Beads and silver

It follows that many people are drawn to jewellery in a country with an abundance of precious metals and gems such as gold, diamonds, silver and platinum.

It follows that many people are drawn to jewellery in a country with an abundance of precious metals and gems such as gold, diamonds, silver and platinum.

But it takes passion, an eye for aesthetics and dedication to run a successful jewellery business.

Start by choosing an appropriate name, which will identify your business. The name defines who you are, what your business is all about and your target audience. But don't choose a name that will be inappropriate if you decide to expand your venture and sell a wider range of merchandise.

Once you are satisfied with the name, check with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) that no other company has reserved it. Then register your business.

Establish if you need a licence to trade in your region and ensure that you comply with all regulations before you start trading. After that, register to pay tax with the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

Open a separate bank account for your business. This is a legal requirement and it allows you to keep track of your business's financial performance.

Choose the style of jewellery that you would like to focus on. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and bangles can be made by hand or machine. Determine how you can best produce your product to suit your circumstances, turn a profit and satisfy your chosen market.

Your target market will be determined by the type of jewellery you want to focus on. Don't try to make or sell jewellery that can be acquired cheaper from vendors on the streets. Unless your designs and colours stand out from the competition, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Use a professional if you don't design or make your own jewellery. Try to negotiate with your suppliers for exclusive designs.

No matter how spectacular your jewellery is, you will not make a profit unless you can sell it to customers. Some jewellers prefer to sell their jewellery to the public through home parties and at arts and crafts festivals while others sell only to wholesalers.

You can consider publishing brochures and creating a website. Many potential customers are out there surfing the Internet and a website can draw them to your business. But don't forget the more traditional media for your advertising.

Like all businesses, fashions change and jewellery must keep up with the times. Refresh your skills by taking short courses on jewellery-making and design. Look out for new trends and introduce new products to fulfil new demands.

In the final analysis, your success will depend on your passion. Remember that owning a business is a long-term commitment and you can't commit yourself to something you don't like.

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