 

Taking the proper steps to formally establish your jewelry business legally, financially, and operationally will set you up for stability. First, determine the best business structure for your situation. Options like a sole proprietorship, LLC, and S-corp each have different pros and cons and must follow specific regulations around liability and taxes, for example. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney or accountant for guidance (this is a part you don’t want to mess up). 

Next, register your business name and secure all the required licenses, permits, and your employer ID number. Purchase the appropriate insurance policies to cover your business’ liabilities, employee injuries if applicable, and potential loss of inventory or facilities. 

Finally, map out a sales plan. Will you sell online, consign to local boutiques, show at craft fairs, or set up wholesale accounts with retailers? Define the marketing strategies that align with your niche, demographic, and products. Use sound accounting principles to set your pricing based on material costs, labors expenses, and desired profit margins. Study your potential competitors' pricing carefully. It’s a good idea to set up an efficient bookkeeping system and establish a relationship with a business accountant early on.

Product Development

The product development process will be guided by your niche, but you’ll still have plenty of room for creativity and testing. If you plan to manufacture the jewelry yourself, purchase the necessary tools and equipment and set up a comfortable, well-lit workspace. Vet suppliers carefully to ensure you’re sourcing quality materials that are also ethical and sustainable. 

If you’re not physically crafting each product yourself, you may prefer to outsource production to a manufacturing partner. Some small jewelry brands and independent designers prefer to outsource the production of specific parts so they can focus their energies on assembly and finishing. Determine what works best for you and make sure to build those relationships early on so you’re never stuck without the parts or products you need.

Now here comes the fun part — design your first jewelry collection. Make prototypes and refine each piece as you go. You might want to hire assistants or apprentices as needed once you have room in your budget. Invest in your branding, and make sure to reflect those choices in professional packaging and tags to elevate the unboxing experience; cohesive presentation will heighten the perceived value of your products. You’ll also want to capture high-quality product photography and write compelling descriptions for your e-commerce website. Your digital presence makes an important impression when customers can’t see your products in person.

Marketing Your Brand 

Marketing is what transforms your beautiful jewelry into sales and sustained business growth. Integrating the following strategies tailored to your audience will set you up for success.

  • Get online: Build a beautiful and easy-to-use website to showcase products, share your origin story, and process sales online. High-quality photos, clear pricing, and a seamless shopping experience will all help encourage your customers to make a purchase.
  • Use social media: Leverage social media platforms where your target audience is active. Post content consistently — not just product photos, but also styling tips, behind-the-scenes shots of your jewelry making process, and inspiring quotes or images aligned with your brand identity. 
  • Host an event: Host trunk shows or pop-up shopping events to introduce your work. These allow customers to view pieces in person and give feedback so you can make sales on the spot, build your mailing list, and measure interest in your work.
  • Run a sale: Run occasional sales or discounts and promote them through email lists, social media, and other channels to incentivize purchases. Down the line, discounting older collections can help clear space for new inventory you have coming in.
  • Spread the word: Apply to showcase your jewelry at local craft fairs, festivals, and holiday markets. Interact directly with shoppers, and bring more jewelry products than you anticipate selling so you’re sure you won’t run out.
  • Partner up: Seek collaborations on custom designs for weddings, special events, or celebrity clients. This generates buzz and referrals, and you can gain the advantage of your partners’ audiences. 
  • Encourage referrals: Referral marketing through word-of-mouth happens organically when you provide excellent service and develop meaningful customer relationships over time. Treat every customer like they’re a VIP, and you’ll likely see more and more business come your way. 

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Opening a successful jewelry brand takes creativity, skill, strategy, and some business savvy. But the sizable growth in the jewelry industry and rise of small artisan businesses points to strong opportunities for the right entrepreneur. Define your niche, make a viable business plan, develop quality products, and implement targeted marketing strategies to help your brand thrive.

When you trust your vision, you’ll be on your way toward turning your passion into a prosperous business today. For more helpful tips about entering the jewelry industry, sign up for our newsletter below!

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