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All That Glitters

Dreaming of starting your own jewelry business? Be prepared--it's more elbow grease than glitz and glamour.

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This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's making something glittering and beautiful. It's creating a sparkling necklace or a pair of earrings. It's designing and manufacturing jewelry to your heart's content--while making profits at the same time. Think you can handle the glamour of running a jewelry business and seeing your creations adorn the rich and famous? Then prepare for the serious hard work it will take to get established.

"Sometimes [jewelry entrepreneurs] try to go too big, too fast," says Ann Barber, director of membership benefits at the National Craft Association, a professional trade association in Rochester, New York, for the arts and crafts industry. "One way to start is doing craft shows so you can get direct customer feedback." It's not just about setting up shop with your wares and expecting people to buy them--it's about researching the styles people buy, the prices they're willing to pay and what works in a particular geographic area. A key to success in the jewelry business? "Make sure your designs are unique," says Barber, "not something you can buy everywhere."

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