We are continuing our series dedicated to the manufacture and sale of Jewelry online. The first article in this series was dedicated to the positioning and inspiration needed before launching. In this second article, we will look at jewelry making, managing a team and a work-space, and setting up an online jewelry store.
Manufacturing and materials
The method of manufacture – by hand or in the factory, internally or by subcontract – will depend on the complexity of design, price, materials, and skill level.
Jewelry making: handmade, custom, and limited edition (for jewelry / art pieces).
Although handmade jewelry is a method that requires dedication, it remains highly customization and versatile. Other methods used in jewelry making require specialized training / certification and expensive equipment, depending on materials and design. These include:
Casting and molding
Jewelry manufacturing: by assembly (for fashion or fancy jewelry)
Handmade jewelry often only involves the assembly of existing elements (chains, threads, beads, pendants, etc.), and does not require specialized training or special equipment beyond the forceps, hammers for jewelry, glue, and wire cutters.
Making jewelry by hand is an activity that can be developed on a larger scale in a more fluid way. Indeed, the constituent elements of jewelry can be purchased in bulk and the assembly process can easily be modeled and outsourced to trainees or a team of employees.
Jewelry manufacturing: outsourcing and order processing (fashion / costume jewelry)
Instead of making your jewelry by hand, you could outsource their production to a third party. This outsourced manufacturing method is not suitable for the manufacture of jewelry, custom jewelry or limited edition jewelry. However, it is profitable for the mass production of fashion / fantasy jewelry. Several possibilities exist for outsourcing:
Local manufacturing: higher costs, less choice, local manufacturing marketing appeal, shorter shipping times, smoother communication, easier verification of manufacturers’ reputation. Find French and European manufacturers by visiting this directory.
Manufacturing abroad: lower costs, more options (materials and processes), lower (sometimes) labor standards, sometimes difficult communication. Find a foreign manufacturer: AliBaba.
The most convenient manufacturing method involves sending your designs to an order processing department such as IFS Solutions or Coast to Coast Fulfillment. These companies work the way Printful, a printing service and shipping on demand t-shirts / customizable products. Your initial designs are recreated in stainless steel, wood, plastic, gold or silver, before being directly shipped to your customers.
Materials and tools
There are several online resources that allow the purchase at a wholesale price of equipment for the mass production of jewelry, tools, and raw materials, including raw metals and precious stones. Here are some French resources to explore:
Cookson-CLAL (in Pakistan): jewelry equipment and tools (over 3500 types of tools in stock).
CreaVea (in Pakistan): all the necessary supplies to make your own jewels.
Perles & Co (in Pakistan): beads and accessories for costume jewelry.
Aromasud (in Pakistan): to buy gemstones and precious or semi-precious stones.
PandaHall (in Pakistan): wholesaler of precious stones online.
AliExpress and AliBaba: to find suppliers located mostly in Asia.
Tip: You could find more specialized platforms selling jewelry accessories, supplies and tools by searching for relevant keywords on Google (eg “jewelry making tools”).
I spoke with Gillian Johnson of the Hawkly e-commerce site to learn more about her own sources:
“It’s through word of mouth that I found many of my suppliers – do not hesitate to ask other designers to find out where they are sourcing. I find my new stones and silver coins at the Tucson Jewelry Fair in Arizona, which takes place annually during the first half of February. You might consider going there as a whim, but I promise you that you will not be disappointed. There are thousands of salespeople coming from all over the world. ”
It was through word of mouth that I found many of my suppliers.
If you choose to acquire a specialized skill such as crimping, many resources will be useful (including degree courses and online tutorials). Focus on workshops and programs in your area, or start exploring these resources to get you started:
Perles & Co: superb bank of tutorials for the manufacture of Jewelry and Accessories of all kinds.
Creavea: image tutorials for making different types of jewelry.
Video Tutorials: Learn how to make different types of jewelry on video.
Note: You can discover workshops and degree courses in your area by searching for relevant keywords on Google (eg “jewelry training [your city]”).
Team and work-space
If you choose to create your own jewelry or form a small team, setting up a workshop in your living space must involve taking into account certain considerations:
Home Work Space: Make sure you follow our tips for effectively setting up your home office.
Maneuverability: Consider the fluidity of traffic within the space, especially if the assembly process involves several steps – can you flow smoothly from one station to another, in a logical order?
Safety: Certain chemicals and thermal tools used in jewelry manufacture require adequate ventilation and safety measures.
Storage: Storage space with multiple storage compartments is essential for small rooms.
A jeweler’s bench, a flexible tree and optimal security would be the most important considerations.
If your production team has more than one person, or if your needs are more complex – for example, if you run a mini-workshop of metalwork or goldsmiths – consider renting a professional space. If you’re running out of budget during the launch of your event, consider renting a shared business space or sharing the cost of space and materials with other craftspeople. Gillian shared her studio with two other entrepreneurs.
After spending time with Biko for a while, I started working at American Apparel once a week to meet people, socialize, and not be isolated in my studio. – Corrine Populousness, Biko
Corrine now has a rotating team of trainees and employees who do the assembly. As you develop your jewelry creation business, identify the process operations you particularly enjoy and do it yourself. Hire staff to delegate the remaining tasks.
“To find trainees, I contacted universities in my area that offer programs focused on communication in the field of fashion. I never collaborate with people who are only interested in design. I need someone who helps me to free up my time so I can create more designs. I am mainly looking for people who are interested in the management process of a fashion company. ”
Tip: Start by hiring a virtual assistant on a platform like OpenOffice or Up work to delegate routine business tasks that are not really relevant.
As we have already said, product photography is of great importance in the world of e-commerce. In many cases, with a basic lighting configuration, you could take very beautiful pictures of products on a white background yourself, even with your smartphone.
However, jewelry can be more difficult to photograph because of the small details to highlight and their (often) reflective surface.
Do not skimp on photography, even if you have a limited budget; it’s Corrine’s advice. A professional photographer knows how to make mannequins feel comfortable and put in place complex lighting configurations. Your photo shooting team should include stylists, makeup artists, and (real) models. Working with competent people will give you better results, but the initiative should not ruin your budget.
“My mother always says,” Oh, some of your friends are so pretty, you could take a picture of them. ” But a person who has a beautiful face or an attractive physique is not necessarily photogenic. You should find someone who has experience in modeling – and that should not necessarily cost you money. You will always find people who want to create their fashion book, or who are willing to work in exchange for samples of products. It’s not about taking advantage of people. You are just starting out, and so will the person who agrees to work with you. If you manage to form a team, you can join forces to accomplish very beautiful things. ”
If you manage to form a team, you can join forces to accomplish very beautiful things.
It is also important to present your jewelry in different ways and in different contexts:
On a white background: to minimize distractions and highlight the details and different angles of the jewel. The white background ensures an elegant and consistent appearance on the pages of collections. (Note: your background could also include a low-key pattern or be another solid color that tends to white, as you can see in the photo below that shows a necklace on marble.)
Lifestyle shots: to give an idea of the dimensions of the jewel worn on the body, and suggest style ideas to customers. These shots also prove very effective for cross selling, since you could combine several jewels in one look. Although these photos can be used on product pages or in a lookbook, they are generally more effective when posted on social media.
Tip: You could partner with brands that complement yours to reduce the costs of photography, or lend your jewelry to fashion columnists who would like to use them for photo shoots – in exchange for product photos and photos. free exhibition.
Your online jewelry shop
In a few hours, you can create a functional e-commerce store on Shopify. Now that we have reviewed the possibilities available to you for creating your jewelry, your branding, and product photography, let’s go to the launch of your e-commerce jewelry website.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial, and start by reading our video tutorial to familiarize yourself with the initial setup process of your store.
Choose a theme suitable for selling jewelry, which will highlight your photographs. A Shopify Design Expert can help you customize the theme of your choice to suit your needs.
By exploring the Shopify App Store, you’ll find several extensions that will help you improve the customer experience, reduce returns, and increase conversions.
Here are some to consider for the optimization of an e-commerce jewelry website:
Jewel-fie – give customers the opportunity to “try jewelry” by uploading their photos.
Lox Visual Reviews – collect and add to your shop evaluation photos taken by customers.
Ring Sizer – help customers determine the correct ring size to avoid returns (an essential initiative if you sell jewelry or custom jewelry).
Your product descriptions should reflect the history of your brand and include details such as the size of the jewelry, the weight of the gems, and the materials of manufacture (if any).
The fashion and jewelry industries are highly saturated – how do you intend to stand out and arouse the interest of customers? In addition to having to focus on an experimental approach, your marketing strategy will depend on your products, your audience, and your budget.
Corrine chose to invest in public relations campaigns, an initiative that proved to be very effective:
“In 2011, I noticed that competition had intensified, so I invested capital to redefine my brand image. I registered a new domain name and created a store on Shopify. I hired a PR agency to be mentioned by local media and create excitement – otherwise, no one was going to visit my e-commerce site. The services of a PR agency are expensive, but very effective. It is still to this day the best form of advertising I have benefited from. Sales of a necklace that was put forward have also reached $ 5000. ”
The services of a PR agency are expensive, but very effective.
Collaborations with Instagram’s influences were equally successful – she offered a free gem to influences in exchange for a product-specific publication to promote. Before starting to make contact, it is important, according to Corrine, to ensure that the curation of content on your Instagram account clearly represents the character of your brand. In this way, influences will clearly know if it aligns with their style:
“You have to create a lifestyle that is centered on your brand. I use Instagram a lot. I find that the network allows me to interact with people and build the face of my brand. If you’re not the type to take selfies (this is my case), you should publish inspiring images, and after a while you will be inspired by a stream of similar publications. You will be able to start to associate a lifestyle with your brand. ”
Tip: Test marketing apps like FourSixty to boost the reach of your Instagram account; and Kit to simplify Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing and e-mail marketing.
Ephemeral shops and craft fairs
Corrine’s career began when she was proposed to share a booth to sell her creations at a local fair dedicated to clothing. At the time, it was just his hobby. His stock of products was exhausted on the first day of the event (which lasted only 2 days). This success allowed him to validate his designs and convert his hobby into a full-fledged commercial activity.
Small craft fairs and ephemeral shops are excellent ways for founders of new brands to reach existing audiences and validate their concept. According to Corrine, these channels would also be important for e-merchants:
“I attend a major event twice a year, and this is an ideal opportunity to meet clients in person and receive feedback from them on the spot. I also sell samples in my booth, which allows me to sell old products and present my space and philosophy to people. ”
Initially, Corrine managed to develop her business through wholesale and consignment contracts that she managed to obtain by personally approaching retailers in her area. Cold contact is often intimidating, but you only need one “yes” to start.
Corrine now collaborates with large retailers such as Nordstrom and Nasty Gal, and wholesale now accounts for 80% of Biko’s total revenue.
The positive side of things
Many of the successful jewelry designers and merchants initially started their business as a hobby. This means that you too can start designing your home jewelry and making it in small quantities. What are you waiting for?