Tag Archives: distance learning jewellery business course

Building a jewellery brand

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Launching a strong brand is easier said than done and requires a little bit of planning, soul searching and research.  Jeweller, Karen Young, outlines the four key elements you need to consider when developing your jewellery brand. 

A good way of approaching the development of your brand is to come from the point of view that everything is connected, and you need to work on the entire brand experience if you want to build a brand that grows your business.

Your branding is a visual indicator of what your company offers as a whole, and goes beyond just your jewellery. It is just as much about your design process and materials used, customer service, perceived value, visual identity, and market differentiation as it is about the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that you sell.

Your branding can be broken down into 4 areas that you can work on to develop your jewellery branding ‘package’:

  1. Your Story
  2. Your Visual Identity
  3. Customer Perception, and
  4. Your Market Differentiation.

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The four key elements to build a powerful jewellery brand

 

1. Your Story

Your story is almost as important as the jewellery itself in terms of creating a connection with customers.  In the handmade marketplace, you and your story is what encourages customers to buy. By making that connection, they’ll be more likely to remember your work and return.

Your customers and potential customers are interested in how you craft your pieces and how you transform raw materials into something creative and unique.  They want to know about you, your skills, the tools you use, the reason you started on your creative journey and ultimately why you do what you do.  There is an emotional connection and when they buy a piece of your jewellery they purchase a little bit of the ‘magic’ that is you and your creations.

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A great way of starting to build the customer connection is by writing an artist statement.  Your artist statement will summarise your story, what your values are, what drives you, and why you make jewellery.  You can then weave the essence your of artist statement into your branding including your tag line, your website and your about page, your business cards and other printed marketing materials, social media and your face to face sales pitch.

2. Your Visual Identity

A strong visual identity goes far beyond a snazzy logo (which is a great start by the way!).  You need to really understand your customers and what their motivations and needs are in order to start building a powerful visual identify.  It demonstrates that you are able to relate to your customers lives and their style on a personal level.  You will do this through many elements such as colour, fonts, vectors, your tag line, and by keeping these consistent across every touchpoint with your customer.  Each of these things should ‘speak’ to your target customer and create an emotional connection over time.

Your photography is another critical aspect of your visual identity – you want to really show off the detail of your beautifully handcrafted pieces.  If you don’t have clear photos that make your customer believe they are seeing the piece in person, then no amount of social media, Facebook ads or email promotion will sell your jewellery.

Also think about the style of photography that best represents your brand.  Do you want to create a vintage feel to your photographs or does a simple, modern and sharp photographic style represent your brand best?  You will want to keep your signature photography ‘style’ consistent across your website, social media and printed materials.

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An example of a lifestyle photograph incorporating jewellery

A key area where your visual identity really comes together is through your printed materials such as tags, jewellery boxes, business cards, other inserts for your packages and even your jewellery displays at craft fairs and events. Your branding should be consistent across every touchpoint with the customer both virtually and in person.

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By creating a strong visual identify you effectively create a visual language that you use to present and promote your jewellery brand to the world that will create a connection and will be remembered.

3. Customer Perception

What do you want your customers to think of you, feel about you and remember about you?

Remember no one needs jewellery!  And so perception of you and how your brand makes them feel is essential in motivating people to buy.  Those thoughts and feelings are directly influenced by the way you communicate your business message, and how you treat prospects and customers.

You can create a beautiful logo and sophisticated marketing materials, but if your customer service is inconsistent and below parr, your brand will not have the best  reputation it could do, and will put people off buying.

If customers perceive your jewellery to indicate a certain lifestyle, emotion or ideal, then they will be willing to pay for a little piece of it.  A diamond for example is essentially a lump of carbon!  But through clever marketing people see them as a luxury item that will last forever and will pay a lot of money for it.  So it is worth spending a little bit of time brainstorming how you want your customers to ‘feel’ about you and your jewellery as this will underpin all of your branding decisions including your photography and product descriptions.

4. Your Market Differentiation

Why should people buy from you and not another designer? 

What makes you and your brand different from the competition?  Is your finish better?  Do you make particular use of a technique or material?  Do you package your jewellery more beautifully that the competition?  Do you offer an extra personal touch with your customer service? It is these small details that create differentiation between you and the next designer so really try and drill down into quite a low level about these little details so that you can succinctly articulate the end-to-end customer experience to your customers and how you will meet their needs better than anyone else.  Buying jewellery is a considered purchase for most people and an experience, so it is your job to make sure it is a good one, as this is what encourages people not only to buy but to come back again and again.

Building a strong and memorable brand does take time and patience, but by considering these four elements of your brand from the outset you can start creating emotional connections with your customers that mean you will be seen and remembered in a busy marketplace.

What are your top tips when it comes to branding your business – tell us in the comments below!

Special Business Week offers

Our founder, Jessica Rose is hosting a FREE webinar masterclass on 26th January at 6.30pm on Boosting your Online Sales.  Grab your spot on the webinar here.

And don’t forget our special offers on business courses for this week only we are offering 25% off business day classes held here at the School using the code 23011701.  This code can only be used over the phone so please call on 020 3176 0546 to book your place.   This discount is only available on bookings made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 January 2016 inclusive.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

And our New 8-week Online Jewellery Business Bootcamp will be starting on 27th January so if you would like more help with your jewellery business we would love you to join us!  

 

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

 

London Jewellery School are moving home to Hatton Garden!

We are MOVING! Facebook Post

Yes it is true! We are moving home to Hatton Garden!!!

Whilst we have very much enjoyed our time near Brick Lane, from 7th July we will start to move into our brand new premises in Hatton Gardens (opposite Cookson Gold!) and are looking forward to being back where we belong!

As such, the School will be closed from 7th – 10th July and will formally reopen on Monday 11th July in our lovely new studio!

From 11th July, our new address will be:

New House
67-68 Hatton Garden
London EC1N 8JY

All classes will take place in our new studio from this date. We are so excited about coming home to the jewellery quarter and being surrounded by our lovely suppliers and friends in the jewellery industry.

We will have 2 fully equipped jewellery studios and a dedicated area for private tuition and wedding ring workshops – the building works are nearly complete and we can’t wait to invite you into our brand new space in just a couple of weeks. To come see us be sure to check out the latest classes on our timetable.

We will share some photos of our lovely new studios as soon as it is finished! But in the meantime – here is a sneak peak of the building works so far….

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Times are certainly changing and whatever happens, we will be here with our doors open to everyone.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk if you have any questions at all!

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

Join Jessica for her FREE 3-Part Jewellery Business Video Series!

London Jewellery School Online_FREE Start a Jewellery Business 3 part video course out now!

Happy Bank Holiday weekend! Hooray!

And the best news is that it’s not too late to join Jessica Rose for her FREE 3-part video series – ‘Start a Jewellery Business’!!!

What better way to spend the long weekend than joining Jessica to learn all about building the business and future of your dreams. Doing something that you love for a living takes time and hard work but it is 100% worth it and completely possible. 

Which is why we have put together a FREE video series for you to develop your skills in ‘the business side’ of making jewellery. Wether you are a complete beginner or seasoned jeweller this course and complimentary downloadable Jewellery Start-Up Guide’ will give you and your business the ‘Umph’ you need to move to the next level.

Be prepared for motivation, tips, planning tools, and actionable resources to get to moving with your jewellery business straight away.

What’s more… you have nothing to loose, this course is completely FREE and available for you to access anytime, anywhere 24/7 starting this Weekend.

Sound good? If you haven’t already, you can enrol here!

The first part of the course course is already live and you will be able to access it straight away.

So what does the course cover I hear you ask… 

Great question! It is a three week course designed to get you started in pushing your business to the next level and to build a creative career that you love. 

Week 1: Jessica’s Top Tips for Building a Jewellery Business: This lesson is full of essential top tips to get you set for success! We will be thinking about the foundations and building blocks to starting or growing a solid jewellery business and get you ready to start building your jewellery business model in Video 2!

Week 2: Business Planning for Jewellers: Jessica will guide you though an amazing business planning tool ‘The Jewellery Business Model’. Looking at; your vision, customers, pricing, collections, suppliers and much more from a strategy viewpoint (sounds very formal but is super fun!). Download your handy Business Start-up Guide’ and work along with her to create a model for your dream handmade jewellery business.

Week 3: Building a Brand for Your Jewellery Business: It’s all about branding your jewellery and your business looking at your ethos, your copy and your visuals so that the people who want to buy from you, are not only aware of your brand, but they covet and desire what you have to offer! 

Over the course of the 3 weeks you will learn all the basics about how to build a profitable and productive handmade jewellery business!

Click on the link below to enroll now…

http://learn.jewelleryschoolonline.com/courses/starting-a-jewellery-business

You will have access to video 1, and the handy ‘Jewellery Business Start-up Guide’ to work along-side Jessica in building your DREAM Jewellery Business.

And that’s not all – Following the video series Jessica will be inviting you to a FREE live webinar on one of the hottest topics – Pricing your Jewellery for Profit! So stay signed up to hear details about that when it drops!

Have a wonderful weekend and hope to see you on the course!

Podcasts to inspire creativity

London Jewellery School Blog - Podcasts for Creativity!

Tutor Anna Campbell has become slightly obsessed with podcasts! Here she recommends her favourites to inspire creativity

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio file, similar to a radio programme, that is available to listen to online via your computer or to download onto your smartphone or tablet device to listen to offline. There are thousands of regular podcasts out there and I got into listening to them through the award winning crime podcast Serial, series 1 (if you were also hooked on that I highly recommend you listen to Undisclosed which looks at the same case in much more depth).

I tend to download podcasts onto my phone to listen to when I am commuting.

Here are some of my favourite podcasts on creativity and how you can listen to them.

 

Recommended podcasts to feed your creativity:

  1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

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Happier is a weekly podcast where writer Gretchen Rubin talks to her sister Elizabeth Craft about research and ideas on how to be happier. The reason I am recommending this for creativity is because her most recent book, and the focus of the podcast, is how to create lasting habits. Often creative people find it difficult to start and maintain habits around their creativity and this can lead them to feel stuck. You don’t have to listen from the beginning, you can start with this week’s episode.

This weekly podcast (that I always listen to on the way to work on a Wednesday!) is a gentle reminder of great ideas on keeping and maintaining habits and of how to be happier!

http://gretchenrubin.com/podcast/

 

2. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz Gilbert Podcast

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, has written a book called Big Magic: creative living beyond fear in which she shares her wisdom on creativity. On the podcast she interviewed ordinary creative people (not famous artists) that had got in touch with her about where they were stuck creatively. Liz gave her advice and would also interview a famous researcher or artist on the issue. Series 1 has finished and is well worth a listen. Series 2 is currently being recorded.

http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/

 

3. Accidental Creative

accidental Creative podcast

This podcast, hosted by author Todd Henry, interviews artists, authors and business leaders and offers tips on creativity in life and work. This podcast is both creativity and business focussed. An example of a piece of advice that I loved from a recent episode was to end with the beginning in mind. Todd was recommending that when you finish working on something for the day, make sure you know where you need to start the next day before you go and do something else. Julian Fellowes, the writer of Downton Abbey, said that he never stops writing at the end of a chapter or scene, he always writes at least a few sentences to start the next part so he knows where he had planned to go next. I love this advice and have found it really helpful in my own work.

http://www.accidentalcreative.com/category/podcasts/

 

4. Craftcast with Alison Lee

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Host Alison Lee talks to well-known artists in their field, including jewellery artists, about their work and inspirations. I always find listening to other artists talk about their work inspiring.

https://www.craftcast.com/podcasts

 

5. Creative living with Jamie

Woman raising her hands at sunrise

This is one of the first creativity podcasts I ever listened to. Hosted by Canadian artist Jamie Ridler who talks about her own creative process as well as interviewing artists about their creative lives. Even if you don’t recognise the artist’s name it is fascinating and inspiring to hear about other people’s creative lives, how they get inspired and to be inspired myself!

http://www.jamieridlerstudios.ca/podcast/

 

6. How do I listen to podcasts?

You can listen directly from the podcast website on your computer. If you want to download the episodes to listen to when you don’t have an internet connection the instructions depend on what device you have!

a. Apple – iphone or ipad

You will already have the podcast app on your device. It looks like this:

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  • Touch this icon, which will open your podcast app
  • Tap on search, type in the search box for the podcast you would like to listen to
  • You can subscribe to the podcast (this means that your device will automatically add new episodes when they are published by the podcaster)
  • Alternatively, you can just download and listen to one episode at a time. Tap the cloud icon next to an episode to download
  • Downloaded episodes will appear on your screen, tap on it to play it

You can find more information on podcasts for Apple here

 

b. Android – tablet or smartphone

If you have an Android tablet or smartphone (basically anything that isn’t Apple!) you will need to download a podcast player first in order to listen to podcasts.

  • Go to the play store or store on your device
  • Type in the podcast player name of your choice (here is an article on the different podcast players for Android). I use Podcast Addict
  • Install the app
  • To search for a podcast open the app by tapping on it, tap the plus sign and search engine
  • Type in the name of the podcast and tap search
  • When you have found the right podcast tap subscribe
  • Tap in the three lines (top left) and choose the podcast
  • Tap the downward arrow to download
  • Tap on the episode and the play button to listen

There is more information on using Podcast Addict here.

Do you have any podcasts you can recommend? We would love to hear from you via the comments below or via our twitter or facebook pages.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Competition: Show us your spring jewellery

8201705927_fd3526c255_mLast week we gave you a quick round-up of some of the major fashion trends in jewellery this spring as well as creating a Pinterest board featuring some pieces to inspire you. They include primary and neon colours like lemon and poppy red, big “gems”, dramatic statement pieces and tribal and animal print influences.8190657910_3d53a3c05f_m

Now we want to see your unique approaches to these trends – how are you interpreting the “spring looks”. Our themed jewellery making competitions seem the most popular so think spring.

And because thinking about trends is a useful thing for any of you selling or thinking of selling your jewellery, this time the prize is a copy of our Distance Learning Jewellery Business Course (normally £99 + P&P). This is a mine of useful information about all aspects of running your own business from pricing and budgeting to marketing and sales plus you will receive a £50 LJS gift voucher and a year’s membership of LJS.

How to enter:

Send a picture of your piece with a short explanation of how it fits the spring theme to press@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk by midnight on Sunday 31 March.

Also include details of any websites, blogs, Twitter or Facebook pages you use to promote or show off your jewellery.

We’ll put the pictures and your information up on our Facebook page as they come in – and then choose a winner after the closing date.

Your 11 business week steps for your jewellery venture

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As part of Jewellery Business Week we’ve been bringing you top business tips all week on Facebook. Now here they all are in one place as handy guide.

1.   Identify what makes you special/ unique

USP –Unique Selling Point – every business needs to have something special about it that makes it stand out from the competition and offers that WOW factor. Think about what you offer that others don’t such as using unique materials in your work, offering excellent customer service or being based in an excellent location. Or it could be a mixture of things.

If you have a business or are thinking of starting one, think about two key things that you think make you and your business special.

2.   Make sure you have excellent photographs to show of your pieces

Pictures need to be of outstanding quality especially when selling online as they are all your customers have to go from.

If you need some help with taking your own pictures you might want to take a look at the LJS photograph jewellery 1-day class.  http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/jewellery-business/photograph-your-jewellery/

3.   Make a plan and work really hard to achieve it

I can’t stress enough the importance of writing your business plan, it will help guide you through the process of setting up and building a successful business.

Click on the link to see a very useful video in how to write your own business plan and what to include https://www.gov.uk/write-business-plan

finance-20114.   Keep a keen eye on your finances

Without money you don’t have a business so you need to make sure that from the get-go you have a good handle on your finances.

Keep all receipts and invoices, update your accounts at least monthly and track how well you are doing year on year so that you can compare and see your progress.

5 – Build your social network – facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogs

It is crucial these days to be promoting yourself online and particularly through social networks, it is such an excellent opportunity to engage potential customers, send out your key messages and generally promote your brand.

6 – Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes are fine as long as you learn from them. ooopsEvery business owner in history has made mistakes but the key is to recognise them before its too late and make changes in your business to head back towards success.

One mistake I made early on was not creating a business plan, so I was effectively going in to business blindly. Luckily I realized I really did need one after abut 9 months in business and once I had created it, it made such an impact to the direction of my business, not to mention giving me some much needed confidence.

7 – Take advantage of the resources on offer to you as a small business owner/ start-up.

There are plenty of resources that can help you on your way, see some of out favorites below and if you have any of your own you would like to share, then please leave a link to their website below:
British Library and IP centre – http://www.bl.uk/bipc/
Business link – https://www.gov.uk/browse/business
The guardian small business network –http://www.guardian.co.uk/small-business-network
Creative choices – http://www.creative-choices.co.uk/
Get mentoring – http://getmentoring.org/
Smata – http://www.smarta.com/
LJS blog posts (of course!) –https://blog.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/
Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course –http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/distance-learning/jewellery-business-distance-learning-course/

package8 – Make packaging part of the experience.

We all know from buying jewellery that the packaging can be almost as important as the actual piece. When your customers open their intricate hand-made order for the first time the way it is packaged is all part of the experience. So consider your packaging carefully and make sure it is suited to the jewellery you are selling.

9. Build a mailing list of customers and potential customers and send out a newsletter a few times a year to remind them of what shows you are doing, info on your new collections, sales and discounts available or exciting new developments that would interest them.

Always remember to get permission before adding anyone to a mailing list.

A great programme to use for doing professional mailouts is mailchimp and whats more is free to start, check it out – http://mailchimp.com/

10. Get practical! Make sure you fulfill all of the legal requirements of setting up and running a business includingfiling copy
– Registering as a sole trader or limited company with HMRC
– Setting up a professional business bank account
– Making sure you get the basic insurance needed to cover all your activities
– Registering for hallmarking if you are selling precious metals
– Register for VAT once turnover has exceeded the limit
– Complete your annual accounts on time and submit to HMRC or companies house

Sorting all of these out early on will really help to put your mind at ease that you are on top of everything.

11. Share your business story

A great way to give your business meaning and stand out in peoples mind is to share your story, why you got in to jewellery making, what is special about the type of jewellery you make, what does it mean to you, what things have you had to overcome in your personal/ business life to get to the stage you are at now?

All these things give your business a real-life, personal touch that customers can relate to.

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.

Ask Jessica – get your business questions ready

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What do you want to know about running a jewellery business?

We have just the person to ask.

Jess Award Pic Happy

LJS founder and winner of a NatWest Everywoman award for entrepreneurship Jessica Rose will be answering your questions live on our Facebook page tomorrow between 2 and 4pm.

Have  your questions ready, whether they be about marketing your jewellery, creating a business plan or the thorny issue of getting your pricing right. Think about what you want to ask and then post your question of the Facebook thread tomorrow.

Then all you have to do is follow the discussion from 2pm.

biz 2And 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.

Making it as a jewellery designer

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Guest blogger Laura McCreddie, editor of Retail Jeweller, takes a look at some of the things budding jewellery designers should think about in 2013.

There has never been a more exciting time to be a jewellery designer in the UK. Consumers and the fashion press are starting to show an interest in jewellery as a statement in its own right rather than it just being an accent, while the clothing provides the real focus, and more and more designer-makers are garnering the kind of column inches usually reserved for those who know what it means to cut cloth on a bias.

However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to be a designer these days. As being a jewellery designer has become perceived more and more as a glamorous career option, students are flocking to jewellery design courses meaning the market is becoming flooded with graduates both good and bad, which means that in order to survive you not only need to be exceptional, you also need to stand out and be able to adapt.

The major challenge those in jewellery design have is they have to compete not only for the consumers’ limited spare cash but having to do so against a background of an increasingly crowded market and rising metal prices.

The first decision is whether to occupy a niche or offer a broad collection to appeal to the largest number of consumers.

clair english

Claire English’s Things Beginning with M collection

One of the things some of my favourite designers, who are also very successful, do is actually manage a bit of both.

People such as Claire English, Jessica de Lotz, Clarice Price Thomas, Katie Rowland, and Alice Menter all have styles that, at first glance, are not particularly geared towards the mainstream, but look closer and you’ll realise that there is always a crowd pleaser in the collection.

Take Claire English for example – her bracelets and necklaces cast from dead mice and magpie claws might not be to everyone’s taste but her matchstick and bubble blower pieces are hardly outré.

The same goes for Jessica de Lotz, her handcuff necklace may be a little too confrontational for some but her wax seal pendants work on everyone.

Jessica de Lotz’s bangle with wax seal

All these women have achieved an important but vital balance with their designs  – they have managed to stand out, but their jewellery still has commercial appeal, which is so necessary in an environment where consumers are becoming more and more reticent to open their wallets.

Designers these days cannot get away with ploughing the avant-garde furrow that got them rave reviews at their graduate show. In order to survive that individualism has to be translated into something that people will buy.

And that is not the only way designers now need to adapt – rising metal prices has meant that creating entire pieces in precious metals can be prohibitive both for the designer and for the consumer.

However, this can be an invite to experiment. Setting silver with precious stones is one option, but well-made brass jewellery as well as pieces mixing precious metals with material such as wood has become more popular and consumers are becoming less snobby about jewellery that commands a decent price but isn’t made from precious metals.

It is an amazing time for the British jewellery industry but in order to succeed in it now you need to have a clear idea of where you’re going as well as the desire to work hard to get there.

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biz 2To follow up on any of the advice this week check out the LJS distance learning jewellery business course which covers all aspects of running your jewellery business in detail. Don’t forget to take advantage of the special jewellery week 15% discount on the course.  It 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.

You can find out more about all LJS’s business courses here.

And don’t forget to have a look at thedaily business tips appearing on the LJS Facebook page all week.

Jewellery Business Week – Hayley Kruger on learning from experience

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Hayley Kruger sells her own statement jewellery designs under the Hayley Kruger Adornment brand as well as teaching a range of classes including  beading and leather jewellery  at the London Jewellery School.

She is also one of the presenters on the videos for our distance learning business course.

What motivated you to start your own jewellery business?
I have always been strongly independent and so having my own business was an inevitable goal, but I was finally driven to it after working as a jewellery designer for many high street brands, where you are very restricted by what you can design.
And so when the opportunity came about that I could create my own range I jumped at the chance.

What has been your best business decision?
Having opted out of big business loans, when this was still available, I avoided  being restricted having to pay back large amounts of money.  Meaning that I had to learn very quickly about cash flow and how to manage my invoices. Some  might say that a large loan would have bought me more exposure and PR, as  well as fancier studios, but I have witnessed other business and designers who  did take this route and now they have a heavy burden to bear.  Particularly  during this tough financial time.

What has been the biggest surprise/shock about running your own  business?
Things rarely go according to plan. And plans always take three times longer than expected. Fact!

Would you like to share a mistake you’ve made that others could learn from?
Be prepared and know your prices before approaching any potential stockists.  I embarrassingly made the mistake of not doing this once and ended up feeling like a total amature and fool.  The stockist questioned me on the wholesale and retail prices of my products and the lead times that it would take to full fill and order, as all stockists do.
I know now that this is obviously the most important information to any potential buyer, as we are both running a business after all.  However all I wanted was for some one to tell me how wonderful my jewellery was.  Some times it is hard to distance yourself for the emotional connection  that you have with your work and  to put on a business head, but this comes with time.

What one thing would you say to someone starting their own jewellery business?
Be hard working, tenacious and above all be passionate about what you do.
As if you don’t love it, how can you expect any one else to love it too, but don’t be put of or dissapointed if a few retailers or buyers turn you down, as you can’t please every one all the time.

Take their comments on board and be prepared to learn and grow.

Special offer to help grow your business

biz 2Don’t forget there is still time to take advantage of 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.