A pearl party is a 21st-century twist on the old-school Tupperware party, with mainly women getting together online, rather than in person, to open oysters, rather than food containers, in the hopes of finding gorgeous pearls. Thanks to a pandemic-driven boost, pearl parties are all the rage among certain groups, which means this is a legit business opportunity.
Of course, starting a pearl party business will be hard work, and you’ll need to know what you’re doing. Lucky for you, this step-by-step guide has all the information you need to party your way to entrepreneurial success.
Step 1: Decide if the Business is Right for You
When starting a pearl business, passion alone isn’t enough. So, take stock of the basics first. Ask yourself, what are the ins and outs of this industry? Do I have the skills required? Why do I want to start this business?
Some important things to know at this stage include the below.
Pros and cons
- Work from home and choose your working hours
- Low startup costs and few barriers to entry
- Few regulatory and compliance requirements
- Difficult to assess a pearl’s value
- Stocking enough oysters can be challenging
The future of the pearl business looks promising. The global jewelry market will be worth a whopping $20 billion by 2025, following five years of impressive 13% growth.
Key factors shaping the industry are the increased online demand for fine jewelry, expected to account for 10% of the global market by 2020, and more and more people staying at home these days. With customers opting to buy their jewelry online instead of brick-and-mortar stores, this gives more opportunity to smaller startups.
How much does it cost to start a pearl party business?
Starting a pearl party business will cost anywhere from $7,000 on the lower end to $20,000 on the higher end. Your biggest costs will be procuring oysters and marketing.
|Licenses and permits||$300||$1,000||$650
|Marketing and advertising||$1,500||$5,000||$3,250
How much can you earn from a pearl party business?
The amount of money you can generate from hosting an online pearl party depends on how many parties you’re able to host in a month, the number of attendees, and your overhead. Average revenue from a pearl party is about $1,500, and you should be able to achieve a profit margin of about 70%.
In your first year or two, you might host 5 parties each month, giving you annual revenue of $90,000 and a profit of more than $65,000. After you establish a reputation, you might host 12 parties each month and bring in $2,000 in revenue from each. This would give you annual revenue of $288,000, and a tidy profit of $200,000.
There really is no limited to the income potential. Before the pandemic, established company Vantel Pearls made around $500 per party. Now their live-streamed parties often bring in $6-7,000, and have reached as high as $17,000.
What barriers are there?
There are relatively few barriers to entry for the pearl party business. Some of the potential hiccups you’re likely to encounter as a new entrant include:
- Low participation, as pearl parties are still somewhat unknown. It might take several weeks or months to create awareness about your business and bring in a good crowd.
- Customers may be hesitant to buy pearls from a new company. Keep in mind, pearls can be expensive, so it may be a while before customers trust you with their money.
Step 2: Hone Your Idea
You now have a general overview of what operating a pearl party business involves. It’s time to develop and validate your idea further. You’ll want to address the following aspects:
Why? Identify and opportunity
The pool party market is still at its infant stage. Like any emerging industry, the ability to pinpoint opportunities can be the secret sauce to raking in mega-profits. The first step is to build a social media following, particularly on Facebook.
Research pearl party businesses on Facebook and Instagram to examine their products and services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill, or a niche market, such as specializing in brightly colored pearls. This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
You can target market segments your competitors are ignoring by expanding your reach, and even possibly going global, since this is mainly an online business. You could also choose to start by hosting parties online and expand to in-person pearl parties as your business grows.
How? Understand the operation of a pearl business
When you know precisely how a pearl party business operates, you can seize opportunities that can help you stand out and, most importantly, attract the right audience. At a pearl party, people gather in person or tune into live streams where hosts open oysters to reveal colorful pearls inside.
Here’s how a pearl party works:
- The host presents the oyster stock, with participants buying pearls they find appealing
- After an oyster is purchased, the host opens it and reveals the pearl inside
- The host appraises the pearl, usually around $30-40
- The buyer then agrees to sell the pearl to a jeweler or have it embedded in jewelry
- The attendees can also request the host to ship the pearls
While in-person gatherings consist of a handful of attendees, online streams are accessible to a wider audience, which means they often make more money. In-person gatherings, however, tend to build stronger bonds and repeat business.
The dynamics of operating a pearl party business are complex. Some of the things you need to figure out before hosting a party include:
How to get a supply of oysters
You’ll need a steady, reliable supply of oysters to keep your business up and running. Most pearl parties use imported oysters. To import oysters, you must comply with the following regulations:
- Apply for an import/export license from the Fish & Wildlife Service, which costs $100 and is valid for a year
- You can only ship your oysters through specific ports
- You must declare the oysters you’ve imported for your party to the FWS
- You’ll pay a $93 user fee with every importation of oysters
You can source your oysters from France, Ireland, Canada, or the Netherlands, with France being the largest exporter of oysters.
While importing oysters can be expensive, you can partner with a multi-level marketing company to help you get affordable oysters for your business. The partnership allows you to buy pearls from the company and, at the same time, become a distributor. Some popular pearl companies include Gifts From Under the Sea, Aww Shucks, Pearls Gone Wild, Delta Pearls, Vantel Pearls, and It’s Pearl Time.
Be sure to do a background check before buying pearls from an MLM pearl company. You want to make sure you’re dealing with a credible and transparent company.
How to appraise the value of revealed pearls
One of the advantages of getting your pearls from an MLM company is that they can appraise the pearls for you. But if you’ve imported your pearls, you may need to work with a jeweler to help you evaluate and appraise the unveiled pearls. Or, you can learn how to appraise the pearls by enrolling in an online course.
Here are some appraisal course options:
How to host an online pearl party
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are the most popular platforms for hosting pearl parties, especially if you want to reach a global audience. The beauty of using these platforms is that they allow your followers to share the broadcast with their audience, bringing in new followers and potential customers in the process.
How to convert or embed pearls into jewelry
Many pearl party attendees will want to embed the unveiled pearl in a piece of jewelry. Therefore, you must provide this service – which you can do by working with a reputable jeweler.
In most cases, the jeweler can convert the pearls into jewelry or embed the pearls in another item bought by the participant.
How to make money from organizing a pearl party
The primary source of income for a pearl party business is selling pearl-bearing oysters. Wild or saltwater pearls fetch more money than freshwater or cultured pearls because they’re more rare. A strand of cultured pearls sells for $50 to $2,000, whereas wild pearls can fetch between $300 and $25,000.
The average cost of an oyster is $20. Embedding the pearl in items ranges from $29 to $200. Depending on the number of people who show up at your party, you can rake in as much as $3,000, even in the early months.
Who? Identify your target market
The target market for a pearl party business is women aged 18 to 45, and you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Where? Choose your business premises
At the early stages of a pearl party business, you can broadcast live parties online from home. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. Find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
- Central location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
- Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
- Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
- Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
- Including keywords, such as “pearls” or “pearl party”, boosts SEO
- Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
- Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your offerings in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register your Business
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to pearl parties.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your pearl party business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
- Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
- Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
- Corporation – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
- S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
Step 6: Register your Business
After you’ve identified your source of funding, the next step involves registering your business to make it legal and safeguard your brand. At this point, you’ll want to determine the following:
Choose where to register your company
Analyzing your area, identifying your potential customer demographics, and considering the location of your potential customers are essential aspects to finding and selecting the right location for your business.
Further, it is important to note that location directly affects your revenue, legal requirements, and taxes, whether you’re operating your pearl business online or doing in-person events.
Choose your business structure.
The structure you choose affects every aspect of your business, from the day-to-day operation, personal liability, and taxes. Ideally, you’ll want a structure that offers the right balance of liabilities and benefits.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online. It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
- Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
- SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
- Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
- Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
- Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
- Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a pearl party business.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a pearl party business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties. If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your pearl party business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
- General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
- Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
- Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
- Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
- Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
- Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
- Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
Some of your business will come from casual online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Buy Now”. This can sharply increase purchases.
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your pearls meet their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your ___ business could be:
- The most beautiful pearls you’ve ever seen!
- Make gorgeous new jewelry with the perfect pearls
- Girls night! With gemstones. What could be better?
Take advantage of your website, social media presence and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- In-Person Sales – Offer your pearl parties at local markets, trade shows
- Sponsor events – Pay to be a sponsor at events that are relevant to your target market
- Post a video – Post a video about your pearl parties. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Email marketing/newsletter – Send regular emails to customers and prospects. Make them personal.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Influencer marketing – Pay people with large social media followings to promote your pearl parties. You can find micro-influencers with smaller followings and lower rates.
- Do a webinar – Share your pearl party expertise online with a video seminar
- Testimonials – Share customer testimonials about how they adore your pearls
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a pearl party business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in pearls for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in pearl parties. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a pearl party business include:
- Marketing Lead – SEO strategy, social media
- General Manager – Oversees operations, finances
- Jewelry Expert – Appraisals, importation, partnerships with jewelers
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
Step 13: Start Making Money!
If you’ve made it this far, you know just about everything there is to know about starting a successful pearl party business. Now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and begin your entrepreneurial journey! But you might want to bookmark this page, just in case.
Pearl Party Business FAQs
How much money do you make selling pearls?
Revenue varies depending on the type and quality of your pearls. For example, you can rake in up to $25,000 for a strand of white pearls. Freshwater pearls, on the other hand, can generate $50 to $2,000 per strand.
Are pearl party pearls worth anything?
Yes, they are. However, there’s no specific standard to measure the value of these pearls. Even so, be sure to procure high-quality pearls. The higher the quality of your party pearls, the more revenue you can generate.
What do Pearl Chic consultants make?
Pearl consultants earn a commission of up to 25% per sale. They also make an extra 2% if a new salesperson recruited under their name meets the set sales targets.
What are pearl opening parties?
The host displays oysters for sale at a pearl opening party before popping open the sold oysters to reveal the pearls tucked inside. Attendees can choose to buy the pearls as they are or as jewelry in a necklace or earring.