The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Business Know-How with Marlene Richey: Let’s Start at the Beginning!

Nov 19, 2012
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Marlene Richey
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When the idea first hits that you would like to sell some of your handcrafted jewelry, it seems like a natural progression from taking your hobby, passion, art, and skills to the next step: A business. You are creating so many wonderful pieces and all your friends and family have more than enough jewelry to last a couple of lifetimes. Since everyone loves your work, you think, why not start selling it?

What is the next step from being a passionista (new term for hobbyist), a practicing jeweler, or even a beginning businessperson to being an entrepreneur? I recommend you start by asking yourself the following ten questions, answer them honestly and write down the answers to each one in 25 words or less, keep them short, simple and to the point.

  1. Why do you want to go into business? Money? Prestige? Pushing your boundaries? Just because? Why not?

    Handcrafted necklace by jeweler Bree Richey

  2. Why are you making jewelry? What drives you to create? Describe your passion for creating your work.
  3. What is the “product” or service you want to sell? Earrings? Ethnic jewelry? Your stone setting skills? Bridal jewelry? GIA appraisals? Gemstones?
  4. Why would someone be willing to part with their hard-earned cash to purchase your jewelry, services, skills, and/or knowledge?
  5. Why do you want to work with/for yourself?
  6. What is your definition of success? (This might not sound like an important question, but it is vital.) If you don’t know what your own personal and professional ideas of success are, how will you know when you have achieved them?
  7. What do you see as the advantages of being self-employed? What are the disadvantages?
  8. Who is your ultimate customer? Age? Gender? Urban, rural, suburban? Educational level? Income? East coast/West coast? Local, national or international? Are they comfortable purchasing online or prefer a gallery setting?
  9. Where and how do you plan to get your work or service in front of your potential customer? Etsy? Website? Shows - retail and/or wholesale? Road trips? Word of mouth? Craft show? Huge marketing blitz?
  10. Will you require start-up money and where do you plan to get it? How do you plan to pay it back?

If you have answered these questions, you are on your way to writing a business plan without even knowing it. FYI: people who take the time to write a business plan have a 50% greater chance of success. Take these questions and your answers and set them aside, but don’t lose them. Periodically review your answers to see what may have changed or shifted in some way. Your answers will be the foundation of a strong art-based business.

From this simple beginning I will help you build and design a business which is the right fit and look for your specific individual taste, style, preferences, skill set, and brand.

This is just the beginning! I look forward to sharing more business know-how in the weeks and months ahead. Do you have questions, or perhaps you have specific insights to share? If so, please leave a comment!

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