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EXECUTION From Broke Addict to Midas (How To Start A Jewelry Business)

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LordGanon

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 22, 2020
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Germany
Hey folks,

I didn't post in a long time. Long story short: I realized I wouldn't have a lot of valuable stuff to tell until I got going, my job was getting on my nerves, and I got a tumor removed (I'll get the biopsy results in 10 days...cancer corollary, anyone?). But I think I can now post something that maybe is valuable to some people. I'll start a new job (50%) on Monday which covers all my living expenses. I won't live like a king, but if you've been poor long enough, not having to worry about getting basics covered is an unimaginable luxury and a heavy strain on your nerves gone.

I know that a lot of people will have the mindset of "Go all in, burn the bridges", but I've said to myself that I won't leave my job (I'm going to be a homeless counselor) until I have a comfortable cushion to not get anxious about living expenses for at least a year and reliably make three times as much as in my job (because I'll have to switch health insurance, then). Because I really need that peace of mind after what I went through during my addiction, although I know this feeling of safety is probably not justified. But...I'm pretty sure homelessness won't go away, soon.

I've already made about 3000€ this month in profit, and I don't even have a website or a store. Yes, you read that right.

So, what business did I get in? Jewelry. No, I'm not a goldsmith. You don't have to be.

The Jewelry Business

First of all: I'm not into jewelry at all. All jewelry I occasionally wear is made from wood or bones. But silver, gold, and diamonds...I don't know what it is about them. People just buy. The market is crowded, yes. You'll have to differentiate yourself. I found two niches very close to things I know a lot about (and will not reveal, for now, although some people can guess, I think). That's probably why I chose jewelry. I can look at this business without passion. I'm passionate about the niches. And you have to be passionate about some part of your business, or you'll lack motivation, that's probably granted.

Why is it such a good business case? And under which circumstances?

1. You never really sit on inventory. You sit on products that can be turned into raw materials again at a negligible loss. The work associated with getting a piece of jewelry done is very cheap, especially when dealing with gold.

2. The margins you can command can be vast. The more valuable the material you're dealing with, the higher your margin. You probably won't be able to do so producing generic designs. You'll target a larger audience, yes, but also invite yourself to competition from resellers whose prices you can't possibly beat.

3. the people you're selling to are already affluent and need little convincing except for aesthetics, or they wouldn't even be looking. If it's really the price bothering them: Get it done in silver and gold-plated, knock a huge chunk off the price and get it done for a fraction of your cost.


The downsides:

1. It isn't exactly a "clean" business. For two reasons: You'll not have any truly convincing way to tell how your materials were sourced and one or two warlords surely had their hands in it. Reason Number Two: Organized crime WILL knock on your door eventually and will make you offers you hopefully can refuse (mostly money laundering). I'm in the "comfortable" position that I have family that holds a very important position in the government and am therefore constantly watched and under protection by federal agents, from time to time.

2. Depending on where you live, you'll need special permits. I can tell you that was a pain in the a$$ during shutdown.

3. Expect to be closely monitored and audited by the government. Keep your books as clean as you possibly can.

4. Expect fraud. Test every piece you're getting done, learn how to grade diamonds and other stones (this is actually not as hard as it sounds). Although you can start sourcing directly, I'd heavily advise against this for beginners.


So, how do you learn how the jewelry business works?

1. Watch the South Park Episode "Cash for Gold". That's how the jewelry business works. I mean it. I'm not joking. I didn't believe it, either. But while I learned the trade (still am), I thought to myself "That wasn't satire?"

2. Watch "Uncut Gems". Yes, it's a drama and Adam Sandler, but...that's actually how the jewelry business works. Again.

3. Everything there is to learn about precious metals and stones (as resources for jewelry) can be learned within a week from Google and YouTube.

4. Leave the craft to people who learned and invested years in it.


NOW ON TO THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP: LEARN HOW TO CREATE AND LEARN HOW TO SELL


How do you actually get jewelry produced?


1. Meet the amazing world of 3d modeling/sculpting/printing. There's no need anymore to hand-carve your models to cast them. You now have two choices: Learn how to model/sculpt yourself. Blender is completely free and comes with everything you need. That's what I did (for now). For four reasons: 1. I did it anyway for video games I like to program 2. I missed art in my life 3. I actually want my products to be an extension of ME 4. Good designers who actually get done what you want are daaaaamn rare and Fiverr surely isn't the place to look for them, you'll get what you paid for. Sure, you can hire one of those. You'll end up producing generic stuff, probably.

2. Now, get in touch with someone who casts and refines your jewelry for you, deliver the .stl. Buy a 3d printer (resin!) to check out your model before delivery. There are lots of businesses doing that out there. They'll produce a casting form (which will cost you, depending on size) that can be used over and over again. This is where things get tricky: For silver, this isn't going to work for single pieces or it will cut heavily into your margin. For gold --- pffffft. Sell as many unique pieces as you can.

3. You can actually get single pieces casted ON DEMAND. That's right. It will cost you a little, I pay 3€, but that's negligible. The bigger problem are delivery times. Compare.

4. Develop a relationship with the people you're dealing with. Eventually, they'll drop prices on metals and processes.

5. Leave. The. Refining. To. Them. They have goldsmiths employed for that. Alternatively, get in touch with a local goldsmith who will probably give you better prices.


Congratulations. Now buy some nice packaging. With the prices you command, you don't want to be a cheapskate, here. Customer experience is key.

Sales, Sales, Sales

Okay, here's where I'm not exactly an expert in, yet. But some things I've noticed:

1. You're selling expensive stuff. You better say goodbye to "build a brand and throw online ads at it". People will buy from you because they trust you. Yes, you can spare an hour of chit-chat when you're making three to four digits on the sale. Don't be a brand. Don't be a corporation. Be a person.

2. I made all my sales on social media. During shutdown, I got so exhausted from dealing with the dysfunctional government that I abandoned building a brand on social media and simply started posting as a person. My (real!) followers started growing, and I was seen as...well authority is the wrong word...but as someone who knows his stuff in his niche. And I genuinely interacted with people a lot.

3. Watching demand has never been easier. The money I made? Easy. Someone posted a fictive picture of a piece of jewelry and said he loved it. Lots of people agreed. I @ed them all and said that if they put money down, I'd make that happen. They put the money down, I made it happen. And from there, more sales came in after it was done.


Well. Where to go from here?

I need to open stores. Ebay s*cks *ss because the Chinese ruin everything and eBay doesn't give a f*ck. You can forget about selling jewelry on eBay these days. Because the listings are flooded with "REAL 14K GOLD RING" for 14,99$. As if anybody sane would believe that is 14k gold. And of course, that is fraud or at least misleading advertisement (because they do not correct those listings anywhere in article view). But you can't possibly outcompete 2000 dropshipping listings from China. And like I said: eBay doesn't care it's a storefront for AliBaba. I'll look into Etsy, and probably Shopify.

General Advice

1. Stop reading. You've probably read more than enough by now. That time is better spent getting business going.
2. Stop that "entrepreneurial lifestyle" sh*t. If you want to hear that it's a good idea to go to the gym and eat clean, you could have asked your doctor 50 years ago.
3. Don't dream of unicorns and stop waiting for the right idea. Disruption is nice and necessary, but you can build a solid business around proven ideas and models.
4. Motivation is 1000$ in the bank. You'll have no problem staying motivated once the money rolls in.


That's it for now. I'll keep you updated. Special thanks to @Gepi whose courses got me on the right track.
 

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Simon Angel

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 24, 2016
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Cool stuff man. Hope the biopsy results come back benign!

In regards to the long delivery times, I don't think it's such a big deal for high ticket jewelry items, especially when you tell your clients it takes time to create, work the details, and they also need it for their wedding, which is 6 months away, yada yada.

I caught the last 30 minutes or so of that Adam Sandler movie while stoned at a friend's house, didn't seem like it ended well for him lol. In any case, this is some really interesting stuff, and props to @Gepi for the course.
 

Gepi

In it to win it
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 3, 2018
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194
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Germany
Hi there @LordGanon !
Really, really cool to hear how you managed to use the knowledge for such an awesome business model! Just amazing, so glad I could help you. I've seen your account on Social Media and I think your niche is especially nice to cater to, because the people who will be into it will really be into it, know what I mean?
Would be awesome to read more of your amazing journey. And organized crime knocking at your door? Jesus. Honestly never had that one before.

Shopify is the main way to go, imho. Etsy is also crowded af and really expensive things are not really the main market for them. So this could be a support-side, but Shopify is awesome for your own brand, super-customizable, and I think it would be spot-on for your business model with you being the brand(-face) and all that. A female friend of mine who was an apprentice together with me has gotten of the ground with her own hand-made jewelry with this, so I know for a fact that it does work brilliantly when done right.

About the eco-problem: there are possibilities to source gold, silver and gem stones eco-fairly and at least with some assurance that is hasn't got any blood sticking to it. It is also very nice to market certain pieces or your whole collection with this, because this is a thing. Green gold, recycled gold, and so on. People will pay more for a clean(er) conscience. And of course, you actually help the environment (and maybe even the workers) just that little bit more. Some casters do have it, but not many. So in your case it could be hard to find. But again, I know for a fact that it is possible.

Some shameless self promotion: I have recently released my second course, a deep dive into ring design in Blender, which goes much more in-depth regarding the whole process ;) of course, you are very welcome to check it out or send someone there if you want to train people for helping out with the design-process...next one will probably be a special about custom signet rings or (portrait) sculpting.

But anyways, nicely done, and looking forward hearing more about your story and store!!!
And good health to you, may your body be healthy and strong against anything that may come up.
Greetings
 

LordGanon

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 22, 2020
176
475
217
Germany
Sorry for exposing you @LordGanon but I figured out your niche. It's butt jewelry.
I'd joke about making anus rings but I'm pretty sure that would be a viable niche according to rule 34.

@Gepi: Didn't happen to me, yet, but I was warned by a local jeweler who ran into some trouble with organized crime and he said that's fairly common.
 

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