Designing Custom Jewelry


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Jewelry designing is not for someone who finds decision making daunting!  My assistants would say that disqualifies me immediately! The truth is I am a pretty good decision maker after years of experience except when faced with a thousand different gemstones, colors, cuts and other materials! Now add all the possible charms like the special one I use on my Buddha Necklace, our popular Breathe Deeply, our Lucky Elephant, Om and Lotus...That’s the dilemma, but also the fun of it.

So how does one chose? Obviously the prettiest combination and the trending styles make influence your choice, but I just ask myself-would I like to wear that right now?

A new piece starts with a simple design, an experimental color combination, and a choice of metals. Then the fun begins, much to the chagrin of my assistants. I usually like to see it in a few variations. At the end of this process there may be a number of new designs and maybe a coordinating collection of bracelets, earrings or necklaces.

But the process of deciding does not end here. I consider pricing- can I make something most people can afford? Do I have the materials in stock? Should I add diamonds? How long does it take to make? All of these considerations go into the mix.

Then I try it on- uh oh..can we change this to silver and make it longer? What if we….I can drive my assistants crazy.

In the end, my collection of handmade jewelry is affordable, pretty and well made. The final result is well considered. If the design is good my customers are going to like it.

Do You Have What it Takes To Have A Handmade Jewelry Business? Part Two


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If you think you are a great designer and others do too, then you have what it takes to design handmade jewelry. But be prepared to spend more time than you can imagine endlessly photographing, retouching, organizing stock, repairing, filling orders and most importantly, selling and marketing your handmade jewelry. If you can afford it hire a rep or people to help you do it!  Keeping up with all social media is a job all its own. Selling door to door still the most productive way for me to make a sale but requires lots of time and stamina, attention to detail and heavy lifting.  Charity events are also important but not all are created equal.  Some are juried and all of them require advance registration- sometimes a year ahead!  Trade shows are also very productive but only experience and lots of spending, (they can cost $4,000-10,000 a show if done within your region, more if you have to go far away) can tell you which ones are right for your business.  This is only a partial list of activities that go along with the territory if you are serious about establishing yourself in the handmade jewelry design world.

As I mentioned earlier, I spend hours each week posting to my blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and being part of online discussion groups. Now there is Pinterest to attend to as well. Today I added a new activity to the list- Brandboom- a new line sheet program that will generate online PDF line sheets (a simple catalog)  for my wholesale customers. I also update my website whenever I have a new group of creations to sell. Since you are always creating new things this means work never ends.

Then there are the old fashioned routines, calling and emailing my customers to tell them what is new in the line and setting up sales appointments.  I have a total of about 3,500 people to keep in touch with!

To attract new customers plan on doing trade and craft shows to sell to stores and retail and to tell the world you  have jewelry they simply must know about!  If you don’t do well at  first not to worry- people wait to see if you come back- then they will too! I have so many customers that tell me they saw or heard about me years ago. Did I tell you focussing might become a problem? Oh boy- I think I need to hire some more people!!

More to come!