18Jul How do you start an ethical jewellery business?
We often say that making your business ethical or responsible is very much a journey. As we all know, the hardest part of such a journey is often taking the first step. The thought of establishing new ways of working and changing the way we look at our businesses can be daunting. There are so many things that might need to change, but how can we know what is the most important thing to do differently and whether what we choose will work out for the best?
The simple answer is that any change in the right direction is a good one. A common mistake is to plan or strive for perfection and become dissatisfied with our own progress if you do not achieve this unrealistic goal. No business is perfect, so start with some small changes and build up to the bigger ones.
Try picking something easy to increase your confidence in making changes. Find an action that fits with your own personal beliefs or that you think will mean something to your customers. That could be using some fair trade materials, minimising your environmental impact, supporting a charity or promoting gender balance.
The route to a better and more responsible business is long one and not an overnight transformation. Your path may change direction over time as you find the aspects that are most important to you, your colleagues and your customers and choose to focus on those areas before others. The most important thing is to demonstrate a clear commitment to positive change and to be open and transparent about the progress you are making (or not!). You can see how we do this on our Ethical Policy page.
Also, remember that you are certainly not alone on this journey. There are increasing numbers of people in the jewellery sector who share these goals and we see more and more industry bodies and associations who are offering all kinds of support and advice to help you do business in a more ethical and responsible way. See below for a range of useful links.
Take your time to read through this information. Speak to some of the people involved and ask their advice. Learn about the issues in the industry and find inspiration to start your journey.
Remember that it doesn't matter too much what changes you initially decide to make. The crucial action is to pick something that is important to you and take the first step.
Read on for some useful links...
For a great overview of the current situation in the UK, this article by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths is definitely worth reading.
Also, in the USA, the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference brings together many of the industry experts on the topic and is engaged in several amazing projects..
Last, but not least, feel free to contact us as well. If we can't help, then we might know someone who can!