Chapter 1: Introduction
About the Authors
We’re the owners of an independent, family-run wholesale fashion jewellery business. We worked hard to establish the quality that our line of products is known for today. As a result of our research and interactions with clients, we understand that the balance between quality and an price is one of the keys to our commercial success.
Some of the characteristics that set Vicki Jane Jewellery apart from competitors include the fact that we don’t have minimum order requirements, our items start from 20p and the company is UK-based. This is how we can guarantee fast delivery and increase customer satisfaction from the shopping experience.
We’ve gone through the entire journey described in this book and the chapters are based on our experiences and the solutions we found for each of the problems. We’ll give you practical advice rather than abstract suggestions. If you want to make your jewellery business a commercial success, you’ll definitely benefit from our story and tips.
True successes in the jewellery field come with a lot of hard work. Being passionate about what you’re doing and believing in the idea will take you through the most difficult moments and enable you to persevere.
We hope that you’ll find the book useful and inspiring. Don’t expect quick success and easy money. If you do, this book is certainly not the right one for you. If you, however, are ready to put up your sleeves and start an exciting journey, we’ll be more than happy to give you the support. Good luck and we hope that you’ll be encouraged by the following pages.
Chapter 2: Types of Jewellery Businesses
Depending on the method of doing business that you choose, jewellery can be sold in many different ways. Jewellery making and selling is one of the easiest options for starting a home-based company, especially if you want to keep the initial investment down to a minimum. fashion jewellery sellers can choose among a vast range of operation methods, each one coming with its advantages.
Before doing anything else and exploring the depths of the opportunity, it’s important to determine what type of a jewellery business you’d like to set up and how you’re going to resell the wholesale jewellery you buy.
Bricks and Mortar Store
The first and the most traditional option is establishing a bricks and mortar store where the jewellery can be displayed and sold.
A bricks and mortar store can be very successful, depending on its location and your marketing efforts. This type of jewellery business, however, comes with added expenditure. You’ll either have to pay rent or buy your own commercial property. Utility bills will need to be paid, as well.
The location of the store is obviously of uttermost importance. A busy part of town, a shopping area or a pedestrian street will all be great places for setting up your business. You’ll need to be mindful of the competition, when looking into this opportunity. The rent will depend on the attractiveness of the location and the size of the store that you’d like to open. Coming up with a strategy in advance will be of uttermost importance.
There’s one more cost you’ll have to keep in mind. This one involves the number of employees that you’d like to hire. In the beginning, you may be the one selling the jewellery. As your business grows, however, you’ll have to look into alternative options.
If you’re just getting started and would like to test the opportunity, opening up a store may not be the ideal option for you. You’ll have to spend a lot on the business during those first months and you may have to wait a while to see a good return on investment.
An Online Jewellery Store
This is another great option and a perfect fit for the needs of newcomers to the field. You’ll need to invest just once in building a website. This type of business can be operated from the comfort of your home. A website will enable you to reach a much larger pool of potential customers across the country or globe.
Setting up an online store does require a lot of hard work. You’ll need to keep the website updated and you’ll also have to process the orders in a timely manner. As the owner, you’ll also have to choose a shipping company that will deliver the products to your customers in a timely and convenient manner.
You have an alternative opportunity, as well. If you don’t want to invest in your own online store, you could sell jewellery on Amazon, eBay or Etsy. Though the options are much easier for beginners in terms of logistics and initial set up, each of these portals has certain terms and conditions. You’ll also have to pay a percentage of each sale for the services that you’re getting access to.
The benefits of online shopping portals are the ready made large and diversified audience, as well as a much easier setup process. Selling on eBay or Etsy is the perfect possibility for testing the market and making sure there’s demand for your product range. This can be your starting platform that can easily develop in to a much more serious jewellery business. If you want to limit the risks and the initial investment, this could be the option to try.
Market Jewellery Trading
You can sell your jewellery at street markets and fairs. The idea is great for beginners that want to make their brand more recognisable.
Participation in fairs and selling at street markets will be more affordable than setting up your bricks and mortar store. The initial expenditure will be linked to the cost of the stall which is linked to the popularity of the market/fair. Transportation expenses will also have to be taken in consideration.
Creating an attractive presentation will obviously be of uttermost importance for getting noticed. If you manage to establish your reputation during such specialised events, you’ll see growth in the number of orders and opportunities to develop your business even further. Having a website can also be great for impressing potential customers and giving them additional opportunities for buying your range.
Another easy and convenient option for beginners, jewellery parties entail just what the name suggests.
A sales party is organised, giving you an opportunity to present your fashion jewellery to a selected group of people. Such parties are normally hosted in somebody’s house – it could be your own or it could be the home of a friend.
Choosing the right people to invite to the party will determine the profit generation possibilities. Most beginners start with friends and close relatives. Word of mouth promotion will then take place. As time passes, more and more people will learn about the jewellery parties, enabling the organiser to establish a loyal clientele.
The costs linked to setting up and holding jewellery parties are limited and some of our busiest buyers still trade this way. It’s a great idea for getting started, especially if you can’t invest a lot in your jewellery business. As time passes, however, you may want to consider a larger opportunity for lead generation that will enable your business to grow at a faster pace.
How to Choose the Right Business Model
Having options is great but it may also get a bit confusing. Should you be ambitious and open a bricks and mortar store, a website and trade at fairs? Should you go slow and wait to see the scale of initial development.
Your entrepreneurial experience, the amount of money you can invest in the business and your expectations will determine the model that’s going to be just right for you. If you want to start a jewellery business as a side activity on top of your day job, you could consider selling items on eBay or Etsy. If you’d like to quit your job and dedicate all of your time to starting a business, you’ll probably need a website or a regular sale venue.
Many beginners in the jewellery game rely on parties and fairs to establish their reputation. Keep in mind that the market is quite competitive. Many popular jewellery suppliers already have their audience and as a newcomer, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Starting a business is a lot of hard work and if you aren’t prepared for putting long hours into making it happen, you should probably opt for something simpler.
Having a strategy right from the start is of uttermost importance. What are the defining characteristics of your line of jewellery? How is it different from everything else that the market has to offer? What will you be doing in terms of marketing? How much can you invest in the initial development?
Answering all of these questions in advance will give you a much better idea about what it takes to start a costume jewellery business. You need to have realistic expectations, which is why opening a high street store usually isn’t the best way to begin. If you hope for instant monetisation, you’ll probably be disappointed. The start involves a lot of effort and minimal returns. Having a strategy and sticking to its execution, however, will make it much easier for you to go through this initial phase.
Chapter 3: Sourcing Suppliers
The success of a retail business is dependent on quality suppliers. Once you determine the method of operation, you’ll need to do research about the best wholesale costume jewellery companies to work with (Vicki Jane of course the number 1 choice). Finding the right supplier means that half of the hard work is already done.
Starting a retail business today is much easier than ever because of online information. You can do the research, explore the options and narrow it down to just a few. After making this initial selection of potential suppliers, you’ll simply have to narrow down the research a little bit more and identify the most reliable option.
So, how should you approach sourcing wholesale jewellery for your business? The methods range from a couple of traditional options to a number of much more innovative possibilities. Looking locally for suppliers is the most traditional of all the options.
Some businesses prefer to work with local jewellery suppliers. The problem with this approach is that on a local level choice may be limited. A local chamber of commerce or an industry organisation may give you access to details local wholesale jewellery suppliers. After getting this information, you could contact each of the companies individually to discuss the terms and conditions.
To find local jewellery designers, you may also want to visit local fairs and trade shows. Such specialised events bring together many different manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. The networking opportunities available during such summits are unparalleled. You’ll contact different company reps, get business cards and additional information. Putting together a database of possible suppliers can simplify growing your company in the future and diversifying the range of products that you’re offering to your customers.
Finally, you can’t afford to miss out sourcing suppliers online. This is the way, you’ll get to identify regional and national companies that have a much bigger product range than the local suppliers. You may also get access to better terms and conditions. You’ll also get to find companies that have solely online presence (like Vicki Jane) where you can benefit from the fact that they have lower overheads. Many suppliers have already opted for this model and they don’t have a customer facing warehouse. Online purchasing can come with tons of added convenience and simplicity, making it easier for you to complete the initial phases of business establishment quickly.
Tips for Finding the Best Wholesale Costume Jewellery Suppliers
Now that you have an idea about the range of possibilities, it’s time to take a look at the manner in which the best supplier can be found. Follow these steps to identify quality and convenience:
- Do online research: use Google to identify wholesale costume jewellery suppliers. Visit the websites of these suppliers and search for information there. The best wholesale fashion jewellery companies have detailed sites featuring tons of useful data for potential partners. If you can’t find the answers to your questions don’t be afraid to ask.
- Look for online directories: many specialised directories or local platforms will give you information about the wholesale jewellery suppliers that don’t have a website. If you’re insistent on working with a local business, the directory search is going to be ideal for you. Take notes and create a shortlist of the most lucrative opportunities that you’ve come across.
- Check specialised magazines: industry magazines and newspapers can also contain a lot of information about the best suppliers that will help you take your business to the next level.
- Take a look at international possibilities: many companies from countries like China have wholesale jewellery for sale. These options are usually characterised by rather low prices. The problem with some of these suppliers is that the quality of the jewellery can’t be established before making a purchase and delivery times can be weeks even months away. You may also need to deal with import tax and VAT to source products on an international level.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Since you’re just getting started, it may be difficult to identify low quality suppliers. A number of red flags can be spotted easily, even if you don’t have the experience. Be very careful about wholesale fashion jewellery suppliers that:
- Don’t allow you to make a sample order: the sample order is one of the easiest and most effective options for testing the quality and making sure that the particular jewellery range is the right one for your business.
- Provide very little information on their website: can you verify the facts about the company? Are they a registered Limited Company? Do they display terms of business on their website?
- Accept only wire transfers: tracking a wire transfer is very difficult. Some of the best suppliers accept a range of payment options via PayPal so that card details are not shared with the wholesaler. If payments are processed on the website it should be secure.
Companies like Vicki Jane have the experience and the reputation to back up all of the claims. As experienced wholesale jewellery suppliers, we work hard on giving clients access to some of the best quality and prices. The company’s website provides tons of useful information. We have a no minimum order policy that guarantees convenience and simplicity of purchasing. All orders are usually processed within 24 hours, you can return any damaged products within seven days of making a purchase and process payments securely via PayPal. Finally, you can contact us at any time to have your questions answered and to get assistance for the selection of the best wholesale costume jewellery.
Chapter 4: Choosing Your Target Market
Even if you’ve never done market analysis before, you will have to familiarise yourself with the specifics before launching the company.
Choosing the right target will affect your marketing efforts and the range of products that you’re going to sell. The ability to identify the right target market will make it much easier for you to establish a loyal clientèle of individuals that will come back and make purchases time and time again.
What does it take to identify the target market? Members of this group all share the same characteristics. To identify the ideal customer, you may want to answer the following questions:
- What’s the gender of your target customer? What’s their age?
- Where does your ideal customer live? What is their occupation?
- What are your target customer’s favourite hobbies, magazines and things to do?
- Do they prefer traditional, modern or abstract jewellery?
- How do your products fulfil the needs of this target group of ideal customers?
- How is your product range different from what others are offering?
- How much can your ideal customer spend on the particular product?
Understanding the needs and the problems that your clients are facing will be the key to establishing a successful strategy. The best products in each field are the ones that address a desire that no other company or product range can fulfil. Uniqueness is the strongest selling point but this uniqueness should have a practical dimension.
The best way to test the analysis is to talk to others. You may think that you know what your clients are looking for but is this really so? Some beginners commit the mistake of creating the ideal buyer profile on the basis of their desires and preferences. Your needs, however, aren’t universal. Trying to stay objective when coming up with a business plan will be very important for reaching your niche and establishing your market positions.
Look for online information. Many forums and groups can give you hints about what buyers are trying to buy but can’t find on the market. Such online communities are a gold mine and they can make your job a whole lot easier.
Finally, do competition research. You may have identified the ideal target market that’s already making purchases from somebody else. If another company sells similar jewellery to a similar demographic group, you will have to narrow it down further or determine how you can distinguish your brand.
Chapter 5: How to Price Your Jewellery
You have a target market and you’ll now have to determine the pricing policy. How much should your jewellery cost? This is one of the most important decisions and should never be made lightly.
A basic jewellery price formula can be used to come up with a base price. The final figure, however, is a bit more complex to derive.
Some of the basics to take in consideration when determining the pricing policy include the following:
- The cost of buying the wholesale jewellery
- The additional monthly expenses (transportation, shop rent, website development, hosting, etc).
- Your time (easy to forget).
This way, you can determine the baseline price that’s going to result in zero profit each month. Having some idea about what members of your target market will be willing to pay (customer’s perception of value) is also going to be very important.
You should stick to well chosen pieces and smaller profit in the beginning. Once you establish your brand and your reputation, you’ll get to make adjustments. After a few months of operation, you’ll also get a much better idea about what your target is looking for and whether the original price was faulty in any way.
Strategies for Jewellery Pricing
So, to sum it up, here are a few quite effective strategies for determining how your costume jewellery should be priced:
- Opt for the manufacturer suggested retail price: this is a guideline you can use to make the pricing decisions in the very beginning. The strategy is used to standardise product prices and it can save you from having to do lengthy calculations. On the downside, you’ll be sticking to a price that some of your competitors will be featuring, as well.
- Price slightly below the competition: as a newcomer to the retail jewellery business, you’ll have to give the buyer something lucrative and exciting. A lower price can lure first-time buyers. On the downside, you’ll benefit from lower profit margins.
- Base the decision on your profit margin: you can’t give clients access to serious price reductions if you haven’t determined your profit margin. You should also consider the profit that you absolutely need to generate and base the profit margin decision on this calculation.
- Diversify your product range: if you want to appeal to more than one market segment, consider diversifying your product range. Having more affordable and more sophisticated types of fashion jewellery will give just about everyone something attractive and affordable.
Avoid the Common Retail Jewellery Pricing Mistakes
As a startup owner, you may commit a mistake in terms of determining product prices. Some of the mistakes are rather common and easy to avoid:
- Failure to update prices: keep track of supply costs and other expenditure linked to running your business. Do regular price updates to maintain both your competitiveness and adequate profit margins.
- Failure to base prices on the customer’s perception of value: basing the price solely on costs rather than the customer’s perception of value can lead to serious problems. If your price is higher than the value, you’ll lose many potential customers. If it’s much lower, you’ll generate many sales that cannot translate into business sustainability.
- Keeping the same profit margin across the different product lines: you can’t go for a universal profit margin percentage and keep it the same for all types of jewellery available in your store. Each target customer type will assign a different value to the particular product. Keep this information in mind when thinking about the most adequate margin.
- Failure to take in consideration competitor pricing decisions: your pricing decisions will have an impact on the competition and vice versa. You can’t just assign a number without taking in consideration the prices of similar products sold by other companies.
Chapter 6: How to Market Jewellery
To market your jewellery, you’ll have to unleash your creativity and discover the channels that your target market is most likely to rely on for information and updates. The good news is that as a startup owner, you have a vast range of affordable and effective marketing tools to choose from.
Launching a serious campaign in the very beginning will help you establish your market reputation and boost the competitiveness of your brand. Some of the channels you should consider for the purpose include:
- Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube
- Starting a blog dedicated to jewellery
- Word of mouth promotion
- Participation in shows, events and crafts fairs
- Organising giveaways and discount campaigns
- Newsletter marketing
- Customer testimonials and reviews written online
- Build a quality website
Now, let us take a more detailed look at some of these jewellery marketing ideas.
Social Media Marketing
If you aren’t on social media, start putting your profiles together right now. Creating a community around your brand on Facebook or Google+ is one of the easiest possibilities for reaching your target market and building loyalty.
Social media are quite inexpensive but they require consistence and hard work. Share interesting content, rather than just product descriptions. Answer questions potential buyers have about your product line. Ask questions to learn more about the preferences of leads.
Since you’re selling beautiful pieces of jewellery, you can also harness the power of visual social networks. Pinterest and Instagram give you ideal tools to create desire in your target. To be successful, however, you need high quality photographs. Pay for a professional jewellery photo session and use these photos both on your website and in your Pinterest/Instagram campaigns.
Finally, consider putting together YouTube videos. These clips can easily go viral and enable you to reach a huge audience, especially if you come up with an interesting idea. The video doesn’t have to be professional and expensive in order to be effective. Rely on your sense of humour or give your audience useful information. A how-to guide can be a wonderful marketing tool. The same applies to styling suggestions that incorporate your jewellery.
Each of your videos should have an appropriate title and description. These make it easier for viewers to find your clips when searching for content on YouTube.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful reputation establishment tools. Even if you don’t have an online store, you should start a jewellery blog. Many platforms provide free of charge blogging opportunities. WordPress is wonderful because of the numerous tools that you’ll get access to for free.
The quality of the texts is the most important factor for the success of your content marketing efforts. Share your industry knowledge with the world and answer some of the most common questions your buyers could have. Keep in mind that you have just a couple of seconds to impress potential readers. If people don’t find your content interesting or original, they’ll simply move on to another source of information.
Blogging shouldn’t be about generating sales. Don’t focus on your products and services. Write about interesting topics. Quality content will turn you into a reputable source of information. If people come back to your blog to learn something new, chances are that they’ll soon start recognising your brand.
Stellar Customer Service and Word of Mouth Promotion
Your clients are your most powerful promotion tool. Word of mouth promotion is of incredible importance. To have buyers recommending your jewellery, however, you need to deliver stellar services.
Encourage your buyers to also write online reviews and testimonials about your jewellery. Many prospects look for online information before choosing one product or another. These individuals rely on recommendations and testimonials written by actual buyers. According to Marketing Land statistics, 90% of the surveyed customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. The potential of this marketing approach is limitless.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should never write the reviews yourself or pay for promotional reviews. These are very easy to distinguish from authentic client testimonials and they can have an extremely negative impact on your reputation.
These are just some of the jewellery marketing techniques that you can rely on. Be bold, innovative and creative. Take some time to understand your target market and you’ll find the inspiration to deliver your message in the most convincing and effective way.
Chapter 7: Conclusion
We know that the first steps in starting a jewellery business can be both exciting and terrifying. You’ll probably have tons of enthusiasm but you’ll also doubt some of the decisions that you’re making.
Choosing the right wholesale fashion jewellery is one of the most important prerequisites for success. If you start with a quality product, you’ll soon get noticed. The rest depends on your commitment to growing the business and your marketing efforts. Take your business seriously. If you treat it like a hobby, you’ll never find yourself capable of accomplishing the commercial success that you’re hoping for.
Start small and test the field, especially if you’ve never owned a business in the past. A great idea is the perfect starting point but many other factors will also have to be taken in consideration. Customer attitudes, competition and your visibility all rank among these factors. It’s better to try trade fairs rather than to rent a shop and find it impossible to handle the cost of overheads.
We have one final, very important suggestion for you – do competition research! Do it before getting started, do it after you launch the business and in the months to come. The competition can inspire you, show you what mistakes to avoid and how to pinpoint a unique market niche. If you try to build a business in an extremely competitive field, you’ll diminish your chances of success right from the start.
Put your enthusiasm, your knowledge and your passion into the establishment of your jewellery business. Believing in the idea and finding pleasure in what you’re doing will sooner or later bring you commercial success.
Finally, remember to be patient! A slow start doesn’t mean that you will never get financial independence. Maintain realistic expectations, celebrate the small successes and continue working hard. Choose the right partners and build your business bit by bit.
Good luck and don’t forget to share your success with our team! We can’t wait to find out how you brought your dream to reality.
Copyright: 2015, Vicki Jane Jewellery Ltd.
All Rights Reserved