Learning Time Management Skills will help improve efficiency and profits for your jewelry business.
Find out how to make the best use of your time, including ways to keep track of what you are doing, and the difference between billing for wholesale and retail activities.
The first step to learning time management skills is to start logging your hours using an activity log. I use Excel to keep track of how I spend my time, and I’d advise you to use a similar program.
Start off by setting up rows with the following headings: Building, Design, Sourcing, Leads/Feedback, Sales/Marketing, Office, and Shipping.
Then setup the columns with the days of the week. It should look something like the chart below.
All you have to do is keep track of the time you spend each day working on these activities. Here’s a breakdown of each of the rows:
- Building: This is the time you spend making jewelry, this does not include design time, which is a separate category.
- Design: The amount of time you spend figuring out your designs. This includes taking apart and reworking existing designs, research, and developing new lines.
- Sourcing: The time you spend, including travel, to source, buy, and bring home jewelry making supplies.
- Leads & Feedback: Leads is about finding and consulting with wholesale accounts, and taking feedback from existing customers.
- Sales & Marketing: Time you spend selling your work on a wholesale level to customers. This includes website maintenance, photography, marketing materials such as line sheets, catalogs, postcards, and email correspondence.
- Office: Accounting, keeping the studio in order, whatever time you take to keep your business running. In the beginning, you may spend more time in this section learning about starting a business.
- Shipping: The time you spend shipping orders to your wholesale accounts. This includes sourcing shipping materials, packing, and waiting in line to ship your orders.
Wholesale vs. Retail Sales
As you are learning time management skills, you’ve probably noticed that I allocated time for wholesale activities, and that’s because the wholesale part of a business is separate from the retail side. They involve different types of work, so there are different time management strategies.
Many jewelry designers make the mistake of billing their design and jewelry making time as part of their retail pricing.
What they don’t understand is that design and the making of jewelry is part of figuring out your jewelry wholesale pricing. Only when you have a wholesale price set can you actually sell jewelry on a retail level.
You’ll learn a lot more about all of this in the Pricing Jewelry segment of this website.
Time Management for Retail Sales
Time allocation for selling jewelry on a retail level is a little different, refer to the chart below:
Notice we’re missing three components in the retail chart: building, design, and sourcing. When you are selling jewelry at the retail level, you aren’t building, designing, or sourcing anything. You are taking a markup, usually multiplying the wholesale price of your jewelry by 2 to 2.5 times.
The majority of your time is now spent on selling jewelry, which falls under the sales/marketing category. Your time is spent traveling to the venue, setup, the time you spend at the craft show, and then packing and heading home. Or you are spending the majority of your time setting up your retail store online.
Making Use of Activity Logs
Not only are these activity logs useful for calculating your wholesale prices, but you can also use them to pinpoint where you are spending too much time. Of course, in the beginning, you may spend more time building your business and learning how things work, so you may end up making a bit less than you normally would.
But over time, you’ll really begin to see how you spend your time, and this will help you maximize your profits when setting your wholesale prices.