How to start a jewelry business in 12 steps
This post was last updated on March 17, 2023.
Whether you’re a jewelry enthusiast looking to take your passion to the next level or a creative entrepreneur searching for a new creative outlet, starting a jewelry business can be a fulfilling and exciting journey.
Beyond being able to be your own boss and choose the direction of your company, you can start a jewelry business with minimal upfront costs. In this guide, we'll walk you through each step and answer common questions about how to get started.
Not convinced a jewelry business is right for you? We’ve built a list of other profitable eCommerce business ideas for you to explore.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting a jewelry business:
01. Choose a niche
First things first, you need to nail down your niche. Your niche and your business model go hand-in-hand, but let’s start with determining your niche.
A niche defines who you’re going to sell to and what you’ll be selling them. It gives your business a focal point as you start to build up your brand. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine your niche:
What type of jewelry do I want to specialize in? Consider whether you will offer a specific type of jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, or bracelets, or you will offer multiple types of jewelry.
What makes my jewelry unique? Identify what quality or feature will set your products or business apart from the competition. For example, perhaps you use unique or upcycled materials. Or, maybe your jewelry incorporates specific themes, colors, or designs like those created by Buena Onda Handmade.
Who is my target market? Think about what your ideal customer would look like including age range, interests, purchasing habits, income level, values, etc. The more you understand about your audience, the easier it will be to create or source jewelry that appeals to them.
What problem does my jewelry solve? You might not initially think that jewelry can solve a problem. But think more deeply about the gaps in the market. Consider how you can differentiate your brand. For example, you could provide a wider selection of jewelry made from hypoallergenic or high-quality materials to shoppers with metal sensitivities.
02. Choose a business model
A business model defines how you’ll build your product selection and sell your products. There are several common business models suitable for a jewelry business, but you may find that a combination of these is more suitable for your business goals, desires, and target market. For example, you could blend a custom jewelry model with a dropship business model for added variety and additional income.
Here are some examples:
Custom jewelry model - This business model specializes in creating custom jewelry pieces for customers. As a custom jeweler, you can typically charge higher prices due to the individualized service and those that follow you are likely to be true fans of your work since your designs can’t be found elsewhere.
Handmade jewelry business model - Create a collection of handmade jewelry to sell online. You could make several one-of-a-kind pieces or a few designs repeatedly—or you can do a bit of both.
Jewelry curation model - Curate styles you love from various jewelry suppliers and designers. Consider focusing on a specific quality or style of jewelry, then reselling the curated products to your customers at a profit.
Dropshipping business model - Work with a jeweler or wholesaler who picks, packs, and ships items to your customers whenever an order is placed through your website. This model pairs well with handmade or custom jewelry business models as it allows you to offer a variety of products without spending time or money to create and store them.
Subscription business model - Offer jewelry enthusiasts a monthly subscription box of self-pampering bling like a coordinating set of jewelry items and accessories based on a theme, style, or event. Subscription models are a good way to generate consistent cash flow for your business.
03. Get to know your potential audience
Before you start a business, learn what type of person would buy the jewelry you’re selling and the price point at which they’d pay for such items. The better you know the interests, demographics, and buying habits of your target audience, the better equipped you'll be to create or curate items that they desire.
Here are some methods you can use to get to know your audience.
Competitor research - Search online to find jewelry retailers selling items similar to yours. Analyze their marketing strategies, target audience, and customer feedback.
Surveys - Create an online survey to collect feedback from your target audience. Consider offering participants a token of appreciation for their time such as a coupon, a small gift, or an entry to win a piece of handmade jewelry.
Local events - Attend local industry events like conferences and craft fairs to network with your target audience and get firsthand feedback about your products.
Website analytics - Once your website is up and running, you can review visitor demographics to gain insights about where they come from, what pages they visit, and how long they spend on your site. Some eCommerce platforms like Wix include analytics tools, allowing you to monitor your traffic from day one.
Remember that understanding your audience is an ongoing process. You'll want to continuously collect feedback, analyze data, and adapt your strategies to meet your audience's changing needs and preferences.
Pro tip: Create buyer personas to organize the information gathered about your ideal customer types and to help maintain clarity around who your business is serving and why. Additionally, buyer personas keep your marketing strategies, business initiatives, niche, and brand-aligned. With a solid understanding of your buyer personas, you can confidently craft products and pricing that they’ll enjoy—and create a marketing plan to position your products in front of them.
04. Brainstorm a business name and brand
Picking the right business name
Your business name is integral to the branding on your site, invoices, product packaging, labels, signage, and more.
Your name could represent something meaningful or personal to your business. For instance, founders of Darby Pritchards combined their last names to form their brand name, not unlike Tiffany & co., brainchild of Charles Lewis Tiffany.
Read also: 55 best LLC names to start your eCommerce business
Alternatively, you could choose a name that highlights what makes your jewelry unique like The Antlered Doe, which crafts one-of-a-kind rings using naturally shed antlers.
In general, good business names are short, easy to remember, and easy to spell. The easier it is to remember your name, the more likely customers are to return for additional purchases.
Need help thinking of a good name? Try our free jewelry business name generator.
Choosing the right domain name
Once you’ve decided on a business name, check that the domain name and social media handles are available for your chosen business name. The Wix name generator will let you know if a matching domain name is available, including domain extensions other than the traditional “.com”.
Creating a logo
When it comes to creating a logo for your business, you have two options: design your own logo, or have one made for you.
If you prefer to let someone else handle the creative work you can hire a professional through the Wix Marketplace. If you’re the DIY type, try our Wix logo maker which can also help you choose a color scheme for your website.
Once you have your logo and colors selected, you can create other coordinated branding materials, including:
Social media headers
Building your brand
Building brand recognition takes time, but consistency in your name, style, colors, and messaging across all your marketing channels can increase revenue by as much as 33% according to Marq. Consistency boosts brand recognition, credibility, and trust—all of which can influence larger cart sizes and repeat business.
A strong brand creates an emotional connection with your customers. Before you start a jewelry business, it’s helpful to create a brand style guide that details every aspect of your brand including proper usage for your logo, messaging, and more.
Learn more about building a brand that customers remember:
Brand Personality: How to make your brand stand out in a crowded market
05. Create your online jewelry store
Now you’re ready for one of the best parts—creating your online jewelry store. Your website is often the first impression a customer has of your business. And when it comes to your brand, you want to be in complete control starting with a robust eCommerce platform.
Choose your eCommerce platform
An all-in-one eCommerce platform like Wix eCommerce gives you maximum control and makes starting a jewelry store online easy. From marketing and sales to order fulfillment and inventory management, you can successfully run and grow your business all from one place.
Select a website theme
With Wix, getting started is simple. Create an account, enter information about your business, then select a professionally designed “jewelry and accessories” eCommerce website template that suits your business.
Each template theme is completely customizable and optimized to show your jewelry products in the best light possible. Edit pages, layouts, colors, and imagery throughout the site to make it fit your brand.
Your online jewelry store should have:
Clean, well-organized navigation (categorize your products based on how customers are likely to look for them)
High-quality photos, content, and imagery throughout
Prominent call-to-action buttons (CTAs)
Easy access to customer support
Product pages with large, high-quality product photos shot from multiple angles including stand-alone product shots, and lifestyle shots, detailed product descriptions, and product reviews
Yam, a made-to-order jewelry store, does an excellent job of including multiple, high-quality photos of every product with detailed descriptions, and jewelry care instructions. Below each item you can find a carousel of “You may like” products to encourage further browsing and shopping.
Read also: 18 high-converting product pages with examples
Accept online payments
The final step to creating your website is to add online payment solution that allows you to accept credit/debit cards, alongside other forms of online payment.
Ideally, you'll want to offer multiple payment options, including at least one well-known option like PayPal (which has been shown to convert 28% higher at checkout when compared to other payment methods).
Additional payment methods add credibility to your business, while also giving your customers more freedom in deciding how to pay.
Learn more: 3 must-have online payment solutions for your business
06. Make your jewelry business official
At this point, you have a business name and framework for an eCommerce store. But before you start selling your products online, it’s time to make things official by registering your business and acquiring the necessary licenses or permits.
Perform a trademark search - Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office database to ensure that your business name is unique within the jewelry industry.
Register with the IRS and state - Register your business with the Small Business Administration to take advantage of certain tax savings and protections. For example, registering as an LLC or other business entity allows you to deduct business expenses and helps to protect your personal assets from business debts. Once you’ve been assigned a federal tax ID, register with your state to acquire the necessary licenses or permits, such as a seller’s permit.
Open a business bank account - It’s important to keep your business income and expenses separate from your personal transactions for legal and tax reasons. When choosing a bank, look for one that provides great customer support, a low minimum monthly balance, reasonable monthly transaction limits, and 24/7 mobile account access. Consider hiring an accountant to handle your bookkeeping and year-end taxes or using an accounting software that integrates well with your new business bank account.
Understand jewelry industry rules and regulations - Depending on the business model you’re using and your business location, you may need to comply with certain jewelry rules and regulations. For example, some countries like the U.K. require customers to obtain a certificate of authenticity from the seller when buying jewelry. Others may require a hallmark for your jewelry to be sold at maximum value.
07. Find suppliers for jewelry materials and products
Whether you intend to sell handcrafted jewelry items or source premade products from a dropshipper, it’s good to identify your suppliers ahead of time. This will help you estimate startup costs and plan appropriately for ongoing expenses.
While you could shop for materials from your local craft stores or Amazon, there are some cost-effective sources that can support a budding D2C eCommerce business. Here are some of the top suppliers to consider.
Wholesalers or bulk jewelry-making suppliers
FireMountainGems.com - You can find just about anything and everything you could possibly need for jewelry crafting at FireMountainGems with excellent customer service and a flat $5 shipping fee on all orders.
JesseJamesBeads.com - One of the most diverse collections of jewelry-making supplies available online. Find anything from beads and pendants to chains and strings, or subscribe to their monthly Magical Mystery Box of beads.
DollarBead.com - Find bead strings and collections of every style imaginable for just over a dollar each. All orders cost a $5 flat shipment fee and arrive quickly.
JewelrySupply.com - They offer a wide variety of supplies and jewelry findings, and they have an extensive selection of tabletop displays and product packaging.
eBay.com - Find reasonable deals and a variety of beads, especially when looking for a specific style or type of bead. Sellers are located all over the world so narrow your search based on seller location if you need your purchases faster.
Dropshipping is a relatively risk-free method for starting a small jewelry business from home. Below are a few dropshipping companies with eCommerce integrations that make it easy to seamlessly sell dropshipped products directly from your online jewelry store.
Modalyst - Modalyst is a great dropshipping service for beginner entrepreneurs with plenty of features to scale with you as you grow. They offer print-on-demand items as well as ready-to-sell items, with over 13,000 jewelry and accessory products to choose from. Each product includes high-quality photos, product descriptions, variants, and more. You can list up to 25 products on your eCommerce store for free or list up to 250 products for $30/month. Access to premium brands and unlimited listings starts at $67/month.
Printful - Printful offers on-demand custom engraved jewelry items, plus seamlessly integrates with Wix and other eCommerce platforms to support your dropshipping business. Printful additionally offers fulfillment and warehousing services for a fee. A standard Printful account is free; pay only for the products ordered, plus shipping.
Sprocket - Sprocket offers a wide selection of jewelry and accessory items, including items from Alibaba and AliExpress. Basic membership is free and allows you to browse the full catalog of products. However, to use Sprocket’s dropshipping services, you need to purchase a monthly plan starting at $30.
Syncee - Starter plans are free and allow you to browse Syncee’s Marketplace of more than five million dropship products. Prepare your catalog by collecting the products you want to sell, then upgrade to a monthly Marketplace plan to start selling. The Basic plan includes up to 25 product listings for $29/month, and Pro includes up to 250 listings for $49/month.
Before you settle on a dropshipper, check reviews, and make sure you fully understand the company’s dropshipping processes, policies, and pricing so that you know what to anticipate.
08. Calculate the startup costs of your jewelry business
Once you have a handle on your product and material sources, you can begin calculating your startup costs.
One easy way to calculate your costs is to go on a virtual shopping spree with your supplier(s). Add everything you need to your cart and let your cart act as an itemized list of your startup material costs.
Next, jot down everything else you need to open your eCommerce store. Here are some potential added expenses to consider:
Minimum business bank account balance - Some banks require a $1,000 minimum balance to avoid monthly fees. Starting capital is an out-of-pocket expense.
Business registration fees - Registering your business with your state and the IRS requires you to answer a few questions and pay a couple of minimal fees. If you choose to hire an accountant or other third party to complete the registrations on your behalf, additional service fees will apply.
Inventory and supply storage - Do you need to purchase storage containers to organize your inventory and supplies, or do you lease storage space? Include these expenses.
Leased office space - If you don’t work out of your home, include your monthly lease and any additional utility or maintenance expenses that go with it.
Production tools - Include the cost of any additional tools you may need to create your products.
Packaging and shipping supplies - Consider how you will package and ship orders. The unboxing experience can be just as exciting as receiving the order if done right. Learn more about eCommerce packaging.
Website development and hosting - An eCommerce platform like Wix includes all your essential tools, from web hosting to business management tools, for a monthly subscription fee. However, if you hire a designer or developer to build your website, you will have additional startup costs to consider.
Accounting fees - Whether you hire an accountant or purchase a subscription to an accounting tool, managing your monthly financial transactions may cost money.
Professional photography - If you’re a skilled photographer, you may choose to take your own product photos versus hiring a photographer. However, you’ll still need a quality camera and a tabletop lighting kit to get those clear, crisp, high-quality photos.
Pro tip: Organize your business details as you go in an eCommerce business plan. Business plans help you stay focused on your goals as your business grows and may be required by banks before opening a business line of credit.
09. Determine the price for your jewelry products
There are several variables involved when pricing your jewelry, including time spent, cost of materials, overhead expenses, your hourly rate, and the price point your target audience is willing to pay.
Furthermore, whether or not you intend to sell your products wholesale, your retail price should account for bulk pricing in case customers ask about it in the future.
To make the process as simple as possible, we’ve outlined everything in a simple-to-follow formula. First, gather the information needed for the pricing formula as follows.
Determine the variables
Cost of materials used - This is the total cost of materials used in each piece including packaging. You may want to log materials used as you create an item. Remember that material prices fluctuate, so it’s a good idea to periodically review your pricing.
Total time spent creating the item - Keep track of the time you spend on each item. Round to the nearest 15-minute increment for simplicity. Your time is valuable, and you should be paid for it.
Your hourly rate - Based on our research a typical hourly rate for jewelry crafters is $20 per hour. However, whatever hourly rate you settle on should account for your experience and the quality of your craftsmanship. Never undervalue your time, effort, and experience.
Overhead expenses - Overhead expenses include anything else required when creating jewelry, such as leased studio space, heating, cooling, lights, electricity, etc. A general rule of thumb is to add a 10% markup to cover overhead expenses.
Calculate the minimum retail price
Many jewelry business owners make the mistake of simply doubling the cost of materials to determine the minimum retail price (ignoring labor and overhead). In other words, they never turn a profit. Let’s take a closer look to understand why.
Minimum retail price = materials (incl. packaging) x 4 + labor (hourly rate x time spent) + 10%
Using the above formula, let’s pretend that you created a bracelet in 45 minutes (0.75 hours), using $6 of materials and $1 in packaging, at an hourly rate of $20. Your calculations for each step would look like this:
($6 + $1) x 4 = $28
$20 x 0.75 hrs = $15
($28 x $15) x 0.10 = $4.30
$28 + $15 + $4.30 = $47.30 or $48
Based on this formula, your minimum retail price for your bracelet is $48, which means your wholesale price is $24. Without the 4x multiplier, your base cost as a business to make the item is $24.20.
In order to build a sustainable business, your minimum retail price must include your materials, labor, and overhead costs.
By setting your retail price at or above the minimum retail price, you guarantee a profit on each item, even if you run a special sale.
Compare the minimum retail prices of your items with similar items sold by your competition and decide if your targeted audience would pay the price you’ve set (or more). You want to price your items competitively—not too high that you turn buyers away, but not so low that you can’t turn a profit.
Once you start making sales, you’ll gain a better sense of when to adjust your prices up or down accordingly.
10. Get a handle on production and manufacturing
You may already know where you will create your craft, but it can still be beneficial to come up with a preliminary plan for where and how you will handle production.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What items do I want to create as part of my startup inventory?
How many of each item will I have on hand?
How often will I release new designs (i.e., once a week, monthly, biweekly)?
How many hours do I intend to spend creating jewelry each week?
What will my work schedule look like?
Where will I create my jewelry pieces (i.e., a home office or craft room, rent space, etc.)?
How many items do I want to produce each week?
How often will I order supplies?
Where will I store my supplies and inventory?
Using your answers to the above questions, build out a preliminary draft of your production schedule and add it to your eCommerce business plan.
11. Develop your marketing strategy
Part of building a successful jewelry business is learning how to drive traffic to your online store. A marketing strategy helps map out which marketing methods you’ll use to drive traffic and where you’ll focus most of your efforts. Keep in mind that your marketing strategy is a fluid plan that shifts to meet your business needs as you grow.
There are two primary types of inbound traffic:
Organic traffic - Organic traffic includes any visitor that arrives at your online store through non-paid marketing avenues such as social media, email marketing, word of mouth, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Paid traffic - Paid traffic is any inbound lead generated through paid advertising such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, display banner ads, print ads, etc.
Paid traffic is the fastest way to drive traffic to your website. However, think of it as a supplement to the work you do to increase your organic traffic, which will set your business up for long-term success.
Here are some proven marketing methods to consider incorporating into your overall marketing strategy. Many of these methods require no upfront investment, so they’re great to use as you learn the ropes of how to start a jewelry business online.