If crafting your own bracelets and necklaces has gone from a hobby to an obsession, it might be time to figure out how to sell handmade jewelry to offset your supply costs or earn some extra money. Maybe you even hope to quit your job one day if the business takes off.
Unfortunately, the handmade jewelry industry is a bit oversaturated thanks to sites like Etsy that make it easy for anyone to sell their wares online, but these tips will help you get started on the right track for the best chance at success.
1. Master Your Craft
It's tempting to want to start up a business right after you complete your first jewelry making tutorial, but a few handmade jewelry pieces does not make you a master. Take a second to slow down and hone your craft. Perfect your jewelry making style so your pieces are cohesive, unique to the brand you want to create, and well-made. This process takes time.
2. Set Up the Business
If you aren't sure whether a jewelry business is for you, sell your handmade jewelry locally at a craft fair to test the waters. Hold back from starting your own online store until you have solidified how your brand is going to look, how your accounting will work, and have all the necessary paperwork filed. You want your first impression as an online business to be a professional one.
Once you're confident in your jewelry making skills and you know that you want to start a business, make sure to thoroughly plan the business side of it. Write a business plan, create a brand storyboard, and sign up for a tax ID. Pick a fitting name and register for a DBA. Consult with other professionals to perfect your business model before you go to market.
3. Pick Your Selling Venue
Figure out if you're going to sell online, in person, or both. Do you want to open a brick and mortar shop? Do you want to only do craft shows? Do you want your own website or do you want to sell on a site like Etsy? Determine where you want to sell and how your inventory will be managed.
Once you figure this out, research other jewelry businesses that have had success selling in these venues. Take insight from these businesses rather than copying them.
4. Gather an Inventory
Even if you only want to sell online, make sure you have more than just a few pieces to sell. It's common to think that you can just make pieces here and there as the other ones sell. However, in order to gain forward momentum, you'll want to start with a healthy inventory. Then make sure you continue adding pieces regularly for the first few months. This will help potential customers take your business more seriously.
5. Master Photography
To have your jewelry business stand apart from others, you'll want to master photography. Well-composed, properly lit photography is an important skill to perfect even if you plan on selling locally. You may plan to sell at craft shows exclusively, but you'll still want to maintain some online presence to connect with previous and potential customers. Having professional-looking photos for these platforms will help.
6. Get Social for Free Marketing
Take some online courses to learn how to take your social media presence to the next level. It used to be having a fantastic website and blog were the primary ways small jewelry businesses marketed themselves. Nowadays, you can get away with not having a website and just maintaining an active social media presence.
The two words to remember here are consistency and cohesiveness. Keep your feeds consistent with your brand and limit personal posts. Make sure you post at least a few times a week so you don't lose touch with your target audience. Schedule posts in advance and take advantage of free tools if needed.