Today I’m thrilled to have Roxy Burg from Beads of Cambay sharing her wealth of knowledge about the business of jewelry-making with us! Roxy loves the multifaceted world of gemstones, beaded jewelry making, and crafting in general. When she isn’t blogging for Beads of Cambay and The Bead Traders, she’s most certainly got a glue gun in one hand and a bead reamer in the other. She’s a stay-at-home-mom with two very creative daughters. There is always some glitter on the floor and a project that needs completing. Can any other crafting moms relate?

the business of bling - how to run a profitable jewelry-making business

The Business of Bling How to Run a Profitable Jewelry Making Business

You know you can make quality jewelry. You have the drive and the time to sell it. People keep asking you, “When are you going into business?” You’re probably even asking yourself the same question.

The first answer should be, “Not until I have a plan.” The plan could be anything from providing a popular service to selling an item such as wholesale gemstone beads.

Your plan should set out why and how you’re going to make a business out of your craft. It doesn’t need to be a full, formal business plan, as the Small Business Administration sets out, but the plan should set out how you’re going to get started, what you need, how you’re going to schedule making and selling, where you’ll do the selling, and all the steps you need.

As you prepare your plan, keep the following considerations in mind.

Name Your Business

Name your business. Make sure the name is both catchy and allows you to grow and expand down the road. Don’t restrict yourself too much.

Use of your name in jewelry businesses is common, but it might not be the best way to go. If you ever want to sell the business, you might not want your name to follow along. Think about the style of things you make. Reflect on the words associated with your jewelry—how have people reacted to it?

Once you have several names picked out, make sure you can use them. Check the database at the Patent and Trademark Office to see if another jewelry company is using the names you’ve focused on using yourself. Google search the name, also. Check also on possible website names using GoDaddy.

Additionally, you should check with the Secretary of State in your state to make sure no one in the state is using the same name as you.

Once you’ve found a short-list of names, poll your family, friends, and acquaintances—the people who know your work. Once you’ve found the name, create your website domain name and register it.

Register Your Business

You’ll also need to register your small business with Federal and State revenue offices and call your county or town clerk to see if you need a business license and obtain a resale tax number. If you’re planning on selling at out-of-state shows, contact the state and find out what you need to do.

{Psst – Note from Janet, I have an awesomely comprehensive checklist for getting your business set up correctly from the start right here for you!}
get your free checklist

I Have a Name; I Need More, Don’t I?

You probably don’t want to start right off with your storefront and workshop. Instead, you should dedicate an area of your home to be the exclusive place you use to make your jewelry. If you have that private area, you’ll be able to deduct part of your home expenses on your taxes. Set it up so it looks like a home office space and workshop.

Keep all your business records there so that when you leave the space, you can leave the business behind you. You’ll be able to deduct rent, utilities, and other expenses in the proportion your office must have to the rest of your home.

If you’re going the home office route, you might want to get a post office box to handle business transactions. Make sure your records for the business are separated from the expenses of your home.

Set up a business bank account, and, if you can do it, a business credit card. Keep your business and personal information as separate as possible. You’ll even want to consider a business cell phone, although that means you might have to carry around two phones at times.

Plan your website. Even if you’re not going to build the site yourself, you should make sure you know exactly what you want it to do. It should look as good as the bling you’re selling. Don’t create a website that does not sell your product well. You may want to consider, as part of your plan, how the website will expand with growing success.

Plan the way you’re going to sell your product. If you’re going wholesale only, you need to market differently than if you’re going to go wholesale and sell at shows. Think through your strategy, including finding the shows you’ll be visiting. Budget the trips to make sure they will be worthwhile.

Don’t try to be too big, too fast. Have patience.

jewelry making business

Making and Pricing

While you’re doing all the business planning, you should also be producing products to sell. You want to sell big once you get started. Time yourself as you make a product, and especially see how many you can make per day or hour. You will want to ensure your time is built into the price of your jewelry. One way to determine time and materials cost is to see how much you need to make 100 pieces. That will give you a good benchmark.

Once you have that benchmark information, set a price on your time—and don’t be shy (or overly generous). Remember that, out of what you profit, you will have to pay income and self-employment Social Security taxes.

Perhaps it took you 25 hours to make those 100 pieces and the materials cost $500. If you pay yourself $20 an hour, the labor cost was $500. Those 100 pieces, therefore, cost you $1,000, or $10 per item. Double that for your wholesale cost, and double the wholesale cost for retail cost—$20 and $40 respectively. If those prices seem out of line for your market, you can adjust them, but make sure you’re treating yourself fairly.

Marketing

Make sure you have a marketing plan. Part of that plan is having enough product to sell. If you’re going to attend a show every weekend during the summer, you need to plan how you will have enough product to sell each weekend to make each show worthwhile. If you’re going the wholesale route, you’ll have to meet the contracts you have secured.

Make sure you have a blog connected with your website and connect your website with Facebook and Twitter. Also, using eBay, Etsy, Pinterest, and other online avenues will get your product out there.

Use the name you came up with and the great pictures you take of your excellent product, and you’ll be selling more than you can handle in no time, which is a nice problem to have.

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