How to Start a Jewelry Business: The Ultimate Guide

If you want to know how to make jewelry into a profitable small business, this post is for you. We’ll explore jewelry-making businesses from conception and design to production and marketing. This go-to guide for how to start a jewelry business online includes advice from the pros, tactical takeaways, and inspiration from established designers and business owners.

How to start a jewelry business: first steps

One of the first questions to ask yourself is: fine or fashion? Or maybe your interest lies somewhere in between. Each category has its own materials, production process, price point, and customer profile:

💍 Fine jewelry

  • Made with precious and semi-precious metals and gems
  • A higher price point
  • Made with excellent craftsmanship, usually not mass produced
  • For the luxury/wedding/special occasion customer

📿 Fashion or costume jewelry

  • Usually trendy
  • Made of inexpensive or less expensive metals and materials (beads, wire, plated metal, plastic, synthetic gems, etc.)
  • A lower price point
  • Can be mass produced
  • For the everyday customer

👑 Other/in between

  • This category covers everything else, from jewelry made with mid-range materials (textile, metals, semi-precious gems, wood, 3D printing, etc.) to jewelry defined as art (collectible, made to order, one of a kind) or highly skilled craftsmanship
  • Emphasis on design and uniqueness
  • Price point varies but usually mid-range
  • Occasion/statement, design-savvy/collector/gift-giving customer
Model wears Biko earrings
Biko‘s jewelry sits somewhere in between costume and fine, selling high-quality designs made for everyday wear. Biko

Once you’ve narrowed down the broad category for your startup jewelry business, it’s time to carve out a niche for your products. Start by defining your ideal customer (classic, trendy, brides, socially conscious consumers, etc.) and decide whether your products are occasion-specific (wedding, party, every day, etc.). This will determine how you market them to your audience.

Jewelry trends

Researching trends is one way to determine (and validate) your chosen direction, and it’s an important step when understanding how to start a jewelry business online. Read fashion and jewelry blogs and publications and follow influencers in the space to stay on top of trends for each upcoming season. Using Google Trends, you can also see broad global search volume for a particular term.

Alternatively, you might look into adjacent trends or consumer habits, such as the appetite for customizable experiences (engraving, etc.) or ethically sourced materials. 

Erica Weiner heart necklaces against a pink background
Customers can personalize the engraved messages on one or both sides of these heart necklaces by Erica Weiner. Erica Weiner

But you don’t have to just follow trends—you could also use your jewelry business to start your own. That’s what Biko founder and designer Corrine Anestopoulos did, launching her collection based on personal style. “Somehow I felt like, just by fluke, I found a market for something new without meaning to,” she says. “But it was just my taste.”

When she launched, Corinne was working with a brassy finish. “Nobody else was doing that,” she says, noting that shiny silver was the trend at the time. Now, though her collections evolve with trends in the industry every year, the common thread is a recognizable look that defines her brand and secures repeat business.

Finding jewelry design inspiration

Success as a newbie in any facet of the fashion industry depends on strong aesthetics, unique design, and consistent branding. Before working with a designer to develop your branding and before designing individual pieces, run through a few exercises to define your overall signature style.

A model wears Camille Enrico jewelry
Camille Enrico jewelry is known for its unique combination of metals and textiles—giving each piece instant recognizability and cohesiveness with the rest of the designs. Camille Enrico

Depending on how you like to get inspired, you may set up Pinterest boards, design your own digital mood boards, use a jewelry design mobile app, or even assemble inspiration physically on a bulletin board or in a sketchbook.

Branding: packaging, logo, and website design for your jewelry brand

The next part of how to start a handmade jewelry business is branding. Branding refers to the more tactical elements that represent your brand visually—logo, packaging, website. Once you’ve established your products’ aesthetic and nailed your customer profile, it should be easier to identify an overall look that will define your brand. This is an essential step, even for a small business, so don’t rush it.

You don’t need to make an expensive and complicated website if you want to know how to make jewelry a successful business venture. On the low-cost end, you can set up a basic Shopify store with a free theme and develop the logo yourself using a free online logo maker. We also have tools to help come up with domain name ideas should you need some inspiration too. Keep in mind that you’ll still want to reserve some of your budget for professional product photos. We’ll discuss the importance of photography for jewelry later in this post. With these tools, it’s easy to see how to start a jewelry business at home.

For larger budgets, work with a designer to translate your vision into a full branding package for your business—from the logo and website to packaging and marketing materials.

Wrapping up

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