LJS Director, Jessica Rose has run her own jewellery business for 4 years, a fingerprint jewellery business for 2 years and now runs the hugely successful London Jewellery School, which is in its third year. Over time she has made plenty of mistakes and learnt a lot about what it takes to run a jewellery business.
Check out her top tips for anyone considering setting up and taking the plunge into the wonderful world of doing what you love for a living…
1. Make a plan
You wouldn’t go on holiday without packing a suitcase so don’t go into business without a plan. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy, just a breakdown of what you are going to do and how you plan to do it. You will be surprised how useful they are at helping you to think things through.
2. Look after the pennies…
Probably the single most important lesson that I have learnt from running various jewellery businesses is to watch what you are spending and only buy something if you absolutely need it. If you make jewellery for a hobby it is fine to treat yourself to lovely beads whenever you fancy, but, with a business you need to consider if you can make something that you think will sell from them.
3. If one things certain in life its taxes
Like it or not we all have to pay them and the best way is to get organised, submit everything in time and avoid any unwanted penalties. To set up in business you will need to register as self employed with HMRC and submit an annual return of all your income and expenditure. It’s easier than it sounds and there is plenty of info on how to do this. HMRC are also usually very helpful in offering advice on how to go about setting up – http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/businesses/tmastarting-up-in-business.shtml
4. Network your social socks off
These days you need to have a facebook, and a twitter too if you can bear both. It’s a great way to let potential customers, family and friends know about what you are up to. Make sure you post regularly and vary your content so that its exciting and people want to read it and look at pictures of your work. Don’t forget to link it to your website or etsy shop so they know where to buy!
5. A word about the day Job
Many people want to set up a business but have a full time job so finding time to fit it in seems impossible. My advice would be not to throw it in straight away but put aside a realistic amount of time each week (5 hours?) to spend on building up your business, promotion and making. After a 5-6 months of this if you have the option to go part time, do this first so that you can grow the business slowly and steadily before taking the plunge and leaving altogether.
6. Do a business course at the amazing London Jewellery School (plug!!!)
Well you knew it was coming but this really is great advice. If there was a course like this when I was starting out it would have saved me thousands of pounds! There is nothing more valuable than hearing advice straight from an expert who has gone through the process of setting up and business in your field and the 1-day jewellery business class at the London Jewellery School or the new distance learning course jewellery business course available to order online, both do just that. Covering all areas of setting up including: marketing, finance, PR, pricing your jewellery, photography, getting into shops and galleries, packaging, insurance and legal obligations, craft fairs, budgeting, copyright and more. These courses are not only intensive for the busy budding business owner but also excellent value for money and sure to save you more than you spend. Take a look,
Jewellery Business Day Course– http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/jewellery-business/jewellery-business-day/
Distance Learning Jewellery Business Course – http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/jewellery-business/online-jewellery-business-course/
7. Collections make the world go round
Shops and galleries love to see your jewellery grouped in collections. Collections consist of groups of jewellery with a common theme, this maybe all using the same materials, colours, shapes or styles and usually include a selection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. Grouping your jewellery in collections avoids the jumble sale effect and gives your work clarity and professionalism.
Most of us are far too modest and find it hard to promote our work, especially if it is something you have made, as it feels so personal. But when running a business you need to tell everyone about what you do any why you are good at it (without coming across as arrogant). Wear your jewellery wherever you go, get friends and family to wear it to and tell others about it, before you now it the orders will be flowing in.
8. An investment in yourself is an investment for life
Don’t forget to invest in your training, this is the single most important spend in your business as your making skills need to be up to scratch to allow you to make high-quality jewellery that you can be confident in. Money spent on jewellery courses and training is never a waste as these skills will be with you for life, allow you to grow as a designer and keep up-to-date with current trends and techniques in the jewellery industry. For 100’s of fun and professional jewellery courses all year round come and visit us at www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk of if you are unable to come to London there are training centers all over the world which run courses open to the general public. Utilize Google
10. Have faith – If I can do it anyone can!
I set out on my jewellery career with absolutely no jewellery making experience, no business skills and not a clue in the world to be honest. Nothing but a passion for jewellery and strong will to avoid the 9-5. Looking back perhaps I was a little naive but despite the silly mistakes, I have managed to make a living out of what I love and wake up every day knowing have the best job in the world. It takes time and hard work but there is nothing quite like working for yourself in a creative environment surrounded by others who share your passion.
I will leave it there for today but if you have any comments please leave them for us below.
Good luck in your ventures and don’t forget to sign up to our blog for more tips and info
Jessica @ LJS x