Starting a Beaded Jewelry Business
Can You Make Money from Beading?
Do you want to start a beaded jewelry business? This article was written in response to a beader who had been getting discouraging advice about the possibilities of starting a beaded jewelry business and selling her work.
You can make money doing this. Some people do. Most do not, or just make a bit to defray the expense of their hobby.
One of the things that can put you in the group who do make money is to treat it as a serious business, which you appear to be doing. They start out selling wherever and however they can. They make mostly the stuff that is selling, while taking a chance once in a while on some dreamy piece that pushes your skills.
Both of my siblings are full-time craft/art entrepreneurs.
is easing himself out of the artist-blacksmith business after making a living selling his work at wholesale and retail shows for many years. He is now selling mostly his prints (etching, engravings, woodcuts) at retail shows.
has made her living as a silversmith/jeweler for 30-plus years. You can see their websites at by clicking on the links above.
Check Out What Others Are Doing
You may want to look at Crafts Report magazine to get some idea about what people are doing to succeed at various crafts. My library stocks the magazine; yours may, too. If not, consider subscribing. Consider joining the American Crafts Council. They put out a magazine and organize a number of wholesale and retail crafts shows around the country.
Start going to every crafts fair near you just to check them out. Look at who the exhibitors are, especially others in the beaded jewelry business. Is this really a juried crafts fair or more like a flea market? What prices are they selling at? Do people seem to be buying? How do they display their work? Who would you buy from?
In your own mind, compare the current state of your work to what you are seeing that looks good at the art fairs. Are they any better at the technical side of things? They may not be.
You don't have to know how to do every single thing with beads in order to start selling your work through your own beaded jewelry business. You just need the particular skills to make the particular pieces you want to make.
Here's a Good Beaded Jewelry Business Success Story
Fire Mountain Gems has a large collection of articles on their website (look at the left column, near the bottom, to find them). Many are about ways to sell your work. I was just over at their site because I was looking for a piece that was in their catalog a few years ago. I failed to find it, but here's the gist of it. . . .
Hard times for the family, the wife takes a couple of dollars out of the grocery money and buys some seed beads and earring findings. She makes 50 pairs of earrings out of those materials, takes them to a flea market and sells them all for $2 or $3 a pair. She buys some other beads with the profit and makes a mess of bracelets (or were they necklaces). She sells all of those at the flea market for $12 or such. She finds the skull from a steer and beads around it. She sells it. She digs aroundfor other skulls, cleans them up, and beads them. Big success.
Are You Ready to Decide?
If you are sufficiently determined, sufficiently bold to get out there and start your beaded jewelry business, and your work doesn't suck (notice this is not an extremely high standard!), then you can definitely make some money. How much depends on your ingenuity and hard work.
I say, "Go for it!"
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