4 Jewelry Business Tips

Nov 15, 2007

Welcoming a New Jewelry Designer

A few weeks ago, I had an email from a new jewelry designer. She enjoys working on projects like Leslee Frumin's right-angle weave necklace, Puttin' on the Ritz. (Her version is pictured at left; instructions are in Beadwork February/March 2007). She also enjoys making her own designs and wants to start selling her work. After I emailed her with some advice, she wrote back to let me know that she had to put her business website on hold because of . . . algebra.

Did I mention she's 12?

One of the wonderful things about working in a creative field like beading is that your age doesn't matter nearly as much as the quality of your work. Part of my advice to Becca was to not let other people tell her she was "too young" to start following her dreams. What advice or encouraging words do you have for her, or other new designers? Please share your wisdom in the comments section, so we can all enjoy and learn!


Bead Crochet and Wire Necklace from Step by Step Wire Jewelry 

 

Harvest Gold Necklace
by Judy Zedalis

This fall-inspired project combines wirework and bead crochet in autumn colors of amber, gold, black, and brown. Even if you aren't interested in bead crochet, you might take a look at some of the wireworking features (like the coils pictured at right) and try incorporating those into a design.

 

Check out the Winter 2008 issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry for great projects like wire embellished beads, 4-in-1 chain maille earrings, a pearl cuff bracelet, and a flowing collar necklace by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong that will challenge advanced wireworkers.  View the full table of contents


 4 Jewelry Business Tips

  • Home Shows
    "No costly booth to buy, no jury fees to pay, and best of all, no competing jewelers--home shows are a fun and easy way to sell your jewelry."--Stephanie Riger, "Selling Your Jewelry the Easy Way," Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Winter 2008

  • Business Name
    "Think about the impression your business name will make on potential customers. There's a world of difference between Barbie's Baubles and Barbara Norton Custom Jewelry. They both work--but for different markets, different styles."--Viki Lareau, Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry

  • Pricing Your Work
    "That rate must reflect not just the hours put into a particular piece but all of the investment in acquiring the skills to make it that well and that quickly: all training, both casual and formal, and all related experience to date."--Merle White, "What's Your Time Worth?," Jewelry Artist, October 2007

  • Fear of Rejection
    "Those few who don't mind being told 'no thanks' a number of times, having door after door shut in their faces, and being turned down by shows and stores have a clear advantage. Instead of letting rejections get them down and giving up (which is most often the case), these people use criticism and rejections as lessons to make their products better."--Viki Lareau, "Bead Biz", Beadwork, December 2007/January 2008


Coming Next Week: Holiday-related projects to kick off your gift-making season.

Today's the last day to answer the current poll question: Have you ever sold a beaded item you've made?

Story Update: The instructions for the o-ring necklace by the Sleepless Beader (see the photo in Monday's post) will be published in the March/April 2008 issue of Step by Step Beads.


Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She is going to start on her holiday beading this weekend!



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Comments

ShelleyB@9 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 11:34 AM
We have a daughter whose dream is to be a studio artist. We encourage her gifts by finding teachers, exposing her to all genre of art, offering support and criticism as needed. Parent involvement is essential, help them discover the directions they want to go and help them achieve these goals. Through expousure to other genre of the visual arts she now has taken a great interest in weaving, beading and now digital art. Also having a father who does ceramics, beading and chain maille keeps her surrounded and stimilate daily. Help your children to find their own path, walk with them and when they are ready let them journey on their own.
Capemaynuts wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 11:55 AM
My biggest piece of advice to anyone who wants to sell their creativity is to develop a very tough hide. No matter how wonderful the piece you make is, someone is going to reject it. This can be extremely painful, especially if the piece is something you've put alot of yourself into, but its going to happen. The worst part, at least for me, are the ones who are totally unaware of how cruel their comments are. Remind yourself that not everyone has good taste and focus on the next customer.
razberry1260 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 12:10 PM
My granddaughter is 12 years old and loves to go down into my studio to create. Her talent is amazing and I encourage her any way I can.

Age doesn't matter, whether young or elderyly, an individual can do anything they put their mind to.

I think it is so important to help and guide any new artist trying to make a place for themselves. I even like to get some guidance and I have been creating my own line of jewelry for a few years now.

Just don't give up on your dreams and you will succeed. Negatives play just as much of a role as positives do when we go on our journeys.
DONNAZ@4 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 1:00 PM
I have been teaching intermediate to advanced beadwork for more than 8 years. On of my first students started beading when she was 10. Her mother would graph out patterns for peyote stitched amulet bags and Hailey would bead them. After more than 3 years of this Hailey joined my class and was my start pupil for more than 4 years. Hailey brought her talent and enthusiasm to class every week and made all the adults work harder. "If she could do that, I sure can." It was great for everyone!
DeloresR@7 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 1:05 PM
Hi Becca, I am so impressed with Your beautiful necklace. You have a wondeful talent. Follow Your dreams but, Your school work is of utmost importance for now. In Your free time play with your friends, bead, design and enjoy yourself.
My name is Delores and I am a granny that wishes She had started beading when I was young.

You have a bright future. Hopefully You can go on with Your education and get a degree in Business,(or whatever). Being a part of the beading world is fun, but Beads are expensive and for that You will need an income. It might be from selling Your work or something else.

I wish You great success in Your life.
Your beading friend,
Delores
EleanorJ@8 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 1:06 PM
Yeah, Becca go for it. I have a 12 year old daughter who started beading 2 years ago (same time as me). Recently I sold some of her work along with mine and only told people her age after the sale was made. They were really impressed! In fact, I'm taking some of her work to a craft fair with mine tomorrow, so wish us both luck!
daffymommy wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 2:04 PM
It's so wonderful that you found your talent in beading so early in life! I say, from personal experience, dream big and you'll come to even bigger adventures.

Keep something special evey month or so of something that you bead, so when you get older you can look back at your earlier work and see how far you have come.

Remember to make time to bead a little everyday.
JanisF@5 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 2:12 PM
How exciting Becca. Age doesn't matter and the earlier you can start the better. At your age I could only daydream of doing what you are doing. Now, only at 52 am I finding my creative talent. You go for it girl!
Timaree wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 2:20 PM
Actually, I am going to use you, Becca to encourage my granddaughter to go for her dreams. She is too unsure of who she is yet, unlike you but perhaps when she sees what you have made she will want to do more with her talents. Nothing like peer pressure! I don't have any tips for you as I don't sell my beadwork, just give it away as gifts. It's an alternate path that I find rewarding but then, I don't need to earn my living. Go for it with all you've got but I agree with some others, pay attention to your schoolwork too. It's not nearly so much fun but it is necessary. Good luck. Hope to see some more of your work here.
SherryR@15 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 2:22 PM
Becca, follow your heart and dreams! Get as much education as you possibly can and try your hand at more than just beading alone. Explore all your options, use common sense and be true to yourself and you can't go wrong!
OliviaS@5 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 2:41 PM
Not getting discouraged over age is a big big part of owning a jewelry business at a young age and being an entrepreneur. I started making jewelry when I was 10 and made it into a business when I was about 11. You can see my jewelry at www.oliviashope.com. When you own a jewelry business your age doesn't matter. What matters is the quality of your work and the integrity you have in making it. Most importantly enjoy it!
bodhikt wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 3:23 PM
To Becca:

Stick with the math-- eventually, it WILL be something you can use to help yourself.
Algebra is good... and a class in statistics can be very useful when you want to figure out where to go business-wise. The class excercises tend to be yawn-inducing and probably unrelated to anything YOU can relate to, but try to read between the lines and apply it to what you do.
AmeliaV@3 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 6:06 PM
Becca, I have been a life long crafter of one kind or another. It started when my grandmother gave me a corner of her new quilt to stitch. From there I was into everything else. Now at 75 I'm a beader. Go for it, girl! You may be the next great designer-Jeweler!!
BonnieT@19 wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 8:54 PM
Hi Becca! As you get older and get to look back on your life, you will probably find out that your interests, talents and abilities follow you! They mature as you do. To encourage you, I would share that in the store I work, we have been selling the earrings of a young girl who lives in town for two years now. She started with a local school craft fair and began to upscale her work. People love her earrings. I say: Dare to dream! I'm 55 and have been beading a couple of years now and my necklaces also sell at the store. It's a wonderful compliment when someone likes a piece that you have done. Not everyone has the same taste, so try to vary your work...you'll be surprised who will pick up the piece you like the least and say: WOW! Best wishes ~ Bonnie
Kathryn Tyre wrote
on Nov 16, 2007 11:10 PM
I hope that age is not a factor. Two years ago, at 62, I dove head first into making jewelry to sell at art shows. It is only now beginning to take off, but I have never been happier or more fulfilled. It's never too late to dream and believe.
Bjmack1213 wrote
on Nov 17, 2007 9:31 PM
There a 3 basic rules to remember and you can apply to life or business. The 3 R's.
Respect for yourself
Respect for others
Responsibility for what you do
If someone critizes something you make remind yourself You like it, but remember why they didn't, maybe you can use it later to make something they might buy.
Good Luck
BJ
ozbianca wrote
on Nov 18, 2007 12:11 AM
My advice mirrors what others have said: do not give up. THis is not only applicable to Becca - too often I speak with beaders who have just opened a web or other shop, and are disappointed that the customers do not flock. Know your customer, understand how and where they shop and target your market. Plan ahead. Creativity is wonderful but running a business requires other skill such as planning and changing your strategy. Always focus on quality and craftmanship and have a story to tell that is compeling. Most of all, take time, don't strive to be successful overnight.
MARJORGOODS wrote
on Nov 18, 2007 7:36 AM
TO BECCA AND ALL NEW DESIGNERS, I WAS IN MY LATE 50'S WHEN I STARTED TO BEAD. I SELL A FEW PIECES NOW AND THEN. GO WITH YOUR HEART AND KEEP ON LEARNING. YOU ARE NEVER TOO YOUNG OR OLD TO LEARN. BECCA, I THINK YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL GIFT AND WILL REAP REWARDS WITH IT. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND SHOW US SOME MORE BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS, MARGIE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
NitzaA wrote
on Nov 18, 2007 4:13 PM
The Sky is the limit... continue your dreams.
SusanL@125 wrote
on Jan 11, 2008 12:06 AM
just don't give up! I graduated Nursing School in 1996 (and caught Chicken Pox from my children) in 1999 I took care of a patient with full-blown open Shingles and he was my patient for two nights when I had to do full dressing changes. That was in about July of 1999, by October 1999 I was soooo sick with an upper respiratory infection and was diagnosed with Post herpetic neuralgia, the chicken pox virus went internal on the main nerve that goes around your body at bra level and it causes excruciating chronic constant pain, I am now disabled and can not longer work as a nurse and when a friend suggested beading to me (and bought me some stuff that I needed, that was all it took, and that was in Oct. 2005, the rest is history - S. Lydic Designs, "Dress Your Ears!" and I'm going okay for right now, I'm wating to do Ebay!
tinakstep wrote
on Feb 7, 2008 10:45 AM
my most successful moments have happened when i use my beading talents for my community. many times i have donated work to auctions or sales to help raise funds for a community need and then ended up with customers. also, teaching in small group settings has stimulated interest in my retail items. just like selling an item right off your wrist, this can be an unexpected source of sales and can also generate intersting new friendships.