Craft industry: starting out as an artisan

A jewelry maker can protect his or her jewelry designs by filing a request with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI).

Who creates what?

A woman started a jewelry workshop

Business area/target group

Jewelry sales and manufacture. She specializes in creating unique designs and in jewelry repair. Customers: private buyers and jewelers from German and French-speaking Switzerland.

Selected legal structure/financing

The workshop was set up as a sole proprietorship. The financing consists of own funds (savings) and external funds (loans from the family).

This entrepreneur must be sure to take the following into consideration:

Intellectual property

To protect the jewelry she designed, the small business owner must submit an application to the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). She can write the application herself or have a patent attorney file the application. The request contains, among other things, a rendering of the object to be protected. She must therefore attach to the application a copy or an image of the model and must pay a fee which may be higher or lower depending on the case (the filing of the patent application costs CHF 200).

Trade register

The small business owner has budgeted for sales of less than CHF 100,000. She is therefore not required to register her sole proprietorship with the trade register (Art. 36, ORC (ordinance on the trade register)). Since her suppliers are required to register, she can do so on a voluntary basis. However, registration does boost the likelihood of securing a bank loan.

Value-added tax

The small business owner has budgeted for sales of CHF 90,000. She is therefore is not required to report this income to the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) because the limit is CHF 100,000 (Art. 10, LTVA (Federal Act on Value-Added Tax)). The small business owner, however, decides to voluntarily pay the value-added tax, to show she has paid input tax.

Economic development agency

As an artisan, the small business owner is advised by the economic development agency, which recommends that she contact the local chapter of the small business association (coopérative de cautionnement). This will make it easier to secure a bank loan.


The small business owner participated in an international jewelry show. A Hungarian jeweler ordered ten of her designs. As Switzerland is a member of the EFTA (European Free-Trade Association), it has an agreement with Hungary, so the small business may receive preferential treatment from the importing country (reduction of or exemption from customs duties). To get this preferential treatment, the agreements set forth in the contracts must be sufficient and the goods must be accompanied by a certificate of origin.

When sending the export, the small business owner takes the necessary steps to ship the goods. Since it is not certain that she is not going to be able to export regularly, she cannot, at least for the time being, request the simplified export regulation form.



Do you wish to start a jewelry workshop? 
If so, follow the “Nine steps to setting up your own business.”

Last modification 26.04.2021

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