HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY AS A JEWELRY BLOGGER?
When you are at a birthday party and it’s your turn to tell what you do, believe me; saying you are a jewelry blogger is a guarantee for surprised faces. There are many questions that I get on a daily basis, but here is the most asked question I get, answered!
25 years in the jewelry industry and then I started a blog
When I started this blog in 2013, I had already lived a long career in jewelry. From running a jewelry store in Italy to being an e-commerce buyer. From running an agency representing various Italian brands in the Benelux and UK to working with a family jewelry wholesale business.
I was a full 25 years in jewelry before starting that very first blog. and I felt excited yet hesitant. Although 2013 seems not long ago, it was a different media landscape and blogs were upcoming, but mainly seen as the area of young fashionable people.
Love to read more? Here is a little in-depth. You can skip it if you like of course!
I felt that being in my mid’ 40’s, saying I was going to blog was a bit like ‘’look at me, I am still young!’’ hehe. Not midlife-crisis, but when you reach that age, there are several moments you get a slap in the face that tells you; you are no longer that young anymore.
MTV was hot, until it was not, that frilly cute skirt fits still perhaps but no longer does it make you look cute. It’s the moment that you look at a twenty-something-year-old and realize that they could have been your son or daughter. Many ouches! hehe. Although, I was a young mom in my id 40’s, I realized how thin the line sometimes is between being up to date/ sticking a little too long to your younger self/ trying too hard, using words of younger people that sound cool ( and sometimes just as silly) but ridiculous from your mouth.
Why I started a jewelry blog? Frustration!
But the reason I wanted to blog had nothing to do with wanting to appear younger or trying too hard to be relevant. It had everything to do with my build-up frustration over many years, visiting jewelry stores that often lacked vision. I had seen so many beautiful companies over the years, I knew about so many artisans, brands, people with creative ideas, and so on, but what I saw in the jewelry stores was all the same stuff. I felt that the jeweler was not educating the public, not inspiring the people, not building on their own name and create their own identity, but had lost track of all this whilst being emerged by brands who had aggressive marketing styles and imposing ever more rules and demands to their customers. The jewelry store seemed to be a sort of showroom, dictated by those brands who invested most in advertising. Pandora is to blame and so are many others.
The end of an era of brands dictating jewelry stores was coming when e-commerce started to be booming. Now those same brands were online and shops were slowly being used as a showroom for real, but the buying happened online.
I also started the blog frustrated by the poor storytelling of the salespeople I had encountered. Maybe they are better in your country, maybe you are a jeweler and you invested in your employees, but what I witnessed is that most part-time workers were hardly really interested in what they sold, took out only what the client pointed out, never proposed anything more expensive, different and was scared to take out stuff they knew too little about. Pandora might have worked great for them, as it sold itself. But come on!
What blogging about jewelry brought me
Long story short: I thought I wanted to share that view on brands and products and insights with the world and started to publish content. Whilst overthinking what the next step in my career would be. I didn’t mean to become a blogger, I was looking for a job in jewelry really, but within a few months, I had my first assignment for a jewelry magazine, as a freelance contributor.
Over the past 5 and ½ years, many magazines worldwide have found their way to me and as I always had a passion for sales and marketing within the jewelry industry, it became my focus area of research. And I write about this and beautiful designers and brands for seriously beautiful jewelry trade magazines.
What blogging also brought me is freedom, and a chance to talk and read about jewelry all the time. My love for the subject has only grown and I am still enchanted, full of wonder, excitement and so much more when I see truly beautiful designs. I love many people within the industry and it's old-fashioned but also willing to take huge risks and leaps into the future. I kind of dig that contradiction.
Opinion about the jewelry world
*I started to get noticed as someone with an opinion about the industry. With ideas about improving things. It resulted in opinion articles in renowned magazines. Yet, brands and stores started to reach out to me too for consultancy and training. ‘’How to create a compelling client journey? How to set up a business blog? How to create a coherent collection, how to get your employees to become ambassadors for your store or brand. How to improve sales with storytelling and so on. I am a blogger, yes, but it turned into so much more and I couldn’t have predicted that back in 2013.
The same question, always
Funny enough, although so much has changed and people from all ages know what a blog, vlog or social media channel is, the most frequently asked question has remained more or less the same! Please note that the question is not from the insiders of the business. Let’s create another blog about that ;-) but this one is about the most asked question from friends, and relatives, from people you meet at a party or you get introduced to.
The Nr. 1 question I get is: How do you make money as a jewelry blogger?
Ahhhh, the mother of all questions a blogger of any subject gets! First of all, this question used to embarrass me lots! I didn’t make any money as a jewelry blogger for a year or so.
There are a few things you need to know about blogging, whatever the subject you write about.
- It takes a lot of time to create content
- Google doesn’t immediately start to show your content
- It takes persistence and determination to keep going, even when you see only 100 people read your blog and if this is your idea of a quick and easy way to get rich, don’t start blogging!
Having said all this, you also need to know that many of my colleagues have blogs and they each run it differently. Some are visiting jewelry companies, take photos and write a story, creating beautiful content that the company is happy with and pays for. Others focus primarily on a social platform such as Instagram and have a blog on the side. Some blog about the business side of things and are professional jewelry journalists pushing the content they write for trade magazines and other papers, through to their own site, often earning income with banners and ads.
Jewelry bloggers and their own style
Today we see that most bloggers aren’t counting on cashing on their written content and banners look like they are largely ignored by visitors. Some bloggers have started to sell their own jewelry line, have a click-through kind of e-commerce business model. Others promote in more obvious ways brands and designers alike and have invested heavily in gaining as many followers on Instagram.
Bloggers have been investing lots of time, effort and endless passion into promoting jewelry to either the b2b industry or the public, without getting always the recognition for their influence. But times are always changing and many have developed their writing into a business model of some sort. I think that bloggers and so-called influencers ( gosh, I hate that word) are becoming more and more entrepreneurs and it’s a good thing that the industry starts to treat them that way.
I work differently. My focus is both the industry as the public. But the money I earn is almost always B2B related. I earn money with the occasional sponsored blog, only promoting those I truly endorse (I know everyone says this, but although it may have harmed my wallet several times, I turned down more than I accepted, thinking always and only about my long term reputation) I earn income with my writing for mainly international trade magazines. I take care of some brands social media content and I do consultancy*
My main focus outside my own blog is LinkedIn, where I have 30.000 jewelry connections worldwide. I get most of my assignments from LinkedIn. The blog itself is free from ads, banners, and other stuff. And I always loved it this way!
Currently, I am developing something that will help a lot of people within the industry and will be a source of income too, can’t say much yet, as it’s not finished yet!
How much money can you earn with blogging about jewelry? **
I know some of the bloggers earn a nice income, but they work long hours each day and travel around the globe like mad. If this is what you love, perfect! Some have staff or interns working for them. And hire freelancers for photos, editing, translating, and much more.
The question is not how much money you can earn with blogging, but rather: how much do you want to make? And what are you prepared to deny yourself in order to get there?
Personally, I love a life of freedom. Being with my family, knowing I can always meet with friends. I do travel too, but I tend to be really picky about it. It has to bring me and my readers or work something valuable, but it also needs to be valuable to the company, person or event that I visit. Freedom comes with responsibility, I often wake up very early as I push deadlines until the very last minute and my best work comes from that method, but it’s not very stress-free;-))
Any business you start today, you should always start with this question:
How much do I need to earn? (income for all the fixed costs such as housing, groceries, insurance, health, hobbies) what is important to me (think about: having time to learn a new language, travel in my free time, taking care of a relative, have social engagement with your community or whatever it is for you) and what would I love to do, including the price tag of these things (a classic car, motorcycle lessons, going to Australia for 2 months, sailing around Greece all summer long, a course or going back to school etc)
If you make a list of all turning costs and the occasional costs for the things that aren’t primary necessities, you get an idea of how much money you need to earn. You should create your blogging, your business, whatever you start around this idea. ( It’s not mine, but I adopted the idea from Tim Ferriss ( 4-hour work week)
Here are a few ways to make money as a jewelry blogger:
- Create a following on Instagram and get paid for promoting a product
- Create a following on Instagram ( or other platforms) with the option to buy the promoted items
- Have banners or ads on your website ( related to the industry or even not related)
- Become an ambassador for brands
- Create content for brands or designers and get paid for the content
- Write for other blogs
- Write for (trade) magazines
- Become a speaker about jewelry or blogging on events
- Write a white paper
- Promote companies through your e-mail list
- Sell jewelry on your site or on social media
Here is what you need to do before all this:
- Find your own voice. Don’t imitate colleagues, don’t try to be cooler, younger or hipper than you really are. Authenticity is everything!
- Find your own niche. I am a niche blogger, an authority blogger, a seasoned jewelry industry blogger, and I never ever call myself an expert.
- Niches are a focal point, such as diamonds, fair-trade, gemstones, vintage, a country such as India (Indian Jewelry), jewelry stores, business, trade-fairs, trends, fashion, art, contemporary, etc. These are all subjects that are niches and it pays off to establish which one is most close to you!
- Be realistic: how much income do you need? Can you afford to travel? Can you afford to not earn much? Or will you need a job too? There is no shame if you can’t pay the bills with blogging! Be real, have fun, build your audience slowly your way.
- Let the ego go. If you are in this for your ego, let it go. I know, there are many cool bloggers posting amazing selfies and I am not one of them, but ego has its own ways to manifest its distracting self. Maybe you find the world of jewelry very glam, maybe you love to do selfies, maybe you want to gain some fame. These things are all fine, but if they are your motivation, you might be in for a very stressful time. Today it’s Katerina Perez or Liz Urla posting beautiful selfies, tomorrow it’s someone else. Both women are very ambitious and have created their own unique ways of showing jewelry. Liz promotes a total look, whilst Katerina is all about the gemstones and design. But they don’t do it alone and have created this investing a huge amount of time and money. You may see the glamour, I see the hard work and the traveling and leaving behind a child home and always try to look amazing. It’s stressful to compare yourself with others. They may be more experts, seasoned, have more followers on Instagram, work with bigger names, get invited more to speak on events. Let that go and put all your energy in yourself and your own audience and work.
- Know what you are good at but also know what you are not great at. When I told my hubby (who has his own business, is a vet and runs franchising of veterinary clinics in the Netherlands) that I wanted to start working for myself again, I had to promise him one thing: outsource everything that is necessary to do, but you are terrible at. So even when I made just a little bit of money, I already had a bookkeeper ;-) Outsource as much as you can. Focus on what you are good at. Even if this means that what you earn goes straight back to paying your bills. It takes time, but when you can focus, you will achieve more in the long run!
- Meditate, take time off, walk. Hours behind the computer, squeezing every bit of creativity out of your brain, it takes its toll. And you need to treasure that creativity and the processes behind it. It’s what creates your blog, your income, and your future. So meditate in the morning, take regular breaks, go out with the dog, play with your child, have a coffee with a friend, look outside the window and stand still now and then. It’s incredible but you’ll notice that most of your brilliant ideas will actually come when you didn’t think about it. Under the shower moments, we call them. It seems like they come out of nowhere! But of course, your brain has worked secretly in the background ;-)
- Talk to bloggers and entrepreneurs of other fields too. Their fresh perspective can really open your world a little more.
- Always write with a specific audience in mind!
- Dive into what I call the boring stuff: SEO, Analytics, measure what works, turn of the emotion and put on your business hat.
- Now I am going to sound a little moralistic here but pay it forward. Many of my biggest assignments have come from a good recommendation from someone I have helped out, without getting paid for it. There is a fine line between getting a little used and paying it forward, but try to trust your gut feeling. Sometimes you were wrong and allowed someone to use you. But most of the times, I some shape or form, it comes back to you. Be impeccable in your words about others as much as you can, and keep things real and in perspective. Yep, I do start to sound like an old wise woman now! hahaha.
- Have fun! No one needs jewelry! But we love and embrace it for thousands of years. It is about meaning, value, status, emotion, art, and expression. Never forget that.