Tag Archives: Business

Make 2017 the year your jewellery business shines!

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Our founder Jessica Rose teaches all of our jewellery business students that spending a little bit of your valuable time creating a plan for your business and reviewing progress regularly is fundamental to building a successful business and getting you to where you want to be.  Doing at least one thing each day for your business can pay dividends, and just think that doing at least one thing each day (more is great of course if you can manage!) then after a year that is at least 365 things you have done to build your business!

But where do you start?  What tools do you use to structure your ideas, thoughts and priorities?  How can you make sense of the 100s of balls you have to juggle as a business owner?  Running a creative business is hard work and there aren’t always enough hours in the day!   Plus you have a creative mind – let’s face it, we didn’t really start our creative businesses to spend our time creating cash flow forecasts and tax returns!

That’s why we are so excited to share this fab new monthly planner aimed at aimed at creative product-based businesses such as jewellery businesses that recently launched its Kickstarter campaign!  DREAM, PLAN, DO is the brainchild of our good friend Patricia Van Den Akker of The Design Trust.

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Patricia is an extremely knowledgeable business coach, trainer and advisor with over 15 years experience and she has channelled all her knowledge into DREAM PLAN DO to help creatives run successful businesses doing what they love!

This monthly planner will help you plan strategically for your business, prioritise your time, and help you take practical actions each month to get you there in a simple yet structured way. Each month will have a theme that builds on the previous month meaning you are focusing on the right things at the right time of year making it easy for you to focus on what matters the most.

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DREAM PLAN DO Monthly Planner – photographs by Yeshen Venema

Do check out the Kickstarter campaign here and learn more about how this monthly planner might be the tool that helps you lift your business to the next level in 2017!

We are proud to be an affiliate partner of Dream, Plan, Do which means that we get a small commission if you decide to support the Kickstarter Campaign. We only recommend products and courses that we think are practical and useful for our audience of jewellery designers and creatives, and having worked closely with Patricia over the years know how amazing this tool is going to be for you and your business!

The ‘C’ Word (Part 2)

 

'C' Word! (1)

So Part 1 of this blog talked about how you can start to prepare in advance for the Christmas Period and start building your inventory early.

Part 2 will look at how you can preserve your all important time for revenue generating activities by improving your productivity and reducing your admin. So how can you do this?

5. PLAN YOUR PROMO & OFFERS

A. CREATE YOUR MARKETING CALENDAR

I am a big advocate of planning your marketing and social media in advance, but it is even more critical you do this for the Christmas period so that you aren’t frantically worrying about what to post and when to post when you have a million other things to do. Get a big calendar and plot out the big events (remember Black Friday and Cyber Monday as these are great events for sales), and your special offers to coax people into buying.

For example, I offered Free Shipping (Special Delivery) for any purchases in November and a free polishing and finishing kit in December plus free gift wrapping. Some people offer free up-sell items such as stud earrings.  You may also offer early bird discounts for ordering early.   I essentially had what I wanted to post on social media plotted out including my newsletters (high level content at the very least) well in advance so I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to post on the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on any given day.

B. CREATE ALL YOUR COPY, GRAPHICS AND IMAGES IN ADVANCE

Once you have plotted out what you want to post, spend some time drafting compelling copy (you will always need to review and tweak just before you post but that takes minute) and creating images in advance using the likes of Canva (they even do an app for the iPhone!) or Picmonkey.

I blocked out a couple of days in September to take festive pictures of my jewellery and taking behind the scenes shots so that I had everything prepared in advance. Of course I left a little space to add in impromptu photos of Christmas fairs, custom pieces and work in progress, but I had 80% of my content planned in advance.

Then every Sunday I blocked out time to schedule the week ahead and I blocked out an hour each day to respond to comments and engage with my customers and followers. Time blocking really helped me make the most out of my time and meant that I could focus on social media time on engaging with people rather than writing and posting content.

C. DECIDE ON YOUR KEY DATES (INCLUDING LAST ORDER DATES!)

It is essential that you decide on the key dates for your business including last order date for custom pieces, last order date from your regular collections and when your shop will be closed to orders for the Christmas period. Then you know what the boundaries are and you can communicate these to your customers well in advance.

6. DECIDE ON YOUR PROCESSES

You have ordered your supplies and built your inventory, but there is another way you can streamline your work and that is by planning your processes or manufacturing operations in advance (can you tell I used to work in operations 😉 !?).

1. YOUR WORK SCHEDULE

Planning out your weekly work schedule can really help you organise your working week and working day. I tend to spend the first hour of every day responding to emails and spending time on social media.
Then I have dedicated workbench slots or days.

I like to batch together similar tasks such as soldering on cufflink backs or ear pins and do multiples of each task. I usually end up have 1 day of manufacturing (soldering, piercing, etc) and another day each week for polishing finishing and stone setting.

I then have a posting and packing day where pieces go to the assay office and post office) each week.

You have to be a little bit flexible, but by blocking out time for different tasks and doing what you can in bulk means you are usually more productive overall.

2. YOUR PROCESSES

Don’t make the mistake of wasting precious time trying to remember how to make each piece. Spend some time jotting down the process you follow to make and produce each piece of jewellery. It doesn’t need to be fancy – even a handwritten page in a notebook is fine – you can always work to having typed instructions later. Key information to include is:

A. Materials and dimensions – this way you can look up the dimensions and what the piece is made of (components and raw materials) and you can check your inventory and/ or start making the piece straight away without having to faff around measuring samples etc (or order the right materials and not forget anything!).

B. Time to make the piece including any parts that can be batch produced in advance

C. Step by step instructions on how to make the piece (include drawings or photographs if it helps) so each piece is as similar as possible.

D. Important notes such as alternate suppliers and any other relevant notes.

Also think about your order process end to end – I have a massive planner that is dedicate to my business and when an order comes through I enter the order in the calendar and add the piece to my workflow and diarise when I will make the piece (hopefully using pre-fabricated components), when I will assemble, polish and finish the piece (including setting any stones) and when the item is due to ship. I usually aim to do this well in advance of the maximum shipping date including in my listing so no order ever gets the stage where I am rushing to finish it in time.  I have set up all of my email templates in advance too including ato-responder emails as part of the purchase and dispatch process.

I also have 3 trays for papers – 1 for invoices for supplies or tools ordered, 1 for in progress orders and 1 for completed orders. This means I can easily file all my paper work at the end of each week without having sort through it carefully as I am doing this as I go. I put these papers in monthly folders which helps with my accounting each month – one of the first things to slip when things get busy!

3. OUTSOURCE WHAT YOU CAN?

You may want to look at any aspects of the process that you can outsource. For example, if pieces are being cast you may want to ask the caster to remove the sprue for you. Or get your pieces polished by a polisher. Or get a stonesetter to set your stones.

Find out the cost of this work and then establish if there are any processes you can get done more cheaply (or quickly) than if you were to do it yourself and try a few test pieces to see what the quality is like.

Even some help packing parcels a couple of hours a week or looking after your social media can be a big help. It can be a big leap mentally to do this (I really struggled with it) but at the end of the day your jewellery is still handmade, you have still designed it and done most of the work (certainly each piece has been quality checked by your hands) so it is worthwhile considering doing so that you can focus on the parts of the jewellery making process you are best at and enjoy doing particularly is your brand is taking off and you need to free up capacity to stay on top of your orders.

You never know, one day you may even hire bench jewellers to work for you so it is something you might need to get your head around sooner or later! The main thing I would emphasise is that if you do as much as you can in advance will really take some of the stress out of this busy time and make the Christmas period more enjoyable (and scalable!).

Do let us know of any tips and tricks you have learned to survive the Christmas period in the comments below!

 

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

Displaying your Jewellery at Craft Fairs and Market

If you are doing any summer craft fairs you’ve probably been preparing your stock and deciding your pricing. It’s now time to turn your attention to your display. Here are some ideas and advice from tutor Anna Campbell from her own experiences of selling at Spitalfields and Camden Lock markets in London, on attracting attention and making the most of your space.

 

1. Space

Firstly, check how much space you will have and what will be provided by the organisers. Do you need to bring your own table? Lighting (I have sold at a market where you had to bring your own lightbulbs!)? Table covering?

Once you have the full details, mark out the size of space you will have on a table at home and play around with displaying your work.

 

2. Preparation

Make a full list of what you need to bring with you, see the blog post craft market checklist, for help with this.

 

3. Labelling your products

Many customers don’t like to ask the price and worry you may be charging them more than others if you don’t display your pricing. I suggest either labelling each item clearly or, a technique I used was to bring slate tiles and chalk pens. That way I was able to change my pricing through the day if I decided to or to create offers e.g. buy two for £XX.

 

4. Innovative and eye catching displays

Having a theme for your display can help you stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what could work for your jewellery.

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J Crew ice cream jewellery display

 

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Planting some seeds for the future pendant by Ornella Iannuzzi on display at Liberty

 

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Earring display from Buzzle

 

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Clipboard display from Swirl Marketing

 

5. Framing your jewellery

 

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Frame your earrings from Broke and Healthy

 

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Umbrella earring display from  Georgie Designs

 

6. Using height

Don’t forget to use height in your display to maximise the amount of space you have and so that people can see some of your work from a distance. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

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Bracelet display riser from Uniq Display

 

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Jewellery display from Packaging World

 

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Branches display idea from Joana’s creative notes

 

We’d love to see photos of your jewellery displays. Please share them with us in the comments below or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

A Letter to Jewellers worried about how Britain Leaving the EU will affect Business…

London Jewellery School Blog_Jessica Rose_Brexit for Jewellers

Many jewellers and crafters running their own handmade jewellery businesses (and any small business owner for that matter) may be understandably worried about how the recent result that Britain will be leaving the EU, may impact their jewellery business.

Professional jeweller’s recent article talks about 90% of designer businesses voting remain http://www.professionaljeweller.com/bfc-survey-reveals-90-of-designer-businesses-against-brexit/ which is no surprise given the business impacts.

We can’t change what has happened, whether we want to or not, but there are some practical steps we can take to protect and improve our businesses (babies!) for the time-being…

 

  1. The pound is low – so it is a great time to be selling overseas 

Americans, Europe and most places in the world can buy your jewellery at a significant discount to them (without you charging any less at the moment) due to exchange rates and the low value of the pound.

To capitalise on this, why not use this time to promote your business more overseas? Target customers in other countries who fit your target audience, Facebook and Social Media Ads can be a great way to reach a specific demographic looking at their interests and location. If they love handmade jewellery and live overseas, now may be the time to reach out to them with a great offer?

In order for this to work you need to keep an eye on the market as it changes. If you go to http://www.xe.com/currency/gbp-british-pound you can see verified up-to-date information on what the exchange rate is each day.

 

  1. Don’t panic!

We don’t know what is going to happen, and that can be scary! However you feel about the vote, for your business it is important that you keep calm and carry on as usual.  There will always be ups and downs in business and now is the time to look at the things you can control (e.g. your spending, your prices, your marketing, your brand messages) and those that you can’t (e.g. the global market, the economy, the results of the referendum).

 

  1. Utilise the materials you have in stock.

I know most jewellers don’t keep a huge amount of stock, especially when we are making to order. As the cost of raw materials may have increased for those of us in the UK (and this is likely to be a temporary reaction to uncertainty) it is a great time to use up any old materials, beads, silver, gold or scrap you have in the workshop. Why? Because you brought these before the pound value dropped so effectively they were cheaper. Of course we will all have to buy new materials and accept price increases for that too which leads me on to my next point…

 

  1. We are all in the same boat, let’s help each other out 🙂

Small businesses in Britain are struggling a bit at the moment, mainly out of fear and then the reality of changes. So let’s come together and help each other out. Don’t forget we are all in the same boat, if prices of goods increase that will be the same across the board, so remember whatever you are going through, you are not alone.

Let’s help each other out today – let us know your top tip for getting through any difficult times in business (can be anything) in the comments below. Whatever it is may really help someone else struggling.

 

  1. Be open in your business and flexible to changes

This one applies in any circumstance – the businesses most open minded and adaptable to change are the ones that survive through difficulties and change. If a certain line isn’t working for you, look at alternatives. If you feel that selling your work is going to be tough with cost increases, can you work with more affordable materials? If sales are low, what can you do in your marketing to reach your customers? How can you diversify your income? There is always a way and you can do it, keep an open mind and give it some thought as to how you can adapt as the next few years play out.

 

  1. Remember your overarching vision – why you are doing this! 

Remember why you started your business in the first place, or if you are just starting out, remember why you want to do this. Think of your vision for your business, what you want it to be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years time. We are in this for the long-run. Whatever business you are in or whatever job you are in, no one has 100% security.  Most jewellers choose this line of work out of a love and a passion for it, for design, for the materials, for the freedom of working for yourself, for the look on the customers face when you had over a bespoke piece, knowing that you are helping to make others feel happy, loved and appreciated in the world.

 

  1. Don’t give up!

There is a lot of mixed messages and fear around at the moment which is completely understandable. But businesses face ups and downs. This just happens. Since starting the London Jewellery School we have faced at least 10 business crises that threatened our future over the past 7-8 years but you keep going, work hard and get through them. There will still be jewellery in the future and someones got to make it, so why not make that person you.

I don’t know if times will be hard or if they will be good, but I do know that there are things we can all do to make them better, in our businesses. I mentioned I would love to hear any of your top positive tips on how you plan to deal with changes in your business, even if it’s as simple as ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.

Thinking of you all and wishing you the best of success and longevity in your jewellery businesses for this year and many more to come.

 

Jessica x

 

Jessica Rose, Founder, London Jewellery School & Jewellery School Online

Twitter: @jessicaroseldn

Working to Commission

 

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Tutor Anna Campbell has made jewellery on commission for celebrities. Here she gives some hints and tips on dealing with commissions

I have been fortunate to be commissioned to make jewellery for individual customers. It can be nerve wracking because usually they will have something specific in mind and you want to make sure you’ve understood what that is!

Here is some advice from my own experience on successfully working with customers on commissions.

 

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Cufflinks Anna was commissioned to make as a gift for actor and writer Nick Frost

1. Gallery of work

Whether you make multiples of pieces or one-off originals I recommend you have a gallery of photos of your work on your website, blog, facebook page etc. This helps ensure potential customers are attracted to your style of jewellery design and are not expecting you to recreate someone else’s style.

 

2. Have a clear commissions process

Working on a commission is usually more time consuming and costly than working on your core jewellery pieces. With that in mind, you need to know that you are going to be paid for the work you do.

I suggest the following structure:

  • Meet with/talk to the customer to discuss what they want. Agree a price for an initial design, a deposit for working on the piece and final price. Make sure you are also aware of the deadline. I’ve found people tend to want commissioned pieces on a quick turnaround!
  • Complete the initial design and pass this onto the customer who can suggest alterations. If at this point they decide not to take it further you will at least have been paid for your work so far
  • Make the piece, sending photos of work in progress if appropriate
  • Send the piece by recorded delivery (after all this work you don’t want it to get lost!). I have one customer who always sends a car to me to pick up the jewellery!

Ensure you include a business card with your contact details. Often commissions are gifts and you want the recipient to know where to get matching items if they want them!

 

3. How do I work out what to charge?

A difficult question! I suggest charging about £100 for the initial meeting/discussion and design. You will need to make an educated guess about how long the piece will take you to make. When you have done that add at least two hours! I had one commission that broke in the same place three times and took a lot more time than I had hoped.

Normally with pricing jewellery we suggest the following formula:

Cost of time + cost of materials x 2.25

Do this calculation and look at the number that comes out. Remember that if someone is asking for a one off commissioned piece they should be expecting a substantially higher price than you normally charge, in my experience it has been at least three times as much (but this, of course, depends on the size and complexity of the piece you have been commissioned to make).

I have made the mistake of charging too little and was fortunate that the customer that sent the car actually paid me £50 more than I had asked for as he was so pleased with my work!

 

4. How do I get customer commissions?

Make sure you let people know on your website, social media etc, that you are willing to work on commissioned jewellery and give a clear way for them to contact you about this (usually via email).

Ask the customer for their consent to put photographs of the piece on your website but don’t be too disappointed if they don’t want you to do so. The majority of commissions I’ve made are not on my website as they were private commissions and I was asked not to publicise that I’d worked on them.

 

 

Have you worked on jewellery commissions? We’d love to hear your stories, what were the pros and cons? What advice would you give our readers? Let us know in the comments below or share with us via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Jewellery Business Week: Make your brand work for you

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It’s said that your brand is what people say about you or your business when you are not in the room.

So whatever you choose in terms of logos, colours, packaging etc, the name of your business and your online presence, it needs to reflect what you want said about your business.all

Here are a few ideas to help you build your brand.

Brainstorm

Before you do anything with your branding, sit down with a large sheet of paper and coloured pens and brainstorm what you want your business to stand for. Think carefully about the message you want to send out and what types of customer you want to attract.

Ask others to help too and test your branding ideas on friends and family.

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Create a mind map for your brand to help you gather all your ideas

Find your style

Choice of colours or fonts communicates certain things to potential customers – do you want to be seen as classic, funky and modern or ecofriendly? So think long and hard about what that message it is. You may love red but does that send the right message to your customers and even then different shades may make people think differently about your business.

You then need a logo, some beautiful images of your work and usually a basic flyer or printed material to promote your work with. A great way to get your logo designed is using an online marketing place such as DesignCrowd and Concept Cupboard  where you post up what you are looking for and designers compete for the chance to win your project.

You also need to remember that once you have chosen colours, a font, a logo and so on they are going to be part of everything you do. An essential for any brand if that there is consistency so that customers come to recognise and associate it with your jewellery.

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London Jewellery School and now Jewelry From Home have distinctive colours and logos, and rules to ensure these and the brand colours are used consistently

So you want your logo on everything – packaging, price labels and so on – but you also want your boxes, bags and tissue paper to tie in with that. So source them to match your brand colours.

Printing

For labels, stickers and business cards have look at what online providers such as Moo.com, Solopress and Vistaprint have on offer. You may find that one is better value for stickers and another for business cards.

It is always cheaper per item to order large amounts of cards and labels but be realistic about how many you expect to use. And remember you may want to change your branding a bit if early on you discover something doesn’t work.

Online

Social media is crucial for developing and growing your jewellery business (come back tomorrow for advice on this aspect of business). Make sure you use the same colours, logos and images on your social media pages as you do in real life and on your blog, website and/or Etsy shop.

This is all hugely important for your business, particularly for the marketing of your jewellery as it is this consistency and quality-control checking, as well as a clear communication of why you are unique, that will make you stand out as a professional and trustworthy business.

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.

Exciting new jewellery business classes at the London Jewellery School

We are very excited to announce the creation of four new jewellery business classes.

One of the benefits of a truly global online marketplace is that you can sell jewellery to countries you have never been to, and all while you sleep!

However, many other jewellery makers have had the same idea so how do you ensure that you are well represented and promoted online? Following on from our successful PR for your jewellery business taster class our experienced tutor, Anna Campbell, has designed some new classes to help jewellery and craft business owners get online.

Why have you decided to run these new classes?
The PR for your Jewellery business class continues to be a popular and successful taster class. The Jewellery School has grown and our students have grown and many are now looking to sell their jewellery and craft online. The PR class is excellent for those who are already familiar with social networking sites but feedback from our students is that many would like some more practical help with setting up a website, on social networking sites as well as advice on search engine optimisation.

How will the classes be taught?

You will be taught in groups of no more than eight students, as with all our classes. Each student will be provided with a laptop with an internet connection for the duration of the class and your tutor will talk you through the process step by step, giving support and advice on what to say and how to say it and help you feel confident in using your website or social networking sites at home.

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Designing Your Own Website  (10am-5pm)

In this one day intensive class you will set up your own website using the free and simple to use website creation tool weebly.com.

Have a look at your tutor’s website that was created using weebly http://www.acampbell.info/

Techniques covered in this class include:

  • Setting up your own website with your choice of colours and layout
  • Setting up different pages so you can showcase photos of your work, create a ‘contact me’ form, about me section etc
  • Editing and adding to your pages so that you are confident in doing this at home
  • Purchasing a domain name (a website address) and attach it to your website
  • Setting up a sliding gallery of your images
  • Advice on selling online through the website (see below), online marketplace e.g. etsy, folksy etc

This class has been designed for new or existing jewellery business owners who would like to set up a website – whether to showcase their work or to sell from alternative sites e.g. etsy, folksy etc

Please note, if you want to set up a merchandised website you will need to purchase a professional weebly account (this is not covered in the course fee). Advice will be given on this and the costs involved and it is simple to do with weebly via google checkout or a paypal business account.

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Social Media for Your Jewellery Business  (10am-5pm)

To actively promote your jewellery business you need to utilise the free social media that is out there to connect with potential customers. On this course you will set up business accounts and learn how to effectively promote your business on

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • pinterest

You will learn how to brand your business so that you link your social media together and have a coherent look to your business and get advice on how to use these effectively and efficiently so you can get on with making jewellery!

This course is designed for beginners with no knowledge or experience of social media.

Creating Your Own Jewellery Blog  (6.30pm-9.00pm)

Handmade jewellery is more popular than ever but how do you get your story across? Many people looking to buy unique and handmade items want to know the story behind them and the maker. A blog (short for weblog – a type of online diary)  is an excellent way of telling your story and connecting with buyers.

Techniques covered in this class include:

  • Setting up a free blog using google’s blogger.com service
  • Formatting your blog to make it look attractive to readers
  • Learning how to write a blog post, include images etc
  • How to link other social media you may already have to your blog e.g. twitter, facebook, pinterest
  • What to write and how often

Getting your business seen on Google (6.30pm-9.00pm)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is important as it is the way you ensure your website, blog etc appear higher up the google search.

  • Techniques covered in this class:
  • Learn what people search for
  • How to ensure your website/blog etc can be optimised
  • Understand keywords and how to use them

About the tutor – Anna Campbell

My background is quite unusual but ideal for these classes! I am a qualified teacher and have previously worked in IT for a university teaching the professors how to use online services. I have developed my jewellery business and teaching to a point where I have given up that job in order to concentrate more on my business and jewellery designs. I have successfully used social media and my website to generate sales from all over the world.

Join us for an An Evening with Jessica Rose

Entrepreneurship in the Creative Sector 

An Evening with Jessica Rose

Wednesday 29 May       7pm-9pm

Jessica Rose doesn’t just talk about growing a business, she puts what she says into practice every day growing London Jewellery School from a few classes to an expanding internationally recognised brand in just four years.

Now, in a a special LJS networking event, Jessica will talk about developing a company in the creative sector and answer your questions.

Starting with £15k and a few jewellery classes in south London, LJS is now the UK’s largest independent jewellery training centre attracting students from all over the world.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing and now Jessica draws on her experiences good and bad to teach other people founding their own businesses. She is an inspirational role model to other budding entrepreneurs, as well as continuing to develop her own business.

She was recently recognised for her achievements, winning the Artemis Award for businesswomen under 25 at the prestigious NatWest everywoman Awards.

In this special LJS event Jessica will share lessons on growing a successful business in the creative sector to inspire other people to build their own creative enterprises.

In this exclusive event Jessica will discuss:
·       Entrepreneurship
·       The importance of inspiration and innovation
·       Growing a company rather than a business
·       Overcoming challenges
·       And working out your role in your own business.

Jessica’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session and then informal networking over drinks as well as an opportunity to find out more about the LJS franchise scheme, business courses and see the new LJS studio.

This event is of interest to anyone with or considering starting a jewellery business or one in another creative field.

To book your place please email info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk.

Supplier and networking event

logos column 1We have an exciting event happening on Friday 1 March.

We’ve teamed up with some great jewellery suppliers and the Guild of Jewellery Designers  for an evening at the London Jewellery School  studio where you can:

  •  Take advantage of exclusive discounts
  • Ask  suppliers about their range
  • See tools demonstrated
  • Network with other jewellery makers
  • All over a glass of wine.

Taking part in the event are:


Access to the event, which will start at 7pm, will be by ticket, issued on a first come first served, and numbers will be strictly limited. To book please email info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk.

Jewellery Business Week – Anna Campbell shares her web wisdom

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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.

The photo in this blog post was taken by photographer Gary Ullah at Crafty Websites who offers jewellery photography as a service.

biz 2Don’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.