Friday, August 29

Who I am... Jewelry Designer

This is a story I've told a few times, but I like it.  What is it?  The history of how I became a jewelry designer.

October-ish of 2010 I was shopping with my mom at Fashion Bug [miss that place] and saw a necklace of silver chain with a fake skeleton key on it.  It was all in silver, a color I'm not really supposed to wear.  Has to do with my skin tone and hair color. [I'm a warm, they're cool.]

I told my mom that I could make my own necklace in a color I liked, with a real skeleton key, more me and for less money.

Turns out, I was mostly right.  Every element but the less money thing, I was able to do.  I actually made three necklaces.  Doubt I've got photos any more, but I did sell each.  Better yet, I fell in love with making jewelry.  I'd tried sewing, knitting, paper crafts and a few other things, but none of them made me happy and became something I was willing to keep working at.

But this, making jewelry... This, I loved.

From October to March I played around, making odds and ends and mostly having fun.  I saw it as a hobby, something else I could try and sell on etsy.

Then, I lost my job and things took some weird turns.  I decided that perhaps this could be my job, and I set out to start.  Got a few shows under my belt, built an idea and made no money at it.  In truth, I was still playing.

In November of 2011, I took a leap of faith and made an appointment to meet a local store owner, seeing if she'd be interested in selling my pretties.  Turns out, she was.  On that day, she sold two pieces that had just been sitting out on the counter.

I slowly built up a stock, setting goals that weren't overly attainable, while trying to finish school and write.  Still, I played at it.

Not sure when exactly it happened, but one day I started to wake up and realized part of my problem was that I wasn't actually trying to make a living at this, despite telling people that was my goal.  Changes needed to happen.

At first, I put everything into an inventory sheet I made, working out prices and being as specific as possible.  But it got boring after a while, and I started to just make prices up as I went.

October [things tend to happen to me in those months.  Not sure why.  Perhaps its a post I need to work on...] 20th, 2013 I'd been hanging with a very good friend all day, then went gaming.  It was about 2am ish and we got back to my friends apartment building, where my car was.

It, and almost all of my jewelry, my display, everything... Was gone.  Three years of work, ripped away.  My car, the first car that was mine that I loved, missing.

Needless to day, I spent a few days fairly lost.  It was as if part of me was just gone.

I put a call out to my community, which has hundreds of creatives in it, and 3 responded.  They gave me supplies to start rebuilding.  During that time, I made changes to everything but the jewelry.

  • A new logo for my company.  

First Logo
Second Logo
    Final Logo
  • I redesigned the cards my jewelry hangs from.
  • A new display idea, one that puts fewer pieces out for the customer, not overwhelming them.
  • My inventory became a requirement for me, not an option.  Nothing was tagged, until it was in the inventory.
  • I also relearned how to take product shots, picking up skills as I went.
  • The only change in the jewelry, was that I now focused more on the simpler pieces, the ones that would sell.  Before, I had over 50% of my stock at the weird, over the top, artistic designs.  The kind people step in the door to see, but not the kind they buy.  I've since lowered that to 25%.  I like to make them, but the goal has changed.  And I'm still me within all that.
By the time I got my car back in December, I was on a new path for the business.  2014 was going to be my year.

Sadly, I never did get the jewelry back.  Just the my baby, who'd been torn apart and cut up in a few places.  Despite my sadness at losing the jewelry, I am glad my car's back home, safe and sound.

Now, we're in 2014 and I was going to freaking make it happen.

I put money toward shows, stocked up and rebuilt.  By July, I had over 300 items in my inventory.  They range in prices from $17 to $165.  I started with an event locally, where I made a good profit.  From there, I applied and was accepted to a show in Seattle.  A small local show brought in a few orders in a bad time, welcome to me.  September is filled with opportunities and I'm grasping at what I can, and planning for what comes next.

Guess you could say, I stopped playing around.

Its been a rough year, to say the least, but I've made sales and connections.  Jewelry Design and Fashion have long been something I've loved.  And I'm good at it.  Its a place I want to be, even if its filled with flighty artists who sometimes lie to be heard... People who take offence at everything, and split groups into sectors.  Its over populated with those who do it for fun and for business, making it hard to be seen.

But it hasn't stopped me.  College, Jewelry Design and Writing have been the few things I've managed to keep working at, and not compromise on.

There is more to this story, but there's also more to come.  I hope to share more with you as the months roll by.  Photos of shows, updates on big events... Even a few cheat posts with nothing but pictures of some new pieces.

And I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me.

Kristy C