As the saying goes, you'll never work a day in your life if you're doing what you love. If jewelry is your passion, what could be better than starting your own jewelry business? Getting started in this industry requires you to take the same first step as any other entrepreneur: narrowing your focus to truly understand the niche market you can fill and understanding your ideal customers.
Of course, there's a lot of paperwork to do as well, and some numbers have to be crunched along the way. Don't let these formalities stop you from realizing your dream of offering one of the best places to buy jewelry. If you make steady progress, your jewelry store will be open in no time.
Find Your Niche
First, you have to start dreaming while putting pen to paper. Then, you can call it brainstorming and have notes from which to work later. When you think of your own jewelry store, what exactly does it look like? Does it have a luxurious atmosphere and cater to the engagement ring crowd? Is it entirely online, and does it focus on feather earrings?
No one will tell you that one answer is right or wrong because it's entirely up to you. However, the more concrete you can make your vision, the closer you can get to making it a reality. Consider these key questions:
- Online or in person? You can have an online storefront without a brick-and-mortar store, or you can have both. Keep in mind that a physical location without an e-commerce option limits your audience to locals.
- Handmade or mass produced? Do you want to vend handmade jewelry to support local artisans? Would you like to resell vintage and antique jewelry that you find at estate sales? Do you prefer working with popular jewelry sellers?
- Custom in-house design? Will you offer design services?
- Materials and aesthetic? The materials and aesthetics you choose should depend on your target market and the niche you're trying to conquer.
Develop a Plan and Budget
Now that you have a vision on paper with as many details as you can imagine, it's time to translate it into an action plan. Say you know you want a physical storefront. How much space do you need? Which part of town would be within a close proximity to your customers? What are the rental prices for commercial spaces in that area?
Or, if you want to have your own e-commerce website, you need to start researching web design and development companies. Which ones specialize in the jewelry industry? How much do they charge? What are the ongoing fees associated with web maintenance?
Will you need to hire employees to help you process transactions? What about contracting with an accountant? You need to lay everything out, create a budget and determine how many sales you need to make in order to turn a profit.
Business Registration, Insurance and Banking
When you're ready to take the plunge, register your business with your local city hall and your state government. This requires a little bit of paperwork and a processing fee, but it's an important step in order to open a business bank account and file taxes.
While you're in paperwork mode, talk to a business insurance agent about the kind of coverage you'll need. You'll want financial assistance if anything happens to your stock. Someone might rob you outright, parcels could get lost in transit or a piece of jewelry could become damaged while on its way to its new owner. No matter the circumstances, make sure you have a policy that will protect you.
Finally, open a separate business bank account to prevent your personal accounts from muddying the financial waters. You may also want to talk to the bank about a business loan in order to help you with your startup costs. However, you can also explore options like grants or investors for financing your jewelry store.
Sourcing Your Jewelry
Once you have most of the logistics figured out in terms of where you'll sell your products, to whom you're primarily selling and what kind of money you need to make it happen, you still have a major question to consider: From where will your jewelry stock come?
If you want to sell certain brands, it's time to introduce yourself, become an official partner and place an order. If you want to sell handcrafted work, you need to curate your collection by networking with artists all over the world. If you want to sell pieces you make yourself, you may need to consider hiring a business manager so you can focus on the design and creation of each piece.
Build Your Reputation
Jewelry can be a high-stakes industry in which everything depends on your reputation. Even if you don't plan to sell five-figure pieces, you still need to cultivate a reputation for excellent customer service. In addition to treating each customer with care and respect and shipping your items quickly and securely, you can also:
- Become a credentialed, licensed or certified jeweler or appraiser
- Offer a generous return policy
- Ask for reviews, especially from your very first customers
- Network within the industry to stay alert to trends
- Find noncompeting businesses for cross-promotion partnerships
Market and Advertise Your Jewelry Business
There's no greater feeling than making your first sale, but don't stop there! You need a lot of sales to keep your business afloat, especially if you have startup loans to pay off along the way. Even when your business is debt free, you still have to contend with monthly overhead costs, which means you have to make a minimum amount of revenue to turn a profit.
That's why your attention must turn to marketing and advertising your new store as the best place to buy jewelry. Your customers don't know you exist yet, so you can either go to them or help them find you.
For example, what magazines do they read? Buy advertising space in those publications. Which TV shows do they watch? Buy corresponding air time for a TV ad.
Internet Marketing for Jewelers
Besides traditional print and TV advertisements, you can also take full advantage of the internet to reach potential customers with pay-per-click ads, which are the online equivalent to magazine and newspaper ads. Also research which social media channels your target audience tends to use and create an active profile there to engage with them. Find out which social media influencers they admire and reach out to partner with them for product placement opportunities. Jewelry would do well on a visual platform like Instagram.
You should also have an SEO strategy for your website so potential customers can easily find you when doing web searches. The more niche your jewelry business, the easier it will be to rank your website for related search terms.
You can also build brand awareness through informative or fun videos, images and blog content. Keep customers informed of discounts and events with an email newsletter. The internet offers many ways to build brand awareness, so internet marketing should be a top priority once you open a jewelry store.
- Research industry wholesalers thoroughly to ensure you only fill your store with quality merchandise.
- Properly stock your store.This includes buying or leasing cases built specially for displaying jewelry. The more jewelry you display the more you will sell.
- Consider selling online. A nice website will allow people to buy jewelry from you online.
- Do not offer services you are not qualified to provide. If you do not have a repair staff or knowledge about certain jewelry, refer customers to other stores that do. As a jeweler, it is very easy to ruin your reputation. People cherish their jewelry.
- Always know your product. If you are selling gold, silver, diamonds or other jewelry made from precious material, always make sure your merchandise is authentic. Passing off costume jewelry as gold, silver or diamonds could result in criminal charges.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.