I wish to know the financial viability of starting a boutique in
which we design, rapid prototype, and cast a One of a kind jewellery
for our retail clients?
What is the approximate cost of setting up such a full fledged unit
Rajesh Khandelwal (Tambi)
We had something similar in mind though the jewelry pieces would be
mostly non-wearable (from wall plaques, masks, and goblets to bird
baths etc) and because they are larger than wearable jewelry we would
likely need to start with a desk top unit and move up to a robotic
arm as you see at [Broken URL removed]
Your question about "approximate cost" is perfectly reasonable. If
you buy a car you will want to know the approximate cost of gas and
repairs and maintenance and there are services like consumer reports
magazines to help you. It is enough of a risk for a jeweller or
stone carver to take on the unpredictability of the marketplace
without having to take on a complete gamble on the cost side as well.
Hopefully, machinery suppliers on Orchid will read this and it will
help their business dealings. Rajesh Jewelry may have the best
marketing plan since Marilyn Munroe singing "Diamonds are a Girls's
Best Friend" but noboby can be 100% sure until it is tested in
reality. Why should you have to also gamble on machinery costs?
After purchase of the bare bones hardware what does it cost to
install an OS, applications SW? To learn the operation of the SW?
How often do end-receptors wear out or break? Are there testimonials
from satisfied customers?
For those who sell stone cutting and carving machines on the world
market, perhaps I can add something else that is helpful. Dealing
across borders is problematic. If I buy an angle grinder with a
diamond blade from the store across town I can easily take it over
and talk to them if it breaks but not so across borders. If OTOH a
supplier in Europe, Asia or Africa can provide that kind of
follow-up service, I will buy from them as long as the product is
In theory, that kind of long-distance service can be provided and the
company providing it will find that the world will beat the
proverbial path (by telecommunications) to its door. Let's use ATS
(Automation Tooling Systems) as an example. This is an international
company with a base in Ontario. ATS could sell the automation
equipment we need to Seabird College in BC where it is owned by a PPP
(Public-Private Partnership). As long as everybody stays happy with
the deal, ATS also gets a million dollars in free publicity. Staying
happy means that in effect, the ATS people 3,000 miles away are doing
tele-robotic teaching from the time the machinery comes out of the
box. That teaching can also be programmed into the machine.
Expectedly this starts with a telecommunications lecture-monologue
on all the great things this machine can do when the user understands
it fully. Those eagerly taking it out of the box start to ask
various questions about where this part goes and that part and so
on, which starts the dialogue of Q-A sets. That paradigm of
lecture-monologue followed up by Q-A sesssions proceeds all the way
to the carved jewelry or art piece.
The cutting and carving machine is also the world's first
college-based world-wide robotic teacher. Is that a million dollars
worth of free publicity for the machine seller?
$45,000.00 - $65,000.00 depending on the CAD program, CAM machine
and casting equipment. Considering this low to average cost.
Viability: Maybe, but I think risky. Currently the way tech is going
is that the client will make the design, and get what they want
printed at a bureau.
You have to consider what you think "boutique" means.
For me the term means personal service with all the trimmings.
The costs for setting up a business as above requires a lot of
thought into the setup.
Which machines do you want to use to do the wax machining?
Do you have enough space for multiple machines?
Do you have (rented?) premises in "the right" area?
Will you do the casting in-house?
A lot of marketing will be necessary to promote your boutique, is
that covered in your budget?
Are you prepared to train high end jewellers, meaning they will be
nothing else but learning CAD, for at least 6 months?
Are you prepared to make a loss for 2 years, without a guarantee of
A lot of the above questions require a local knowledge on prices and
Your question is like asking how long is a piece of string.
We'd need more details before we could give you a ball park
figure... but it wont be cheap ;-)
Regards Charles A.
Let me add to this by proposing something concrete. If a robotic
stone cutting/carving studio is set up at Seabird with all details
of HW, SW and cost-accounting open to students, it becomes a model
for everyone on the planet who wants to wants to start a new venture
Seabird has been an educational centre for countless generations but
its advertising drive to involve the commuting-range community is
new. The timing is good for this proposal.
There are many generous-spirited people like those on Orchid who
donate time and knowledge every day to these exchanges. How many
would be willing to contribute their knowledge so that this studio
could be set up at Seabird College/Reservation?
The machinery (HW and SW and instructions on SW usage) would be paid
for at market costs by the same parties who pay for current
educational programs. The College already has its own accountancy
people so the financial records would be taken care of by them but
one condition is that all books would be open to the public. Those
financial records would also show the repairs and maintenance
history. The project would be video-recorded from the setup to
instruction for distance education usage. Sto:lo people are located
on dozens of reservations over a range of > 100 miles.
Who is willing to do the pro bono work (online) to advise such a
project through to completion if Seabird wants it?