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Starting a Jewelry Business with 3D Printing

December 15, 2020
4 min read

Back in 2015, when 3D printing was only just beginning to emerge as what we know it to be today, it was suggested that it could be the future of jewelry. The idea made sense even then. With high-end 3D printing, people could customize jewelry any way they liked, and then mass produce it with ease. And now that more people are getting into 3D printing — and making their own businesses out of it — it may be time to revisit this idea.Simply put, it is now easy to imagine a whole category of 3D-printed jewelry businesses emerging over the next several years. In fact, it may even be a fairly easy business to get into! But for those considering this sort of thing, there are definitely a few things to figure out in advance.

What will your printer cost?

3D printers have gotten more affordable. This is perhaps the main reason we are seeing more people creating products and starting businesses with them. However, before you assume you’ll be able to print whatever you need for your jewelry business, you should think about the types of pieces you’ll be making and what kind of printer they’ll require. Consider for instance that the cost of printing metal can be significantly more, simply because 3D printers with this capability are more expensive. On the other hand, simpler materials can be handled by more affordable printers. This is just something to think about in advance so that you can plan and budget for your business appropriately.

What will you focus on?

If you’re putting together a jewelry business based on 3D printing, you can basically create any sort of piece you like. So really, there’s no sense in limiting your style or focus! That said, you should give some thought to your own preferences, general style, or what you think you’ll be best at designing. You might also consider, as opposed to fleetingly popular styles, some of the classic jewelry trends that always seem to sell, no matter the year or season. Ultimately, just be sure you take the time to plan your product line and determine what you want to put your energy behind. Your business will be better for it in the beginning, and you can always adapt later.

Can you project costs of operation?

The idea of determining printer cost was touched on above. But as with any other business, you should also give some thought to operating cost. While the printer is a one-time expenditure, you will need to regularly contribute funds to other aspects of your business. For instance, you’ll need to buy material for printing, pay for a website and/or a place on an existing ecommerce platform, spend on advertising, and so on. There will always be some unforeseen costs as well. But the more you can do to project costs in advance, the more stable your business will be.

Where will you sell?

Today we often think of a private jewelry business as one that will operate through an independent ecommerce site, or a platform like Etsy. However, one guide to starting a jewelry business points out that there are actually several other mediums through which people still regularly sell their work. It mentions flea markets, craft fairs, brick-and-mortar stores, and even wholesalers, in addition to online marketplaces. These are all worthy of consideration, but you’d do well to consider where you’re most interested in selling. Your choices here will affect how you market your work, and how much the process of selling will cost you.

Do you have a name and brand?

Finally, give some real thought to the name and brand of your business. It’s easy, if you’re starting gradually and on your own, to keep things simple in this regard. But people often buy jewelry as much for the brand as anything else, which means it’s worthwhile to take some time setting up your own. If you can create a memorable logo and/or catchy name, and design tags and packaging showcasing this brand, you’ll be more likely to carve out a place for yourself among consumers.A lot of these tips have to do with the structure and strategy of a personal jewelry business. But the whole concept in general is more within reach because of 3D printing. Through this technology you can get started creating original but replicable pieces in fairly short time. From there, you can launch a business that you’ll be proud of.

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