Chapter 7 - Recommendations for Your First Jewellery Business

We've looked at the different options open to you as a jewellery retailer. But which should you chose? Where should you start? This is a question only you can answer, but I might be able to help you on your way.

If you are thinking of opening a shop, ask yourself this: Do you want to open a shop because you like the idea of a shop and the prestige you feel it would bring? Or are you thinking of opening a shop because you want to be successful and make money? Are you more concerned with how you are perceived by others than you are about making money?

Do you know, based on retail experience, which lines of jewellery will sell well? If you don't, then you cannot project potential earnings. Do you know how much a particular item will retail for? If you don't, then you cannot project potential earnings. Do you know how many paying customers will enter your potential shop? If you don't, then you cannot project potential earnings.

Reality Check: Shop owners think they are the pinnacle of retail. They often look down their noses at market traders, car boot sellers, and amateur jewellery party organisers. But the figures don't support this attitude, not by a long way. We supply all of these different types of jewellery retailers. The truth is, many shop owners spend as little as £300 a month on new stock, while many market traders spend over £3,000 a month on new stock, and three times as much in the lead up to Christmas.

My Recommendations
  1. Do not allow your first entry into jewellery retail to be a bricks and mortar shop. No matter what you feel in your heart, no matter what dreams you may have had, do not do this. You will regret it and you will squander a great opportunity.
  2. Do not allow your first entry into jewellery retail to be online. It's not as easy as it looks, and it can distort your perceptions of value and taste.
  3. Stay away from eBay. Nothing good will come from it.
  4. Building a successful eCommerce business is hard work, involves a lot of expert knowledge, and costs a heck of a lot of money.
  5. Don't expect to make money at a car boot sale. Instead, use it as a learning and training exercise.
What should you do right now?
  1. Buy a fold up table, and pay a visit to a car boot sale or two.
  2. Join the National Federation of Market Traders.
  3. Go online, and find a list of local fairs across the country that welcome traders. Pack up your tables and your stock, and try one.
  4. If you are determined that fairs are not for you, phone a jewellery party organiser and ask them to put on a party in your home. Invite your friends and see how the party organisers do things.
  5. Run your own party.
  6. Build on the experience and successes of early fairs, markets and parties.
  7. Expand your stock range and diversify. We'll be discussing stock in more detail later.

Choosing your business model is one of the hardest decisions you will have to make as a jewellery retailer. Once you've done this, you can focus your time and energy on choosing stock and finding suppliers. If you have decided against opening a bricks and mortar shop, you will find that your available capital to spend on stock is far greater, and it's on stock that you should be spending the bulk of your start-up money.