Tag Archives: jewelry 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

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

Top jewellery exhibitions and events in London!

London is a very inspiring place for jewellers and we are lucky to have some annual events and exhibitions that help get the creative juices flowing! Here are some recommended events to put in your diary!

 

  1.    Goldsmiths Fair

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Source: http://www.goldsmithsfair.co.uk/about-goldsmiths-fair/

 

The prestigious Goldsmiths Fair is held in September/October each year at the grand Goldsmiths hall at St Paul’s. This two-week extravaganza is not to be missed, as it is a dazzling display of 100’s of independent designer-makers in the world of silver, gold and precious jewellery.

Find out more here: http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/exhibitions-promotions/goldsmiths%27-fair/

  1.    IJL, International Jewellery London

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Source: http://www.jewellerylondon.com/Archive/exhibiting/thenewvenue/

 

Held in early September, this giant scale exhibition at London’s Earls Court promises to inspire, as the place to discover the latest trends, source new and exciting products, network and attend the industry’s leading seminar programme. Great for buying supplies but beware of overspending when bringing your credit card!

Check it out at – http://www.jewellerylondon.com/

 

  1.    Dazzle

A free exhibition open to the public which is taking place this year at the OXO tower. The jewellers themselves range from graduates to established artists. They are not there all the time but this one is not to be missed… http://www.dazzle-exhibitions.com/

 

  1.    Collect

We’re already looking forward to Collect in February 2017, the UK fair for contemporary objects which includes jewellery.  Presented by the Craft Council and taking place at the Saachi Gallery it’s sure to be a well curated exhibition

http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/collect

 

  1.    V&A

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Source: http://www.ejal.com/project.php?projNo=39&catNo=5&nextNo=0

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum in central London is hailed by many to be the greatest museum of art and design and when it comes to jewellery it never fails to disappoint. With a full range of permanent and often temporary jewellery exhibitions, inspiration is offered in abundance.

See what’s currently on here – http://www.vam.ac.uk/.

 

  1. Craft Central Open Studios

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Source: https://twitter.com/craftcentraluk

 

Craft Central is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a strong future for craft and design. Every year they hold open studios where members of the public can meet the jewellery and craft designer makers in their studios and take a look at their latest collections. Three of our tutors have studios here so pop along to the open studios to say hello!

For full details of the next open studios event please see – http://www.craftcentral.org.uk/madeinclerkenwell.

 

  1. Cockpit Arts

Cockpit Arts have two London studios and support craft practitioners with their business incubator service. They have two open studios a year where you can visit makers of many different crafts, including jewellery, and buy directly from them.

http://cockpitarts.com/shop-cockpit/open-studios/

 

  1.    London Fashion Week

Anyone who’s anyone in fashion can be seen strutting their stuff at London Fashion Week and although it is a trade only event, London Fashion Weekend is open to members of the public. Get your tickets and shop, get a goody bag and browse the catwalk to see what’s next in the world of fashion. For full details see their website –http://www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk/

 

  1.    LJS

Last but by no means least, we at LJS run events throughout the year including our diploma student exhibitions, suppliers event, expert talks and the (now) legendary London Jewellery School Christmas Party! To keep up to date with future events make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletter.   
Let us know what you think of the events you go to and share any that are in your local area with us via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages or in the comments below.

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

Rent a jewellery studio or work from home – a journey

In March this year tutor Anna Campbell wrote on the blog about her thoughts about renting a jewellery studio versus working from home. She now has an update!

Whether to rent a jewellery studio or work from home was an issue that was at the forefront of my mind when I wrote the blog post a few months ago. I was wanting to further develop my jewellery business and teaching and it was one option to consider. I looked at whether there were studios available locally as I knew it was unlikely I’d want the cost and time of travelling too far. I hadn’t found anything that I thought would work for me. Luckily, serendipity happened to help me out! I was working one evening at the London Jewellery School alongside tutor Penny Akester and it transpired that she was looking for someone to share a studio with at Craft Central!

It was great timing and a good opportunity to share the costs as well as to have someone to work alongside.


studio before

I got my keys at the beginning of May and Penny and I spent a day building flat packed furniture to furnish our studio (here we are in action!)

London Jewellery School Blog_Penny-Akester and Anna Campbell new studio

 

We had a deadline to get up and running because there was an open studios at Craft Central for Made in Clerkenwell starting on 18th May and we wanted to be ready for this. We were and we opened up our studio to visitors that week. Thanks to all the LJS students who came to see us! It was appreciated.

London Jewellery School Blog_Penny-Akester and Anna Campbell new studio

My current thoughts and hopes for the future

I am pleased to have the opportunity to have a dedicated jewellery workspace. It is also great to have someone to discuss ideas with (and to share the costs!). Penny and I have very different styles and I think that is the best possible scenario as we can learn from each other to feed into our own work.

The bi-annual open studios also is a great opportunity to sell my work and get feedback from customers on my designs.

 

Do you rent a studio or work from home? We’d love to know your thoughts on this issue and see some photos of your workspace! 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

FREE Hallmarking Workshop at the London Jewellery School – 23rd June

London Jewellery School_Hallmarking Workshop June 2016

 

We have teamed up with our friends at the London Assay Office to offer you a FREE Hallmarking workshop at our London Studio on Thursday 23rd June from 6.30pm.  The workshop will be packed with information about Hallmarking including the following topics:

  • An introduction to hallmarking
  • The Hallmarking Act
  • How to register
  • Choosing the most appropriate punches and sponsor marks
  • Submitting articles and completing hallnotes
  • How items are tested and marked
  • Hints and tips
  • Why The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office?

There will also be an opportunity to ask any questions you may have!

Drinks and refreshments will be provided.

Spaces are limited, so to reserve your place, please RSVP by 3rd June to info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Jewellery Business Week: Creating a one-page plan for your jewellery business

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This week we have looked at lots of aspect of running a jewellery business. Now London Jewellery School founder Jessica Rose talks about ways to pull them together to create your business plan.

Business planning is important and it is useful to do a full plan with all the different sections covering your market research, overview and background to the business, those crucial financial figures etc… But, business planning takes time and one thing most business owners lack is enough time to get it done or update it regularly. This is where the one- page plan comes in.

It is as simple as it sounds and is a great tool for either the early stages of starting your jewellery business or for getting a visual update throughout the year of what and how you are doing. I try to do one at least every quarter as I find it helps to set priorities, keep you on track and have something manageable to work towards. It is like setting yourself mini-targets to keep you going.

This is how it works. You have one page (A3 or A4) and nothing more and you can use it to write on, draw on, brainstorm on create a collage, anything but you can only use that one page. In the content of the page you need to say what you are working on for the next year (or how ever long the plan is for, it could be 3 months or 6 months).

Here are a few ideas of how it can work…

(Please note that none of the action points or goals in these diagrams are suggestions, they are simply there for illustration purposes).

1.      The brainstorm plan

I think this is my favorite. Use a mind mapping tool such as Simple Mind – or you can do it with a pen and paper, and create a map of your aims for the year. Put it on your computer desktop as a screen saver or on your wall next to where you work to remind you what you hope to achieve and by when.

business plan mind map

Once you have created your mind map put it in a place where you will see it everyday

2.      The Orbit Tool Plan

This is great for longer term, overview planning. Draw three circles on a piece of paper and then lines going out for your axis. Put the key areas involved in running your business on each axis and make a note in the relevant circle of what you plan to achieve in that year.

This is usually a three-year planning tool. The great advantage of it is you can easily compare your goals and see if they relate. For example if you plan to double your sales in one year, will you be doubling your marketing too? If not how do you plan on reaching that goal? This could also be used as a three monthly tool or other timescales to suit your business.

orbit tool jewellery business

The orbit tool is useful for long term planning

3. The Creative Collage plan

This is a fun one for anyone that likes to see pictures instead of words (who doesn’t!). Again, group the key areas of your jewellery business into sections on the page and then add images, cut outs or whatever else helps, even post-it notes. This will help you to see what your plans will look like over the coming months.

What ever you do remember it is for you, to help you keep focus and inspire you to go in the direction you want with your jewellery business.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on with your one-page plans

Jessica

Jewellery Business Week: Your questions answered (part 2)

jewellery business week

More from Jessica Rose’s live business Q&A on Thrusday evening…

QUESTION: My jewellery business is in its (tiny, baby) infancy here in the UK and I just found out I have to to spend a few years in the USA. Since it’s on online business, that’s not too big a deal, but how best can I navigate the whole “jewellery/jewelry” conundrum in terms of SEO? Currently I list both spellings as keywords for my site, but on the site itself I use one spelling (jewellery, until I move). Has anyone else had any issues with this?

ANSWER: Ah the notorious jewellery vs jewelry question. Yes this is an issue and one that international businesses face. But there are a few options for what you can do…

I think you are right to optimize for both spellings and from an SEO point of view it is ideal to have both spellings in your keywords for any blog posts, social media, and in the text on each page of your website too. I know this can seem inconsistent BUT may be worth it for getting more visits to your site. And by that time, they love your jewellery so much they don’t mind how you spell it!

It can be best to choose one spelling type that you lead with, which is your main go-to spelling but dot a few of the other in their too. Goggle recognizes text, images, videos and more so you can name all your images with one spelling and write the text content with another.

Generally speaking USA is a larger market size and they will only ever type in jewelry so it is probably best for you to lead with that. It is a massive generalisation but seems that UK and European speakers are more aware of the two spellings so will understand what you mean when you say jewelry.

In short, I would say do both, that way your site is visible to all.

A final short point to make is to try to use other words as much as you can, like necklace, ring etc… as they only have one spelling so it is an easier process.

QUESTION: I have a jewellery website and a presence on Etsy, but would like to try selling face to face as well. Where is a good place to try selling without too many costs up front. I sell a mixture of silver clay and swarovski crystal beaded items at the moment.

ANSWER: As you say it is wise to start small when selling face-to-face to give yourself time to work out what and where is best for you to sell.

1. You can try local school fairs in the summer and Christmas which are usually quite inexpensive and a great learning experience.

2. Craft/ handmade fairs are a good bet too but can be difficult to get into as there are lots of jewellers. Apply early, start looking now for summer events and get yourself on any mailing lists from the organisers so that you can get in first.

3. Another option is sharing a stand at bigger/ more expensive jewellery show or gift events. This is great when you are starting out as you can share the costs as well as the workload. Either sharing with a jeweller that has a different style to you or someone else selling handmade goods.

4. Utilize the networks you already have; jewellery parties can be very lucrative. Get a friend to organize a party inviting all of their friends and you can show your jewellery, do a nice display, offer them advice on what they might like etc… and sell pieces on the spot. You then usually give the organizer a commission or some free jewellery.

Whatever event you choose you want to try to make sure it is well marketed – so that people will come to it, that the target audience are the same or similar to your target audience and that if it doesn’t go well for some reason you are able to work out why and learn from it for next time.

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.

Jewellery Business Week: Your questions answered (part 1)

jewellery business week

On Thursday evening London Jewellery School founder and award-winning entrepreneur Jessica Rose answered your questions on Facebook. In two posts today we bring you a selection of questions and answers from the live Q&A.

QUESTION: I am in the process of selling my jewellery on Etsy do I need to take out insurance? As the business will be very new, do I need to register anywhere if I’m only selling on etsy?

ANSWER: A lot of people worry about the legal aspects of running a business and insurance, as it is very important to get right. If you are selling your work you need to be registered as self-employed, which is simple to do with HMRC, you fill out a short form to send in. You can see the process here.

It will mean that you need to submit a self-assessment tax return at the end of each year but there is plenty of information on how to do that and it is quite straightforward for most small businesses.

In terms of insurance, you need to make sure you are covered for selling your jewellery. Based on what you have said, I would recommend taking out a basic craft insurance to cover you for public liability insurance and product liability insurance to make sure that if anyone is injured by your pieces you are covered for that. Always check the details with the insurer.

When I first started out I used Ian Wallace who were great, but make sure you do your own research too. Speak to whichever company you go with and check you are happy with what they can offer and that you are covered for the activities you are doing, they are usually very helpful. For a basic level of insurance with selling on etsy it should only be around £100-£120 per year.

QUESTION: How can I work out how to describe my own jewellery style. What would you advise?

ANSWER: Brainstorming! (Who doesn’t love a good brainstorm).

Try putting any words that come to mind when you look at your jewellery or think about your jewellery business, they can be as general or specific, as you like. Then ask others the same question, how would they describe your jewellery? What key words, thoughts or emotions come to mind? Is it; big and bold, intricate, colourful, inspired by an era, relating to a type of fashion or part of the world/ different cultures, materials etc… Be as descriptive as you can about it. If you are a visual person (most jewellers are) you can collect images or photographs that relate to your jewellery style, from magazines, papers or online – Pinterest is great for this kind of mood-board-creating process.

Then, after all of that, I would challenge yourself to pick 5 words that describe your jewellery, only five. Put them in to a sentence or two and memorise it. By this stage you should have a pretty good idea of your style and what it means you and others you will also be ready to describe it when needed.

Some useful tools I use for brainstorming are Simplemind, Pinterest and for creating world clouds (e.g. with words from your website) Wordle.

This word cloud was meda from comments about London Jewellery School after our move to the new studios

This word cloud was meda from comments about London Jewellery School after our move to the new studios

QUESTION:. My question is that since I have just started a small jewellery venture, I’d like to know the best ways to package my jewellery and how do I market it?

ANSWER: For both the packaging and marketing of your jewellery you need to keep your customer in mind. Who are they? What do they want from your jewellery? How much are they willing to spend on it? Once you have a clear idea of your customer you can make much better decisions about what to do. Here is a bit more on each one…

Packaging: First work out your budget, if you are selling high-end expensive pieces you can usually afford to spend more on packaging but if margins are tight you need to go for lower-cost options. Some popular types would be jewellery boxes, printed boxes, drawstring or organza bags, printed stickers tags or ribbons. I would suggest starting with something simple and developing it as you go along.

Look at how other jewellery and handmade items are packaged, get ideas and inspiration from that. See what you like and adapt it to fit your brand. There is no right or wrong – experiment. One place I often recommend for buying packaging is either on ebay (as there is so much choice and it’s good for cheaper options) or the Tiny Box Company.

Marketing: Jewellers need to spend a lot of time on marketing. Probably around 40% of all time in running a jewellery business is purely on marketing. This can be anything from social media and writing blog posts to taking pictures of your work, updating websites and selling at events. It usually works like this; the first year or two you do everything you can, put your name everywhere, make sure you have an online presence, do shows and events, even give pieces away in exchange for publicity, anything to get your name out there. Then as you go along you evaluate what things worked and what didn’t, what is best for your business and where should you focus your efforts

As mentioned above the key is to keep your customer and their priorities at the front of your mind, so if you are exhibiting at a fair, who will be attending? Are they likely to want to buy what you have to offer? Think about what makes you unique to any other jewellery business and focus on that for your promotion. There really is so much to say under this so that is just a starting point. For more, this has lots of content on these areas and you might want to check out the distance learning course too.

During business week, London Jewellery School is offering 20% off all day and taster business courses plus the Business Bookcamp if you book between 2 and 9 February 2014. To get your discount call 020 3176 0345 and book your class quoting BIZWEEK20. Find out more here.