Do you have a creative soul and are gifted with your hands? Do you enjoy creating jewelry for yourself and your loved ones? What if you turned your favorite hobby into a source of income?
Living from your creations may seem utopian, however, it is quite possible to achieve a nice turnover thanks to the sale of jewelry. For that, it is enough to have the artistic fiber, to be manual and to be rigorous.
After a first article on this same theme dedicated to the positioning and the inspiration necessary before launching, we are going with this second part to look at the manufacture of jewelry, the management of a team and a workspace as well than about setting up an online jewelry store.
Manufacturing and materials
The manufacturing method—hand or factory, in-house or outsourced—will depend on the complexity of the design, price, materials, and your skill level.
Jewelry making: handmade, custom, and limited edition (for jewelry/art pieces)
Although assembling jewelry by hand is a method that requires dedication, it is still very customizable and versatile. Other methods employed in jewelry making require specialized training/certification and expensive equipment, depending on materials and design. These include:
- The welding
- Casting and molding
- 3D printing
- Laser cutting
- Leather work
Jewelery manufacturing : by assembly (for fashion or costume jewellery)
Often, making jewelry by hand involves only assembling existing elements (chains, wires, beads, pendants, etc.), and does not require specialized training or special equipment beyond pliers, hammers for jewelry, glue, and wire cutters.
Handmade jewelry making is an activity that can be scaled up more smoothly. This is because the component parts of jewelry can be purchased in bulk and the assembly process can easily be modeled and outsourced to interns or a team of employees.
Jewelery manufacturing : outsourcing and fulfillment of orders (fashion/costume jewellery)
Instead of making your jewelry by hand, you could outsource its production to a third party. This outsourced manufacturing method is not suitable for making jewelry, custom jewelry, or limited-edition jewelry. However, it is profitable for the mass production of fashion/costume jewellery. There are several options for outsourcing:
- Local manufacturing: Local manufacturing has many advantages. Dealing with partners close to you allows you to exchange more fluidly, but also to go on site to check the quality of the materials and the finished product and also to ensure that the working conditions of the employees are good. . In addition, local manufacturing is a very good selling point. Of course, there are some disadvantages to consider. One thinks in particular of the higher manufacturing costs and the more limited choice of manufacturers.
- Manufacturing overseas: Manufacturing your jewelry overseas can also be beneficial. The main advantages of this method of manufacture are: lower costs, more options in terms of materials and processes. As for the negative points, we think first of all of the working conditions of the employees and of the communication which can sometimes prove difficult with the manufacturer.
- The easiest way to make jewelry, if you’re not experienced enough in jewelry making, is to go through a fulfillment service. These companies operate like Printful , an on-demand printing and shipping service for customizable t-shirts/products. Your initial designs are recreated in stainless steel, wood, plastic, gold or silver, before being shipped directly to your customers.
Materials and tools
There are several online resources that allow wholesale purchase of jewelry materials, tools, and raw materials, including raw metals and gemstones. Here are some French resources to explore:
Cookson-CLAL (in French): jewelery equipment and tools (more than 3500 types of tools in stock).
Creavea (in French): all the supplies needed to make your jewelry yourself.
Perles & Co (in French): beads and accessories for costume jewellery.
Aromasud (in French): to buy gemstones and precious or semi-precious stones.
Pandahall (in French): online gemstone wholesaler.
Tip: You may find more platforms specializing in the sale of Wholesale Jewelry accessories, supplies and tools by searching for relevant keywords on Google (e.g. “tools for making jewelry”).
Finding good suppliers is often a worry for startup creators. While many names are easy to find on the internet, it is still essential to check their reputation.
But don’t forget that word of mouth is probably the best way to find the perfect supplier, one who will work seriously and in whom you can have complete confidence. Do not hesitate to ask other craftsmen, if some will probably jealously keep the name of their suppliers, others will undoubtedly help you with pleasure.
We have already told you: product photography is of great importance in the world of e-commerce. In many cases, with a basic lighting setup, you could take some really great white background product photos yourself, even with your smartphone.
However, jewelry can be more difficult to photograph due to the small details that need to be highlighted and its (often) reflective surface.
Don’t skimp on photography, even if you have a shoestring budget. A professional photographer knows how to put models at ease and set up complex lighting setups. Your photoshoot team should include stylists, makeup artists, and (real) models. Collaborating with knowledgeable people will provide you with better results, but the initiative shouldn’t ruin your budget.
It is always very tempting to call on relatives with some skills in photography or styling or to turn to friends to play the models. This solution may at first seem sensible, firstly because it is reassuring to surround yourself with people you know, but also because it saves money. However, appealing to amateurs, especially if they are your friends, can sometimes be a bad idea. You risk not daring to lead your team firmly and therefore not obtaining the result you expected. So take the time to think before you start your shoot.