Maybe you’re looking to make a little extra cash during a parenting break or while between jobs. Perhaps you want a profitable side hustle. Or maybe you’re tired of the daily grind and you’re looking for freedom and a job you can love.
Many people have met these goals by selling jewelry online. Vintage, handmade, drop-shipping—the possibilities are endless.
Below, we’ll examine the steps you need to take to make a success of an online jewelry business. This kind of small business experience can also help if you want to put together an entrepreneurial or e-commerce specialist resume. Small business experience is extremely valuable should you choose to apply to future positions which involve selling online.
Where Should I Sell?
Picking the right platform for selling your jewelry is the first essential step for success. A lot depends on how your jewelry is made and who you’re selling it to. There’s a lot of crossover, however, but we’ll help you wade through the options below.
Etsy is the premier platform for a lot of jewelry makers. If you’re selling handmade jewelry, parts and findings for making jewelry, vintage jewelry, or print-on-demand pieces that you’ve designed, Etsy can connect you with an enthusiastic audience of millions of potential customers. Etsy charges a small listing fee and a percentage of the sale price. Drop-shipped items that you didn’t have a hand in making are prohibited.
There are also print-on-demand websites that allow you to design jewelry and other items, set up a store, and make royalties without ever touching the items. Among these are Zazzle, Society6, RedBubble, and Art of Where.
Resell sites like eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari are another option. Keep in mind that most people are searching these sites for specific things, so well-known luxury brands will sell better than unknown pieces or handmade items. These sites retain a portion of the sale price.
You might also consider setting up your own online store using Shopify or a similar service. You can control exactly what you want to sell with no limits on item types. For example, you can connect with both drop-shipping and print-on-demand resources. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a monthly fee and drive traffic to your site. Unlike the websites above, individual online stores are not privy to the existing customers of large websites.
You can bolster sales from Etsy or your personal website by making in-person sales at local events. To do this, you will need a credit card reader from a service like Square.
Finally, some sellers rely on a social media following and sell directly to customers through their feeds. We’ll talk more about social media in the next section.
Connect With Your Tribe
As mentioned above, some seller sites already attract millions of potential buyers each day. If you’re using one of these or selling on another platform, there are things you can do to drive more customers your way.
Many makers have built an Instagram following, making videos of the process they use to make their jewelry, highlighting pieces, and featuring other users’ pictures of the jewelry purchases “in the wild.”
Whatever social media site you choose to use, “feed the algorithm” by posting regularly. Include a link to your store in your bio. You can let fans connect with multiple stores or other social media sites using a multi-link service like Linktree.
Make It Worth Your While
Another important step is establishing an equitable pricing strategy. Whether you’re making items by hand, designing print-on-demand graphics, or curating drop shipped pieces, you want the amount you make to be worth it.
Consider the cost of materials, your man-hours, and any fees and other sites levied by the services you use. If you choose not to charge a shipping fee, you should work that into your price as well. Don’t forget about operating expenses, such as business or income taxes.
Sometimes, you may find that if you raise your prices, you sell fewer items but make more overall. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you can play with adjusting your prices and see what happens.
Keep It Legal
As your business grows, you will need to take a few steps to comply with tax and business laws. For example, in most states, you will receive a 1099-K tax document if you make more than $600 in sales in one year. In turn, you will need to report the sales on your income taxes.
There will also be an income threshold at which you will need to register your business with your city, county, and state. Consult with your local registrar’s office or tax professional to determine when you need to register your business.
Building your own jewelry business can take a lot of work, but it can be fulfilling and profitable. First, you need to think carefully about which selling services you want to use. Then, promote your jewelry pieces on social media, and price them so that you make a profit. Finally, as your business grows, consult with a professional to ensure legal compliance.