Start -up Costs of raw materials in a business plan

Hi Folks, My goal is to become a full-time studio/production
artist/goldsmith and am working on a business plan. I have a fully
functional studio with most of the tools I need but I need to build
up the inventory of my designs. I was wondering if anyone would share
with me their strategies, ideas and experience regarding the overhead
of raw materials (silver, gold, and stones). I realize everyone’s
situation is unique and that there are many many variables depending
on the value of stones, the price of gold whether you’re building
bracelets or earrings, etc, etc. My strategy for studio equipment has
been “don’t buy a tool until and unless you really need it.” Should
I maintain the same strategy regarding raw materials? Is this
something I can realistically budget for? How do other people do it?
I have a finite amount of savings and want to make the best business
plan within reason that I can. I work in silver mostly with small
gold additions and semi-precious stones. I do short runs, one-of-a
-kinds and production pieces. My goals are to do 12-15 retail shows
in the coming year and have enough for gallery shows and some
wholesale work. Any thoughts would as always be greatly appreciated
regarding my main question or on the subject of subject of start-up
costs in general. It goes without saying that everyone’s willingness
to share here has been invaluable. I am thankful for all the
experience and strength in this community. Regards, Bruce Raper

Bruce, We buy consumeables and raw material on an as needed basis.
Your cash flow is too important to have a lot of money tied up in
material that isn’t directly generating sales…at least that’s our
situation. I hope you’re young and strong with lots of stamina!
You’re going to need it doing 12-15 shows/year plus gallery visits!

Good luck/buena suerte

Mike Dibble
Black Horse Design

    Bruce, We buy consumeables and raw material on an as needed
basis. Your cash flow is too important to have a lot of money tied
up in material that isn't directly generating sales Mike Dibble Black
Horse Design 

Hi Mike and Others; Speaking of consumables (and I agree with you,
Mike, buy as needed, although I tend to hoard gold and attractive
gemstones with an ambition of making wonderfull stuff in the
future). But speaking of consumables, take note, all you Orchidians,
of where gold prices have been lately. Gold closed today at just
under $370 U.S. per ounce. Stuller’s catalog, and without checking,
probably others, have prices listed at $300 US/oz. gold. So, make
sure you don’t lose your margins when you quote to replace findings
and cast custom, and you might consider that it could cost you quite
a bit more to replace your inventory if gold prices stay where they
are for a while. You can keep track of gold online at

David L. Huffman
David L. Huffman Studios, Inc.

to bruce raper, I am also in a start-up mode after being a teacher
for 30 years. Now retired, my studio is small but cooking. After
making a dozen or so original pieces in gold with stones,etc., I
questioned all my contacts and customers on their preference to
silver or gold purchases. So far the count comes in on the silver
ones for monetary reasons mostly. So as I create pieces, my
proportions aRe: 1 gold (knock-em-dead) piece and 5 or more of the
same in silver (where I can play with different colored stones for
variety). this seems to keep my gold costs down to almost sane and I
build inventory as well. When someone orders a piece, I ask for half
as a deposit up front. Can I ask the other orchids their opinions
on this tactic? June from JJ’s or

Gold Prices have been hight lately, but I was told by a reliable
source that gold prices will drop soon by 30-40$ Since we’re on the
subject of gold hoarding how is it that the prospect of war makes
gold prices go up(thats kind of obvious why) but that when war
starts, the gold spot is expected to go down.


  1. If the customers don’t see it you can’t sell it.

  2. If you want to sell gold, or other high end stuff, you have to
    show it.

  3. While it is not necessary to go overboard, if a customer sees
    that you only make 2 pieces in gold, they will assume that you don’t
    usually make gold and aren’t comfortable working in it.

  4. If you want to sell diamonds or other expensive stones and you
    don’t have any out to show, you won’t sell them (or at least not as
    many). Ten to twelve years ago when we only had a few pieces out
    with diamonds as center stones, we only sold a few diamonds a year.
    Now that about 25% of our rings have diamonds in them, we sell them
    all the time. When we used to only put out less expensive
    sapphires, that is what we sold. Now, when we have expensive
    sapphires out, we sell them as well as the less expensive ones. If
    you think small, that is what you’ll be. Think big, grow big.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Jon, I am curious about the ‘reliable source’ you mention. Unless
this person is UNBELIEVABLY, FILTHY RICH, it is impossible to believe
that he/she has any foreknowledge of the direction in which the gold
price is going to move. It’s like offering to sell you a copy of
TOMORROW’S Wall Street Journal. I would like to buy one of THOSE.

David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Hi Jonathan Since supply and demand do not have anything to do with
the current rise in gold price it will
definitely will be go down after the war with Iraq. When and how much
is pure speculations. If you remember, when gold was 800 the demand
by consumers was quite high. Haim WWW.SILBERS.COM