How to Start a Handmade Jewelry Business

By Kieve Kavanaugh
Orignial designs merit higher price points.

Handmade jewelry businesses are able to turn a profit when supply costs are kept down, labor is inexpensive and venues yield high-traffic. Artisans can sell online, rent shelf space within other retail establishments, hire account representatives to secure large accounts, place items on consignment or work the community fair circuit.

Inspiration

Seasonal fashion trends should inspire your creations. Look to the big designers who create trends. Observe jewelry accessories being shown with upcoming collections. Subscribe to accessory trade publications. Copy general trends while inserting original twists.

Draw an illustration or blueprint of each design.Visit the local jewelry mart or gem fair for the findings. Wire, fasteners, earring backs, spacers, beads, jewelry boxes and display pieces must be purchased.

Advertise for "piece workers" to assemble jewelry. College campuses or online job posting boards are good sources for potential labor. Look for responsible individuals who will turn work in on time. Establish your rate. Set due dates for each project assigned. Be prepared to pay upon receipt. Sign each worker to a standard 1099 agreement. Understand the legality of 1099 work situations. Consult a legal expert if necessary.

Download a standard consignment agreement. Print copies. With consignment agreement in hand shop your designs. Take a sample case with five to twelve original pieces and business cards. Stop by local hotels, beauty shops, coffee shops and art galleries. Seek high-traffic venues. 60/40 is the standard split. Be prepared to negotiate a bit.

Step up your marketing. Consider taking your designs online. List on ebay or other auction sites. When you are ready, create a specific site for your designs. Possibly hire an independent representative, on straight commission, to land big accounts. Provide them with a sample case and a standard weekly sales form to report progress. Enter them into a 1099 agreement as well. Find local swap meets and rent a booth. Take your designs each week and sell directly to the public.

Tip

Use the colors and gems of the season. Learn this information from trade publications. Quality workmanship will distinguish your work.

Warning

Security is an issue. Consider the cost of your product when selecting your venue.

About the Author

An accomplished Fashion and Beauty Expert currently operating personal development and modeling camps. Kieve Kavanaugh's background includes owning a southern California modeling agency, teaching Fashion in Paris and forming a nonprofit to help girls recognize their personal "beauty". She is also an accomplished grant writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Charter Oak State College.