How to Start a Jewelry Designing Business
From its shiny metals, remarkable stones, and unique shapes, jewelry has been worn by both men and women since 3,000 BC. The remains of royalty have been discovered buried with their jewels, including everything from necklaces to earrings and crowns.
Today, jewelry is worn as a statement of personal style. It is an excellent gift idea that is even exchanged by many couples as a sign of their marriage commitment. Jewelry designers turn their creative ideas into unique treasures with the hope that they speak to others’ personal style.
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Learn how to start your own Jewelry Designing Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a Jewelry Designing Business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Jewelry Designing Business
- Form your Jewelry Designing Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Jewelry Designing Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Jewelry Designing Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Jewelry Designing Business
- Get Jewelry Designing Business Insurance
- Define your Jewelry Designing Business Brand
- Create your Jewelry Designing Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Jewelry Designing Business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
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STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a Jewelry Designing Business?
Startup costs for this type of business vary depending upon the type of jewelry sold, the raw materials used, and the complexity of production. The initial investment for a fine jewelry business is significantly higher than that of a fashion jewelry business as it requires special equipment and expensive raw materials. The following expenses should be considered when determining your startup budget:
- Workspace and equipment — If you elect to design and produce the jewelry in-house, you will need enough space to safely store all raw materials, design new pieces, and handcraft each item. If your designs involve silversmithing or metalwork, you will need quite a bit more space than what a home office might offer.
- Raw materials — Price out individual elements to ensure both quality and affordability. Events like The Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show are excellent places to network and source the newest stones and metal.
- Production and packaging — Research potential manufacturers prior to starting your business. Price and quality should influence your final decision.
- Website and marketing — Will you sell your pieces through sales channels such as Etsy, Amazon, and Instagram, or will you have your own website? Most jewelers find success using a combination of both. Regardless of which channel you choose, each item must be photographed and uploaded with a carefully crafted product description.
- Insurance and permits — Work with a licensed professional to determine your business’s permitting and insurance needs.
What are the ongoing expenses for a Jewelry Designing Business?
Like your startup costs, ongoing expenses for this type of business vary depending upon the type of jewelry you design, raw materials used, and how large of a role you plan to take in the entire process. When drafting your business plan, consider the following potential ongoing expenses:
- Location — As your business starts to flourish, you will likely outgrow your home workshop and need to move into a dedicated workspace. When scouting out a location, consider your overall budget and how this investment will impact your profits. The space should fit within your budget while allowing room for future growth.
- Equipment and raw materials — Raw materials should be kept in stock, and all equipment should be properly maintained.
- Production, packaging, and shipping
- Website maintenance
- Payroll and outsourcing fees
Due to high US manufacturing costs, many businesses in the fashion industry choose to utilize foreign manufacturers. Before going this route, weigh the financial savings against other costs. Will overseas manufacturing require additional travel? Does your target audience only purchase products made in the US?
Who is the target market?
The jewelry industry is expansive, with each brand’s style reaching a different target audience. When writing your business plan, narrow things down and define your ideal customer. Can your pieces be worn daily or are they more appropriate for specific occasions? How would you define your collection — fine, classic, socially conscious, or trendy? Consult with various jewelry and fashion publications and blogs to determine your target market and identify their habits and preferences. This will help you in creating a marketing strategy that effectively reaches the consumers you had in mind when designing your pieces.
How does a Jewelry Designing Business make money?
As a jewelry designer, you will design, create, and sell your unique jewelry pieces. Your creations can be sold through a variety of sales channels.
How much can you charge customers?
Knowing your target audience is essential to setting jewelry prices. Cost for production, materials, and your own time investment should all be considered to ensure you make enough profit to sustain and grow. Take a look at what similar jewelers are charging, and price yourself competitively. If you price too low, you run the risk of losing money; price too high, and you may lose potential customers.
How much profit can a Jewelry Designing Business make?
While global spending on jewelry is well over $400 billion annually, experts indicate it is a highly competitive market. The market, however, is expected to experience continued growth, leaving plenty of opportunity for newcomers to earn significant profits. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to keep a finger on the pulse and follow the latest trends and fluctuating prices to ensure long-term growth and profits.
How can you make your business more profitable?
As mentioned, proper pricing with overhead costs in mind is critical to maximizing profits. A strong marketing strategy will help reach your target audience. Many jewelry designers have found success in expanding their business to include custom jewelry and additional products such as metal picture frames. If you enjoy working with people, teaching jewelry-making classes is also a good source of additional income.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Jewelry Designing Business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a jewelry designing business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a Jewelry Designing Business
Social media is an affordable and effective way for jewelry designers to promote their businesses. Facebook and visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram should be included in your marketing strategy. You will need to post content on a regular basis, with relevant hashtags included on each post. This will help reach potential customers who aren’t currently following your profile. Research other jewelry designers and retailers to identify which influencers they are working with. Reach out to those influencers, and offer to send them free products in exchange for a post on their page.
Your brand should be considered with everything you do. Your website, logo, social media pages, marketing materials, and packaging should all tell a story. Nurture relationships with consumers by sharing your inspiration and the process behind your jewelry line.
If your budget allows it, consider hiring a PR firm. While the upfront costs are much higher than marketing on your own, the return on your investment will be worth it.
How to keep customers coming back
Given the competitive nature of this market sector, it is critical that you develop a brand that consumers identify with and trust. For long-term success, listen to your customers and interact with them on a regular basis. Most importantly — stand by your product. If a customer comes to you with a complaint or broken jewelry, address their concerns and rectify the situation swiftly.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Jewelry Designing Business in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
Do you enjoy handcrafting jewelry pieces in your downtime? Does your jewelry turn heads and garner compliments from strangers? Have your friends and family encouraged you to turn your hobby into a legitimate business? If you answered “yes” to these questions, launching a jewelry designing business could be the perfect business for you.
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What happens during a typical day at a Jewelry Designing Business?
Each jewelry designer’s day-to-day activities are unique depending upon what role they decide to take in their company. Some design and handcraft each piece, while others send their designs to be manufactured, labeled, and shipped by a professional. As a jewelry designer, your daily activities could include:
- Creating new designs
- Crafting prototypes of new designs
- Sharing prototypes with consumers to gauge interest
- Researching current and emerging trends for new design ideas
- Hunting for unique stones and metals to be used in your craft
- Placing orders for raw materials
- Researching and testing out new design methods
- Addressing customer inquiries
- Creating templates for assembly to be used by production staff
- Crafting custom pieces
- Networking and fostering relationships within the industry
- Filling orders and shipping pieces to their new homes
When developing your business plan, carefully consider what aspects of jewelry design will bring you joy. If your interests and strength lie solely in design, begin researching affordable ways to outsource the other business activities. This will help ensure your creative juices aren’t stifled and set your business up for long-term success.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Jewelry Designing Business?
If you are considering launching a jewelry designing business, you likely already possess the artistic skills necessary for designing and creating unique pieces. Running a successful business, however, will require more than just creative talent. Since this is a highly-competitive industry, a basic understanding of how to build a business is strongly recommended. If you do not have a business background, consider taking some courses through your local Small Business Administration office. A targeted marketing strategy will also be critical in reaching potential customers. If this isn’t your strong suit, many marketing companies cater to the jewelry industry.
What is the growth potential for a Jewelry Designing Business?
Projected to be worth over $480 billion by 2025, jewelry sales experience growth of 5% to 6% annually. With a majority of those sales done online, designers can reach consumers on a global scale. While the jewelry industry is a saturated market, the potential for growth and significant profit is there. For long-term success, newcomers are urged to tap into a niche market and develop a targeted marketing strategy.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a Jewelry Designing Business?
Industry leaders recommend that newcomers start out selling their products on ecommerce platforms like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon. Their built-in traffic will help boost sales and increase visibility for your new business. Once your website is built, consider enhancing the customer experience through apps such as Jewelfie and Loox.
The most common piece of advice from jewelry designers spanning every background — do not cut corners when it comes to photography. Improper lighting or a blurry photo is the quickest way to lose a jewelry sale.
How and when to build a team
How and when you build a team depends upon how active a role you wish to take in your design business. To create a successful business, you will need more than just beautiful jewelry. The jewelry must be produced and packaged. To satisfy the consumer, each piece should be photographed on a model and in a variety of settings. Once photographed, the items will need to be added to your website with a product description. Your jewelry line must also be promoted with a social media presence maintained at all times. As orders come in, they will need to be filled and shipped in a timely manner. Be honest with yourself regarding your strengths and weaknesses as well as the role you wish to play in all activities outside design, and hire accordingly.
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