What beginner-level equipment would you suggest? Software, photo equipment, etc.
This will depend entirely on what exactly you’re doing or looking to do, but the things that I use most often in my day-to-day business are: Photoshop and Lightroom, DSLR Camera (I have this one), and a Mac desktop computer. You can certainly use a free service to edit photos or create graphics, Photoshop isn’t essential. BUT, I use photoshop nearly every single work day, both for EA and for the blog, so it’s proven to be a fantastic investment for me. You can also get by with an iPhone (or Android) camera, since they’re so much better these days!
As with everything else in my journey, I started out with nothing. I didn’t have a “fancy” camera or photo software or anything. I learned along the way what I needed for my business and would buy those things when it fit within the budget.
Do you actually make all the jewelry yourself?
We made all the jewelry ourselves up until I launched elisabethashlie.com in 2014. It was at that point that I knew I needed to add in some curated goods, in order to maintain a decent inventory level, offer different styles than I can make, and to free up some time for other things relating to the business. Before that, I was spending so much time making jewelry (which isn’t a bad thing!) that other aspects of the business weren’t being paid enough attention. Adding in curated goods, and goods that I design the artwork for, like the mugs and zipper pouches, was a game changer!
How do you come up with pricing?
The most common way to determine retail pricing is to calculate your cost (materials, labor, etc) and determine what you’d like your markup to be. Obviously, you’d want to at least cover the cost, but beyond that is up to you. A very common way is to double your cost, so if something costs you $10, then you price it at $20. I also add in a small amount to each item for packaging.
How do you track inventory?
All inventory is tracked via Shopify, which is the e-commerce platform that I use (and love!).
Where do you find inspiration?
Most often, Pinterest and other retailers. When I’m feeling like I haven’t created something new in awhile, I’ll check out the sites of some of my favorite stores, like Anthropologie, and see what jewelry trends they’re following. I’ll get an idea of what’s popular, like tassels, or natural stones, or layering necklaces. Then I’ll go to my sources and see what is available to me to make items along those trends. I also make items that I want to wear! So, if I see a necklace somewhere else or someone wearing something that I love, I’ll source materials and supplies to make something for myself and the shop. Most of the time, though, I just buy materials that I think are pretty and are in line with the kinds of things EA sells and just put things together until I’ve created something. I love having a pile of things in front of me, like tassels, stones, charms, and pendants, and creating new designs that way!
How do you decide what pieces to list/sell?
I have a pretty good idea, at this point, of what the EA customer loves. A lot of what I make and sell are things in line with my personal style, too! I figure that if someone follows me on Instagram or reads the blog and likes my style, then they’ll also like what EA has to offer them.
Where do you get your materials?
I have a variety of sources and suppliers that I’ve worked with over the years! When we started out, 100% of our materials came from local craft stores and chain stores, like Michael’s. Now, I buy 100% online – raw materials, finished goods, and the materials to make the other goods we sell, like the candles that I make.
Where do you get your shipping supplies?
All of our shipping supplies come from ULINE! From shipping boxes, to tissue paper, gift wrap boxes, bubble wrap, and more! There are some high minimums on items, but for the volume that we ship out, it makes perfect sense to purchase through them!