For those who are proficient at more than one type of craft, you may be trying to determine what will be the best type of craft business to start. If you're considering starting a jewelry business, I hope you'll benefit from insights from my own experience with my jewelry making business.
I started selling handmade jewelry as a result of an overwhelming desire to bring an aspect of creativity back into my career. After teaching music for years, I began working as a career counselor. Although I love that work and never get tired of watching my clients overcome challenges and hearing their success stories, I really needed a bigger outlet for creative expression in my career. That's when I launched my jewelry making business.
Although I enjoy plenty of other crafts, I chose jewelry. I'm more of a gut feeling decision maker than an analytical decision maker, and jewelry just felt right. Spending countless hours developing new designs and techniques and seeking out great suppliers was fun for me. It didn't feel like work, so I knew that I could happily invest the time it would take to build a jewelry making business.
Although I enjoy this aspect of my business, along the way, I have noticed a few challenges connected to selling handcrafted jewelry.
If part of your business plan involves selling your jewelry at juried craft shows, it's absolutely crucial to make all of your applications outstanding and your jewelry truly unique in order to get into the best, most profitable shows.
If you make jewelry using primarily beading techniques, you will likely increasingly face a customer base that will look at beaded jewelry and think, "I could do that myself." There's nothing worse, after spending hours developing a design and sourcing great components, than hearing someone make that remark.
You could decide to take advantage of this trend by incorporating beaded jewelry making classes into your jewelry making business strategy. I used this home party model in the early stages of my business, and it was both fun and profitable. You could also consider partnering with a local business and offering jewelry making classes in a fixed location.
It's wise to give a lot of consideration to the techniques you use to make your own jewelry. Beading tends to be the starting point for many people who enjoy making jewelry, and then they develop new skills from there. Learning more advanced jewelry making techniques means: fewer people will feel your jewelry is something they could make themselves, your designs will be more unique, and it will be harder for competitors to copy your popular designs.
I've also found, from a business perspective, there are some wonderful, positive aspects of running a jewelry making business.
There are some crafts that can be difficult to sell at a profitable price. For some items, it's hard to command a price that fully compensates you for your time. This is not the case with jewelry; it has a high perceived value, and pricing for a fair profit is typically not a problem.
There are so many techniques and materials you can use to create fantastic jewelry, there's really no reason to get bored or feel limited in any way.
Jewelry also falls generally within the fashion niche and specifically within the accessories niche. More specifically, you could make bridal jewelry, personalized jewelry, some type of theme jewelry that fits with another interest or hobby - there really are a lot of options. Thinking of yourself as a jewelry designer (as opposed to a crafter) will help to open up a lot of marketing opportunities and strategies beyond the crafting niche.
This might sound silly, but every time I pack up for a craft show or send a piece of jewelry to a customer through the mail, I am grateful that I'm making jewelry and not something big, bulky or easily breakable.
Of course, you may progress to using techniques that require more complex equipment, but there are many advanced jewelry making techniques that you can use to produce wonderful, unique pieces without investing in a lot of expensive equipment.
Your own jewelry making business may take many different directions. In my experience, I've found there are many options for developing a handcrafted jewelry business. With smart planning and hard work, the challenges can be overcome, and the rewards can be plentiful.