In the making
It might be an activity that gives you something to talk about at the annual company party, but this work that you do can be much more than that.
It could also become the foundation of a business opportunity.
If you like a hands-on approach to the tasks you complete each day, then making jewelry might be the perfect hobby to pursue.
There are several different sub-genres that you can find with this skill that can help you to find a successful niche.
From metalworking to bead making, you can start to create necklaces, bracelets, and other items that can bring you some extra cash.
The jewelry industry in the United States generates more than $70 billion in sales each year, with small merchants and operating firms responsible for $2.5 million in revenues.
If you were in that space right now, then there is an excellent chance that your hobby could produce a significant side income within the next 12 months.
If you are ready to create a side hustle that could become a full-time job, then knowing how to turn your jewelry business from an existing hobby will help you to take the first steps toward your goal.
How to Find Your Jewelry Niche
Because there are so many operators in this space, your jewelry business will see success or failure based on the niche that you choose.
There are fine and fashion jewelry options that each require their own materials, production needs, prices, and consumer profiles. Which one will you choose?
Because fine jewelry uses precious or semi-precious gems and metals, it can sell at a higher price point for your new company.
That also means there must be enough capital in place (money in your bank account) to purchase the items necessary to make items for sale in the first place.
That is why fashion jewelry is usually the first option for hobbyists.
Fashion jewelry is always trendy.
It is made from inexpensive materials, such as plated metal, synthetic gems, beads, wire, and even plastic.
If you find a design that everyone loves, then it is much easier to mass-produce these items to push your sales higher.
Your products will target the everyday consumer who wants something to wear that reflects their personality.
Fine jewelry is usually more for special events or luxury needs.
You must supply one-of-a-kind products using superior craftsmanship to generate results.
There is a unique market space between these two categories where a fusion of ideas, fashion, and precious items can produce superior results for a new jewelry business.
Metals, textiles, and even 3-D printing are all possible in this hybrid world where your work is defined more like art.
It is a way to produce items that are perfect as a statement piece without being overly expensive to the average customer.
Once you find the appropriate category, then it is time to find your niche.
ou can do this by defining your ideal customer, deciding which products you will sell, and what price points are necessary to help your new company start earning profits right away.
How to Find Inspiration for Your New Jewelry Business
Many hobbyists research the latest trends when they take their first steps as a business owner.
When you take a few moments out of your day to read the most recent fashion blogs and articles in this category, then you will know what your customers will want for the upcoming sales season.
Google Trends offers an easy way to explore what the world is searching for in your category.
Use the search bar to look for jewelry options to see if there are any products that you could start making as a way to build attention for your business.
You can also choose to produce customizable jewelry options for people, such as offering an engraved bracelet with the names of children or grandchildren that families can present as a gift.
Some people start their companies by taking an ethical stance on social issues, use pop-culture references, or even take advantage of memes to generate sales.
It is also possible to start trends because you are creating something that is 100% unique.
Follow your passion in the jewelry business.
Whether you follow a trend or take your own path, you must set yourself apart in some way to become relevant.
Look for ways to do something that no one else Is doing to start securing repetitive customers.
You Must Define Your Signature as a Jewelry Business
If everyone you know tells you how fantastic your jewelry is when they see you, then it can feel like your work can conquer the world.
The story becomes very different when you start trying to sell your items as an actual business.
You will go from being the big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big one.
Before you start to design individual pieces or think about branding, you must define what your signature will be on this industry.
There are several ways that you can go about doing this to ensure that your pieces provide a unique experience to potential customers.
• Create Pinterest boards that can help you collect colors, textures, and images that you find intriguing and might want to replicate.
• Use digital mood boards, bulletin boards, or even a sketchbook to find inspiration.
• Seek out ideas from travel, architecture, or nature.
Once you start collecting some ideas about what you want your jewelry to be, then you will begin to notice that some trends will develop.
Identify the themes which emerge from all of this information.
When you can settle on a singular process, then you will identify the signature that you should use with your creations.
It is also essential that you never allow yourself to stop being inspired.
Every day is a new way to find a new, creative idea.
Branding Your New Jewelry Company
When you know the type of jewelry that you want to make for your new business and understand what your customers want, then establishing a brand identity is usually a simple process.
Creating a look which touches every aspect of your company will generate an invitation to explore the products that you make and sell.
If you are running on a tight budget with this effort at a side hustle, then there are several free online logo makers that you can use to create a positive first impression.
Several e-commerce platforms will allow you to set up a basic store with a free theme without a significant expense as well.
You can also choose to create a store on a site like Etsy or eBay to immediately start the selling process.
Over time, it is imperative that you begin to translate the vision which you have with your jewelry into a branding package that reflects your core values.
Every color, image, background, and product become a reflection of who you are to a potential customer.
If there is inconsistency in this message, then it will not resonate in a way that encourages sales.
It is easy to forget that branding represents more than the look of your brand and business.
You must also focus on your vision, voice, and story.
People typically purchase jewelry (and other fashion items) because they feel an emotional connection to a specific piece.
Emerging companies win over customers because they can forge these relationships on a personal level instead of focusing on B2C interactions.
Use your “About Us” page to tell your story.
Offer some personal details in the social media posts you create for your company.
Even sharing the processes of the behind-the-scenes work you do to create jewelry will help you to win over customers.
How to Design New Products for Your Jewelry Business
When you start turning your jewelry hobby into a business, then there is an excellent chance that you will be hand-making every item at first.
This part of the growth process is satisfying because you are putting the love and passion you have for this work into every piece.
If your company takes off and begins to grow, then you will need to think about hiring assembly staff, outsourcing work to a manufacturer, or teaching new employees the processes that you use to create jewelry.
When you reach this stage, then there are several options available that will help you to create 3-D renderings, accurate sketches, and how-to guides that will help you teach others the skills that are bringing your business toward success.
Here are some of the options to consider, much of which depends on your skill level and current budget.
• Manual design options are always the cheapest way to communicate skills or steps. You will need pencils, sketch paper, and perhaps a design board to teach others how to make each item.
• Design software is available today in 2-D or 3-D options, with several providers offering free or freemium options that can help you create reference materials. DrawPlus, Photoshop, and Pixlr are all options to consider here.
• CAD programs for fine jewelry make it easier for manufacturers to produce your designs, so look for options that are specific to what you create. Matrix and JewelCAD are widely used today.
Some hobbyists like the idea of keeping their business small because they want to pursue a career full-time.
Employers can offer benefits like healthcare insurance access and vacation days that a self-employed owner will not typically have during the first days of a new company.
If you wish to stay as a one-person business where you make everything, then that is certainly an option for you.
When you’re ready to grow, then consider these design options to make your products more accessible to the staff you may need to hire.
Production and Materials Needed for a Jewelry Business
How you decide to develop products for sale depends on the size and scope you want your business to be.
You can make everything at home by yourself, send designs to a factory, or outsource the labor if you wish.
Much of the investment that is necessary for your production and materials depends on the price point you need to create a tempting value proposition for your customers.
If you produce fine or custom jewelry, then you must focus on specific techniques that may only be possible through training, certification, or licensing.
Methods include laser cutting, casting, silversmithing, goldsmithing, soldering, leather tooling, and gemstone setting.
Not only will you need to invest in the actual materials to complete this work, but you must also ensure that you have the correct skills and licensing to be in business in the first place.
Fashion jewelry follows a similar process, except that the small hammers, wires, elastic, and pliers that are necessary do not require certification to use.
Choose this option if you’re trying to start slow and build upward.
If you get tired of making all of the jewelry by yourself, then you can take your designs and have someone else make them.
Don’t use this process for fine jewelry since you will require a specific level of quality to be present in the work, but this option can be useful for fashion jewelry needs.
You can outsource to the United States at a higher cost and fewer choices, but it is easier to verify the reputation of the company.
Overseas manufacturers are typically cheaper, offer more material options, and can produce items quickly.
Choosing this route will require you to supervise the production processes to ensure the quality of each piece meets your standards.
You can even take an entirely hands-off approach to your new jewelry business by sending your designs to an app like Printful or a company like Modalyst.
Then your original designs are duplicated on wood, metals, plastic, or gold and then shipped directly to your customers.
How to Make Your Business a Legal Enterprise
Most hobbyists will start their new jewelry business as a sole proprietor.
This structure is the easiest one to form in the United States because the paperwork is minimal.
You don’t even need to have a separate bank account for your company.
Unless you live in a state like Alaska or Washington, you might not even need to notify the local authorities that you are conducting sales.
If you make more than $400 from your ventures, then it is usually necessary to file as an official business because you must collect sales tax as part of the transaction.
You can also choose to register as an LLC to limit any liabilities to your personal assets from your work.
This option is usually the best route to follow if you plan to hire employees or outsource your work overseas because it reduces your personal, but not your corporate liability if something happens.
You can change a sole proprietorship to a limited liability corporate at any time in most states.
An insurance policy is something that you will need as well.
Incidents such as theft, property damage, or a customer lawsuit can be costly if you do not have financial protections in place.
If you plan to hire employees, then a workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance plan are necessary.
General liability insurance is a good idea to have as well, or at least a business owner’s policy at the bare minimum.
General liability will cover bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage to yourself or a third party.
Professional liability covers you if you do something wrong or neglect to do something you should have will performing a service.
How you decide to hire people will often depend on the type of business you choose to run.
If you are running on a tight budget, then a mixture of part-time interns and independent contractors can help you to be productive without struggling with a significant labor cost.
Consider speaking with local colleges and universities to see if there are local students who could earn classroom credit by working on designs or production.
Virtual assistants can help you to alleviate some of the administrative needs of a new business as well.
You can find people offering these services on freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
As a final step toward the creation of a jewelry company from your hobby efforts, remember to invest in professional photography services for the products you create.
Even a DIY effort with a simple lighting box and a high MP camera can help your items stand out from what your competitors offer.
Then remember to file your taxes and keep your licenses and certifications current so that you can stay in business.
It may take some work to transform your hobby into a money-making company, but it is an effort that is usually worth taking.