On Thursday evening London Jewellery School founder and award-winning entrepreneur Jessica Rose answered your questions on Facebook. In two posts today we bring you a selection of questions and answers from the live Q&A.
QUESTION: I am in the process of selling my jewellery on Etsy do I need to take out insurance? As the business will be very new, do I need to register anywhere if I’m only selling on etsy?
ANSWER: A lot of people worry about the legal aspects of running a business and insurance, as it is very important to get right. If you are selling your work you need to be registered as self-employed, which is simple to do with HMRC, you fill out a short form to send in. You can see the process here.
It will mean that you need to submit a self-assessment tax return at the end of each year but there is plenty of information on how to do that and it is quite straightforward for most small businesses.
In terms of insurance, you need to make sure you are covered for selling your jewellery. Based on what you have said, I would recommend taking out a basic craft insurance to cover you for public liability insurance and product liability insurance to make sure that if anyone is injured by your pieces you are covered for that. Always check the details with the insurer.
When I first started out I used Ian Wallace who were great, but make sure you do your own research too. Speak to whichever company you go with and check you are happy with what they can offer and that you are covered for the activities you are doing, they are usually very helpful. For a basic level of insurance with selling on etsy it should only be around £100-£120 per year.
QUESTION: How can I work out how to describe my own jewellery style. What would you advise?
ANSWER: Brainstorming! (Who doesn’t love a good brainstorm).
Try putting any words that come to mind when you look at your jewellery or think about your jewellery business, they can be as general or specific, as you like. Then ask others the same question, how would they describe your jewellery? What key words, thoughts or emotions come to mind? Is it; big and bold, intricate, colourful, inspired by an era, relating to a type of fashion or part of the world/ different cultures, materials etc… Be as descriptive as you can about it. If you are a visual person (most jewellers are) you can collect images or photographs that relate to your jewellery style, from magazines, papers or online – Pinterest is great for this kind of mood-board-creating process.
Then, after all of that, I would challenge yourself to pick 5 words that describe your jewellery, only five. Put them in to a sentence or two and memorise it. By this stage you should have a pretty good idea of your style and what it means you and others you will also be ready to describe it when needed.
QUESTION:. My question is that since I have just started a small jewellery venture, I’d like to know the best ways to package my jewellery and how do I market it?
ANSWER: For both the packaging and marketing of your jewellery you need to keep your customer in mind. Who are they? What do they want from your jewellery? How much are they willing to spend on it? Once you have a clear idea of your customer you can make much better decisions about what to do. Here is a bit more on each one…
Packaging: First work out your budget, if you are selling high-end expensive pieces you can usually afford to spend more on packaging but if margins are tight you need to go for lower-cost options. Some popular types would be jewellery boxes, printed boxes, drawstring or organza bags, printed stickers tags or ribbons. I would suggest starting with something simple and developing it as you go along.
Look at how other jewellery and handmade items are packaged, get ideas and inspiration from that. See what you like and adapt it to fit your brand. There is no right or wrong – experiment. One place I often recommend for buying packaging is either on ebay (as there is so much choice and it’s good for cheaper options) or the Tiny Box Company.
Marketing: Jewellers need to spend a lot of time on marketing. Probably around 40% of all time in running a jewellery business is purely on marketing. This can be anything from social media and writing blog posts to taking pictures of your work, updating websites and selling at events. It usually works like this; the first year or two you do everything you can, put your name everywhere, make sure you have an online presence, do shows and events, even give pieces away in exchange for publicity, anything to get your name out there. Then as you go along you evaluate what things worked and what didn’t, what is best for your business and where should you focus your efforts
As mentioned above the key is to keep your customer and their priorities at the front of your mind, so if you are exhibiting at a fair, who will be attending? Are they likely to want to buy what you have to offer? Think about what makes you unique to any other jewellery business and focus on that for your promotion. There really is so much to say under this so that is just a starting point. For more, this has lots of content on these areas and you might want to check out the distance learning course too.
During business week, London Jewellery School is offering 20% off all day and taster business courses plus the Business Bookcamp if you book between 2 and 9 February 2014. To get your discount call 020 3176 0345 and book your class quoting BIZWEEK20. Find out more here.