If you read my first two posts, you would know that I have no formal training in jewellery design. What I have, is an unquenchable thirst to learn and improve.
Knowing what I know now, however, I am shocked that I did not apply the same reasoning from the very beginning. In my defence though, confidence has a large part to play in decisions that we all make.
If you are like me, you will be bombarded by the suggestion that you cannot do it on your own. Prior to approaching a few jewellers about an apprenticeship, I had the innate belief that I was born knowing how to make jewellery. All I needed was a reminder, to awaken that part of my soul but being turned down for an apprenticeship left me with doubts about my abilities.
It was no surprise then, that when I first started, I chose the option that I believed was easiest and fastest to learn. Wire wrapping was an excellent option because you do not need a lot of room or money. The materials are also much more readily available. It is also a good way to figure out how to form shapes from your ideas. Crochet was a natural progression for me because it lessened the gap between my ‘sleeping’ metalworking skills and my desire to create the more complex shapes in my design.
My natural enthusiasm for creating things meant I was soon bored with those methods of working. Jewellery sales had stagnated before I had even begun and it seemed all I did was recycle the same old designs. My ideas were haphazard and I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I was stressed out, unable to sleep and worried about the viability of this business I had chosen to launch. The new work was so different from the old that a facebook friend asked if I was changing directions. At this point, the message in that question was lost to me. I needed to turn things around but with no recognisable skill, I turned to the one place which always seems to have an answer – GOOGLE.
Over the last two years, my love for the Google search engine has grown exponentially. To love a non-human thing so much should be banned. However, it is an excellent place to start, when you are unsure of what steps to take. After a couple of searches, I signed up to a couple of blogs and then one day, *ping*, the post that changed everything.
The lesson: Do not confuse your customers.
It is easy, while looking for recognition to want to flit from one end to the other, trying to please everyone and gain approval.
Most sales come from repeat business and referrals from happy customers. Trying too many different styles just means they avoid you when they cannot find what they want or are left confused by the work you do. Now my friend’s question made sense.
With this in mind, my next search was about learning the rules of creating a jewellery collection.
The lesson: On average, two collections, twice a year is sufficient. Most designers stick to between 5 and 8 designs per collection. Add a few stand-alone items to bulk out your offerings.
It all made perfect sense and the next morning, I was going to hone my ideas. Whatever I felt strongest about was going to win the race to be my first ‘grown up’ offering. I would need a new website, designs and a press release. That night, I slept like a baby. That was at the end of last week.
Buoyed by this new-found confidence and seasoned with a touch of fate, I entered a creative bubble which has left me exhausted and in pain with an old back spasm – but it is well worth it. This week, I have developed a site map, designed the AW13 collection and formulated a PR strategy and marketing ideas which I believe put me in the best position possible at this time.
For the new collection, my first loves – crochet and sheet work – make a return and get introduced respectively. The inspiration for the sheet collection was pure manna from heaven. A friend of mine recently returned from a work trip to her home country and brought back some artifacts which I fell in love with. I’ll post an article on the artifact and the design process from photograph to jewellery collection, closer to its release.
Next on my list; get those collections made!