Selling loose gems online is an excellent idea for a small business. Such gems as sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds sell for premium prices in the United States, but there are bulk suppliers of these gems overseas that are able to provide them at a fraction of the cost. By dividing wholesale lots and selling the gems individually, you can profit through a process referred to as "breaking bulk." As long as you operate under your own name (and not a business name), you will not need a business license.
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Things you need
- Digital camera
- Small shipping packages
Place an order for a bulk shipment of gems. Many people buy bulk, loose gems from retailers on eBay. This can be a good source of gems, but Alibaba is increasingly a better place to find wholesale products, particularly from Asia, where you are likely to find the best prices on loose gems. These wholesalers will allow you to buy in smaller lots, meaning you need to invest as little as £325. You also can purchase amounts in the tens of thousands of dollars to receive a better price, but you should only do this after building a relationship with a wholesaler. You can buy one type of gem or a mixed lot. For your first order, it is probably a good idea to go with a mixed lot, so you can see which gems are your best sellers.
Group the gems into smaller lots. Depending on the type of gem, you may want to group them individually or with a few others. You may sell them in mixed or single-gem groups.
Take photos of your various groups of gems and upload the images to an Internet listing site, such as eBay or Etsy. Add a description of the gems you are selling. Be detailed and provide as much information as possible. Some things to include are your shipping method, return policy, any warranty you might offer and deals on combined shipping. You may consider selling gems through trade shows or direct to jewellers, but this will involve investing in a business license and insurance.
Ship your orders on a regular basis and keep track of the orders that you have sent out. Be sure to record the tracking information from your shipper in case your customers have any difficulties receiving your products.
Tips and warnings
- Including coupons with your packages can be an excellent way to encourage people to make future purchases with you. Retaining customers is key in any business.
- When ordering anything online, review the seller's information and feedback. Use a credit card after verifying the fraud protection offered by your credit-card company for extra security. Escrow services are available on sites, such as Alibaba, to ensure that you receive the product before the payment is released to the buyer.
- When you order from a new supplier, be certain to have the gems appraised. If there are any problems, contact the seller and, if necessary, your credit-card company to file a chargeback.
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