Take it from those who have launched landmark enterprises from their living rooms and kitchens--starting a home business is a terrific way to begin an adventure. No retail storefront to rent, no worries about staffing expenses and no power bills, employee benefits or commercial insurance. Clear away “must-do” responsibilities and you can focus on making money and being the boss instead of ruminating about overhead. Launching a home-based diamond jewelry business offers another great perk: You'll eliminate theft risks associated with being on display at a retail shop. That said, grab a corner. Boot the computer. Declare your home-based diamond jewelry boutique open for business.
Become a jewel expert so you can tell perfect from flawed and faux from exceptional stones if you’re not already well versed in the field. There’s an art to using a jeweler’s loop to assess the value of a diamond, and a well-informed diamond merchant should be able to learn more than a stone’s “four Cs” at a glance.
Study the international diamond market. Simply knowing that conflict stones are most likely from African markets or that Tel Aviv is a major wholesale diamond epicenter in the Middle East won’t suffice. Research diamond markets on the Internet, speak to diamond wholesalers and invest time learning about the business to be fully informed.
Source the stones. Every layer of middleman you add will drive up the price of the diamonds you seek to sell, so your best revenue stream will come from overseas merchants. Find them via the Internet, and then visit at least three in one location to get your business started. Alternately, purchase gems from a domestic source.
Choose between having the stones set into jewelry settings at the source or buying the diamonds loose. If you're buying loose stones, get quotes for having them set into necklaces, bracelets, rings, pins and other pieces.
Hire an import agent to help get your merchandise from overseas markets to your home. An import agent knows the ins and outs of documentation, can help get goods into appropriate shipping containers, and can help shepherd you and your gems through customs as quickly as possible.
Estimate the amount of diamond jewelry inventory you can afford to carry at any given time. Purchase an insurance policy to cover replacement value, theft and contingencies. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will not likely cover your business inventory, but you can ask your agent or broker.
Hire a marketing consultant if you don’t feel comfortable undertaking this important job. You will need such tools as a brochure, a certificate of authenticity (particularly important due to conflict diamond issues) and invitations for trunk shows. Increase sales opportunities as a guest speaker to clubs, conferences and events. Borrow a page from Mary Kay and conduct diamond jewelry showings at house parties.
Expand your business by hiring associates once your operation is stable. Do your own training based on the knowledge you have amassed over time. Consider franchising your home-based diamond jewelry business. Once you have put together a well-oiled operation, let the people you hire do the legwork while you enjoy all of the benefits an entrepreneur is entitled to receive after paying his dues.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.