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New business


Hi For all of the jewelers/metalsmithers out there that make a living at
this what would you say are the three things you did that made you
successful or wish you had done at the beginning that would have made
things easier???

I have always done jewelry on the side and have never been formally trained
( I learned from my Grandpa) but I would like to actually sell some work.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



mary - three things to do for successfully selling your jewelry:

  1. don’t reinvent the wheel - check out publications such as lapidary
    journal, & catalogs to see what is being mass-produced. don’t do work that
    can be done cheaper elsewhere (i see woven chains at art shows & think of
    the time spent on what could be purchased for less from a catalog …).

  2. subscribe to publications such as: ornament, metalsmith, lapidary
    journal, & check out the work in them for ideas to adapt BUT DON’T COPY.
    copying someone else’s design is stealing & unlawful since all work is
    copyrighted. (aimed at you people copying a certain neckpiece design).
    also subscribe to pubs such as sunshine artist & craftsreport. they report
    on shows, galleries, awards, schools, & give good business advice to small
    ’crafters’ (artistes!). follow your own ideas.

  3. don’t underprice your work - in the beginning you want to charge more
    because it took you so long, & then you want to charge less because you
    want SOMEBODY to buy something - ANYTHING. people are more leery of
    something too cheap than something that costs more. whatever criterion you
    use to sell, remember that if it stops being fun, step away for a few days

  • until you start having dreams about designs & then go back to it!

good luck - ive


My top three suggestions for a successful business.

  1. Select a location that you enjoy. You will spend a lot of time in your
    shop, make sure its a place you want to be.

  2. Don’t undercharge for your work. Too many of us undervalue our skills.
    Find out what your competition is getting and charge as much or more.
    People will pay for quality.

  3. Be selective about who you will do work for. If you are doing things
    too close to cost you are better off not doing it at all. Many customers
    are just plain cheap, you don’t need them. Why not do a job at keystone
    rather than the same job at cost. Find people who appreciate your work.

Mark P.


Hello Mary!

There is only one thing I can think of. I visualize every step I make
before I make it. I see the step as useful or a waste, before making it. I
also sometimes dwell on the whole project step by step and allow myself to
change the sequence, and or methods for a project. This goes for any small
or large project, wax, setting, fabrication, etc. Once I have decided to
proceed; I then am in a “determination mode.” Accuracy and attention to
the foreseen step, plays out. Early on I was impatient. A project would
sometimes be near completion before I could see the problems and start
over. In closing, patience and determination are all you need.


Hi Mary: One of the most important things in Jewelry manufacture is to know
when you have done your best. Often pieces get compromised by trying to
make it better of perfect. Recognize when the project is at it’s best and
you will save a lot of frustration… God Bless… Ringman
John… Keep up the good work Orchid


Hi Mary!

A few things that I have done in starting up my business (just a year
ago this month)…

  • continue to sharpen my skills by learning techniques from many
    different people and sources – my mentor, Orchid, community college
    jewelry courses, Pratt Fine Arts center courses, and books; I use
    these classes and non-production times to try new skills, create new
    pieces, and refresh myself

  • perserverance - keep calling; keep trying. If you put off sales
    calls, etc. for your business, there’s no one else to do it for you.

  • question all of your assumptions. every time I have a problem I
    can’t figure out (business or technique), I try to take a step back
    and look at the problem differently. There is often another way to do
    something that is easier.

Good luck!
Lori Bugaj
One-Eyed Collie Jewelry Design