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Published 14 March 2024
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16 minutes

How To Start A Jewellery Business In Five Steps

Now is a great time to start your own jewellery business, but how do you turn your gem of an idea into reality? There’s no need to get your bangles in a tangle, because our simple guide will walk you through the first steps.

If jewellery gives you a gleam in your eye and you’ve always dreamed of being your own boss, then starting your own jewellery business could be a great way to make money while doing something you enjoy. 

Perhaps you’re a creative person with a knack for making your own necklaces? Or maybe you have a concept for a range of rings and you’re looking for a supplier to hammer out your ideas? 

Regardless of how exactly you envision your jewellery business, now is a great time to get started. The UK jewellery market is forecast to grow by 13.1% by 2030, and your jewellery business may be able to take advantage of this strong and persistent demand. 

But how do you turn your gem of an idea into a viable jewellery business? Well, there’s no need to get your bangles in a tangle, because our five-step guide has all the answers you need. 

Why start a jewellery business?

There are many advantages to starting your own jewellery business, including the following:

  • Strong demand: The global jewellery market is expected to be worth over £282 billion globally by 2028, while the UK jewellery market is expanding steadily at a rate of around 3.58% every year. There may be a lot of competition, but there are also opportunities for jewellery businesses to take advantage of this huge market. 
  • Potential for great profit margins: It is possible for high-end jewellery businesses to achieve profit margins over 40%. This is because it is normal for luxury jewellery to be sold at a high price, meaning more profit for the seller.
  • Work from home: If you plan to source products from a manufacturer or supplier and sell them online, there is no reason why you can’t run your jewellery business from home. It may also be possible to manufacture your own jewellery at home, depending on materials, products and production techniques.
  • Be your own boss: If you set up your own jewellery business, you’ll be the boss. This means you’ll get to decide what jewellery to sell and how much to charge for it. Calling all the shots entails a lot of responsibility, but many people thrive on the independence and creative freedom that comes with working for yourself. 
  • Do a job you love: If you’re passionate about jewellery, then starting your own jewellery business could be a dream job. Your creativity is likely to be tested, but starting your own jewellery business could make for a fulfilling career. 
  • Reasonable start-up costs: Depending on the kind of jewellery business you have in mind, it may be possible to start making and selling jewellery without a large upfront investment. For example, if you plan to make costume jewellery at home and sell it through an existing ecommerce platform, you may just need to invest in materials and some basic equipment before you can get started. 

Start a jewellery business in 5 steps

1. Research and choose your market

Market research is an essential first step when starting any kind of business. But if you’re hoping to enter the crowded jewellery market, then it’s even more important that you work out how you can differentiate yourself and your products. 

When starting a jewellery business, the objective of market research is to find out more about your potential customer base and competitors. This may involve conducting online research, talking to jewellery buyers, or going to rival jewellery shops to check out the competition. 

In this case, the two most important questions are:

  1. Will there be demand for my products?
  2. Who makes up my target market?

Consider what type of jewellery you want to sell. Jewellery products are often divided into the following categories:

  • Fine jewellery: Generally made from precious or semi-precious metals and gems, fine jewellery is often more expensive to make but sells for a much higher price. With fine jewellery, there is usually a greater emphasis on craftsmanship and luxury. 
  • Costume jewellery: Generally made from cheaper materials, costume jewellery is more likely to follow fast-fashion trends. Also called ‘fashion jewellery’, costume jewellery may be mass produced, selling at a much lower price than fine jewellery.
  • Artist-designed jewellery: Generally handmade, with unique designs and high-quality craftsmanship, artist-designed jewellery may be made from materials that are more expensive than costume jewellery but cheaper than precious and semi-precious fine jewellery. As such, the price point for artist-designed jewellery generally falls somewhere between fine and costume jewellery.

When deciding on which type of jewellery best suits your jewellery business, consider that non-luxury jewellery products are estimated to make up 88% of all jewellery sales. When starting a jewellery business, you may have to choose between going after this large non-luxury market or trying to corner a piece of the smaller (but potentially more lucrative) luxury market. 

As well as deciding what broad category of jewellery your business will sell, consider the specifics of your products. Will you sell rings, necklaces, bracelets, or something else entirely? Perhaps you plan to stock a range of jewellery? If you want to sell handmade, artist-designed jewellery, you may be limited by what you can make yourself. 

If you aren’t planning on selling jewellery you make yourself, then you’ll need at least one supplier or manufacturer to provide you with your products. In this case, make finding a reliable supplier a top priority while carrying out your market research.

Now is also the time to decide where you want to sell your jewellery. Starting a jewellery business could involve getting your products into shops. Alternatively, many jewellery businesses thrive by selling their products at markets and art fairs, where sellers may have a chance to meet their customers face to face, creating the potential for a more personal touch. Consider visiting some local jewellery shops and markets to see what’s already out there and where you might be able to find a niche for your jewellery business. 

Another option is to sell your jewellery online. This is a popular choice for many jewellery businesses, with the UK’s online jewellery market growing by an estimated 7.8% each year. If you do choose to sell your jewellery online, you may consider using a dropshipper to fulfil your orders. This refers to the practice of outsourcing supply, shipping, packing and delivery operations to a third party, leaving you to focus on finding new customers and marketing your products.

» MORE: How to start a dropshipping business

Another option when selling jewellery online is to use an existing ecommerce platform – such as Etsy, Amazon or Shopify – to act as your online storefront. Going down this route may involve fewer upfront costs, and you may find it more convenient than setting up your own ecommerce website. But be aware that all these platforms charge various fees in return for hosting your store. While researching the market, consider various ecommerce platforms and look at where your competitors sell their products. 

Finally, your market research should help you determine the direction of your brand. When marketing your business, it may be easier to break into the crowded jewellery market if you have a clear and memorable brand name: something which says something about you and your products. Again, look at what your competitors are doing, and consider spending some time developing a coherent brand identity that your future customers will recognise you by. 

2. Create a budget for your jewellery business

Creating a business plan and budget will help give you a better idea of exactly how much money you will need to start your jewellery business. A business plan will normally also be required if you apply for a start-up loan or business loan.

Writing out a business plan and a budget may also help you to work out whether your plans are realistic and viable. For a more detailed guide, read our article on how to write a business plan.

When writing your business budget, consider the following costs:

  • Studio space: If you want to make your own jewellery, you will probably need to lease a studio or workshop (unless you already have a suitable space at home). Renting a studio or workshop could be a significant expense, although you may find that you can reduce costs by sharing a space with fellow creatives. 
  • Tools and materials: If you’re going down the DIY route, you will also need tools and raw materials to make jewellery. What you need will depend on the type of jewellery you want to make, but remember to also budget for essential safety equipment such as face masks and goggles. 
  • Shipping: If you plan to use an overseas manufacturer to make your jewellery products, consider the costs of shipping your pieces to customers in the UK. In this case, costs will probably depend on where your supplier is based.
  • Website: If you decide to use an existing ecommerce website as your online storefront, you may have to pay a small monthly fee. Shopify, for example, starts at £5 per month. Additionally, you may decide to set up your own website – either to sell your products or simply to act as a showcase for your jewellery business. It can cost as little as £100 per year to set up and run a simple website for your jewellery business – although expect to pay much more if you want a more complex site or plan on enlisting the help of a professional web designer.
  • Marketing: You might want to set aside some money to market your jewellery business. Facebook ads, for example, cost 78p per click on average. And influencer marketing – the practice of paying a social media influencer to advertise your products – could cost as little as £125 for a post from an influencer with fewer than 10,000 followers. Just bear in mind that most companies hire a social media manager or a marketing manager to handle this side of the business, and there are no guarantees of success even if you have a solid marketing plan from the outset. 

For a more detailed guide, explore our five-step guide to creating a small business budget.

3. Register your jewellery business

Now it’s time to take one of your first official steps towards starting your own jewellery business. This means choosing a business structure and then registering your jewellery business. You should take your time and research which business structure will best suit your needs:

  • Sole trader: A sole trader is the exclusive owner of a business, keeping all post-tax profits. But being a sole trader means there will be no separation between you and your jewellery business – making you personally responsible for any losses your business may make. Sole traders need to register for self-assessment to pay their taxes to HMRC. 
  • Partnership: A business partnership is when two or more people share the responsibilities, risks, profits and losses of a business. The three main types of partnerships are general business partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. If you are the ‘nominated partner’ – the one responsible for filing the partnership tax return – then you must also register with HMRC. Bear in mind that all partners still need to submit their tax returns as individuals as well.
  • Limited company: If you choose to incorporate as a limited company, you will be legally and financially distinct from your jewellery business. As a limited company, you will have shares and shareholders and can keep any post-tax profits. You can register as a limited company at Gov.uk.

» MORE: Should I register as a sole trader or limited company?

There are also a few laws and regulations which you need to bear in mind when starting your jewellery business.

If you plan to sell jewellery (or anything else, for that matter) at a market stall, then you will need a market stall licence. Visit Gov.uk for more information and to apply. 

You also need to be aware of the Hallmarking Act 1973 if you intend to work with precious metals – such as gold, silver and platinum. Precious metals are tested for purity at Assay Offices, which are located throughout the UK. Once tested, pure precious metals are stamped with a hallmark, a series of markings which basically serve as a guarantee that a precious metal is pure. 

You can get your own metals tested and hallmarked at an Assay Office, or you can buy metals which have already been tested and hallmarked in advance. Just bear in mind that it is illegal to sell or describe something as a precious metal when it has not been hallmarked. 

Also bear in mind that any jewellery you sell will be subject to the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This law states that sellers must make sure their products are fit for purpose, accurately described, and of satisfactory quality. 

Under the Consumer Rights Act, customers can return any faulty or defective product for a full refund up to 30 days after purchase or delivery. Between 30 days and six months, you have the option of offering to replace or repair the faulty goods before needing to offer a refund.

4. Fund your jewellery business

Once you have created a budget and registered your jewellery business, you are ready to seek the funding you’ll need to get your business off the ground. 

If you decide to make your own pieces at home, and if you already have the skills and equipment you need, then it might not take much capital to get your jewellery business up and running. Otherwise, you may need to combine the various funding options below:

  • Personal savings: Using personal savings will allow you to retain full ownership of your jewellery business, but be careful not to endanger your own financial health in the process.
  • Friends and family: Borrowing money from friends and family can be tricky, so it might be best to draw up a written agreement in advance of accepting a loan to cover the start-up costs of your jewellery business. This should help to avoid any disagreements in the future.
  • Small business grants: There are a range of non-repayable and partially repayable start up business grants across the UK, as well as those for businesses based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Government business loans: Different government business loans may be available to your jewellery business depending on where you are in the UK.
  • Business loans: A traditional small business loan might be difficult to secure when starting up a new jewellery business, since lenders generally prefer to back more established ventures with an existing track record. Still, securing a business loan for a start-up is not impossible.
  • Angel investors: Angel investors tend to be wealthy individuals looking to invest in new businesses in exchange for equity or convertible debt. 
  • Crowdfunding: This involves securing funding from more than one source in exchange for things like equity or early access to products. Crowdfunding often takes place through an online campaign. 

You may decide to open a business bank account to keep track of the funds you’ll use to start your jewellery business. 

If you are a sole trader – and provided your bank allows it – you may be able to keep using your personal account for business transactions. However, limited companies and partnerships are legally required to keep their personal and business finances separate. Even as a sole trader, you may find that opening a business bank account makes it easier to keep on top of earnings and outgoings. 

5. Find your first jewellery business customers

Now you have registered your jewellery business and secured the funding you need, it’s time to find your first customers.

If you plan to sell your jewellery through an ecommerce site, then make sure your product listings properly showcase your jewellery. Descriptions are important, but it’s the photos which will likely catch the eye of your potential customers. Make sure your products are well lit and well staged – which may involve using models to show what your jewellery looks like when someone’s wearing it.

You may also consider paying for a professional photographer to make sure your photos do your jewellery justice. The average cost of professional corporate photography in the UK varies, but you can expect to pay around £350 to £700 for a shoot. 

Whether you take them yourself or pay a professional, you should also consider putting your photographs on a website for your jewellery business. Even if you don’t use it for ecommerce, this website may connect you with potential customers and show off your products. 

Similarly, social media can be a great way to connect with customers and promote your products. Set up accounts for your jewellery business and consider using social media marketing to reach a wider audience. You may decide to collaborate with other brands or use influencer marketing to promote your jewellery – although how feasible this is may depend on your marketing budget. Joining online groups where people talk about fashion and jewellery could be a cheaper way to get more eyes on your products.

Back in the offline world, you could find new customers by attending markets and art fairs. Setting up a stall at a makers’ market will not only allow you to reach new customers, but it will also allow you to conduct live market research by asking people what they think about your products. Finally, offering to make custom pieces may help to put your jewellery business on the map – not only allowing you to reach new customers but potentially also driving word-of-mouth interest in your business. 

How much do jewellery businesses charge?

There is no simple answer to this question, as any two jewellery businesses may sell radically different products at radically different prices. 

When it comes to price, however, the key distinction is between fine and costume jewellery. Since fine jewellery is made from precious or semi-precious metals and gems, it is likely to fetch a far higher price than costume jewellery, which is generally made from less valuable materials. 

As an example, you can buy low-end costume earrings and necklaces online for just a few pounds. Higher quality costume jewellery may be priced at over £20 for necklaces, earrings or bracelets. 

Fine jewellery is likely to fetch far higher prices – potentially thousands of pounds for pieces made from precious metals, such as gold, and valuable stones, like diamonds. 

Profit margins are generally higher for luxury jewellery businesses, since they know they can charge higher prices for their products. It is possible for luxury jewellery businesses to achieve profit margins in excess of 40%.

Image source: Getty Images

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