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WHOLESALE SILVER JEWELRY SUPPLIER SINCE 1996
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Looking for our wholesale silver jewelry website? Follow this link to indiasilver.com: wholesale silver jewelry
We have over 500 silver jewelry items online, including wholesale pendants, wholesale rings, wholesale earrings, wholesale necklaces, wholesale chain, wholesale bracelets and more, all at great prices.
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Starting A Jewelry Business

About once a month, I get an email from someone asking how they can start their own business with our products. Starting a new business can be an exciting, challenging experience. Probably the most important thing is to get to know your products. Of course this will be an ongoing process, because the more you work with the product, the more you get to know it. Doing the legwork will allow you to speak intelligently about what you are selling and will give you more confidence that what you have chosen to sell is the right fit for your concept.

Once you have decided what items to carry, decide how you will sell them: online, flea market, home parties, in coffee shops, brick and mortar storefront, etc. I have found that selling face to face in a casual environment can be very effective, especially as you are getting started. Home parties or doing "shows" at local venues like coffee shops or at craft fairs limits the amount of competition you face while making your products seem special and personal.

Doing small venue retailing is also great because it creates a "no pressure" atmosphere, provides you freedom (it's usually only a few days a week), and gives you immediate feedback on what your customers like or don't like about your product. It's also a great way to find out more about your customers' preferences and what they are looking for (but not finding) in other retail establishments.

Best of all, these smaller shows are very cost effective. Usually a "table-fee" is all that is required, and even that is often a nominal amount. We suggest tripling the price of everything you buy from indiasilver.com, but some items may allow for a higher margin. Look for comparable items at other retailers in your area and get a feel for price levels. This scouting will also give you some ideas for merchandising your products-- both what works and what doesn't work.

As for selling online, this can be successful but it does require some technical expertise. Taking photos of jewelry is one of the most difficult assignments a professional photographer can face. There are many online solutions to help with this task, ranging from using items purchased at your local craft store to professional lightboxes costing thousands.

For selling online, it is absolutely critical that you get nice photos of your products from several angles so your customer can see what they look like. You cannot count on them to fill in the blanks and just know that the pieces are nice. Have friends or family look at the photos you have taken with a pair of fresh eyes for feedback. Finding a way to convey a sense of scale is also of great importance. When we first started, we used really tight shots that showed every detail of a piece. This often misrepresented the product, since the enhanced detail led the customer to believe the product was larger than it truly was. Now we give detailed measurements and try to show each piece on a model, if possible.

Equally daunting can be the prospect of getting traffic to your site. There are millions of sites and billions of pages all vying for eyeballs. How will a potential customer find your site? There are several ways to drive visitors to your online store. The easiest and (I think) least efficient way is to use Google Adwords or Yahoo Sponsored Search. Paying for visitors can cost thousands of dollars per month, and conversion from casual visitor to paying customer is a crapshoot.

A better way to drive traffic to your site is by using the small venue retailing at coffee shops and craft fairs as a spring board. Hand out nice business cards and flyers with your website and email address on them. Chat your site up. Anytime you advertise, make sure to include your website address. Finally, register your site with directories that will link back to it. One of the top values in search engine algorithms is determined by number of quality links pointing to the site. There are lots of "link farms" out there that promise five links back to your site for each link pointing to theirs. These types of low-quality links can actually have a negative effect on your ranking.

Sites will link back to you for several reasons. Index sites like searchpixie.com will list you if you complete a simple registration form. Other sites related to yours will link to you if they feel your site is valuable for one reason or another. Having lots of information, background story, history, and resources is usually the best way to get noticed and linked to. Blogs are also a great way to create buzz. One idea would be to blog your start up. Talking candidly about the successes and challenges of the process can be a very compelling story.

The big search engines like Yahoo! and Google will find your site if there are links pointing back to it. Otherwise you will need to submit your URL to them via their standard procedure. It will take months for you to appear in their rankings. There is a whole science devoted to search engine marketing. A good primer can be found at searchenginewatch.com. There are also many sites and newsletters devoted entirely to ranking highly in organic search engine results.

Along this same line, you can pay a company to do search engine optimization (SEO) for you. These SEO companies vary in quality and performance. Many make promises they cannot and do not deliver. Look for a guarantee to back up the hype. Money back guarantees are only good if they actually refund the money, so check references. There are lots of bait and switch deals out there, so buyer beware.

My own experience has run the gamut of these sales channels. We started selling at coffee shops and to friends. We made a color catalog and website almost immediately, but I had a background in graphic design so the costs associated with doing this were minimal. Also, in 1996, the web was a much smaller place, so getting found was a lot easier. Retail on today's internet is a tough act. There is lots of competition and much of it is being done by deep pockets.

We have had to adapt endlessly over the years, constantly improving product, website layout, website copy, marketing strategies and even changing target markets. In addition to our wholesale site we now have two brick and mortar retail stores. Venturing into retail has required a whole different set of skills and concepts. There is a big difference between having one or two employees and having ten.

The best advice is to start simple, see how it goes, and adapt as necessary given the feedback you get from customers and from your bank account. Good luck.

Article by Mike McGinnis
Whirled Planet, Inc.
wholesale silver jewelry specialist!

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