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Looking for ways to give your young business a kickstart? The WWW has allowed young entrepreneurs to flourish in the websphere.
Looking for ways to give your young business a kickstart? The WWW has allowed young entrepreneurs to flourish in the websphere.

Designers and jewellers: Get a kickstart online

We all know eBay, but have you heard of Kickstarter and Etsy? Discover how niche digital platforms could be useful to manufacturing jewellers and designers.
Breaking into the jewellery industry as a designer or new supplier takes a lot of creative talent, dedication and resilience. Similarly, starting a retail business demands planning and it can take time before there’s a return on investment. Becoming a successful jewellery designer is not easy but, as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat; including some clever online services like and

Kickstart your business

Kickstart: White Orchid jewellery is funded successfully
Kickstart: White Orchid jewellery is funded successfully

Got a million dollar idea but don’t have the capital or business connections to get it started? If so, it might be worth having a look at Kickstarter. Describing itself as a “funding platform for creative projects”, Kickstarter has already been used to fund clothing lines, documentaries, new technologies and literally thousands of entrepreneurial endeavours.

Successful projects are typically original, involving Kickstarter allows people who require funding for a new business to create a page with video, photos and text with the aim to explain the project and set a public contributions goal. They can offer incentives to people who pledge money, like a copy of the finished product or a meet and greet.

Once the financial target has been reached, production on the project can proceed. If a project doesn’t go ahead those who made pledges get refunded.

While there hasn’t been a wave of jewellery designers using the website so far, there have been a few jewellery design projects that have received funding from Kickstarter. In fact, one of the most successful art projects in the site’s history was a small and delicate sculpture, proving that Kickstarter users can appreciate, and are willing to support, the finer things in life.

A recent smart-watch design also broke Kickstarter’s own records with the volume of support it received. You just need to have an idea for a product consumers would like to see and the support will come.

Click here to visit Kickstarter.

Grandpa eBay

eBay: Build your credibility and sell jewellery to other users
eBay: Build your credibility and sell jewellery to other users

Most readers will be familiar with eBay, the grandfather of internet retailing. It’s often thought of as an ‘auction-only’ site but many eBay sellers now use the site’s set-pricing through the ‘buy it now’ function to ensure they are getting the right amount for their products.

While eBay is enormously popular with people looking for bargains, it has many restrictions and in recent times sellers have become very critical of eBay’s pricing policies.

However, for bricks and mortar retailers with an online store that isn’t cutting through, eBay could help create some loyal, direct-shopping customers who may not have found the business otherwise. One of the drawbacks is branding on eBay is not easy and it’s shop template is not the most stylish.

Another downside to eBay is that it’s renowned for unreliable sellers and counterfeiters, so keep this in mind before considering eBay for your brand. 

Click here to visit eBay.

Hand made heaven

Etsy: Brandable storefronts enable better product display
Etsy: Brandable storefronts enable better product display

Etsy, a sort of micro-business online marketplace that can make products available globally, has been a boon for small jewellery businesses. Calling itself the “world’s handmade marketplace”, Etsy is perhaps best suited to manufacturing jewellers and designers, jewellery apprentices and hobbyists more than traditional retailers.

Etsy allows users to create their own store-front like eBay and sell their original arts, crafts, clothes and jewellery at a set retail price. Trends show a strong focus in the trading of smaller-sized goods. The site has a distinctly feminine feel, but this helps to give it a clean appearance with a focus on the product.

The look and feel of Etsy and the product pages is a lot cleaner than eBay, cutting down on information clutter and displaying images large and uniformly across the site.

Etsy’s focus is art and design without any technology or other product distractions, so small manufacturing jewellers and designers should consider using Etsy. It is perhaps ideally suited to designers trying to build a following and get their brand out in the marketplace.

Click here to visit Etsy.


Something worthy of a small mention for any business is the concept of ‘crowd sourcing’; which has been defined as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community.”

Websites like 99 Designs and Crowd Spring have proven popular with businesses that require graphic design and branding work. Whether seeking a website design or a business logo, crowd sourcing sites can be invaluable resources, enabling small business operators to receive ‘pitches’ on specific and well defined projects from many people looking for work.

Click here to visit 99Designs. 

PLUKKA: Group buying meets Amway

Plukka: Innovative business model where suppliers meet the end-consumer
Plukka: Innovative business model where suppliers meet the end-consumer

Even though Plukka is not a service - it’s an online jewellery business in its own right - this novel website is worthy of mention because it demonstrates how other internet models can be altered to create a new business.

You’ve probably seen tv commercials for group-buying and daily-deal websites like Groupon and Cudo, well Plukka operates a little like them except that it sells its own jewellery.

So how does it work? Plukka displays a new design for a ring, necklace or earrings on its website and potential customers commit to buying the design before production begins. Plukka starts manufacturing the product only after a predetermined number of sales have been reached. Based on economies of scale, items become cheaper with every order, as the manufacturing cost drops.

In turn, Plukka passes the lower prices onto consumers with every purchase that occurs beyond the minimum number of orders required for a piece to enter manufacture. Even the customers who were first to commit only pay the final, lowest price.

Because Plukka operates without a physical store, doesn’t carry stock and cuts out distributors and other middlemen, it’s able to achieve very competitive prices. Its main products are gold, diamond and gemstone rings, necklaces and earrings.

Plukka also incorporates a rewards system where customers can receive further discounts by referring products to friends. By referring five friends, a customer receives a 10 per cent discount. For each of those friends who then go on to buy that same product, the customer will receive a further 10 per cent off, up to a cap of 40 per cent.

The company’s motto sums up the prospect nicely – “What we make is what you want – literally”. In essence, Plukka does not make a piece of jewellery until enough customers have committed to buying it. It is an idea that operates in stark contrast to the traditional retail model, where a supplier first designs and manufactures a product, then tries to find a buyer. 

Plukka instead finds a collection of buyers before making any one product and, in doing so, it aims to eliminate much of the risk of carrying slow-moving stock. The downside of Plukka is it normally takes four to eight weeks for purchased products to arrive, due to the ongoing sale model and the subsequent manufacturing of the product; however those behind the business believe the discounts are worth the wait.

The name is derived from two English expressions – ‘pukka’ meaning genuine, and ‘pluck’ meaning courageous – Plukka is already rewarding the insight shown by its two creators. Jai Waney and Joanne Ooi came up with the concept in April last year, which has already proved to be very popular.

Click here to visit Plukka.

More Reading:
Smartwatch gets multi-million dollar Kickstart
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Luxury Brands and Social Media 
6 Aussie Trailblazers: How we used social media for our brand
It's an 'Appy World: Jewellery iPad Apps
10 top ways to measure and manage your social media campaign
Social Media Pitfalls: 7 things to remember


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