October 6, 2016

How to Grow Your Jewelry Business with Kiva O% Interest Loans

Have you ever had to wait to purchase more inventory, or delay working on a new order, because you were waiting for a payment to come through? Cash-flow is always a challenge for entrepreneurs, and Kiva is here to help.

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WHO IS KIVA?

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through funding to alleviate poverty. Kiva U.S. provides 0% interest loans to small business owners all over the United States. The loans are crowdfunded on the Kiva website by lenders from all over the world. It was originally launched as a pilot in November 2011 under the name Kiva Zip, and was integrated with the main Kiva platform in June 2016. To date, Kiva has lent over $850 million dollars to over 1.5 million entrepreneurs around the world through a global network of over a million lenders.  Learn more about Kiva here.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE for a KIVA LOAN?

Kiva is for any entrepreneur who can use a 0% interest loan to help take his or her business to the next level.  “Because we don’t look at extensive financial data about you or your business, it’s our hope that we accept everyone that’s serious about their business and our crowdfunding program.”  Whether you’re in the idea phase, start-up mode, or an established business, Kiva could be a great option for you. Entrepreneurs can raise money for any business purpose — working capital, equipment, inventory, marketing, or project-based investments are all ways you can leverage Kiva to help your business grow.”

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WHY might KIVA be right for YOU?

This is your opportunity to grow your business by accessing this great source of capital at 0% Interest and NO Fees! Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new domestic program.

So what are you waiting for? Apply Today!

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January 19, 2015

Launch Your Jewelry Business: Live Webinar with Nina!

Wondering how you can turn all of your fabulous jewelry designs and ideas into an actual business? Look no further, Nina has all of the tips and steps you need to take your love for jewelry to the next level. Follow along during a live web seminar to hear ten tips on how to take the next step in making your jewelry dreams a reality.

Nina has over 30 years of experience in running her own business, and wants to share her tips for success with you! During this web seminar you will learn:

  • If you could and should launch your own jewelry business.
  • A detailed jewelry business plan, from book keeping to pricing, branding and marketing
  • How to have the confidence you need for successfully starting a jewelry business & more!

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Sign up here to register for this exciting web seminar hosted by Nina. There will also be a live question and answer period at the end of her presentation, so have questions ready to ask to get an expert’s opinion!

August 28, 2013

Launch Your Jewelry Business :: Step 1 of 10

Are you ready to make the leap from a home jewelry hobby to running your own jewelry business? What are you waiting for?!

It can seem overwhelming but with clear goals and a bit of elbow grease, you will be running a successful business in no time. With 30 years of experience, I have made every mistake in the book.  In 10 STEPS I will help you avoid those pitfalls while  passing on the tips and advice that have helped my business grow.

Step 1-BLOG

STEP 1: Book Keeping

Book Keeping is the main difference between a hobby and a business.

Invest in a professional book keeper from the get-go. Have her help you set up your books correctly and walk you through the process so that you truly understand everything you need to record in order to track all of your income and expenses in a way that will satisfy the IRS.

Accountants are not Book Keepers! But your accountant can probably recommend one and you can & should have your accountant review your books regularly to confirm compliance and help you understand if you are making a profit or losing money because that is not as straightforward or obvious as it seems.

Take the time to learn how to read basic financial statements and understand a few key concepts including the ones listed here: Profit & Loss Statement (P&L), Balance Sheet, Return on Investment (ROI), Gross Profit vs. Net Profit, Break Even Point, Profit Margins, Cash Flow, Variable vs. Fixed Costs, Cost of Goods Sold or CGS

Fully understanding your personal and business finances is an important part of running a successful business.

Stayed tuned for next month’s post. I will explore more business tips including how to cut through the Red Tape that  small business owners face.

Interested in more business advice? Our friends at Interweave were kind enough to let me hold my own webinar on jewelry business tips. You can purchase my recent webinar here.

Meet me at Step 2 :: Red Tape

August 27, 2013

Launch Your Jewelry Business :: Red Tape :: Step 2 of 10

In Step 1 we discussed the importance of book keeping to a successful Jewelry Business. Aside from setting up your books, there are several very important steps you need to take to make your jewelry business official and compliant with Federal and State Laws.

Cut the red tape BLOG

The IRS and Small Business Association have great checklists & introductions on their websites.  The list below is only a sample of some of the most important items that will require your attention.

  1. Select a Business Structure: Decide if you want to be a Sole Proprietor, Corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company). Consult your account because there are tax implications for each choice.
  2. Apply for a federal EIN# if necessary, again, consult your accountant
  3. Employees: There are additional taxes and regulations that come into play if you have employees. Consult an HR professional to be sure you understand your responsibilities. These services are not expensive and will dramatically  decrease your risk of law suits.
  4. State Sales Permit: A state resale license is issued by the state in which you do business and registers you as a wholesale business with your state tax agency. This permit is called different things in different states. For example, the California license is called a Seller’s Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization. In New York, it’s called a Certificate of Authority issued by the Department of Taxation and Finance.
  5. City business license, especially if you have a commercial space
  6. Register your Business Name with the County Clerk. They will require you to do a search to make sure no one else in your industry is using the same name.
  7. You may decide to register a Federal Trademark for greater legal protection. Consult a lawyer about this.
  8. Partnership Agreements.  This is my pet peeve. I have seen too many friendships destroyed in a messy “break up” that could have been avoided with a clear partnership agreement.

There are a variety of taxes that are associated with doing business including city, county, state and federal taxes.

CHECK with your advisors to be sure you have all the permits and licenses you need to operate legally.

Work your way through this list and keep checking back. Next up, STEP 3: Pricing

August 4, 2013

Micro Loans :: Support Artists With Silver Jewelry

Leonor Quispe is a talented arpilleria artist from the Peruvian Andes and a recipient of a Nina Designs Micro Loan. Nina Designs pared with Novica and together the Micro Loans program is making it possible for artisans in Asia, Africa and Latin America to expand their businesses and invest in their local communities.

Leonor’s inspiration and motivation to be an arpilleria artist:

“When I was a girl, I loved to make doll clothes. I’d spin wool from our sheep to make tiny dresses and many other things. When I discovered the art of arpillería (patchwork), I realized this was what I’d always wanted to do. For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to craft things. I realized that I could express my creativity with every scrap of fabric and bring my memories of Ayacucho to life. My work is quite painstaking, but filled with love and the traditions, culture and history of the Peruvian Andes.”

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Leonor is an inspiration! Shop here Novica shop here and support worldwide artists today.

March 27, 2013

Jewelry Findings & Women’s History

Filed under: Inspiration — Tags: , , @ 8:00 am

Without trail blazing women throughout history, there would be no Nina Designs! We are extremely proud to be a woman owned and operated business, supplying our customers with high quality jewelry components and findings.

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March is women’s history month. This is a great time for to each of us to reflect and give thanks for the pioneering women who came before us.  One such woman inspired us to use one of her quotes for our popular poetry charms.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

We couldn’t agree more. Which women throughout history have inspired you?

August 2, 2011

Jewelry Designer Success Story: Peggy Li Creations

Peggy Li is a jewelry designer who graduated from UC Berkeley with a science degree. When you see her jewelry it’s pretty clear she was destined for a creative career. She is a Bay Area local and can be found selling her creations at the Burlingame Farmer’s Market most Sundays. Although she never imagined one day owning a jewelry business, she’s been running Peggy Li Creations for ten years now. Peggy started designing jewelry for herself and her friends. When people started asking where they bought their jewelry, she figured she was on to something. Her jewelry is light and whimsical, feminine and timeless, and, above all, easy to wear. Peggy Li’s jewelry has been featured in magazines like Lucky and Oprah, as well as on TV shows like “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and “Private Practice.”

She also blogs at Peggy Li: Musings of a Handmade Jewelry Designer, where she offers valuable posts on starting a jewelry business and lessons she has learned along the way. You can also find Peggy Li Creations on Facebook and Twitter as well. We tracked her down for a short interview. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s your favorite Nina Designs jewelry component?
My favorite is the simple hoop earring finding with a hammer finish. It is simple, elegant, but obviously handcrafted. It is the perfect beginning to beautiful designs. I believe this was the first Nina Designs item I purchased and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced as a jewelry designer?
I think the greatest challenge I’ve faced as a jewelry designer is to embrace the side of me that is entrepreneurial and creative and express it. When you run your own business, you have to live it 24/7 and I believe in trying to continue to grow, learn and understand my business. For a long time, I didn’t like talking about my jewelry design and my jewelry business — it wasn’t a “real” career to me, and yet my creative side kept me trying, pushing, and exploring where it could take me. My business has constantly rewarded me in return! It’s been a great ride and experience.

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May 31, 2011

Jewelry Design Success Story: S.IN. Jewelry

Meet Dawn of S.IN. Industries

I consider myself lucky to work in a creative environment where women sketch silver charms, talented silversmiths bring them to life, and jewelry designers use them to make beautiful jewelry. Sometimes I even get an insider’s glimpse into the lives of jewelry designers when I meet them at tradeshows and talk to them over the phone. These little glimpses often fill me with inspiration and get me all pumped up to start a little side business of my own. Today I thought I’d share this inspiration with you by introducing Dawn Floen of S.IN. Jewelry.

Dawn is a successful jewelry designer living in Alberta, Canada. She is also a retired visual art teacher and a hobby photographer who enjoys finding and repurposing antiques from flea markets & yard sales. Her favorite holiday is scuba diving in Australia. And, her favorite bead buddy is her pomeranian, JJ, who loves to lounge on his pillow right next to her workbench. What’s really neat is how Dawn has integrated all her favorite activities into her daily life. Way to go Dawn! Thanks for sharing your story.

If you can remember, describe the first piece of jewelry you made. Do you still have it?
I started creating jewelry in 2006. It’s my friend’s fault. She was wearing a new beaded watch that I adored. I asked where she’d gotten it, and promptly went to the website. After seeing the prices, I decided I could make my own. After all, I was an art teacher. I can do this! So, I started where so many of us do. I went to Michael’s. I bought a few beads and supplies and made my first watch. It had teal ocean-coloured lampwork beads and pewter accent beads. And, yes, I still have it.

Before I knew it, I had a desk covered with hundreds of dollars of supplies. Then I started finding beads on ebay. Soon my husband pointed out that I had more than enough jewelry for one person and since I wasn’t going to stop creating any time soon, he suggested I start selling my creations. Soon after, Sunshine INdustries was born. I discovered Nina Designs a bit later when I graduated to precious metals and I’ve never looked back. I now have a large studio, an etsy shop, a website, a blog and enough supplies and tools to keep me going for years!

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June 14, 2010

Jewelry Business, Partners or Solo?

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , @ 8:48 am

Starting a Jewelry Business is often an idea that friends light upon together. Usually, they are friends who enjoy making jewelry together and find the idea of launching a joint commercial venture challenging and exciting. It feels like the natural extension of a fun hobby and a way to deepen and reinforce the friendship. When I am approached by friends at this stage, I always sit them down for “The Talk”. This is not the warm, fuzzy, encouraging pep talk they expect. Rather, I run them through various scenarios to test how well they have really thought through their endeavor.

Collaborating on designs is one of the best parts of partnerships


First, I ask if they are ready to marry each other. Not only that, but are they ready to marry into each others family? A partnership really is like a marriage. Everything you love about your partner will also drive you crazy. Everything that happens to your partner or their close family, also happens to you. If you think it is complicated running your own family, wait until you have to coordinate two families!

What happens if one partner gets divorced? Could an ex-spouse end up owning part of the business? What if a partner gets ill and can’t work anymore? What if one family is forced to move out of town? What if one person just decides they don’t want to do it anymore?

When those questions are answered it is time to move on to more practical issues. Do both partners agree on how many hours a week they can commit to work? Do they agree on how much money to invest in the venture and how much of the profits they will take out or reinvest? Do they have the same vision of how large they want to grow the company?

You get the idea. Partnerships sound appealing but they can actually strain if not end friendships. To avoid that, it is always better to ask the hard questions up front. If you are happy with the answers, go for it! But be sure to have a legal partnership agreement in place before you embark on your new adventure.

Designers, what is your experience with partnerships?

April 26, 2010

Starting a Jewelry Business

Filed under: Business — Tags: , @ 8:30 am

Jewelry Businesses range in size from small part time affairs to large corporations. I am a firm believer that for jewelry, bigger is not always better. Before you decide to start or expand a jewelry business, take the time to get clear on your priorities. Are you primarily interested in making money? If money is your chief motivator, I can tell you right now that there are many other businesses that are more profitable.

Are you looking for a way to spend more time designing and making jewelry? Hobbies actually optimize design time. Any art form that is turned into a business will usually decrease the time you have to work in the studio. Running a full time jewelry business, you will be lucky if you get to spend 10% of your time making jewelry. You would be amazed at how many hours get sucked up in book keeping, marketing, shipping and other generic tasks. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to spend 90% of my time running my business?” If the answer is yes, then by all means, jump in! If the answer is no, you might want to sell just enough to keep you in beads.

Job or Hobby?

In short, use caution before you turn your jewelry hobby into a full time business. Running a Jewelry Business is just as difficult, if not more so, than any other business. Read my articles Starting a Jewelry Business and Is It time to Quit Your Day Job? for more thoughts on the subject.

Here are a few helpful websites for starting a jewelry business: The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, for information regarding basic business decisions. Start here to find out your state agency for sales tax. And, go to Home Jewelry Business Success Tips for answers to many of the questions you may have.

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