10 years ago, making jewellery as a hobby at home was a lonely pastime, perhaps selling the odd item to family and friends and no real resources to take advantage of except for the local library, bookshops or local college courses. Nowadays, with the expansion of the internet, there is a wealth of information, networking and selling potential for virtually anybody with a laptop, PC or tablet to take advantage of.
Specialist groups on Facebook create selling opportunities and chances to network and get to know likeminded individuals on practically any subject, websites are easier than ever to create and manage. Organisations such as The Guild of Jewellery Designers exist to provide information on subjects such as jewellery courses, (PPL) Products and Public Liability insurance and suppliers of tools and services, along with competitions and support for beginners to the craft or seasoned professionals.
It’s no wonder that jewellery making is so popular in the UK and worldwide, it is is no longer constrained to professionals and many people today are clearing a space for a bench and making their own with easier access to tools and availability of jewellery components, no longer relying on their high street jeweller and what they have to offer. The individuality and flexibility of a handmade bespoke piece creates a unique and distinctive statement for the proud maker.
For some it starts out of curiosity and interest and evolves into the blossoming of a creative talent and the start of a lifelong addiction for new tools and shaping precious (or non precious) metals into exciting mini works of art. We hear of many examples of people changing careers completely after discovering that they can create something beautiful with their own hands and opt for a more satisfying lifestyle.
However the individual discovers their passion in life and develops, there’s no denying that making jewellery at home is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.
Having now started making jewellery and selling a few pieces, attention is turned to selling more and setting up a website or showing at a craft fair. A website can be created for free or very little outlay these days and a lot easier than 10 years ago. If you don’t want the hassle of setting up and hosting your own site, opportunities exist to list products on marketplace websites both general and jewellery specific. The larger marketplace sites tend to charge a smaller commission and listing fee compared to the dedicated jewellery sites but a better chance exists on the smaller sites for your products to be found due to there being less product saturation.
Another good place to market and sell what you make is at a craft fair, especially at this time of year with the run up to Christmas about to begin. Fairs have the advantage of allowing you access to meet and talk to existing or potential customers and get feedback on your product ranges. Search for craft fairs in your area.
If you want to expand your jewellery craft hobby into a successful jewellery craft business, it is important to establish if there is sufficient demand for your products and if you can make it at a price people are willing to pay. Many hobbyists make the mistake of pricing too low for their market and undervaluing their work simply because they are comparing similar mass produced imported items with their own. Take into account your overheads, insurance, materials and labour and work out if you can make enough profit to make it worthwhile. Experience creates opportunities to improve, learn and work faster which should increase your profits by allowing you to get more pieces made in the same amount of time. Never be afraid to experiment and find new techniques.
Working for yourself is a rewarding, exciting and challenging pursuit especially if you regard work as a hobby that you get paid for! The ability to achieve success by doing what you love may be rewarded with two important things in life; an escape from the rat race and time to spend with your family.