Dos and don’ts of starting a jewelry business

…Or things I wish I knew when I first started!

We’ve all been there: it’s a Saturday morning in May and I’m bored.
I pick up the phone and listlessly scroll through Youtube videos for inspiration.
Suddenly something catches my attention, and there it is: the exact moment it all started. Casually, almost accidentally, I embarked on this journey. The
 video that had caught my attention was a tutorial on how to create a wire wrapped pendant. Looking back today seems absurd, but in that exact moment I knew with absolute certainty that it was my world: I wanted to create art, wearable art. It’s been almost a year and a half since then and I’ve learned so much throughout this time.
So, without further I do, let’s go straight to the heart of the matter: things to do and things not to do when starting a jewelry business.
…Or, what I wish I knew at the beginning to avoid mistakes and waste less time and money.


1. Chose a niche

Let’s start from the beginning. For some reason you have discovered that your passion is making jewelry.
First of all you have to choose a niche!

“Wait, what?” – you’ll ask, “isn’t making handmade jewelry a niche itself?”

Obviously it is, but it embraces a world of possibilities and I guarantee you that exploring them all at once, is not the way to go, especially for beginners.
So choose your specific field: resin jewelry?, wire wrapping?, silversmithing?, beaded jewelry?

Nothing forbids you to explore all of these techniques one day, but for now trust me and choose one, maximum two fields of competence. You will thank me.

2. Research, like seriously, you have to study!

Well, the first step has gone.
You have officially chosen your niche and you will ask yourself, “when do I start making?”.
Don’t rush. We’re getting there.
As for any fine art, you must first acquire some knowledge.
Or how you do it!

If you have a chance to take a professional course, do it! It will save you months of attempts, errors, more attempts and lots of mistakes. Sometimes making a mistake is the best teacher, but no need to reinvent the wheel. Taking a class (or two or three) is a great way to learn from others mistakes and also learn the norms and traditions of your chosen niche.

So, before you pick up your hammer and torch, roll up your sleeves, get a pen and a notebook. Hit up your local library, YouTube, jewelry blogs, Instagram and anywhere else you can find tutorials, tips, and general information! Whatever you find, absorb it like a sponge! You will need it for when you get your hands dirty and create. You are already being successful because you can avoid spending money on materials you don’t want and tools you won’t use!


3. Get yourself tools and materials

Assuming your research has been fruitful, you will know exactly what materials and tools you need.
Depending on the niche you have chosen, this step could cost you anywhere from a few bucks to several thousand dollars.
Money can be saved (sometimes a lot of money) by purchasing used tools and equipment. Few successful artists have started their businesses with shiny, brand new tools.

Make sure you have everything you need. If you are not a 100% sure about what to get, reach out to someone who is already in the industry and ask for advice. 9 times out of 10 he/she will be a helpful person and will answer your questions.

There is one more thing you should know before you start. You should not expect that your investment of time and money will immediately be recouped.
It is unlikely that your first pieces will sell quickly. The jewelry market is extremely saturated, although the good news is that lots of people buy jewelry.
You are not yet an expert and will be starting out as an unknown artist to all but your friends and family.
My goal is to not to discourage you. Not at all. But I do want you to have realistic expectations. Again, the good news (I love good news) is that if you are doing what you love, the “work” of your journey will be a fun and rewarding experience!

4. Set your goals

Now that you’ve made your research and have all the tools you need, it is time to move on to practice. If you have begun with the right perspective, you already know that you are acting with intention and not just “hoping for the best.” I know. You’re probably hating me. But you know what? I’m on your side. All these suggestions I’m listing on this post come from my mistakes. Honestly, I did everything wrong at the beginning. I did not have a niche! I wanted to do everything without even knowing where to start. It took me 3 months to collect all the tools. I didn’t set my first real goal until I had been floundering for 6 months. I spent 6 months making a series of mistakes that could have been avoided if I had received some friendly advice. I have also found that of all the lessons I have learned goal setting has been the most powerful!

So, what do I mean by goals? Goals are the path your business will follow to get to the place you want to be, part time, full time or something in between. If I am in New York and want to drive to Los Angeles I need to know what path to take. Goals have the unique ability to provide your business a path to success. Goals will also be the topic of the next blog entry so stay tuned my lovies!

5. Give birth to your brand

Finally you fully dive into practice and start creating jewelry that you would wear too! This is the time to decide the fate of your brand! Your art is, in effect, your creation: a daughter born from your hands. And just like a daughter, it needs a name. Choose the name of your brand very carefully. Do not rush. The name has to reflect you, but above all it doesn’t limit you. Avoid names like “Copper creations” or “Beaded jewelry”. One day, maybe not too far away, you could decide to expand your niche or even modify it, and then the name of your brand would no longer reflect what you do.
In the same way, do not call your business with your own name! You would not call your daughter like yourself, right?
See it this way: the name of your brand must describe your art in the first place, not your person.

Once you have decided a name, you must choose a platform to sell. For reasons of simplicity, almost everyone at the beginning chooses to sell online.
This topic alone would deserve a whole post for itself, so I will be brief: there are many platforms to sell your craft, but at the moment one of the most used is Etsy. You can also create your own eCommerce site, but I think it is premature to start directly with that unless you have the opportunity to address many people to your site from external platforms (such as social media).
On Etsy instead traffic already exists, and even if the jewelry market, as I mentioned before, is very saturated, you still have a few more chances.

Whatever your sales platform is, your traffic will be poor at the beginning. This is understandable: the internet is a ruthless, extremely competitive world and you are literally a grain of sand in the desert. What to do then? The answer is simple in its complexity: bring more people to know you and your work.
This is perhaps the part that will most affect the success or failure of your business. But how capture people’s attention? In today’s world the most effective way to get noticed is by taking advantage of social media. I confess that my emotions are very mixed in this regard. But it will be an argument for another time.
In any case: from Instagram to Facebook, from Pinterest to Tumblr, there are a lot of platforms you can use. So many that it may seem scary.
To start, choose one that you feel more comfortable with and start growing. Slowly you will realize that each platform is itself a complex and constantly changing universe. But even here, slowly, you will be able to expand.

6. Collab with other artists

You are finally there! You spent hours and hours of your time discovering and understanding all the new hats you need to wear to create your business. As a student, a maker, a seller and also a social media influencer. But now I confess you a secret: you have not seen the best yet. The best part is to know others like you. Collaborate with like-minded artists and artisans. Without realizing it, you will be part of a community where the rule is not to be first or compete, but to support each other, because eventually, we all raise by lifting others.

Bonus tip:

Photography is such a huge part in a jewelry business, especially if you sell online.
Your photos are the first impression that you give to your audience/potential customers and from my experience I know that a good photo speaks louder than a thousand words!

Learn all you can about photography, take inspiration from others and, if you have the chance, invest in a good reflex camera. You will not regret the expense!

There would be so much to say about this topic, so comment below if you want me to write a post specifically on jewelry photography!



A special thank you goes to Eric Holt, who helped writing and editing this post and added his own touch to it! Best co-author ever ?

Hi and welcome! My name is Alea and I am the one girl behing Pluvial Fern. Everything you see here, every piece of jewelry, every photograph, every post, is the result of my work. My sincere hope is to transmit you those values and inspirations that are the deep engines that aninated Pluvial Fern in the first place! ~ I've always love arts. Since childhood I used to spend a lot of time into wood working, book stitching, sculpting, painting and more. But being a full time student never allowed me to deepen in one of these crafts. This was until I "accidentally" discovered metalsmithing: it was love at first sight; a whole new world of opportunities unfolding in my yet inexpert hands! Being a 100% self taught maker, it was extremely tough at the beginning, and - I'm not gonna lie - frustrating once in a while. But after months of researches and over a year of practice, I finally managed to become familiar and master this medium. That's how "Pluvial Fern" was born. Fine metals and natural gems are the most duttile materials in terms of possibilities and allow me to transfer my love for wilderness and Earth into wearable art. It's exactly because of my love for the Planet, that I donate 5% of my annual income to nature conservation! My hope is to give you the best experience as customers, as well as to leave you with a piece of jewelry that communicates the passion and gratitude that went into creating it. And maybe, that tiny treasure will act as a reminder of the astounding beauty of Nature that we're all so intrinsically connected to.


  • Melanie

    What a great and inspiring blogpost! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It would have been so awesome to read this 1.5 years ago when I started silversmithing lol! But in my opinion, errors and mistakes are the best teachers and they are not avoidable in metalsmithing (everyone is gonna melt a piece every now and then). You‘re a great artist and very inspiring, especially inspiring me to get out my camera again was the best thing, thanks again girl! Keep up your great work, I love reading your (blog)posts!

    • pluvialfern

      Thank you so much Melanie! Sure! We all melt a piece now and then and we are constantly learning something new, especially from our unsuccessful attempts! As you know I’ve never taken a silversmithing class, so my own “class” it’s been experience and mistakes!
      You’re so talented and surely don’t need advice from me! In fact you’ve been (and are!) one of the most inspiring makers out there! Keep it up babe! Love ya!!! Xoxo

  • Jamie Bickle

    Such wise words and so helpful to the new maker. I wish I had known some of these things in the beginning!

    I’m so happy to share this community with you. Wishing you continued success and blessings.


    • pluvialfern

      Oh Jamie, thank you! I’m blessed I have met you and I wish you all the best as well! Your hard work has been a long time inspiration source and you deserve all the success and support ❤️! Yours, Alea

  • Sabrina

    This blog post is so positive and encouraging for me! There is so much I want to express and you’ve nailed the challenges. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I know I’ll read it again and again when I’m frustrated!! 🤪

    • pluvialfern

      Awww well that’s so sweet of you!! I’m so incredibly glad to hear that my words were helpful. ♥️ I hope you won’t need to read this too often though 😁! Just kidding! If you ever need anything feel free to get in touch!

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