[Homestead] Home manufacturing, some workshop tools and kitchen table jewelry startup

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Wed Sep 29 14:41:26 EDT 2004

The Chinese workshop tools relate to more ambitious rural manufacturing 
than the kitchen-table jewelry busines, but useful if your vivid 
imagination  encompasses  larger  projects.

http://www.aardvark.co.nz/pjet/tools.htm  (ostensibly on making a small 
jet engine, but focussed on the workshop tools necessary to that and 
similar machine shop work.)

I do not like jewelry, although a friend running a welding shop and I 
cranked up a great piece of  coin-bracelet jewelry, and a magnificent 
color-brochure samples of which I am certain are somewhere out in our 
West barn..Our bracelents had a gold and chromium option, and I got the 
electroplating cost down from almost three dollar quotations to nine 
cents.  Was prepared to do our own electroplating if the final jobshop 
bid  had not gone to nine cent---too cheap to consider our alternative 
labor and tooling costs.

Jewelry has been popular and profitable for thousands of years, it has 
an enormous number of variants---metal-based stampings, centrifugal 
castings, lost-wax, , ceramic-based (baked or unbaked) jewelry, 
decorated by many means, electroplated, paint-imprinted.

Its major virtue is that it can be started on the kitchen table with 
near-zero investment, your knowledge and tooling expanded as far as you 
want to go.  Like every other jewelry product it has to be artistically 
good, preferably novel, and well-packaged.  A single product is usually 
insufficient, you have to make and  package related jewely to create 
real sales volume.---and make or buy a foldout modular, well-lit 
craft-show booth-display for jewelry and literature, dealer-contracts 
etc.  Make dealer display booths too, in several sizes they can 
buy---the more you do for dealers, the more they will do for you.  Craft 
shows and flea markets is where you start out, of course you will 
progress to a website and mearchant-dealer credit card acceptance (with 
a SECURE site to protect customer records and your records)..

Everything and everything about jewelry is available in jewelry supplier 
catalogs, in thousands of books, and on the Internet..  The number is 
overwhelming---you have to cut the information flow down to a size you 
can digest, and to a sub-section of jewelry that meets your initial home 
workshop level of skill, tools and your initial investment, production, 
marketing capital.


*How To Operate a Successful Jewelry Business*

copyright 2004
by Rena Klingenberg

I've always loved earrings, and this love has turned into my dream 
career. It has also led me to great experiences and personal growth, 
along with a nice income.

Several years ago, after two decades of buying earrings everywhere I 
went, I received the birthday gift that changed my life - a book called 
"You Can Make Your Own Earrings". I was electrified at the realization 
that I really could make earrings for myself!

Obsessed, I sent for dozens of jewelry supply catalogs, ordered jewelry 
making supplies and tools, and began turning out dozens of pairs of 
handcrafted earrings. I made far more earrings than I could ever wear 
myself, so I gave earrings to everyone I knew and kept on making more of 
them. It was the most addictive hobby I'd ever had! 	
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Finally, when my earring supply reached critical mass, my husband said, 
"I think you're going to have to either stop making those earrings or 
start selling them." And so my jewelry business was born. It's been an 
enjoyable process that has brought me experiences I wouldn't trade for 
anything. Thanks to my jewelry business, I've learned new skills, 
created my own solutions to challenges, and met kindred spirits. 
(Almost) every step of the journey has been fun!

I started selling my earrings at small art and craft shows, and 
consigned my work to gift shops and galleries. I made a lot of mistakes, 
and also had some early successes.

One of my earliest lessons was that you have to make what people want to 
buy, not just what you like to make! I found that I could make a lot 
more sales by offering other pieces of jewelry to match my earrings, so 
I diversified and began designing bracelets, necklaces, and pendants 
too. And although custom orders are not my favorite work to do, they can 
be very profitable, so I began accepting them too.

After doing a few shows, I learned that a professional looking display 
can sell ten times more jewelry than just a scattering of earrings on a 
table cloth. In the process of making that discovery, I found out that 
elaborate displays are a pain to set up and take down, and require a lot 
of closet space to store at home! So gradually I evolved my displays to 
my current setup, which looks professional, is lightweight and compact 
to store and transport, and stays loaded with my inventory and ready to 
go at all times. It takes me only half an hour or so to set up and take 
down my booth when I do shows, and if a customer calls wanting to come 
to my house to look at jewelry, I can just whip out a nice display on 
the guest bed in only a few minutes.

Offering my customers free gift wrap increased my sales, so I provide a 
selection of different types of elegant pouches, boxes, and bags. This 
is an especially important selling point around the holidays, when 
people are so busy. They appreciate my beautiful complimentary gift wrap 
so they don't have to go home and hunt for a tiny box and wrap the 
jewelry themselves. I even offer to ship the gift for them if the 
recipient lives out of town. Anything you can do to simplify your 
customer's life will make them remember you the next time they need to 
purchase a gift!

Other jewelry packaging is also important. I found that the earring 
cards and jewelry hang tags I designed myself give my pieces a much more 
professional appearance, and I print my contact info on them as well as 
specific information about the stones used in the jewelry.

Another crucial selling point is accepting credit cards. I found that 
was my ticket to really big jewelry sales and profits. People will buy 
more if they can put it on their Visa or MasterCard instead of shelling 
out the cash right then and there, and many customers don't have their 
checkbook with them anyway. So if you're serious about making money from 
your handcrafted jewelry, it's essential to accept credit cards.

I dabbled in selling my jewelry on eBay, and had some spectacular flops 
along with some thrilling successes. Jewelry is a very competitive niche 
on eBay, and success in the online auction market takes time to develop. 
To be a successful eBay jewelry seller you need to have a constant 
presence there, with at least a couple of auctions up at all times for 
your repeat customers to find. Clear, closeup photos of your jewelry are 
also crucial for eBay success.

I learned through a great deal of trial and error how to get 
professional-looking photographs of my jewelry. I finally figured out 
that my cheapie digital camera just isn't designed for close, clear 
pictures of jewelry, so I've mastered jewelry photography with my 
computer's flatbed scanner. You can get some beautifully artistic 
jewelry photos with a scanner, and it's a quick and simple way to get 
great shots for your website, auction listings, or other literature.

Home jewelry parties are one of the most profitable ways to sell 
handcrafted jewelry, and I spent some time figuring out how to make 
parties rewarding for the hostess without cutting into my profits too 
much. I also found that an open-house type of party with just light 
snacks and no party games gets the highest attendance and sells the most 
jewelry. And the number-one way to increase your home jewelry party 
profits and attendance is to have the hostess call all guests a day or 
two before the party to remind them about it and secure their commitment 
to attend.

Customers and shop owners assumed that since I was in business, I would 
have a website. So I learned how to build and promote my own site, how 
to set up a shopping cart, and how to accept online payments. A simple 
website design is best, so that your jewelry stands out. Although neat, 
flashy website features are fun to play with, you should resist the 
temptation to put them on your site. At best they distract visitors from 
your jewelry, and at worst they slow down the page's loading so that 
visitors on a slow Internet connection will give up and hit the back 
button. And most especially, do not use any background images. They make 
it very hard to see photos and read text. Just a plain, preferably 
light-colored background is best for your visitors!

I discovered that keeping my jewelry dazzlingly clean and shiny catches 
customers' eyes and increases the perceived value of my work, so I 
bought an ionic jewelry cleaner and tarnish-prevention strips and 
devised a tarnish-free way of storing my jewelry inventory. Now all my 
pieces have that spectacular "jewelry-store" sparkle!

One of the opportunities my jewelry business has brought me is teaching 
jewelry making workshops, which is very rewarding. However, I learned 
the hard way that workshops are a lot easier for me if everyone works on 
the same type of project at the same time, instead of each person doing 
a totally different thing! From jewelry workshops I discovered the 
market niche of providing bracelet-making birthday parties for girls, 
which is a fun way to spend a few hours and make some good money for 
your time.

I have to attribute the biggest leap in my professional development to 
online jewelry-making forums, where I've been immeasurably enriched by 
the professional information exchange and friendships. If you have any 
interest in operating your own jewelry business, participating in 
jewelry-making forums is a fun and important element of your success!

For your own jewelry business success, I encourage you to follow your 
artistic heart and think with your business brain. I recommend that you 
study jewelry trends and styles, learn everything you can about jewelry 
making materials, set up your business recordkeeping so that you stay 
organized, and concentrate on providing solutions to your customers' 
problems. Don't try to make all jewelry for all people; focus on your 
own style or niche and build a client base.

About the Author*

Rena Klingenberg's website, Home Jewelry Business Success Tips 
<http://www.home-jewelry-business-success-tips.com>, has thousands of 
success tips and techniques for jewelry artists of all levels. Her site 
includes in-depth articles on jewelry packaging and display, 
photographing jewelry, home jewelry parties, building your jewelry 
business website, selling jewelry on eBay, and dozens of other topics. 
Visit her jewelry business blog 
for daily gems of jewelry business info, and subscribe to her Jewelry 
Business Success News 
ezine for more innovative techniques on marketing your handcrafted jewelry.



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