How to run your own jewellery business

Andrew Howard

Andrew has set up his own jewellery company 'Andrew Charles Designs' after studying a HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Winning a prestigious Goldsmiths' award in 2014 gave his business a boost.

Andrew's dedication to hard work during his time studying at the School of Jewellery has helped him on the way to becoming a successful freelance jeweller. He's learnt to make a special effort with all his suppliers to help him get the best discounts - taking them a bottle of wine at Christmas time has secured him 20 per cent off some of his materials.

And networking with students on other courses helped too - Andrew still uses people who he met here and are now working within different industries to help him with making his boxes and doing his media and PR.

What's your top tips for being a successful entrepreneur?

Know who to know! Many people will offer to help you on your way up the ladder. Unless they can offer you a service or a way to make your chosen career easier or more successful, be grateful, but focus your time on the people that can.

Be dedicated! My days sometimes start at 6am and finish at 1am but my clients are happy and come back to me and my bank balance is healthy! I am now in a position where I pass work on to newly graduated students and in some cases clients!

What advice would you give a 16 year old wanting a career in your industry?

Ask yourself what makes you happy and do it! Those friends that laugh at your choices today probably aren't the people that will still be around on your 30th birthday!

How can someone get the most from their course?

Get here when the university opens, leave when it closes and keep working when you get home. You only have a very short period of time here so the only way you are going to achieve your first is to work really hard.

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Jewellery Designer and Maker

HND Jewellery and Silversmithing

As well as running his own jewellery business, 'Andrew Charles Designs', Andrew shares his knowledge with our current jewellery students as a Lecturer in Design Technology.

I won a Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Gold Award in 2014 for my fashion jewellery project 'Confessional Box – An Understanding'.

Having this award has opened doors to me, with people coming to my websites and booking in commission work.

I decided I wanted to study at BCU when I walked in to the atrium at the School of Jewellery. It's an absolutely amazing space with fantastic staff. It's one of the only universities where you have your own bench throughout the year.

The thing I enjoyed most is the networking opportunities between courses. So rather than just staying at the School of Jewellery, I spoke to people on different courses, I went to preview nights and launches, and networked as much as I could.