Starting a jewelry business without a plan is pretty typical. We are artists and if you are anything like me, you think in circles rather than linearly (at least that’s how I describe it).
So what’s a designer to do when creativity runs the show and a business mind takes the back seat? Well, let’s start with want NOT to do. There is no judging involved, in fact I probably made every single mistake listed!
MISTAKE # 1: USE THE SAME BANK ACCOUNT AND CREDIT CARD FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL EXPENSES.
Personally, I wasn’t a culprit of this for too long. Mainly just when I was in college. Blending bank accounts is a terrible practice because it causes financial confusion. You need to have a very clear picture of your business, including, actual cash flow and expenses.. Mixing it all together may seem simpler, but really-not so much.
P.S. If you ever are audited, you will have a lot of explaining to do. I was audited and even with separate bank accounts it was a pain in the booty! A few of my jewelry designer friends were audited before me (for years when they were just starting out) and if you don;t have this separated, you will regret it.
MISTAKE # 2: DON’T HAVE A CLEAR VISION OF WHO THEY ARE DESIGNING FOR
You might question exactly what this means, but if you are having a hard time selling your collection, in a lot of cases, it’s probably because you haven’t found your peeps. The basis of being solid in your overall brand is to design with your ideal client in mind.
MISTAKE # 3: DON’T DESIGN COHESIVE COLLECTION
One of the biggest mistakes a designer can make is to just design a bunch of random things that don’t work together. Regardless, If you are wholesaling your work, selling online or direct to consumer, if you don’t have a collection that merchandises well, you will probably have a difficult time making as many sales as you would like.
MISTAKE # 4. DON’T PRICE THEIR JEWELRY CORRECTLY
How many of you are selling your pieces slightly over cost and adding a tiny bit of labor as your markup? Umm, you might think you are doing yourself a service because maybe people are buying it: because it’s cheap. Listen, if you are serious about having a business and make money, you need to learn how to price your jewelry like a professional does.
Are you ready to stop making $5 an hour for your beautiful work? I thought so!
MISTAKE #5: SPEND MONEY IN THE WRONG PLACES INSTEAD OF AREAS WHERE THEY NEED IT LIKE PHOTOGRAPHY
Time and time again we hear the same thing from buyers: a lot of the designers who submit work to us have terrible photography! Having great photos is the first gateway to get a buyer to notice your work. Enough said. If you can’t afford hiring a pro, learn to do it yourself. Luckily we have a training coming soon.
MISTAKE #6: DON’T APPROACH CLIENTS THE RIGHT WAY
Robin has a lot to say about this. Learning the right “way” is an art in itself. It comes down to really building the relationship with your buyer. We have volumes to say about this, so make sure you stay tuned for more on your sales approach coming soon.
MISTAKE #7: AVOID MARKETING THEMSELVES AND EXPECT PEOPLE JUST TO FIND THEM
So you made your amazing collection. You posted it on your site or on Etsy but no one is buying it. In the words of my girl, Marie Forleo, “you must always be marketing.” Even if this is not what you love doing, you must always be marketing you work if you want to sell your jewelry. It seems simple, but just placing it out there isn’t going to get you
MISTAKE # 8: THEY GATHER LOTS OF INFO BUT STOP WHEN IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION
Inspired action is the key step to getting results. When you gather info, if you are feeling overwhelmed, make a plan and break it down. Sometimes it starts with just a simple list of priorities. Schedule your time.
MISTAKE # 9: FINANCE THEIR BUSINESS ON CREDIT CARDS WITH NO PLAN TO GET OUT
Honestly, my biggest mistake was financing my business with credit cards. You may need to do this for awhile, but create a sales and financial plan to get out of debt as quickly as you can. Credit cards can be used for cash flow if you use the cash flowing in to pay the bill. Here’s the deal, you may need to rely on credit as some point. Many businesses do. Just be intelligent about how and when you are doing this.
MISTAKE # 10: DO TRADE SHOWS BLINDLY EXPECTING IT TO BE THE ANSWER TO THEIR SALES PROBLEMS WITHOUT ENOUGH RESEARCH
Also a victim. One year in my business I did 10 trade shows and spent about $100,000 in trade show fees. I thought it would be the answer to increasing my sales. Overall, I did get more sales that year but my expenses skyrocketed. Walk the show or ask others who have done the show before what to expect. Research all of the costs associated with setting up your booth, traveling out of town and the time away from your business and your family. In general, you need to be making 5-10 times the trade show fees to make it worth the expense.
MISTAKE # 11: THEY DON’T SET GOALS OR HAVE A PLAN
Setting goals is a fundamental MUST in your business. Even if the goal is to sell 5 pairs of earrings this week, set a goal. Then put inspired action behind it. If you need to sell 5 pairs of earrings do everything you need to in order to sell the earrings.
MISTAKE #12: THEY DON’T INVEST IN THEMSELVES!
Yep I waited till the boat was sinking before I actually invested in myself or my business. The good news, I got really clear on what I wanted. The good and the bad news, I had to close my business down. I say good and bad because I wouldn’t be here now if I didn’t lose my business. My business is profitable now and I love teaching designers how to to set their businesses up the right way through jewelry business training.
Take Action Now:
Take a look at this list! Are you making any of these mistake?
You challenge is to start changing these bad habits because that is all they are: habits.
Step 1: Write a list of what you need to change and make some changes baby!
Step 3: Comment below and tell us how you are breaking these bad habits!
Jewelry Designers, R U making these 12 mistakes? http://bit.ly/UQBS0c
Guest post form Tracy and Robin from flourishthriveacademy.com