6 really useful tips on how to start to work in jewelry!
Ever walked passed a jewelry store and feeling how wonderful it would be to work every day with beautiful jewelry, smiling happy clients and take a plunge into the colorful world of jewelry? Whether you would love to work in a jewelry store or for a jewelry company, here are some tips to get you started!
How it started for me:
I fell into the jewelry world. It wasn’t a calling and it wasn’t a plan. Yet, when I lived in Valenza, one of the hottest jewelry places in the world, I fell in love! I learned a lot by listening, observing, doing and just trying. You know those people who write letters to their younger self? Well, I tried to imagine what I would my younger 22 year old self, before I started working in the jewelry business. And I want to share it with you!
Here are my tips for you on how to start in the jewelry business.
Try things out! one of the first things you might want to consider is to start with a course. But if you are like me, you might want to try out various positions within the jewelry business, before choosing a definite education. I am not at all opposing to a proper education, before starting, if you know already which way you would like to go. Really, you should go for it! But there is so much to say for just trying things out and then make a more informed decision. So, go on, try different jobs!
Read! Today’s world is so different than when I started out. Blogs, websites and Google are just all a click away, even 10 minutes in the bus, can be a great time to do some research. Read a blog, read different blogs! There are a lot of blogs to choose from. Everyone has not only their own style, with a different background and approach to the jewelry world. From very formal to very informal. From a fashion angle to a gemstone loving approach. Read and learn! Go to websites that inform about jewelry. There are many great ones!
Seek a mentor. I am the first to admit that I did not do that, and I regret it! I am, still today, terrible at asking help, whilst I tell others that they should never feel embarrassed to do so!. And I am still working on that, but I understand the value of a good mentor at any age! Someone who possibly is a little older than you, has experience in life and in the business and is willing to be a mentor. Learning from others saves you a lot of time! Try and ask, you will probably be surprised how many feel not just flattered but happy to share and give back to people with the same passion!
Raise your standards. Say you have made it. A jewelry store offered you a job! That’s great! Allow yourself to get comfortable with jewelry, with lockets, with the material, with moving around clients with jewelry. Once you start to get the hang of it, it’s time to raise your standard. Observe what you could improve, every single day. Your attitude? Your knowledge about gemstones? Is there something that isn’t part of your job description but that you can take on? Could you do social media for the store or brand? Could you add value to your service, to your approach every single day? Then go for it. You will see that it will not only make your boss very happy but it will bring you a great sense of fulfillment. We all want to be appreciated and feeling fulfilled in what we do. We rarely get that by not developing our own knowledge, skills, habits and character.
Visit trade fairs. Visit a trade fair! You will see more jewelry than you could ever dream of if you visit JCK, VicenzaOro, Basel World, Inhorgenta or one of the other bigger jewelry trade fairs, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to listen, to go out and meet people, ask for opinions, advice or just listen to people’s story. Whilst walking around, you’ll see very different brands. What do you like? Why do you like it? What can you learn from window displays, the approach to clients, do you spot trends? Buy the magazines, talk to people, look and really observe and then listen, listen and listen some more!
- Education. Now it is time to talk about education. Perhaps you have found out that you love gemstones so much that you want to become a gemmologist. Or you know that you want to end up working for a company that requires the knowledge of a gemmologist. Perhaps you discovered to have a commercial talent for this business. The possibilities are endless, but there are schools of management or entrepreneurship that focus on the fashion or luxury business, like the Essec Business School, the Bocconi Institute and many more. Be bold and ask companies that you admire or love to work for, what kind of education they would recommend.
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The reason I write this article is really because of two reasons.
The first is that often people, when I say I write about jewelry, they have this sudden glance in their eyes. For some it's the glitter and glamour, or because they love jewelry so much themselves. To others it seems so much more interesting to what they do themselves. Both are only assumptions. Although glitter and glamour are definitely a part of the jewelry world, behind the scenes it is a business. Knowledge, training, dedication, money, years of efforts, high risks, and much more are all part of that business. The glitter and glamour is the outer shell. If you get in it for just that, you won’t last very long :-)
Visiting a trade fair can be a very inspiring activity!
The second reason is that I met with young students this winter at the TEFAF. They were attending the jeweler school in Schoonhoven, the Netherlands. They were the most uninspired group of students I ever met. Standing in front of Van Cleef & Arpels, Wallace Chan and Chopard and they were….bored. They had lost their enthusiasm and interest, complained that teachers weren’t connected with the current jewelry industry. Nothing about social media, nothing about marketing. Their dreams, whether big or small, seemed kind of crushed.
Your own future jewelry store?
This kind of disappointment comes not from the school failing at being up to date, but from expectations. When we have high expectations and they aren’t met, things can become a huge disappointment. Hence the reason why I suggest to start working, before making a definite choice, if you do not have really clear which way you would love to go. And even if you do, it won’t hurt to try out as much as you can, even when studying. To be fair, the students might have had a point here and there, but what they failed to see was their own responsibility. They could have reached out to me or they could thrown themselves into the world of social media, or whatever they felt was adding value to their knowledge and education.
The jewelry business is a fascinating world. It’s diverse, it’s exciting and it’s fun. It can become, for you, whatever you make of it. I hope this article will help you to get started!
Useful websites: http://www.jewelers.org/ja/careers-education/jewelry-careers-guide