Starting a jewellery business is a great way to make a living out of your favourite hobby if you do it right. As with any business venture, there are many things you need to consider to give your business the best chance at succeeding. 

This guide will show you how to start a jewellery business in the following steps:

  • Get the right license
  • Know your legislation
  • Define your speciality
  • Choose a business name and structure
  • Register for tax
  • Protect yourself with insurance
  • Create a business plan and budget
  • Open a business current account
  • Build your brand
  • Develop your products
  • Create your jewellery
  • Start marketing your business

How to start a jewellery business

There are many steps you need to cover when starting your own jewellery business. We’ve listed the most important ones below. Complete these steps to hit the ground running. 

  1. Get the right license

Starting a jewellery business requires some background research to make sure you follow all the rules and regulations. No matter where you’ll sell your jewellery, you need a license from your local council. While requirements vary between councils, you usually have to pay a fee for your license and sometimes added business rates. Speak to your local council about this before taking any steps forward.

  1. Know your legislation

When making and selling jewellery, there are two main legislations you need to be aware of: the Trade Descriptions Act (TDA) and the Sale of Goods Act (SGA). These acts are pretty straightforward, and their purpose is to protect customers. 

The TDA ensures that traders can’t sell any counterfeit goods or make false claims about a product. The SGA is there to make sure your jewellery is fit for purpose and of acceptable quality. If it’s not up to scratch, you have to either exchange the jewellery, give a credit note or a cash refund.

If you plan to work with precious metals, you’ll need to have your work hallmarked under the Hallmarking Act 1973 to make sure the metals are of certain purity.  It’s illegal to make any business transactions with unmarked metals. 

  1. Define your speciality

There’s a lot of competition out there, and you’ll have to compete against lots of other jewellers to capture customers’ attention and interest. The best way to attract consumers to your jewellery is to choose a speciality or a niche. At the very least, you’ll want to focus on something you enjoy and can do well to increase your chances of creating quality products. 

Choosing a niche will also prevent you from overwhelming yourself by trying to do everything at once. Additionally, it’ll make it easier to target your ideal customers. You can find a niche to focus on by:

  • Conducting competitor analysis: Research and analyse what other jewellery makers are doing and who they’re trying to sell to. This will help you to identify a gap that you can fill. Learn more about conducting competitor analysis here.
  • Speaking to potential customers: You could also speak to people you want to sell your jewellery to. Run surveys on forums and social media groups to collect information about your potential niche. Ask around and find that gap your business can fill.
  • Checking out influencers: Browse social media to see what kinds of jewellery designs get the most attention at the moment. Think about how your designs could fit into the trends and add value to your target customers.
  1. Choose a business name and structure

Once you’ve got your license and focus settled, you need to choose a business structure. Will you be a sole trader or a limited company

Sole trader businesses are simpler to set up and start, but limited companies look more professional. A limited company would also give you limited liability for any debt associated with running the business. That said, running a limited company does involve more accounting and tax responsibilities than sole trader businesses do.

You also need to choose a name for your jewellery business. While you can trade under your own name (for example, John Smith Jewellery) or choose a separate company name. Just remember to check the Companies House register to make sure the name isn’t taken already.

If you chose to set up a limited company, you could register your business with Companies House for £12 –– this registration is called incorporation. An accountant or registration service can support you with this, but it will cost you more.

  1. Register for tax

As a self-employed person, you need to notify HMRC that you will manage your own tax and National Insurance contributions going forward. You’ll also need to submit a Self Assessment tax return every year if you make over £1,000 from your business income.

Limited companies also need to register with HMRC for Corporation Tax. Additionally, if your business is predicted to turn over £85,000 or more yearly, you must also register for VAT.

  1. Protect yourself with insurance

When it comes to business, a lot of things can go wrong, so it’s always a good idea to protect yourself with insurance. As a jewellery maker, you may need a few different policies, but here are a few to consider:

  • Professional indemnity insurance: this will pay for any claims if you make a mistake, breach confidentiality or are accused of professional negligence.
  • Public liability insurance: this covers you in case of injury or property damage that happens when someone is dealing with your business. This can also cover injury from the jewellery you’ve sold too, like if someone gets an allergic reaction.
  • Personal accident and sickness insurance: covers your income if you can’t work for a while due to illness or injury. You’ll also be covered if you are unable to go back to work at all.
  1. Create a business plan and budget

Creating a clear business plan helps you understand where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Your business plan is a summary of your business idea, the market and your budget. Typically a business plan should include:

  • Market research: what does the jewellery market look like today?
  • Budget: how much money do you need for different aspects of your business?
  • Marketing plan: how will you promote your business?
  • Pricing strategy: how will you set your prices and why?
  • Unique selling points: what makes your business and products better than others?

You can learn more about how to create a business plan and why you need one in this guide. One of the most important parts of a business plan is to create a budget for managing different startup costs, which you can learn about here.

  1. Open a business current account

If you choose a limited company structure, you legally have to open a business current account to separate your business finances from your personal ones. 

If you chose a sole trader setup, you are not legally required to open a separate business account, but it’s still a good idea for the following reasons:

  • Easier to monitor cash flow (money moving in and out of your business)
  • Makes tax returns easier to prepare since your business and personal transactions are separate
  • Looks more professional

A business account like Countingup also has built-in accounting software that allows you to save time and stress on bookkeeping tasks.

  1. Build your brand

One of the key things when starting a business is to identify the identity or personality of your business, from your logo and colour scheme to your packaging strategy and customer service. You need to decide how you’ll present yourself in the business world and design your branding to reflect it. 

Branding allows you to create something customers will remember. The more unique your brand, the more likely it is you’ll make an impression.

As a start, make sure you have:

  • A unique logo to help you stand out
  • A colour scheme that represents your business identity
  • A memorable brand name and mission statement
  • A set of values to help you target customers

The competitor research you did to find your niche comes in handy when you need inspiration. Look at what other jewellery brands are doing and make notes of what you like and don’t like to help you build your perfect brand.

  1. Develop your products

We’ve arrived at the fun bit, which is developing your product line. You want to make everything about it highly symbolic of your brand, from the metals and gemstones you use to how you present the products. 

It’s also important to consider how you want your packaging to look. Packaging is crucial since it’ll be the first thing your customer sees when the jewellery arrives in their home. Working with a graphic designer could be a great way to create cute branded packaging for your jewellery.

It’s good to get feedback on your new designs as early as you can to see if they’re worth pursuing. Ask friends and family for their input and post your designs on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. You can use the number of likes, shares, and comments as indicators of interest. 

Reddit is also a great place to find feedback for your specific niche. Simply post pictures of your designs in a relevant subreddit (like handmade if you make your own jewellery). Reddit’s anonymity level will allow you to get honest opinions.

  1. Create your jewellery

Once you’ve laid the legal groundwork and you’ve found some jewellery designs that people show an interest in, it’s time to create the jewellery. You’ll need to purchase jewellery-making tools and materials like:

  • Jewellery wire 
  • Metals and gemstones
  • Various pliers and wire cutters
  • An anvil and bench peg
  • Polishing papers
  • Soldering supplies

Once you’ve bought the materials and tools you need, it’s time to start practising in order to create the most beautiful pieces you possibly can. Have fun with it!

  1. Start marketing your business

You can’t have a profitable jewellery business if no one knows it exists. Creating a marketing strategy will help you determine how you’ll find and attract your ideal customers. Here are a few methods you can use:

Set up a website

Create a professional website where customers can browse your product range and buy your jewellery pieces. You can use template-based website builders like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace to set it up for free or at a reasonable price. Just make sure your website is easy to use and includes your contact information in case customers have questions.

Use social media

Social media is excellent for finding customers. You can use it to join groups, connect with potential customers, and share pictures of your jewellery to promote your skills. You can also share video snippets of how you make your jewellery to spark peoples’ interest.

Join an online marketplace

You can sell your products online through marketplaces like Shopify, Amazon or Etsy. Marketplaces are increasing in popularity, so most platforms will go to great lengths to make it as easy as possible to buy and sell products. You can also pay to market your products on these platforms and get in front of more prospective buyers. 

Use your existing network

Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth! A powerful way to spread the word about your business is to tell your existing network of friends, family, former colleagues, schoolmates, professional connections, and so on. These people will have their own networks of people they could tell about your fabulous jewellery. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask if they know of any opportunities!

Give your business the best start with a simple app

When you’re starting your own business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from day one – to save yourself from time-consuming admin headaches further down the line. 

When you sign up for a Countingup business current account, you’ll receive free accounting software with a range of time-saving tools. 

Simply log into the app to create and send invoices, get financial insights, and confidently manage your new business finances Find out more here.