I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
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If you want to start a metal stamping business, then this is the post for you!
I’m sharing how to stand out in a competitive market, where you can source your material, and the challenges you need to watch out for.
Today I’m going to talk about how to get your metal stamping business started.
Metal stamping is the art of imprinting premade letters or designs (called ‘stamps’) onto a piece of metal using a hammer.
You can definitely get creative with this, but primarily, metal stamping is used to make jewelry or small keepsake items.
There are a lot of advantages to a metal stamping business.
What I love most about metal stamping is that it’s a great craft to get into if you’re creative, but don’t have what I’d call ‘traditional artistic skills’ like drawing, illustration or painting.
I can’t draw to save my life!
There’s also so many stamps available, you’ll have unlimited options for your designs!
If you’d like to go this route, you can even have custom metal stamps designed for you which would increase your design possibilities even more!
If you’re looking to learn more about metal stamping techniques, Beaducation has a great playlist that will give you a ton of information.
Personalization is a HUGE draw for people, and metal stamping is a great way to offer customers a personalized product without designing an item totally from scratch every time.
For example, stamping the name ‘Alex’ on a bracelet takes the same amount of time as stamping the name ‘Jane’, and yet those two customers would be equally delighted by their personalized items.
If you compare this to creating a custom dress design or a personalized portrait, which can take dozens of hours to make, then it’s pretty clear that metal stamping is the better choice.
It’s not only fast to do but it also appeals to people’s love and the trend of personalized products.
You can check many boxes with a metal stamping business.
While there are a lot of great advantages, you also have some challenges to look out for.
The biggest challenge with starting a metal stamping business is the upfront cost of your tools and materials.
To do metal stamping at a professional-quality level you’ll need a few tools to get you started.
The minimum tools required:
However, your business likely won’t be successful if you just had one font and one decorative stamp, so you can expect to invest in a comprehensive library of stamps as you’re testing different styles.
This can quickly add up!
I absolutely love this video from Make it Kate, who is a metal stamper.
In this video, she tells you everything she’s learned about selecting tools and what she wishes she’d known when she got started.
You’ll definitely want to watch this if you’re serious about getting started.
The key takeaways from Kate is that it’s essential to invest in quality tools, or else your metal stamping results will look sloppy and you’ll waste a lot of raw material.
Waste is a huge challenge for metal stamping.
If you’re stamping a bracelet with the saying ‘Not all who wander are lost’ and you mis-stamp the ‘s’… the whole bracelet is now unusable.
This is different from a craft like knitting, where you can unravel the last few stitches.
So, developing your technique and aiming for flawless execution is crucial.
The last challenge I want to mention is that metal stamping is a crowded marketplace.
It’s going to be critical that you distinguish yourself from your competitors, which I’ll help you do!
Let’s talk about the products that you’re going to stock in your shop.
Remember that you need to make sure that your shop is offering products that people are excited about buying.
Otherwise you won’t make a lot of sales.
In a crowded space like metal stamping, it’s essential that your shop has a direction and a focus that resonates with people.
This should be unique to you and your shop.
You’ve got to take some time here to figure this out!
You can start by thinking about the tools and materials that you’re most attracted to working with.
This is where the real research and discovery work happens.
Get on Etsy and check out what other metal stamping shops are offering.
I’m not advocating for you to copy other people’s work, this is just research to see what is trending right now and what people are excited about.
You want to look not only at other metal stampers, but also at what’s trending more generally.
Are you seeing a lot of dog collars? Then maybe that bolsters your confidence in making dog tags.
Are you seeing lots of knitters purchasing custom wooden tags for their finished products? Then maybe you could stand out by offering a metal version.
Etsy is my go-to for doing this kind of research because so much of the information is public.
Next, you’ll need to think about what kind of special sauce you can add to your products to really make them stand out.
Your idea doesn’t have to be some new invention that no one else is doing. It just needs to be your own unique spin to it.
You don’t have to get too complicated with this. Simple is best!
For the nitty-gritty on how to price your products you’ll want to check out my pricing video here.
One of the things that you’ll need to consider with this type of business is how much time it takes you to make the whole product.
This includes adding on chains and polishing and not just the stamping time!
I see too many business owners not factoring this in which leads them to undercharging for their products.
Another important factor is what the market can bear.
The way that you can find this out is by hopping back on Etsy and figuring out what other shops are charging for products that are just like yours.
The more specific that you can get the better.
Just keep in mind as you’re doing Etsy research, most shops on Etsy are undercharging, so take what you see with a grain of salt.
If you’ve done your research or maybe even experimented in your own shop and you suspect that you won’t be able to sell your basic bracelets for the money you need to make it worth it, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new product options.
I see a lot of businesses buying their supplies at retail prices.
Which means they go into their craft store and buy their supplies at the same price everyone else pays.
Or waiting for a big box store to have a coupon before you buy your new font of alphabet stamps.
This is a very hard way to run a successful business.
When you purchase an item from a retail store you’re usually paying 50% more than you would if you purchased them at wholesale or bulk prices.
If you are purchasing significant quantities of metal blanks and chains, you should be able to purchase it wholesale to save money.
ImpressArt is the leader in metal stamping supplies, and they have an artisan program which gives you discounts depending on the quantity you purchase.
So for large quantities, it’s worth trying to get as close to the source as possible.
Alibaba is a site that allows you to connect directly to factories in China.
This allows you to purchase large quantities of materials like chains and findings at very low prices.
Be aware, though, that they aren’t always truthful about the metal content of the pieces and you’ll need to order large quantities to make it work for you.
Your supply chain is the starting point of everything you make.
You’ll find that the cost difference between a run-of-the-mill blank and a really stand-out-unique aren’t too far apart in price when purchasing in smaller quantities.
A customer will happily pay more for a distinctive piece of jewelry and you’re doing the same stamping work for each!
So, think carefully about your quality and pricing when selecting your supplies.
You may find that the path that works best for you isn’t finding the lowest-priced materials, but you might head to Etsy and purchase blanks from another small business that gives your business the special sauce it’s looking for.
Okay, so now that you have your supply chain in line, it’s time to start thinking about marketing your business.
If you want to hear me go on forever about how much more awesome your own website is than Etsy, then you’ll want to pop over to this video.
In short, Etsy is fine and can even be a good place to start if you don’t care to ever make your business a full time income.
But you should have your sights set on launching your own site!
This is especially true if you want it to financially support you.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have a collection of product photos that you can use in your marketing materials.
Don’t forget to include some lifestyle photos that show your products in a real world setting.
For example, someone wearing your necklace or your trinket dish sitting on a coffee table.
These photos are great for social media and they also help the customer picture your item in real life.
If you’re struggling with your logo, head to somewhere like Creative Market or Fiverr.
On these sites, you can get either a template to use yourself or have someone else use a template to make you a logo.
They’re surprisingly custom-looking and usually modern and on-trend!
Once you have all of that set up, it’s time to start marketing your business.
Influencer marketing and media outreach is especially effective when it comes to lifestyle products like jewelry, gifts and accessories.
It’s one thing to see a picture of a nice necklace, but it’s a whole other thing to see that necklace on a person you admire or look up to, or displayed on the pages of a magazine that you love reading.
If you can get someone who has a really big audience, like tens of thousands, to wear and promote your products on a platform like Instagram or YouTube or their own website, chances are high that their followers will become your loyal customers as well.
How do you get influencers and movers and shakers to work with you for free?
Especially when you’re just starting out? And wait, doesn’t it cost to get featured?
Well, that’s why I suggest working with micro-influencers or highly specific and targeted influencers.
These are people who have a few thousand highly-engaged followers, but are still on the rise, or they’re people who have huge audiences but who don’t get pitched jewelry very often.
Influencers are always looking for interesting content ideas for their audience and cool products to show their followers.
So by sending them a free product you know they’ll love and providing them with an exclusive discount coupon they can share with their fans, you’re actually giving them valuable content for their audience, which in turn allows them to grow.
Sure, you’ll need to cover the cost of making and shipping them your jewelry, but even if a single person buys your product, you’ll have made your money back.
Don’t forget that influencers are friends with other influencers!
Getting your products out there is always going to be better than just keeping your products at home.
That’s how my jewelry got on the TV show Parks and Recreation where Amy Poehler wore one of my necklaces!
It was because my jewelry was featured on a small blogger’s website, and the wardrobe stylist of the TV show happened to be a reader of that site and found my work there.
You could end up on bigger influencers’ radars just from the mere act of putting yourself out there.
And it’s totally a myth that you have to pay to play.
I’ve gotten featured in dozens of influencers, blogs, websites and magazines and I’ve only ever paid for it once.
Influencer and media outreach is so powerful!
It’s how I started and established a consistent income for all my businesses.
If you want to learn more about how to do this, I have a free workshop you can watch here.
I’ll show you how I send my emails to influencers, what I say, and that entire process.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about starting your own metal stamping business!
If you have any questions leave a comment below.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for more tips and inside secrets!
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You make a great point about having jewelry that brings out your personality. I would like jewelry made out of steel. I’ll have to order the parts.
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