Anna Campbell is an LJS tutor teaching a number of jewellery making classes and PR for your Jewellery Business. She mentors artists and crafters in setting up their website and using social media to promote their businesses for Crafty Websites and runs her own jewellery business, Light Boat Jewellery. She is also one of the tutors appearing in the new videos for our updated LJS Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course.
We asked her to tell us a little about her own business experiences.
What motivated you to start your own jewellery business?
I was a full time teacher and started taking jewellery making classes in my spare time. I found I really enjoyed learning new techniques and combining silver clay with beading, wire wrapping etc. It was a natural step for me to start selling pieces as I had made far too many to wear myself!
What has been your best business decision?
Taking it slowly! I started out with two Etsy shops and I didn’t sell anything from one of them! The other went well and I still have it. Setting up on a site like Etsy (or Folksy or Misi – there are so many options now) is much cheaper than setting up your own website to start with. You pay a few pence to list an item on the site and then a percentage when you sell. This means you don’t have to have huge start up money to test the waters.
You also need a lot less stock on hand – I often make one piece to photograph and put on Etsy but I don’t have multiples. I make sure I always have enough beads to make the pieces I have for sale on Etsy but I tend to make the piece when the order comes in. That way, if the customer has any specific requests e.g. they don’t like a specific colour of bead, I can easily respond and make the piece the way the customer wants.
What has been the biggest surprise/shock about running your own business?
The impact that using social media effectively has on your business. Many people think that they can set up a website or an Etsy shop and they will instantly get sales. Unfortunately that’s not the case, you need to actively promote what you have to offer. But there is good news as there are free social media sites e.g. facebook, twitter etc where you can promote what you’re selling effectively. I have had a lot of success with twitter and know I’ve had sales directly through being on there.
Would you like to share a mistake you’ve made that others could learn from?
If you’re making commissioned pieces make sure you are very clear with your client about exactly what they want. If they’re happy for you to just make them something one-off then fine, but one time I thought I’d understood the brief and got it wrong! I suggest taking a design commission fee and design it first on paper or make a rough piece so that you can send them a picture of it. That way if they decide not to go ahead with it you haven’t wasted time and money because you have been paid for that design.
What one thing would you say to someone starting their own jewellery business?
There’s never been a better time to do it so go for it! We now have a truly global marketplace – I sell more pieces overseas than to the UK – and this means that you have so many more potential buyers. It’s also a cost effective time to set up. You don’t need a shop full of stock or a gallery that will take a large percentage.
Don’t forget there is still time to get the special jewellery week 15% discount on our distance learning jewellery business course which covers all aspects of running a successful jewellery business from legal and tax issues, to budgets, selling and pricing and marketing your products. The course includes over a hour of videos, a workbook and case studies of successful jewellers, as well as including a year’s membership of LJS which gives you discounts from suppliers and a listing on the LJS Members’ Directory.
To get your discount buy the course before midnight on Sunday 20 January 2013 and enter the code LJSDL13 at the check out. Please note the discount is restricted to one per person.
- Preparing your jewellery business for Christmas part 2 – online marketplace (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Preparing your jewellery business for christmas part 1 – craft fairs and markets (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Preparing your jewellery business for christmas part 3 – packaging and branding (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Your January jewellery business to do list (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Building your sucessful jewellery business starts here (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Jewellery business week – Jessica’s top tips (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Jewellery Business Week – Anna Campbell shares her web wisdom (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Jewellery Business week – 3 key tasks for 2013 (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Jewellery Business Week – Hayley Kruger on learning from experience (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)
- Making it as a jewellery designer (londonjewelleryschool.co.uk)