I want to start an online business selling jewelry, but I can't find factories or suppliers to make my products, help!
We want to start answering the question with a brutal truth - If your last name isn't on the wall of any particular hotel chain, if you are not born with this thing called a 'trust fund' tucked neatly under your little pillow, the chances are, you will struggle to make it online in the midst of half a billion websites out there.
Of course, it's not to say it is impossible, since some of our customers have started from nothing but selling from their niche corner of the globe, but to have a chance of succeeding, you have to play it right, and play it smart.
Before venturing into buying all the things you like since starting a 'store' can be exciting, understand this - You will more than likely, in the beginning months, hardly sell as much as one piece of anything on your site. Which means, especially if you are in fashion, you do not want to have 100 pcs of anything sitting around your room because it will be obsolete in 3 months, and what do you do with them then?
So unless you have money to burn (if this is the case, we have plenty of charities to recommend you), do not bother to try to produce anything yourself with a factory, because you will end up wiping yourself clean before you even had a shot of launching your business (since minimums can be more than 100 pieces), and finding random factories on a website is plain silly, because they can take your money and disappear without giving you anything, the world is not always as pleasant a place as school.
Your next option is to buy jewelry from established brand (may we suggest, Adia Kibur?), but the problem with brands are, they are snobby (well, depends on their mood swing), and they have high minimums you have to meet in order for them to sell to you too, mainly because they have limited attention span and they want to spend it on customers that have steady businesses. So unless you have plenty of dough (say, thousands of dollars every 3 months to spend), and brands are willing to sell to a newbie at the expense of ruining their brand, this is also a limited path to take.
A more common option is to look into the wholesale district in your area. Every major city will have a hub of wholesalers, where stores full of merchandises are available to you to walk in there, show your credentials as a store (yes, you need to actually go to your local city offices and apply to be a retailer), and then pick what you like. They also have minimums, but at least it's not as neck breaking as establish brands. The con is you won't get great quality products, but if you have a good eye, you can find a gem or two to get yourself off to a good start.
If you are super tight on budget, the very best way to get your web business started is to make your own jewelry. The pro is you end up some really unique stuff that sets yourself apart so you can build a following, the con is, it is a lot of work, and you have to know what you are doing. You can start off by visiting your local thrift stores or street fair, purchase some vintage items and play around with it. It could be very rewarding if you are into the creative side of jewelry making.
We wish you the best with your online venture, please do take care not to spend your hard earned money (or your parent's) needlessly, because any successful venture requires a smart business person, and having a good eye for fashion is a standard requirement, not a meaningful advantage to what you do unless you can pull the rest together.