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Looking for advice

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  • Looking for advice

    Hi there,

    I have just joined after reading many threads and seeing a lot of people with experience and knowledge helping others.

    I am currently in my final year of studying jewellery design at college, I graduate in May/June 2013. I am planning on starting my own business but unfortunately
    do not have much knowledge on running and starting a business. The jewellery I plan on mainly selling is using precious and semi-precious materials along side a few beaded pieces which will be all handmade.

    The only legal requirement I really know is that my jewellery must be hallmarked.

    I am looking for any advice possible !

    I also have a few questions and I would appreciate it if someone would help me out

    1. I live in Scotland and wondered if anyone knows any good advice centres/groups I could attend to take me through the requirements and laws of running a business

    2. If anyone knows any funding options available , I am 20 years old I know age applies to some grants available.

    3. How VAT works ? I've heard that you keep invoices and reclaim VAT.

    4. Do I have to register my business or just as self employed? If not is it beneficial to register the business?

    5. Any laws that may apply?

    6. Does it affect house insurance in anyway ?

    7.Is it worth paying for a professional site right away or starting on the likes of facebook and ebay?

    8. Any good sites or books on running a jewellery business?

    Sorry for so many questions I know it's a lot but any advice will be much appreciated as I would like to have myself clued up and ready to go for finishing college

  • #2
    Hi Ashleigh, I started my business in September so I am still quite new to all this and I am sure others will be able to give you more advice but this is my experience:- You only need to worry about Vat over a certain limit (way more than is likely in your first year but I can't remember the limit offhand). I registered as a sole trader it is the simplist way to start a business especially if you are not planning on employing anyone else. It hasn't affected my house insurance but you do need to let them know that you are running a business from home and you do need product and liability insurance if you are selling your jewellery (mine costs around £70 a year and covers all my gemstones and precious metals as well as tools within my home as well which is why it hasn't affected my home insurance). I was really scared about the whole website issue as I am not very technology minded but I brought Webplus 6 from Serif and have built my own website (although I still haven't fully completed the shop!). This has been much easier than I feared and means that I can change and update my website as often as I want to myself and it was a vey small initial outlay. If you look around on the forum you will see that many people have made their websites using free programs. I do use facebook as a way of promoting my business and keeping people informed of where I will be selling and I know lots of people use blogs to help them although I haven't explored this myself yet. I really hope this helps and that you have lots of sucess with your business. I promise you the scariest thing is deciding to start the business once you start you realise it is acheivable and you can do it. If you have any other questions just ask and I will do my best to help.


    • #3
      My advice would be to start now. Businesses take a long time to build unless you can throw a huge amount of money at them. You will also find out if you can sustain the business yourself - do you really want to spend all your time making and selling, living and breathing jewellery. Get as much made while you have the facilities there for free! And start selling today


      • #4
        I make pieces in college and once christmas has passed I am planning on making pieces and getting them on facebook but not selling as I'm not registered yet , but just to start getting my work seen. I will be registering for my hallmark asap and will have to get everything hallmarked before I can sell. I have already started on building up my own workshop, bench , torch tools etc. As far as im aware my college doesnt mind old student coming in to use facilities such as casting etc. I am planning on starting all the prep work now and once I feel I have done enough I will register and start.

        Another question if I register will it affect my part time job? I am only contracted to 5 hours a week


        • #5
          Ashleigh If you are at college ask your tutors if there is a previous student who is about three years into running their own jewellery business who they can introduce you to and then you have someone to ask for advice.

          I run Handmade Lives for craftspeople who are trying to make a living you could do worse than work your way through the Help Me posts listed in the left margin. All the help is entirely free and is there to allow people to find their way. Its also on Facebook and Twitter.

          I would wait till the end of your course to register as a sole trader if you are benefiting from Student allowances like not paying community tax. Don't be fearful about tax affairs the tax office helps you out, it wont affect your part time job as you pay your tax after two years of trading when you start. You need to realise that most sole traders dont begin to pay any real tax for three years as they simply haven't earned enough. Do not stop your part time work. You will need it.

          Make an elaborate piece with your costly materials and dont make more until you have sold it at a really good price. If it doesn't sell remake. Be very very disciplined otherwise you will run your self into the ground. Make some cheaper pieces as you intend but no stock just one offs as you are trying to find what sells. Face to face contact with customers is essential to learn how to sell your pieces and what to make. Again fat prices get you going faster than low ones.

          You will need in an overfull market a readily identifiable style so that customers return. If customers dont return you will not survive.

          Bon Voyage as that is how it is.
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