Table of contents
1. Identify your needs
How should you get started?
2. Where to look for the right manfuacturer
Tips & Recommendations
3. The screening process
a. Capacity & Timing
c. Quality Control
d. Ethical Values Social compliance and environmental impact
Are you a jewelry designer at the stage of your business where you are ready to outsource your jewelry production? This stage can look different for everyone, and the starting point is not always the same for every brand.
Perhaps you are a brand-new jewelry designer with concepts ready to be made into physical samples. Or maybe you are an existing jewelry designer unable to keep up with your growing demands. Even well-established jewelry brands need of a running knowledge of new suppliers when theirs aren’t abiding to their quality and production standards.
No matter which stage you are at, this article will guide you through the essential steps in finding the jewelry manufacturer that is right for your needs.
Honorine, one of our talented designers, working on an enamel development at our Paris workshop
1. Identify Your Needs
When looking for a jewelry manufacturer, there are different factors to take into consideration. So how should you get started? First and foremost, you should identify your needs. Ask yourself some key questions:
Are you looking to make fashion/costume jewelry, or fine jewelry?
Knowing the type of jewelry you are creating is crucial when coming to pick your manufacturer. As obvious as it may seem, you should seek out a manufacturer who specializes in the type of jewelry you are producing. It is thus essential to identify the materials and techniques you wish to use for your jewelry.
Are you looking to have your own design prototypes, or will you be using your manufacturer’s designs?
If you go for the latter, then you need to be sure that your manufacturers have in-house design capabilities and that they are well updated with ongoing fashion trends and 3D technology. Their 3D designers will be able to help you from the start of the process.
2. Where to Look for the Right Manufacturer?
Sure, jewelry manufacturers can be found all over the world, but how do you ensure you find the best and most reliable one? Identifying trade shows, attending jewelry networking events and fairs held by jewelers’ associations is a great way to start. It is a great opportunity to network and locate many manufacturing companies at one place.
You should not hesitate to ask any questions or concerns you may have about their capabilities. Most manufacturers will provide samples displaying their production capabilities and specialties. For those new to the jewelry trade, it is a great opportunity to learn about the industry!
The best way to find out where these events are taking place is simply by typing in “international jewelry fair shows” on the internet and you will find a list of jewelry exhibitions whether they are taking place in your country or abroad.
Here are a few events happening in 2022:
It is true that during this time of COVID, attending jewelry fairs can be challenging as they are less frequent. However, the jewelry industry is developing a strong online presence and it is thus important to take advantage of the numerous resources that can be found online. In fact, there are great forums that can connect you to reliable jewelry manufacturers. Stay on the lookout for virtual tradeshows!
3. The Screening Process
Once you have identified and selected potential manufacturers, there are a few more aspects to consider before making your final choice.
a. Capacity and Timing
Depending on your project quantities; you will either pick larger or smaller manufacturers. It may seem obvious, but bear in mind that large companies tend to have larger minimum order quantities (MOQ) than smaller companies. These companies can be less flexible in terms of making small quantity orders, so make sure the company you will work with can accommodate you desired production scale.
Another factor to take into account is timing - companies will have different lead-times depending on each style and order size. If you are a brand that works with retailer cancel dates, this is crucial!
If you are looking for exclusivity, make certain that the jewelry making is performed in-house as it is better to maintain intellectual property protection. Some manufacturers do not have intellectual property rights which means your styles and designs could be copied or reproduced.
c. Quality Control
Examine the quality of the material used and craftmanship. Does the quality meet your brand’s standards? Why not have a look at production done for other clients? To better assess the quality, you can visit the manufacturing site. By doing this, you will also better understand their processes and ways of working. In any case, you want to work with manufacturers who implement great quality control standards such as strict internal inspection processes, in-line inspection on 100% all incoming raw materials, and final inspection according to strict criteria and testing (AQL).
It is also crucial that your manufacturer follows European and US regulations to ensure the safety of your customers.
d. Social Compliance and Environmental impact
Lastly, a critical aspect to consider is the company’s social compliance and Environmental commitment. Jewelry making can have a harmful impact on the environment, but also on the lives of those who work with it. It thus becomes crucial to foresee manufacturers that are transparent and use responsible practices. Make sure your manufacturer runs regular social audits that are in line with your company’s values. They are also very important when you want to verify your manufacturer’s working conditions for compliance with international labor standards. Some examples of social compliance audit firms include:
· TUV SUD
*For example Intertek runs its audits based upon the following criterias: Labor, Wages & Hours, Health & Safety, Management Systems, Environment.
We are proud to have scored 92% on our last Intertek audit!