Selling jewelry online can offer tremendous potential, but the marketplace can be fiercely competitive. Established brands often have significant ad budgets, a strong social media presence, and established brand recognition, creating a challenging environment for new and emerging jewelry business.
Despite the competition, global online jewelry sales are expected to grow by 11% by 2021. The emergence of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands has disrupted traditional brick-and-mortar jewelry stores and opened new opportunities for online jewelry businesses.
While starting an online jewelry business in a competitive marketplace may seem intimidating, building a unique brand that offers something distinct to online shoppers can lead to great success. In this post, we will cover all the essential steps for launching and expanding your online jewelry business.
Finding your niche: 3 types of jewelry you can sell
To succeed in the crowded market of jewelry and accessories, it’s essential to carve out a unique niche or specialty by providing a product that’s not readily available or doesn’t exist yet. For instance, Ocean & Co. is a successful direct-to-consumer jewelry brand that offers premium eco-friendly jewelry while donating a part of its sales to organizations working towards reducing ocean pollution. The brand’s product line resonates with customers who share its values, leading to a specific audience that is drawn towards it.
There are numerous strategies to make your jewelry product unique. You can target a particular audience and/or design jewelry for a specific occasion (weddings, prom, themed parties, etc.). When launching a jewelry business, there are countless avenues to explore. Here are some of the most prevalent types of jewelry brands.
1. Costume jewelry
Costume jewelry, also known as fashion jewelry, is designed for everyday wear and uses lower cost and imitation materials such as synthetic diamonds, wood, plastic, brass, copper, and other metals, unlike fine jewelry. The pricing for a single piece of costume jewelry should be affordable, ranging anywhere between $1 to $100. BaubleBar is a great example of a brand that focuses on affordable jewelry, and they initially launched their brand with affordable jewelry pieces. Once they established their reputation, they expanded their product line by offering higher-end «luxury» pieces. If you’re considering selling costume jewelry, ensure that you develop a pricing strategy that’s affordable, or you could miss out on many potential customers.
2. Fine jewelry
Fine jewelry is characterized by its high quality and use of precious materials, such as gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, and other gemstones. It is often associated with luxury and worn for special occasions. Brands like Brilliant Earth specialize in fine jewelry, particularly engagement and wedding rings, offering a customizable online shopping experience. Fine jewelry products can range from $100 to $3,000 or more depending on factors such as materials used, size, and brand reputation.
3. Handmade jewelry
The rise of online marketplaces like Etsy has demonstrated a willingness among customers to purchase handmade jewelry and other handcrafted items. While handmade jewelry cannot be mass-produced, it presents a viable option for business owners who wish to sell unique or custom pieces.
However, selling on marketplaces like Etsy can be highly competitive, and requires the business owner to act as both the jewelry designer and marketer to attract shoppers to their store. Moreover, it can be challenging to scale production if each piece is made by hand or if the jewelry is made-to-order.
A snapshot of the jewelry market in 3 stats
The online jewelry market is projected to reach a value of $480.5 billion by 2025. In 2020, 29% of all jewelry sales in the US were made online. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) jewelry brands have seen significant growth in recent years, with many consumers preferring to purchase from brands that align with their values. Social media platforms, especially Instagram, have become important tools for jewelry brands to market and sell their products. Additionally, the rise of personalized and customizable jewelry has also contributed to the growth of the online jewelry market.
1. Jewelry industry market size
The global jewelry market is projected to reach $480 billion by 2025, with major markets in China, the United States, and Europe. As developing countries experience an increase in per capita income, they are expected to contribute to a larger portion of the sales in the jewelry industry.
2. Specialty jewelers continue to rise
Specialty jewelers account for over 43% of total jewelry sales in the US, highlighting the importance of carving out a niche in the jewelry market to differentiate yourself from competitors.
3. Fine jewelry still has a presence in traditional retail
According to industry data, fashion jewelry is expected to outperform fine jewelry by 10% in ecommerce sales. This is because online shoppers are more willing to buy affordable jewelry rather than make a high-priced purchase without trying it on first.
How to start a jewelry business in 10 steps
If you’re looking to start selling jewelry online, you’ve come to the right place. Below we outline the 10 steps to take before launching a jewelry business.
1. Pick your niche and target market
Before launching your jewelry business, it’s crucial to identify a viable target market, preferably in a niche that isn’t already oversaturated. Customers searching for jewelry online typically have specific preferences in mind, so it’s important to consider the type of customer you want to attract and understand what they’re looking for. This understanding can improve your return on ad spend (ROAS) by allowing you to target your advertising more effectively, ultimately leading to higher sales and lower advertising costs.
2. Study the competition
Great point! Researching the competition is crucial for any business, and it’s especially important for the jewelry industry as it can be highly competitive. By identifying gaps or weaknesses in the market, you can find ways to differentiate your product and attract customers. Additionally, offering faster delivery speeds can be a great way to build customer loyalty and stand out from competitors. Partnering with a 3PL provider like ShipBob can help ensure you’re able to offer fast and reliable shipping to your customers.
3. Develop a business plan
Yes, having a solid business plan is crucial for any new business, including a jewelry business. It will help you define your goals, target market, competition, pricing strategy, and marketing plan. Additionally, a well-crafted business plan can help you secure financing from investors or lenders by demonstrating that you have a clear understanding of your business and its potential for success. A business plan should also include financial projections, such as cash flow, profit and loss statements, and a balance sheet, to help you determine the amount of funding you need and when you can expect to break even or turn a profit.
4. Choose a creative name (with an available domain)
Additionally, it’s important to consider how your business name will appear on search engine results pages and social media profiles. You want to make sure your business name is memorable, easy to spell and pronounce, and that it resonates with your target audience. It’s also a good idea to conduct a thorough search online to ensure there aren’t any negative associations with the name you’re considering. This will help you avoid any potential PR disasters down the road.
5. Design a product line
There are a few options for producing your jewelry. You can either make the jewelry yourself, outsource production to a manufacturer, or use a combination of both. Making the jewelry yourself can be a good option if you have the skills and equipment needed, and if you’re making a small number of pieces. If you’re planning on selling larger volumes, outsourcing production to a manufacturer might be more efficient.
When it comes to acquiring supplies, you can either purchase them in bulk from a wholesale supplier or buy them from retail stores. Wholesale suppliers can offer better prices, but you’ll need to meet minimum order requirements. Research and compare different suppliers to find the best fit for your business.
6. Choose to outsource manufacturing and suppliers or not
Additionally, you may want to consider creating prototypes or samples of your jewelry designs to ensure they are of high quality and meet your standards before mass-producing them. This can also help you identify any design flaws or potential improvements before investing in large-scale production.
When choosing a manufacturer or supplier, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, quality, lead times, minimum order quantities, and shipping options. You may also want to consider working with a manufacturer or supplier that specializes in eco-friendly or sustainable practices if that aligns with your brand’s values.
7. Devise a unique brand aesthetic
Developing a distinctive brand image will enhance the appeal of your personalized packaging and advertising materials, ultimately contributing to a memorable unboxing encounter. Collaborating with a superior custom packaging firm such as noissue or Packlane can help elevate your packaging to a new level.
In addition, it is crucial not to overlook the significance of your website. Engaging a skilled graphic designer to craft a logo and other branding components will create a consistent and cohesive brand style.
8. Develop a marketing strategy
Locating prospective clients to secure your initial sale can prove to be a daunting task for any budding jewelry enterprise. Aim your promotional efforts towards the specific demographic group that is most likely to make a purchase. As you concentrate on expanding your consumer base, utilize the information you gathered, which includes data on competitors, to devise a comprehensive marketing plan that spans various channels.
9. Build your own online store with an ecommerce platform
There are many ecommerce platforms, apps, and integrations that make building an online store easier than ever before. These platforms are specifically designed to simplify the process of setting up an online store. Some of the most popular ecommerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Wix.
If you specialize in handmade jewelry or made-to-order items, you may want to consider creating a store on Etsy. However, it can be challenging to gain exposure and traffic to your Etsy store since it’s a marketplace. Additionally, people may not remember your brand, but rather that they bought from Etsy, which means Etsy gets the credit for the sale.
10. Find a fulfillment solution
As you start out, you’ll probably need to store inventory in your home and self-fulfill orders. This might work at first, but as you grow your business, you’ll eventually need to rethink your fulfillment strategy. Once you reach a point when it’s hard to keep up with packing and shipping orders on time, you’ll want to consider outsourcing fulfillment to a 3PL, so you can focus more of your time and energy on other parts of your business.
Embarking on a jewelry business is a thrilling venture, and thanks to the ease of starting an online business, it’s easier than ever to succeed. However, it’s not without its obstacles. As your jewelry business expands, fulfilling a large number of orders can be challenging. If you’ve reached this stage, it may be time to consider outsourcing your ecommerce fulfillment.