10 things to consider before going into the handmade jewelry business

handmade jewelry business advice

Things to consider before selling your jewelry

If you love resin jewelry making and resin crafting, at some point, you may have considered whether or not you could (or should) sell your resin jewelry.  (Especially when family asks what you’re going to do with all this resin stuff!)  Deciding whether or not to sell your jewelry is a big step.  Here are a few things to consider before deciding to go into the business of selling your jewelry.

1.  Are you willing to take care of the business side of things?  Making the jewelry is the easy part.  Running a business is hard!  There are several areas you will need to be sure are addressed from the business aspect of jewelry making:

  • Accounting:  at a minimum, you will need to have proper accounting of your business.  This usually involves accounting software and maintaining receipts.  You may be able to file your business taxes yourself, but if they get too complicated, you will need the help of a professional.
  • Licenses:  you will need to be sure you are compliant with state, local and federal governments by possessing the proper licenses.  At a minimum, these are usually some kind of occupational/business license and a license to collect sales tax.
  • Attorney:  Do you want to incorporate?  Do you want to trademark a logo?  Some of these legal maneuvers you can do yourself, but you may need the help of an attorney.

2.  Are you trying to make a profit?  Well, I would hope so!  However, as far as the Internal Revenue Service is concerned, your motive needs to be making a profit on your business.  (Whether you actually do or not is another story.)  If the IRS doesn’t think you’re trying to make a profit, they are going to tell you your business is a hobby which has different tax consequences.  Take the time to consult with a tax professional on what it takes to be considered a business in the eyes of the IRS.  On a side note, if you have no interest in making a profit, that’s okay!  Just keep things as a hobby.  You don’t have to make this into a business. 

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3.  Are you able to service customers?  It’s one thing to make a pair of earrings that you give to someone as a gift or give to a friend as a nice gesture.  Once money changes hands for that transaction though, there is a different expectation.  You are now dealing with a customer that will likely expect customer service in case of breakage, loss, or need of a replacement.  This will involve making yourself more publicly visible.  Are you ready to give up a little privacy?

4.  Are you motivated to create a plan on how to sell your jewelry?  While the ‘build it and they will come’ mantra might work in the movies, it’s not going to work to sell your jewelry.  Even online venues like Ebay and Etsy require work on your part to attract buyers.  Do you want to invest the time into doing that?
At the very least you will need to develop these plans:

  • Business:  income/expense projections, cash flow, intial funding sources
  • Marketing:  how are you going to make people aware of your jewelry?
  • Sales outlets:  selling online?  in store?  craft festivals?
  • Pricing structure:  What retail price are you aiming for?  Note:  if you haven’t thought about pricing, here’s another article on our blog that gives Tips on how to price your handmade jewelry

5.  Do you have the stomach for it?  Are you prepared to hear that your jewelry is ‘ugly’ or ‘overpriced’?  Can you afford to spend your weekends selling at craft festivals?  It can be tough, especially in the beginning if you’re trying to balance your new venture with another ‘Monday to Friday’ job.  You will need to be prepared for product theft, unhappy customers (albeit hopefully this won’t be a big problem), and your plan not working.  It’s not all going to be easy.

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6.  Do you have another network of artists to give you support?  While this isn’t a dealbreaker, I have found it invaluable to talk with other artists that I trust, especially jewelry artists, to get advice.  Sometimes it’s helpful to hear that they are experiencing the same problem or have advice to share.

7.  Are you able to fund the start up costs?  To have enough pieces to start selling, you’re going to need to spend $2000 (plus!) to produce the work, have display materials, start a marketing campaign, rent a booth spot at a craft festival, etc.  It could be months before you are making a profit.  Can you afford to tie up your money that long?  Or what happens if this isn’t a success?  Can you afford to lose that money?

8.  Is your jewelry high quality work?  Are you beyond the learning curve?  You must be able to consistently create quality pieces that won’t ‘fail’ for the customer.  Ask other jewelry artists to critique your work.

9.  Do you have the studio space?  If you’re trying to get for a show or finishing a custom order, you won’t want to have to clean a work area every day.  Having a space where you can leave your jewelry undisturbed or stored will be important to streamlining the production process.  You’re also going to need storage space, especially if you’re going to be investing in an outdoor booth and display materials.

and finally, the most important point,

10.  Do you believe in yourself?  If your heart isn’t in the right place, your business isn’t going to be either.  With the exception of golf, name something you like to do that you don’t do well?

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Is there anything else you would add to this list?  Leave your comments below:

 

5 Comments

Rachel

This is the third or fourth blog of yours that I’ve read and I just want to say THANK YOU so much for putting your knowledge, advice and experience out here for clueless hopefuls like myself to benefit from! Both my father and I are bravely venturing into the “making-and-selling” business (mine is jewelry; his is photography). The ins and outs of such a business had us both lost, confused, exasperated andpretty darn discouraged! Thank you not just the advice but for letting us know we’re not alone in our confusion and making us feel not so incompetent. Means a lot. Keep up the good work please! 🙂

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Helen

I really find these blogs useful and thought-provoking – thank you for sharing!

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Johana

Thank for all the tips!
I`m starting in this world of the resin and jewelry, and this blog seems it will be my bible…
Saludos desde Chile! (Qi Orgones, facebook)

Reply
Taaliba

Thanks a million!!! I’ve been in the jewlery making business many moons ago, and decided to give it a go once again. Your sharing brought me up to speed as to the new direction I must go..

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