If you love the art of making jewelry, then you'll have a ball as a professional jewelry and accessories designer. Jewelry and accessories are always popular, especially today when all those '60s-style beads are back in style in a big way. You can work with beads, with traditional elements like gold and silver, with glass, fabrics, feathers, clays--whatever suits your talents and fancies. And you can specialize in earrings, rings, pins or pendants, or in handcrafted handbags or hats. The advantages to this business are that you get to be creative as a career, you meet lots of interesting people while selling your art, and you can start part-time if you like. You'll need the talent and skills to design and turn out jewelry or accessories others will want to be seen in. And in addition to all that artistic sensibility, you'll need plenty of marketing creativity and drive--you'll need to sell your products as well as make them.
You can host home parties à la Mary Kay or sell directly to local merchants, at flea markets, arts and crafts fairs, and through wholesalers and sales reps. If you plan to go the wholesale route, hook up with reps at gift shows, which you can locate by calling local and regional chambers of commerce and convention centers, by reading gift industry publications or through the associations listed below.
Your equipment will depend on what jewelry and accessories you'll design. Goldsmithing requires a different set of tools than beadwork, and leatherworking is not the same as quilting. If you're already working with your chosen medium, you probably have your tools at hand. But now that you'll be designing professionally, take an equipment inventory and decide if newer or additional tools or equipment could make your work faster and easier--remember, the more pieces you turn out, the higher your income will be.