Having your own handmade jewellery business is exciting but with every business, you need to invest time, effort and money into it. In this post, we’ll share simple tips to help you save money and help budget for your business.
Throughout this post, we also hear from jewellery designer, Claire Halligan from Pop Up Jewellery Ltd about her advice and experience on budgeting for her business.
Let’s start with the obvious! Setting your specific budget will be important for your business - so you can refer back to it when spending money on supplies, admin and marketing.
Claire, Pop Up Jewellery: “To save on expenses I began being strict with my money, I gave myself a weekly budget of how much I’m allowed to spend a week. If I found that I wanted to make something that was out of my budget such as a new necklace design then I would wait until next week when my budget renewed. By doing this I learned how to stop spending more money and also push myself to be more creative with the material I have and reduce waste. A good example of this is my three pack mini studs which I made from all my scrap silver.”
When you start making jewellery, it can be easy to get carried away in buying a lot of supplies from gemstones, findings to tools. Begin by planning your designs ahead and only getting the tools and jewellery making supplies you need. Many suppliers offer wholesale prices, or like Kernowcraft quantity discounts to help you save money in the long term.
Claire, Pop Up Jewellery: “Before I created my Art Deco Collection, I spent a lot of money buying different sizes and types of silver wire. Then when I created the Art Deco Collection, I made sure I made each design with the same style of wire meaning I’m spending all my money on the same material. It also means I never have to worry about having materials for a last-minute order because I already have the material sitting in my workshop.”
Rather than renting out a studio space, create a dedicated space in your home. This will save you money on rent and travelling costs. Read our blog post: Top Tips For Jewellery Making At Home
There are so many options when it comes to packaging your handmade jewellery. It can be better to buy packaging in bulk but you can also get creative and make your own packaging – there are plenty of videos on YouTube to help guide you! A great tip is to buy a stamp with your logo on it, which you can stamp onto your box or onto thank you cards. These personal touches will definitely be appreciated by your customer.
Claire, Pop Up Jewellery: “Packaging sometimes ends up being more expensive than my actual metal order! And finding branded packing at a decent price was almost impossible. That was until I met with a business called Papeterie Bespoke who made vinyl stickers of my logo to place on my boxes, this means I don’t have to buy bulk boxes or spend money on printing, I can order as many logos as I need boxes. I also worked with Papeterie more to make earrings cards to hold my stud earrings, I ended up using these cards for more than holding studs and use them as thank you notes or a money off voucher. So by going with a local business I saved myself nearly £200!”
If you can’t afford to get all the tools you need for your business, there are other options available. Firstly, you can save money by looking online to see if anyone is selling second-hand tools. Sometimes you can use household objects to replace tools - for example a spoon can be used instead of a bezel rocker to set gallery wire settings.
Or make your own handmade tools like Claire did…
Claire, Pop Up Jewellery: “With so many tools out there it is hard and expensive to decided what to buy first, that’s why I look for an alternative, for example. When I started stone setting, I couldn’t afford to buy a brand new burnisher to push down the walls on my settings so instead I found a nail which I polished up and used that as a burnisher instead. It ended up being a tool I still use to this day as I prefer it over the burnishers I do have! So, before you fork out the cash for a high-end tool see what is hiding about your house first!”
Setting up a photography studio for your jewellery business can be an expensive investment. Photography is so important when marketing your handmade jewellery but you don’t always have to own the latest equipment. If you have a good phone camera, you may be surprised by the photos you can take and the apps you can use to edit the photos. There are many things which can dramatically improve the quality of your photos, from using natural light, using simple yet effective backgrounds and props to choosing a perspective. Your smartphone will give you the option to edit your photos, allowing you to adjust brightness, crop and straighten the image, among other things. You can also download free apps such as VSCO, Snapseed and Lightroom which can help you edit your photos and add filters to keep your images consistent.
Traditional marketing such as print advertising can come with a hefty price tag. Digital marketing on the other hand can be done at no cost at all. Having social media can have such a great impact on your business if you take the time to create content, you will increase awareness of your brand and help potential customers find you too.
Sending newsletters doesn’t need to be costly either, Mailchimp offers a free plan which enables you to access all the basics needed to send newsletters for those who have a small number of subscribers. This is a cost-effective way to communicate with your customers, update them on products and news.
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth! Get friends and family to talk about your business and encourage customers to share your designs on social media as well as writing reviews you can share to build awareness and trust around your business.
The thought of creating graphics for your business can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t have software such as Photoshop which you need to pay a subscription for. There are websites which make it really easy for you, one we love is Canva – a website making it so easy to create simple graphics using templates. Most designs are free to download, so you can experiment with all kinds of designs for your website, social media, business cards to creating a logo!