Tag Archives: Jewellery Business

Mini-Adventures in Selling Jewellery on Etsy with Jessica Rose

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Our Founder, Jessica Rose, has sold jewellery for many years in boutiques and galleries, but recently set up her first Etsy Shop and started selling online in the name of research.  And today she shares with you everything she has learned about successfully selling on Etsy! 

 

Having sold my jewellery on and off for the past 9 years, alongside setting up the London Jewellery School, Jewellery School Online and various other, yes you guessed it, jewellery related ventures! I decided to have a go at setting up my own Etsy shop.  One thing I love about running a jewellery business is there are always new things to try, new things to learn about and new mini-adventures to go on. Here is what I have learnt so far from my mini-Etsy adventure. To anyone who has an Etsy shop or is considering starting one – I highly recommend it, there is so much opportunity there, once you know how to access it…

I started out by quizzing everyone I know at the jewellery school about the pros and cons of selling on Etsy and learnt that it is really important to have a strong and extensive collection…

Tip 1: Aim for 100 items! 

sell-jewellery-on-etsy-jessica-rose-copyJessica Rose Jewellery Etsy Shop

Ok, maybe not all in one go, but a few colleagues mentioned that their shop really increased in activity once they had passed this magic 100 mark.  I would not have guessed that.  Traditionally when selling jewellery, less is more and we don’t want to over-crowd our stalls or fill our collections up with ‘jumble-sale approach’ pieces.  However it does make sense that more-is-more from a ‘being seen’ point-of-view in the Etsy Search Engine.  The more items we have, the more pages we have and the more chance of showing up in the Etsy search results. So build your collections as you go.

The next lesson shared with me, which is one I’m always banging on about anyway, is of course, the importance of killer images.

Tip 2: Images that make customers fall in love! 

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Photo credit: Karen Young Jewellery 

If you want some examples of this, look no further than our very own Karen Young’s lovely etsy page. It is not enough anymore to just have beautiful jewellery on a white background (although of course that is nice). We need ‘lifestyle’ pictures, showing customers how the jewellery looks in relation to other things, be it a nice piece of wood, shells, teacups, vintage books, a pretty flower, some gemstones – the world is your oyster.  The important thing is to show different angles and, through your images, speak to the customer about how this jewellery will make them feel inside.

What about the process of setting up an Etsy shop? – Well its pretty straight forward but I would dedicate some time to it.  A day or two for photography and writing descriptions and a day or two to upload everything, depending on how large your collection is. Make sure you have at least one item, photographed and ready to go as you are creating your shop. You can’t activate your shop without an active listing.

And Etsy offer a lot of help!  They are actually running a special email series to help you get your shop up and running called the Etsy Resolution which starts on 27th Jan – you can find out more here.

That brings us on to product descriptions…

Tip 3: Informative, engaging and compelling product descriptions

Whether you are new to Etsy/ selling online or have done it for many years, we can always do with improving our descriptions. Of course they need to be informative – to include all the info a customer needs to buy, exact materials, lengths, any variations such as different gemstones, gold or silver, is it plated, filled or solid?  The more you can say the better. Alongside the information don’t forget your brands tone-of-voice. Let your personality come across.

Tip 4: The people want to know about YOU Yup, it took me a while when starting my business to work this one out, that anyone buying handmade wants to know about the designer behind the work, the entrepreneur behind the business. And why not? You are awesome after all….

Jokes aside, it is important to fill out all of the sections in your etsy shop with a little about you, your values, why you are selling your jewellery, your process, what materials you work with etc…

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All of that is well and good but what about some practical action we can take to improve sales in our etsy shop today? 

Tip 5: Be sure to post regularly;

  • On Facebook, and it may be a good idea to ‘boost’ posts relating to selling your jewellery on Etsy so that a wider audience can see it. Or set up a Facebook ad for yourself in Ads Manager.
  • Post on Etsy itself in the ‘Updates section’ it helps communicate with your customers and helps your shop to look up-to-date and active.
  • Also you can post on your blog if you have one, start one if you don’t; or select your favourite social platforms, such as instagram, twitter, pinterest… the list goes on.

And another practical tip for those more technically minded…

Tip 6: Match your Tags, Titles and Materials 

SEO, search engine optimisation, is key on Etsy to get your items seen. We can help that along a bit by;

  1. Listing items regularly (each time you list an item it goes towards the top of the results)
  2. Using all the characters in your product titles, include keywords in there
  3. Match your tags to the titles, include all those words in the ‘tag’ section too
  4. And be as detailed as you can on the ‘materials’ section. List every material used to make that piece

Phew! That’s quite a lot to get through. Like anything that is worthwhile, in business (and in life) building a strong sales base and following on Etsy takes time. And effort. No uploading a bunch of items and then leaving it and hoping for the best (that is how we get disheartened!). But what Etsy has shown to me over the past few weeks of experimenting, is that it can work, and it can work really well. If you are prepared to put the time and effort in. Which of course we are ☺

On to my final tip (for now)

Tip 7: Quality is essential 

It goes without saying, but building your skills as a jeweller and business owner so that you are confident in the quality of your work, your processes and your business knowledge is essential. None of us are perfect but we usually want our jewellery to be, so investing in your training and your skills, in my opinion, is always a worthwhile investment. Make sure each piece you send out is of the highest quality and is something you would love to receive.

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If you would like to learn more about setting up and running your own successful, profitable and sustainable jewellery business then it’s not too late to join me for our brand new comprehensive 8-week online intensive course: The Jewellery Business Bootcamp, find out more and enrol for a spot here > (http://learn.jewelleryschoolonline.com/p/the-jewellery-business-bootcamp

We start this Friday 27th January and I would love to have you join me and our lovely community of budding and growing jewellers. Everyone is welcome. 

All that is left to say is best of luck for anyone trying out Etsy for the first time, I’m with ya! And for all the Etsy old-timers, we would love to hear more of your knowledge and wisdom, so do share a comment or two below about what works for you.

Until next time, Happy Making

Jessica x

 

Author: Jessica Rose

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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.

If you’d like to be kept informed of our jewellery business courses, free articles and offers subscribe to our jewellery business list

Creating a marketing and PR strategy for your business

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Whether you’re just starting out or your business is established it’s important to invest some time into planning your business focus and actions. Business people often prioritise writing a business plan, but for success a marketing plan should also be a priority. Business tutor Anna Campbell gives you a step by step guide to help you write your marketing strategy.

A marketing plan or pr strategy is a blueprint for your marketing and advertising goals within a timeframe. It is helpful to spend some focussed time working on this as it will help direct your marketing actions for the year.

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Identify your current situation

Your first step is to honestly identify your current situation in terms of sales and marketing. What activities have you done up until now to promote sales? What has worked well? What hasn’t worked? Why do you think it worked or didn’t work?

Block out half a day to work on your plan and start with a SWOT analysis and look at:

Strengths – what is working well for your business? What advantages do you have e.g. contacts that have been helpful, social media following etc

Weaknesses – what hasn’t worked so well? What gaps do you have? What do you want to prioritise?

Opportunities – look to your strengths and weaknesses and consider how you can capitalise on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses

Threats – threats can be external issues that you have little control over e.g. economic issues, amount of time you have to work on your business etc. Think creatively about how these can be turned into opportunities for example, if there is an economic downturn in the area you sell in consider the types of product you are selling and work on a more affordable range.

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For your SWOTs think about the ‘w’ questions to give you as many ideas as possible. These are –

Who – about you, your business, your customers, your outlets

Where – online, markets, craft fairs, shops, galleries etc

Why – what is your focus? Why are you building your business?

What – focussing on product, packaging etc

When – set targets and goals (see below)

How – think about how you are going to prioritise your time in your business

Goal setting

Once you have spent some time thinking about the status quo your focus should move to what you want to achieve with your marketing. Is it to create sales, build awareness of your brand, get repeat sales, sell at prestigious locations? This may sound obvious to you but your goals may be different to someone else.

Be specific about your goals and set a time limit to help you focus.

Your customers

You also need to consider carefully your current customers and your ideal customer. When deciding where to market your product – online or offline – you need to ensure you are targeting sites and publications that your customer will read.

Also, you will have different types of customers – some that don’t know about you yet, some that know about you but haven’t bought, some that have bought once and some that are regular customers. Have a look at this previous blog post for more detail on how to address these different types of customer with your marketing.

Restrictions

You may have restrictions such as the amount of time you have to devote to marketing in your working week or financial restrictions on paying for advertising. Plan a budget for both your time and money and try to ensure you focus your marketing actions on those things that will bring you closer to your goal.

Also ensure you set some time limits on your goals e.g. I’d like to be selling in three different shops by December 2017. This helps you focus on the important goals when you are caught up in the day to day.

It may seem like a big task to plan your Marketing and PR but it will save you time in the long run as it will be clear what activities do and fit within the plan which can save you both time and money.

What other tips do you have for making the most out of your time dedicated to Marketing and PR?  Tell us in the comments below!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

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!  

If you’d like to be kept informed of our jewellery business courses, free articles and offers subscribe to our jewellery business list

Author: Anna Campbell

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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

 

10 jewellery books for your christmas list

When it comes to books for jewellery and inspiration we still prefer leafing through a physical book rather than a digital one. Here are a few of our favourites, old and new, and some ideas for your christmas list…

1. For pure inspiration:

The fabulous jewels sold by Christies and the stories behind them:

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Christies: the jewellery archives revealed by Vincent Meyland published by ACC Art books

 

A lavish look at precious metals and gemstones alongside beautiful photos of how they have been used to make jewellery:

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Jewel: a celebration of earth’s treasures, foreword by Judith Miller. Published by Dorling Kindersley

 

We love the ‘500’ series which also includes books on earrings, art necklaces, bracelets. We’d love a set of them all! Full of inspiring photos of pieces made by artists using traditional and nontraditional materials:

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500 earrings: new directions in contemporary jewelry. Published by Lark books

 

2. For how to guides

Written by our founder Jessica Rose, this book of bead and wire projects also looks at how to get inspired using mood boards and collages:

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Bead and wire fashion jewelry by Jessica Rose. Published by GMC

 

A classic must have book for all silversmiths:

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The complete metalsmith by Tim McCreight. Published by Davis Publications.

 

From using bought mounts to making your own, this book covers a large range of stone setting techniques:

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Stonesetting for contemporary jewellery makers by Melissa Hunt. Published by Search Press Ltd

 

A practical guide to what to do when things go wrong!

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Successful jewellery maker: problems, solutions and best practice by Frieda Munro

 

30 metal clay projects collated by Making Jewellery magazine editor Sian Hamilton:

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Metal clay jewellery workshop: handcrafted designs and techniques by Sian Hamilton. Published by GMC

 

3. For jewellery business

This book, written by a successful jewellery business owner based in London, discusses all aspects of setting up your business:

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Setting up a successful jewellery business by Angie Boothroyd. Published by A & C Black Publishers Ltd.

 

Looking at the business side of being a jewellery artist:

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How to create your own jewelry line by Emilie Shapiro. Published by Lark Books.

 

What jewellery book have you got on your Christmas list? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Spotlight on Vlad Zoldak – our 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year!

In August we ran our 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year competition and were thrilled by the amazing designs entered!   So many of you wanted to know more about the designers behind the winning entries.
In part 1 of this series we featured Kim Styles who won 2nd Place in the competition.  And today we are speaking to Vlad Zoldak who won 1st place for the amazing Interstellar Ring design.
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Interstellar Ring by Vlad Zoldak
Huge congratulations Vlad! Your Interstellar Ring is breathtaking!  Can you tell us a bit more about the piece and the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration for the ring came out of the stone itself really. When I looked at it for the first time after it arrived I couldn’t help myself wondering what made it possible that such stone grew here. The stone immediately felt like frozen block of crystals clear blue water that may have landed here from place not known to us yet. I loved the stone from the beginning and it is one of my favourite stones to this day. I knew that I wanted to keep as much of the stone on display as possible so I had to think of the best way to set it. The choice of material and design came out naturally as just silver and good old soldering is really what I love about making jewellery. I knew that I wanted to set the stone in strands of silver square wire to resemble the geometric cut of the stone but the idea with different lengths strands came later and resembled crystallising water.
How and when did your jewellery making journey start?
I always loved silver jewellery. I lived in Camden Town for a time and I grew to admire the craftsmanship of some of the jewellery makers at our local market. I began to think about jewellery making more, and found myself searching for jewellery courses that would fit my family and work commitments. I found the London Jewellery School and I liked what they had to offer so I went for it!
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Silver and gemstone ring by Vlad Zoldak 
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Have you had any formal training? If so where did you train?
My only formal training that I had was at the London Jewellery School. I took several courses on subjects that I knew I wanted to concentrate on. I then took everything that I have learned there to my studio and began to experiment.
Where do you typically find inspiration for what to make next?
I primarily work with stones set in silver or plain silver. The inspiration always come directly from stones that I buy the design comes later. On pieces without stone I gain inspiration from pretty much anything; my surroundings, nature, my family…etc.
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What are your favourite techniques or medium?
Good old soldering and 925 Silver.
What are your favourite tools?
My torch, saw and dremel.
Do you offer workshops or classes?
Yes, I offer free classes to my 4 year old son 😉. No I don’t have immediate plans to provide any classes or workshops but that is something I would eventually like to do.
\What is the favourite thing(s) that you have made to date?
A pair of earrings that I made for my other half.
What is next for you and your jewellery business and what do you hope to achieve in the next 18-24 months?
I am currently working on new collections but also a few one-off pieces. I will be spending a lot of time in my studio in order to prepare for jewellery shows and fair that I would like to be part of.  I am also looking to complete few more courses to develop my techniques.
Do you have a website? How can we see more of your work? [Please include web address or the likes of etsy shop links plus your social media channels]
I am currently updating my website and blog as they no longer served the needs of my business. However, you can find me on Etsy, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Vlad.  Your work is just outstanding and we are so proud to have played a small part in your jewellery making journey.  All of us here at LJS wish you the very best of success!

 

Slight amendment! 20 Free Listings on Folksy!

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Huge apologies – there was a typo in the code for 20 free listings on Folksy we gave you yesterday!  Please use the code LSJ20 to sign up!  Here is the link to sign up – https://folksy.com/landing/sell-handmade-jewellery-online!

Apologies again and good luck with your new Folksy shops!

Happy Making! x

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!

Make your Mark Event 2016 with the London Assay Office is OPEN for Registration!

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Exciting News!  On 1st and 2nd November 2016, London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall are hosting their extremely popular ‘Make Your Mark’ event for apprentices and students of jewellery and allied trades. Following the huge success of the events in 2014 and 2015 the event will now be extended over two days and will deliver even more inspiration, advice and networking opportunities.

Make Your Mark is a completely FREE tutor–student event open to apprentices, and anyone studying on a UK-based precious-metal-related course (full- or part-time) whether at degree level or on a short adult education or private tutored course.Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge

The event is jam packed with lots of guest speakers, careers expertise, hallmarking guidance, demos and offers, services, suppliers and organisations who serve the jewellery industry and they are even offering a FREE Laser Hallmarking Package to new registrants!

And that’s not all!  This year marks the inaugural Make your Mark Design Competition – a new competition open to jewellery students to challenge today’s students working in precious metal.

Click here to register to attend!  And if you would like to enter the Make your Mark Design Competition – please complete the application form which can be found here.

This is a very popular event so we recommend that you book early to avoid missing out!

 

 

Innovative Jewellery Packaging

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If you are in business the packaging you market your pieces in is important both aesthetically and practically. Tutor Anna Campbell has a look at some of the considerations.

Packaging is one of the issues we talk about on the jewellery business courses at LJS and rightly so as it is important. Firstly because you want your work to be presented in the best possible light. Secondly because many of us sell primarily online and we need to ensure that the jewellery arrives in pristine condition anywhere in the world.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your packaging.

 

1. Branding

Branding is about having an identifiable look for your business, whether online, on marketing material etc. If you have spent time and money designing a logo, choosing colours, designing your website etc, it makes sense to carry this same theme into your packaging. You can do this in a number of ways:

 

                  a. Colour

The most affordable way to incorporate your branding is to use the same colour packaging as your logo/website colours

 

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Although the LJS logo has recently changed, the colours have remained the same and so the choice of colour of these bags works well.

 

                 b. Logo

You could also have your logo printed onto your boxes/bags etc. This is a great idea as customers are likely to keep these and so will have a reminder of your business name and will hopefully be repeat buyers.

 

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Jewellery boxes from Posh Totty

 

2. Pouches versus jewellery boxes

This is an interesting debate. I started out using jewellery boxes for my pieces but I had some feedback from a celebrity client that a pouch would have been preferred. I was surprised at this as I had sourced a lovely wooden box for this commission and was really pleased with how the piece looked in the box. However, I was told that this actress had a lot of jewellery and the jewellery box wouldn’t fit in her storage area so was given to her children to play with! Since this experience I send pieces out in these anti-tarnish pouches rather than boxes, unless a box is requested. This has also helped cut the cost of postage as boxes can be bulky and heavy.

 

3. Postage

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Large letter postage box from the Tiny Box Company

The Tiny Box Company (and others) sell boxes designed to be sent via large letter post in the UK. This does cut the cost of postage significantly so is worth a look. These can also be customised with your logo.

 

4. Innovations in packaging

I have really enjoyed looking at some of the innovative packaging ideas that jewellery designers use. I hope you also feel inspired by these ideas.

 

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Wooden jewellery box by Klotz

 

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Fresh by Recarlo

 

 

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The Clifton by Andrew Zo

 

 

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Plywood boxes by David Trubridge

 

 

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Heartbreaking packaging (made of plaster) by Stephen Einhorn

 

 

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Tube packaging by HKO Jewelry

 

 

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Little treasures necklace packaging

 

What kind of packaging do you use? We’d love to see your packaging and business logos so please share with us on our twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Author: Anna Campbell 

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

 

The ‘C’ Word!

 

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London Jeweller, Karen Young talks about the dreaded ‘C’ word and how to survive the Christmas Rush in this 2-part blog series!

Yes, I said it! The ‘C’ word – Christmas! It is no understatement to say that Christmas is the busiest time of the year for jewellers. It gets to December 25th and most of us want to collapse with exhaustion as all the orders are finally cleared and you have been working round the clock to get those very special handmade gifts to customers before the big day!

And I hate to say it, but the quiet summer months are the perfect time to start preparing and planning the last quarter of the year so that those crazy 3 months run like clockwork, and you can focus the majority of your precious time on making and fulfilling customer orders, and taking part in Christmas fairs which pay dividends well into the next year.

So what can you do to make the Christmas rush more manageable, and survive the chaos? Having one Christmas period under my belt now and having learned lots first time around I thought I would share the top tips I have learned the hard way!

START PLANNING NOW!

You cannot start planning too early for Christmas – I know some jewellers who start planning for this as soon as Valentines and Mothers day are over. I find however that orders really tail off over the summer period as people are on holiday (as are you!), and big events weddings are in full swing and so I like to dedicate August to planning and preparing and starting to build my supplies and inventory. So where to start?

1. BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS FAIRS

One of the nicest parts of the Christmas period is taking part in fairs and getting in front of your customers (particularly if you mainly sell online). But the deadline dates for most Christmas fairs such as Crafty Fox and Spirit of Christmas Fairs are very early and you may even find that some of the application deadlines are soon or have even passed so don’t delay – get your applications in NOW!

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2. START BUILDING INVENTORY

The beauty of handmade jewellery is that you lovingly handcraft your work and and each piece touches the hands of the maker/ designer.  However, making each and every piece from scratch when the order comes in can really push you to the limit during the busy period and you just don’t want the stress of having to continually order supplies and potentially run out. To keep the stress levels down I highly recommend that you start to do the following:

          A. PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS RANGE

Start designing your Christmas range as early as possible – even if it is updating the colours of an existing design or creating a few key pieces you will be promoting on the run up to Christmas. These should include your statement pieces to grab people’s attention, your bread and butter pieces such as pendants and rings and your up-sell items such as earrings. Pay close attention to what supplies you will need and start to build your supply of these items to make sure you will be able to order additional supplies if you need to (or use limited supplies to your advantage by labelling items ‘special edition’.

          B. ORDER YOUR SUPPLIES

You have to watch your cash-flow, as it is easy to get excited and overspend, but there are some things you can do to generate some extra cash to allow you to build your inventory:

a. Have a pre-summer sale – sell off end of line pieces or excess stock

b. Host a de-stash sale on relevant Facebook groups or even eBay – you can sell off beads, excess supplies and tools you don’t use to generate some extra cash.

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c. Sell your scrap!

You can even do what I did last year and sell your scrap silver – I made about £400 by selling my scrap to Cookson Gold which paid for my extra stock alone and the extra tools and consumables I needed.

When ordering Christmas supplies for my business, I will look at what I use the most frequently (for example I mainly use 0.8mm silver sheet, 0.8mm wire, 4.5mm tubing) and I will start to order extra with every order so that I create a stockpile. This way I don’t have a massive single outlay and I can spread the cost over several months.

I will also start to build my inventory of my most popular gemstones, beads and pearls (IJL in September is a great way to do this – I normally do the bulk of my gemstone buying at this event). You also get greater discounts when you buy in bulk (check out Ward Gemstones who offer great discounts when you bulk buy) so do try and save some money each month that will enable you to bulk buy when it counts!

Also, don’t forget to order all other supplies such as packaging, padded envelopes and all your parcel inserts such as business cards, social media cards etc! I nearly ran out of necklace boxes last year and had a scary 3 weeks until my new boxes arrived so make sure you have plenty!

You may want to source back up suppliers too just in case an all important material is out of stock with your usual supplier!

3. PREP AS MUCH IN ADVANCE AS YOU CAN

Although it would be lovely to make everything from scratch as the order comes in, this just isn’t feasible in the busy Christmas rush. You need to start prepping as much as you can in advance!

For example, I prep all my blanks for my tag necklaces, cuff bangles and rings in advance so that they have smooth edges and are nice and polished, holes drilled and are essentially ready to stamp.  I also create a stock pile of my most popular charms and handmade earring findings etc, so that when an order comes in, all I need to do is stamp the names, words or phrases the customer has asked for, assemble the piece/ solder jump rings closed, polish and finish the piece and then pack and send it on its way.

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If you get your work cast in silver start consider getting moulds made and your most popular pieces cast well in advance so that you have a supply of each piece where you simply need to remove the sprue, add any jump rings, settings or findings and polish and finish.

I texture sheets of silver on the rolling mill and cut out multiples of my most popular shapes so that they are in a semi-finished state, and I solder on findings and settings but leave them unset so that I only have to set the appropriate stone or pearl when the order comes through.

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Rough castings ready to be de-sprued, polished and finished.

This one is a biggie – I get as much as I can hallmarked in advance (I mainly work in silver and gold so you don’t need to worry about this if you work with other materials)! Things like adding stones or stamping names don’t impact the hallmark (you just can’t solder any additional metals to a piece once it is hallmarked), so I send off a massive package of almost finished ring blanks, necklaces, earrings and bangles to be hallmarked as I find this process is the one that takes the longest (approximately a week or even more on the run up to Christmas). I put each one in a little ziplock bag so all the components of the piece are kept together.

It is a bigger outlay at once but the cost per item to hallmark goes down with the more pieces you hallmark (particularly if you use the standard service) so I find it really makes a difference to my profit if I do this particular process in bulk. You can’t anticipate every eventuality or combination of order so I recommend focusing on your highest volume pieces first, but prepping your ‘component parts’ is a great way of shortening your turn around time significantly meaning less stress for you and happy customers as you can ship quickly.

4. TIDY AND ORGANISE YOUR WORKSPACE

I was so guilty of this last year! I was so busy that my workspace ended up in quite a state and I am sure that I wasted so much precious time trying to find things! So do take the time to sort out and organise your workspace in August or September, and give all your tools and supplies a home!
This year I have put all my components in labelled ziplock bags and in alphabetised sections in an expandable folder. It meant I could always find what I was looking for and could easily see when I was getting low in stock! I also recommend taking 15-20 mins at the end of each day to clear your workspace so that it is ready for the next day and put all your tools and supplies back in the correct place. This will save you heaps of time during the chaos, I promise!

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In part 2 of this blog series I will talk about planning your Christmas marketing and PR and nailing your processes to make everything run like clockwork (most of the time :-)).  Let us know if you have any tips for surviving the Christmas period in the comments below!

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio