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Viability of Selling $100-$200 Jewelry Pieces Online

As a one man company working from home, I am researching the viability of starting an online jewelry business in which I sell jewelry made with Sterling Silver and semi-precious gems (my designs and labor). My idea is to sell jewelry that costs me ~$50 in materials plus 1-2 hours of labor per item. I will sell them for $100-$200. My marketing would be limited to free PR that I drum up by emailing fashion and jewelry websites/blogs. My short term goal is at least 1 sale per day within 6 months.

I understand that this may be impossible to answer… but based on the minimal info I have provided, does this plan seem reasonable so far? What am I assuming that is naive/unrealistic?

Thanks!

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This plan seems to work, but I don’t think there is anything like free promotion. I would suggest you to offer blogs admins some kind of goodies or a fee, then they will write a ghost post for your business. Having said that, you can use google shopping ads and setup CPA ad, as per thumb rule, you should bid with ROI of at least 500%. Further, if you plan to sell it on marketplace like amazon, then try creating coupon and broadcast it among different discount sites. And if you plan to setup standalone website, then Google shopping ads along with a jewelry blog and Facebook shop might work. And I would recommend you to go live with at least 50 products. If you consider increasing your inventory you can contact us or check out our weekly auction at http://affordcrt.com/current

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What is your profit margin? If your materials are $50 and you add your labor cost and you sell at $100 per piece, how are you making a profit and able to pay yourself a salary? What are your overhead cost? Do you have a business & marketing plan written out? What are your selling cost?

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Regardless of your prices - which appear to be too low to make a living, where are you going to find 30 customers per month. You will spend a lot of time marketing your work and at a minimum, you need to have a lot of work for people to choose from. Have you considered the work to get pictures of your items, along with descriptions, fulfillment, prices of packaging, tools, overhead. You can maybe do it three years, six months seems a bit unrealistic.

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Thanks for the feedback! I do think my stated prices vs. materials and labor are low.

But this seems to be the upper limit of pricing I have seen for this range of jewelry online. In fact, $200 is very high compared to most of the the Sterling Silver + semi-precious gem jewelry I have seen online. Even handmade stuff.

I have been using reviews and ratings of jewelry to guesstimate sales online. I read that on Etsy, about 1/3 of customers leave reviews. Based on this, very few item in the $100-$200 range sell. Even on sites like Mejuri, Catbird, Vrai, etc. most of the best selling stuff is below $100, with materials around <= $50, I figure.

Finding 1 customer per day to spend $100-$200 on a piece of jewelry seems very difficult. Pricing above that seems even less likely. I wanted to see if I was missing something. This post is part of my business plan research.

Shawn…an interesting topic to me and to many of us hobby or part time silversmiths looking to expand beyond giving presents to family and friends…a few comments… there are so many factors that I think you just have to do a lot of advance planning and research on your potential markets and marketing practices and then jump in and see what happens. I was surprised at how many books there are on selling on Etsy, Ebay, through websites, etc. It sometimes seems the whole world wants to work from home.

As an analogy, I found posts by David Geller here very helpful. He’s an expert on jewelry store productivity and pricing. Not that you are in that traditional market, but he discusses all the hidden costs in time, materials in labor and you can apply that to your own one-person-shop situation. As others have mentioned, it’s not the 1-2 hours of labor on each piece that’s going to make or break you, it’s the marketing, customer care, fulfillment and shipping, assembling supplies, etc., that are the bugbears. So having as good a business plan as possible at the start and then constantly refining it is going to be key.

Another thought I have is that you do have to find your market and methods to reach those people. I work in silver, like you, but also do gem cutting, both cabs and mid to high end faceted stones. Different markets which require different marketing strategies. As far as silver jewelry, you have several options. Yes, $100-$200 might be too high if you are looking for volume. Have you considered items which you could bang out in 20 minutes each or less? Then you would be in the impulse buy range of ~$20 to $75. Rings, pairs of earrings and small pendants can go out in a padded First Class mailer for cheap (“free shipping”), so you could look at boxing up and shipping five of these in an hour each morning…or you could look at silver with gold accents, which seems to be pretty popular now, but is a different niche market. I’ve seen it at museum shops and galleries…not an on line item, but perhaps you can find galleries to feature you.

So, yes, as you say, do a lot of business plan research, see what others seem to be doing, see what you can find on jewelry marketing in books and on line discussions. I’ve read some books on setting up a jewelry business and, since everyone seems to use a narrative form for writing now, you can find some case histories in such…they always seem to want to tell you what they did wrong as well as right…good luck! -royjohn

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Welcome to Orchid.

Folks here on Orchid have taught me that we are not selling commodities, we are selling art, which is subjective. Therefore, our success is based on how our work is different from all the other jewelry in the marketplace.

What sets your work apart will help you find your target market. Casting a wide marketing net by keeping prices affordable is a commodities game, and your focus will be on quantity and dealing with customers who purchase jewelry based on the value of the raw materials. Furthermore, when you raise your prices, your target market will change. Time is short, why not start your business the way you visualize operating it for the duration of it’s life?

Think about everything that drives the purchase of jewelry in order to not limit your future success.

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Thanks for the insight! I hadn’t heard of David Geller. He shares some great knowledge!

I’ve determined that I need to be at a higher price point for the stuff I want to make. Now I need to figure out how to find these customers. Etsy and Amazon don’t seem like a good fit.

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Greetings,

My market is mainly local shows, people who make appointments, and return business from customers who collect bracelets from my family. I do not do any internet sales beyond an email request from someone who saw us at a show. I am not sure how the internet market place works. With all of the other similar businesses on the net how would anyone know to look for me? (Thats over simplified but it it is a real question to consider)

What to charge for our jewelry has always been a topic of conversation between Rob and I. We both have different methods of determining the price but we have the same results with in a few dollars. I believe Rob has a cost/profit calculator he has posted here in the past.

My show prices are really what I would consider wholesale prices but they range from $10.00 to $500.00 with the average sale in the $100.00 range. Many times is was the sale of 50 - $10.00 or $15.00 show rings that turned a mediocre show from profitable to very profitable. I make and sell what I would call art pieces too and they are priced as one off items.

Our Dad always said you must have a Bread and Butter product. Maybe it’s earrings or an affordable bracelet but there has to be something you can sell to sustain the business while you wait for the art pieces to sell. Selling a 1000.00 bracelet twisted up from 10 ga. 14k yellow gold is nice. But given the choice I'd rather sell 10 bracelets of the same design in silver for 100.00 each. More bracelets are seen by more people that way. (Of course selling that one gold bracelet AND ten more in sterling is nice too.)

Everyone’s business model is different, just as the market areas and the wealth demographics are different.

Good luck with the adventure and let us know how it goes.

Don Meixner

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