The brilliant thing about the internet is that it has allowed us all to become business people with a low start up cost. I’ve sold pieces of jewellery to New Zealand, USA, Holland, Australia – places I have never been. But where do you begin? And with so many people having the same idea, how do you stand out? Here is some advice to get you thinking…
1. Start small
On the PR class I have spoken to people who have gone all out, hired a web designer, pay monthly for a merchandised website and then …. nothing happened. No one bought anything. There are a couple of lessons here. First, start small. Setting up a website to get started can be costly. Plus you haven’t had the chance to see if what you make will sell, if people will pay what you need to charge etc. If you’re starting out or want to try out a new idea I recommend using a site like www.etsy.com or www.folksy.com. On both of these sites you can quickly set up shop, paying a small price for listing each item (20 cents on Etsy). You aren’t charged any more until someone buys something and you can factor in the small percentage they charge into your pricing. Buyers can use paypal or you can choose to take cards. I started up in this way. I started two etsy shops and one sold absolutely nothing! The other was popular and I still have it. If I’d set them both up as merchandised websites I’d have lost more than a few pounds.
2. Know your market
You need to think about who is going to buy your product and where they might look for it. That could be online but could also be in local shops, craft fairs, through jewellery parties etc. One of the students on the PR course, Fiona from @FunkyDaisy sells some of her products at a nail bar. She gives the technicians freebies that they wear when they’re working, people ask where they got their jewellery from and hey presto – a sale!
3. Look professional
Even if you work from your kitchen table you need to come across to potential customers as professional. I recommend getting some business cards made up. Have you heard of Moo? moo.com are very popular among jewellery designers because they allow you to add lots of different photos to your cards. I’ve also had some moo stickers made to use instead of sellotape on my wrapping.
Always carry some cards with you, you never know when someone might ask you about the jewellery you’re wearing!
4. Approach local shops
Many people I meet say that they get anxious about approaching local shop owners about stocking their jewellery. Remember, these people are in business and want to be approached, it saves them doing the work to source the products! Plus handmade locally produced jewellery is a big story at the moment so they are likely to be very interested in what you have to offer.
5. Take the next step
The London Jewellery School runs a number of different courses to help you, whatever stage you’re at in your business, to get to the next level.
If you’re not in or near London why not consider our popular Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course for advice for your start up business,including 80 minutes of expert advice via DVD, one years free LJS membership, a place on the members directory and loads of other benefits.
Good luck with your business adventure! And don’t forget to keep us informed about how you’re doing. We love to hear from you.
Anna Campbell is the PR for your Jewellery Business teacher. She runs her own Etsyshop, lightboatjewellery selling silver and beaded jewellery. She has more than 1000 followers on twitter (@light_boat) and regularly makes silver jewellery on commission for celebrities. Her website is www.acampbell.info
Until next time,
Happy Making, LJS x