A Letter to Jewellers worried about how Britain Leaving the EU will affect Business…
Many jewellers and crafters running their own handmade jewellery businesses (and any small business owner for that matter) may be understandably worried about how the recent result that Britain will be leaving the EU, may impact their jewellery business.
Professional jeweller’s recent article talks about 90% of designer businesses voting remain http://www.professionaljeweller.com/bfc-survey-reveals-90-of-designer-businesses-against-brexit/ which is no surprise given the business impacts.
We can’t change what has happened, whether we want to or not, but there are some practical steps we can take to protect and improve our businesses (babies!) for the time-being…
- The pound is low – so it is a great time to be selling overseas
Americans, Europe and most places in the world can buy your jewellery at a significant discount to them (without you charging any less at the moment) due to exchange rates and the low value of the pound.
To capitalise on this, why not use this time to promote your business more overseas? Target customers in other countries who fit your target audience, Facebook and Social Media Ads can be a great way to reach a specific demographic looking at their interests and location. If they love handmade jewellery and live overseas, now may be the time to reach out to them with a great offer?
In order for this to work you need to keep an eye on the market as it changes. If you go to http://www.xe.com/currency/gbp-british-pound you can see verified up-to-date information on what the exchange rate is each day.
- Don’t panic!
We don’t know what is going to happen, and that can be scary! However you feel about the vote, for your business it is important that you keep calm and carry on as usual. There will always be ups and downs in business and now is the time to look at the things you can control (e.g. your spending, your prices, your marketing, your brand messages) and those that you can’t (e.g. the global market, the economy, the results of the referendum).
- Utilise the materials you have in stock.
I know most jewellers don’t keep a huge amount of stock, especially when we are making to order. As the cost of raw materials may have increased for those of us in the UK (and this is likely to be a temporary reaction to uncertainty) it is a great time to use up any old materials, beads, silver, gold or scrap you have in the workshop. Why? Because you brought these before the pound value dropped so effectively they were cheaper. Of course we will all have to buy new materials and accept price increases for that too which leads me on to my next point…
- We are all in the same boat, let’s help each other out
Small businesses in Britain are struggling a bit at the moment, mainly out of fear and then the reality of changes. So let’s come together and help each other out. Don’t forget we are all in the same boat, if prices of goods increase that will be the same across the board, so remember whatever you are going through, you are not alone.
Let’s help each other out today – let us know your top tip for getting through any difficult times in business (can be anything) in the comments below. Whatever it is may really help someone else struggling.
- Be open in your business and flexible to changes
This one applies in any circumstance – the businesses most open minded and adaptable to change are the ones that survive through difficulties and change. If a certain line isn’t working for you, look at alternatives. If you feel that selling your work is going to be tough with cost increases, can you work with more affordable materials? If sales are low, what can you do in your marketing to reach your customers? How can you diversify your income? There is always a way and you can do it, keep an open mind and give it some thought as to how you can adapt as the next few years play out.
- Remember your overarching vision – why you are doing this!
Remember why you started your business in the first place, or if you are just starting out, remember why you want to do this. Think of your vision for your business, what you want it to be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years time. We are in this for the long-run. Whatever business you are in or whatever job you are in, no one has 100% security. Most jewellers choose this line of work out of a love and a passion for it, for design, for the materials, for the freedom of working for yourself, for the look on the customers face when you had over a bespoke piece, knowing that you are helping to make others feel happy, loved and appreciated in the world.
- Don’t give up!
There is a lot of mixed messages and fear around at the moment which is completely understandable. But businesses face ups and downs. This just happens. Since starting the London Jewellery School we have faced at least 10 business crises that threatened our future over the past 7-8 years but you keep going, work hard and get through them. There will still be jewellery in the future and someones got to make it, so why not make that person you.
I don’t know if times will be hard or if they will be good, but I do know that there are things we can all do to make them better, in our businesses. I mentioned I would love to hear any of your top positive tips on how you plan to deal with changes in your business, even if it’s as simple as ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
Thinking of you all and wishing you the best of success and longevity in your jewellery businesses for this year and many more to come.
Jessica Rose, Founder, London Jewellery School & Jewellery School Online