Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Start a Business Selling Beads | Business of Beads - Marketing

Selling Beads | Business IdeasA bead is a small, decorative object that is formed in a variety of shapes and sizes of a material such as glass, plastic, or wood, and that is pierced for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under 1 millimeter (0.039 in) to over 1 centimeter (0.39 in) in diameter. A pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells, approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewelry. Bead-work is the art or craft of making things with beads. Beads can be woven together with specialized thread, strung onto thread or soft, flexible wire, or adhered to a surface (e.g. fabric, clay). The craft and hobby segment of the retail sector has grown into a $27 billion industry while other retail sectors have declined. Jewelry crafters find it easy to turn their hobby into a moneymaking home business by selling beads and jewelry patterns and creating jewelry-making kits for beginners. These small businesses are eligible for business tax deductions and can help finance the owner's hobbies.

Types of beads

Beads may be divided into several types of overlapping categories based on different criteria such as the materials from which they are made, the process used in their manufacturing, the place or period of origin, the patterns on their surface, or their general shape. In some cases, such as millefiori and cloisonne beads, multiple categories may overlap in an interdependent fashion.

Place or period of origin

  • Austrian crystal is a generic term for cut lead-crystal beads, based on the location and prestige of the Swarovski firm.African trade beads or slave beads may be antique beads that were manufactured in Europe and used for trade during the colonial period, such as chevron beads; or they may have been made in West Africa by and for Africans, such as Mauritanian Kiffa beads, Ghanaian and Nigerian powder glass beads, or African-made brass beads.
  • Czech glass beads are made in the Czech Republic, centralized around an area called Jablonec nad Nisou. Production of glass beads in the area dates back to the 14th century, though production was depressed under communist rule. Because of this long tradition, their workmanship and quality has an excellent reputation.
  • Vintage beads, in the collectibles and antique market, refers to items that are at least 25 or more years old. Vintage beads are available in materials that include lucite, plastic, crystal, metal and glass.

Business Selling Beads Instruction: 

Step 1

Write a business plan for your bead selling business. Formulating a business plan will help you identify consumer markets based on the types of beads people are buying, start-up costs, operating costs and pricing. The local office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers free help and business courses to small business owners getting started. Contact the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800-827-5722 or to find the nearest SBA center.

Step 2

Organize the bead business's finances. Determine start-up costs, accounting procedures and inventory control. Start-up costs include beads and supplies, advertising and fees for business licenses. For inventory control, bead businesses can purchase products that make inventory management easier since some Internet software companies sell bead inventory spreadsheets and inventory tracking software.
  • Set up accounting procedures to track expenses and maintain budgets. The IRS offers Publication 535, "Business Expenses," to help small businesses with record keeping and help them identify business deductions.

Step 3

Select a location for your business based on area bead buying habits. Bead businesses must consider all revenue streams such as professional jewelry designers, professional associations and craft fairs; and most hold classes on bead and jewelry making as a way to sell product. When selecting a store location, choose a place with easy access, high traffic counts and reasonable rents to increase profitability since labor costs become a consideration. Many bead business start as home businesses to lower start-up costs, avoid store rent and reduce labor costs. Register your bead business with the state, and check whether your county or city requires licensing for businesses.

Step 4

Find wholesale bead vendors. Bead businesses keep in touch with bead trends to help them determine the types of bead inventory to purchase. Find wholesale bead manufacturers by reading magazines focused on bead and jewelry making such as Jewelry Artist.
  • Purchase beads in bulk, since making beads by hand is labor intensive. Drop-shipping companies found on the Internet are an excellent source of exotic beads. These companies often provide ad copy and photos as part of the bead sale. Other wholesale bead vendors sell exotic beads; Bead for Life, for example, sells handmade beads to help women in Uganda.

Step 5

Create a website storefront and open for business. Build a bead e-commerce website or hire someone to do so to establish a legitimate business presence within the industry. A website gives a business legitimacy, and a website is an excellent marketing tool for showing bead inventories and presenting jewelry ideas. In physical retail locations, display beads in trays, in presorted bags and in craft kits.


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