Theres an App for That: Assembling a Jewelry Makers Toolbox
Whether it's budgeting for precious metal or dealing with customers, your shiny new mobile device offers many handy ways to make and sell jewelry on the fly. Here are a few apps you can easily (and cheaply!) add to your iPhone or iPad that will help you get your jewelry-making business into full gear.
iMakeJewelry and Metalsmith Suite are mobile toolkits for jewelry makers. Both are priced at $3.99 and either will come in handy when you're estimating costs for a new project or shopping for supplies. Produced by jewelry artist and educator Victoria Lansford, iMakeJewelry allows you to check precious metal prices (via Kitco.com), convert to metric, Celcius to Fahrenheit, and calculate drill bit sizes.
Metalsmith Suite is the nicely-designed app version of Tim McKreight's much-loved jewelry-making books. Like iMakeJewelry, it will help you calculate sheet, wire, and wax weights, convert weight between precious metals, and look up the Mohs scale of an unfamiliar gem material. McKreight's app lists 51 gemstones with a few paragraphs description for each. Lansford's app lists an extra dozen stones but links to Wikipedia entries.
Etsy text will automatically text you whenever you make a sale from your Etsy shop.
Diamond 4Cs Guide from GIA includes a little video demo on judging a diamond's value and the Lazare Diamond 4C's app released an updated version in May with more in-depth information on color variations and carat weight. Both are beautifully produced and free–handy tools if you're working directly with customers on, say, customized engagement rings.
DocStoc Documents and Templates is one of 30 free apps designed for early-stage home-based entrepreneurs and includes video tutorials on how to: build your own website, use subscription to boost product sales, generate traffic for ecommerce sites, work with a virtual assistant. There are tips on SEO and video marketing, using Twitter more effectively, an advertising contract, various bills of sale, even an auction agreement. It's like having your own personal business consultant–free of charge.
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories on design, travel and business have appeared in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, TheJewelryLoupe.com.
NET PROFITS appears regularly in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more about promoting your jewelry in "Best Apps for Jewelry Makers," September/October 2012.