5 Tips for Starting a Jewelry Fabrication Workshop
All that glitters doesn’t automatically lead to lots of money – but it can. The jewelry business requires serious thought, time and work. And like all businesses it takes some serious research before starting out. Consider budget, location, and market, but this isn’t to say that a jewelry business can’t be a good business idea, especially now that the Internet opens a world of marketing ideas.
Because we are often asked about commercial building options here at Rocket Steel Buildings, we decided to do a survey into this hand-craft business. So we spoke to several successful jewelry fabricators and asked them about their initial stages. Hopefully, this will serve you as an initial guide on how to explore the intricacies of starting a new Jewelry business.
Upon speaking to Pamela Doyle of Doyle & Doyle she stresses the importance of learning the craft well. It’s important you either apprentice under an expert or learn the craft from those who have been in the industry for a number of years.
A good way to learn different jewelry techniques is to take workshops, even to travel to different well known art centers, or art communities and take intensive courses from experienced designers.
2. Start Up Costs
Once you are experienced with your craft you need to familiarize yourself with the business end of your industry.
This is a difficult aspect for jewelry fabricators, because business isn’t a strong point. Still you can learn it, or find a mentor to help plan out your business. Think of equipment, fabrication time, material costs, location of your fabrication shop. We have seen many jewelry fabricators choose steel buildings as their workshop area, just because a steel building can be placed anywhere, even in backyard, and that can significantly reduce overhead costs.
How Much Do You Need?
Well that really depends, fabricators have started with little to no money or with a nice nest egg. Providing you have a workshop or a fabrication area such as that available in a steel building, your investment could be minimal.
For instance, Gandy, started with an initial investment of $2,000 for his successful Ecowrist custom made watch business.
But then there is Carmella Ricciardelli, owner of Steampunk Jewelry, who started with nothing. She started making jewelry from old watch parts and antique typewriter keys.
Doyle & Doyle also started with a minimal budget, and for the first three years they simply raised capital and rolled it back into the business.
Other designers decide to simply start out at full speed ahead. Taking out a loan or financing their efforts themselves. Goldman Sachs suggests that startups that are well funded in this industry start with about $20,000
Often a jewelry artisan does not think of the cost of materials, instead only thinking of the beauty of a piece. But when you start a fabricating business, these are considerations you need to make. Even so, artisans are creative and that is the true price of their work. As such consider using a blend of both expensive and inexpensive materials. Some of the most innovative fabricators sell their wares on Etsy.com. Visit the site to see the types of materials used
4.Combining Manufacturing and Distribution
Many jewelry fabricators decide to only distribute from the U.S, and instead find fabricators outside of the country. There are pros and cons here. This involves your traveling, and additional expenses here. But fabricating in the USA can also be expensive, especially if you need to hire other designers
5.Opening a Store
This can be a difficult consideration, as a brick and mortar store involves a high overhead. In recent years, many brick and mortar stores have closed their doors; instead, opting to choose affordable fabricating workspaces, such as that available in the steel building options, and choosing to market their products in artisan markets and online.
However, in the absence of a storefront, it is important that jewelry fabricators invest in a strong online presence, and this can be expensive, sometimes costing as much as $10,000 to $15,000.
Starting a jewelry fabricating business isn’t that difficult and it can be profitable, but it is best to invest small and grow your business over time. Your primary investments lie in finding an inexpensive fabrication workshop, one that won’t involve your paying continued overhead costs, like that of a steel building or warehouse, then in marketing your wares at fairs, craft shows and on online platforms. In this way, your investment can be very small.