Jewelry is meaningful, expressive, sentimental, and fun, and being a creator in this space can feel really fulfilling and exciting. If you’re wondering how to build a successful jewelry business but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a look at the step-by-step process of how to start a jewelry business from the ground up and how to make your brand a successful and profitable one.
Understand Your Brand
You might be thinking, “shouldn’t I make some jewelry first?” But defining your brand is a crucial first step when it comes to starting a jewelry business. Taking the jewelry market’s pulse can help you narrow in on your niche, develop your values as a company, and define the direction of your product line. From a business perspective, your values and your audience can inspire your designs, and figuring out how your brand fits into the broader industry is key.
You’ll want to do some research and get familiar with the landscape of the jewelry industry. There are tons and tons of jewelry options available for customers to choose from, so it’s important to make your brand identity clear, consistent, and identifiable in contrast to others in the industry. Get specific; when customers hear your brand’s name, what words do you hope will pop in their head? Maybe those words are “sustainability” and “social responsibility,” or maybe they’re “bold color” and “minimalism.” Pinpoint your niche as a company.
After you brainstorm what makes your brand stand out, consider the benefit your company can provide for its customers. How will your brand give customers something they can’t get anywhere else? Beyond a piece of jewelry, consider what your brand’s specific focus does for your customers. Maybe it’s supporting a cause they believe in, or giving them a unique solution to a problem like jewelry made for a specific purpose or unique event. Getting really familiar with the value your brand brings to the table will be crucial to your identity and it will help you define your stance.
Get to Know Your Audience
Once you have a good understanding of your brand identity, identify your target demographic. Are they young couples looking for engagement rings together? Gen Z folks with a preference for jewelry made with recycled materials? Fashion trendsetters with an eye for cutting-edge design?
Once you’ve gotten specific with your target demographic, conduct some research about them as a group. Get to know how much money they typically spend on jewelry, where they generally live, what they care about, and who they follow on social media. You can even start this process for free by doing a little digging on social media platforms like Instagram and Reddit.
Knowing what your customers find important can also help you determine your approach to your jewelry designs, production, and marketing. For instance, if sustainability matters to them then you might want to find lab-created diamonds to use in your jewelry designs. This research about your customers can inform your decision about the right manufacturer to help you reach your goals too. That’s up next:
Partner with a Manufacturer
Jewelry manufacturers all have different specialties, philosophies, and processes, so it’s important to find a custom jewelry manufacturing partner that is aligned with your values and priorities. Do your research to identify custom jewelry manufacturers that have a great reputation and then reach out to a few of them. Ask the right questions to get as much information as you can, and make sure to inquire about their material sourcing to ensure they have what you need and that their practices are ethical. One way to be sure their chain of custody is sound is to ask if they’re certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council.
Ask about each jewelry manufacturer’s production turnaround times and find out if they can provide you with a sample design to inspect the quality of their work. Be sure to look for a manufacturer with low or no minimum order quantity; this way, you can test out your product without committing to an entire inventory of a product you’re unsure about. If the manufacturer works with major retailers, they should be able to help you get your foot in the door to get your jewelry on their shelves. The right manufacturer will also be able to help with more detailed steps like packaging design, product photography, line sheets, and more.
While you’re interacting with a potential manufacturing partner, take note of their response times and attentiveness. A manufacturer that treats your brand with care and makes you feel prioritized from day one should give you confidence in their ability to resolve issues quickly and work efficiently once you officially start working together.
Create Your First Jewelry Design
Every successful jewelry business begins with a single design; developing a large collection might take some time, but it all begins with the first product. It may take a few iterations to get exactly the look and feel you’re going for, but rest assured that you’ve done the research and you’re prepared. Start by sketching some designs on paper, or if you’re experienced with design apps and digital tools, draft a few different angles on a computer or tablet. When you pass these designs onto your chosen manufacturer, be sure to specify the details like size, measurements, and materials you envision in your piece.
If illustration or design skills aren’t in your wheelhouse, make sure you find a manufacturer with an in-house design team that can bring your vision come to life. You can always use reference photos as inspiration and guidance for your manufacturing team. Once you nail down the design, your manufacturer should be able to get started with production right away.
Build Your Website and Social Media Pages
Once you have your product in hand, you can focus on getting the word out about your jewelry business. Online shopping has steadily increased each year for the past decade, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, e-commerce sales skyrocketed by 43%. And that trend isn’t stopping; e-commerce sales are projected to increase by another 56% by 2026.
Having an online presence is essential, so build a website that expresses your brand identity and professionally showcases your gorgeous jewelry. You’ll also want to create accounts on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to gain followers and increase traffic to your website. These tasks are fundamental to growing a small business today, but it’s okay to start small. If you feel overwhelmed by the task and you have some budget resources to spend on marketing, you can always outsource your efforts to an experienced creative agency.
If you’re ready to produce beautiful designs and begin your retail journey, consider working with an experienced custom jewelry manufacturer like MJJ Brilliant. Test your designs with no minimum order quantity, and consult our expert jewelry designers for creative direction and product support. Our professional jewelers produce over four million beautiful designs each year, and we work with more than 25 major national retailers. We’re committed to sustainability at every level of production so you can feel good about the jewelry you create. We’d be thrilled to discuss your jewelry brand’s potential — contact us today to learn more about how MJJ Brilliant can help you get your jewelry business off the ground.