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Salon Strategies - Part 2

Welcome to part two!
Recently I've begun working with my stylist, J, to sell jewelry in her brand new salon. In the last post I wrote about the more creative side of a venture like this; packaging, branding, whether to create an exclusive line or not and understanding the clientele of the business you want to work with. This time I'm going to cover the business end -

PaperworkPricingInventoryYour presence and online sales

Papers, business papers Even if you've known each other for ages, be sure to get a wholesale or a consignment agreement in place before you place your products in the space. It should cover things like who is responsible for shipping inventory to them, what to do when things don’t sell, how you’ll be compensated for theft or breakage and of course, how much money each of you will get from each sale. Oh and sales! Can the retailer put your items on sale at a discount? If so how much, for how long, and who gives up the revenue? And how often do you get paid.…

A plethora of pendants

Just looking at my newest batch of pendants makes me smile. I said I'd let my own style guide what I make and damn if this isn't dead on -

Going from left to right there's a Swarovski crystal, a matte finish carnelian rondelle with gold beads, also wired in gold, a malachite bead wired in gold and a turquoise rondelle wired in brass with a little square bead on the front as a button to secure it. I wired it in brass just to see if the technique would work and I think it will. It adds a bit of a steampunk feel to the piece. And I LOVE the red leather cord. I knew when I found them that I'd pair them with turquoise. The malachite is on a sterling box chain, but I think it's a little too thick for the pendant so I'll swap it out for a smaller one the next time I put in an order. The carnelian is on some faux leather and the crystal is on some silk. All the frames are pure silver and are fused and shaped rings.
So that's what I've been working on besides th…

Salon Strategies - Part 1

Creating a jewelry line for beauty retail

Recently I’ve started making jewelry to sell in a salon in town and it’s been a while since I’ve sold this way so I made myself a little checklist! Hope you find it useful, too.

This post focuses more on the creative side of things -

What I'll be creatingHow it will fit into the Wire Smith as a wholeBranding in a retail space
The next post will be about the business end, consignment agreements, inventory and pricing.

Understand your client and her clients When J and I met she had a chair at another salon, but her personality was too big to hide and I got a really good sense of who she is. Now she has her own place that personality has room to spread out and I paid attention to exactly how she presents herself and why her clients love her. And, for that matter, why I do.

We talked a bit about what she’d like and after listening to her suggestions I found some beads that are PERFECT. After I made a few items with those I brought them by for he…

Signature Style

Most jewelry artists are known for a specific look.

Think David Yurman and you know there will be twisted sterling silver involved in every piece. Bankable and something customers come to depend on.

But what about an artist just starting out? Should you stick to a particular look or design or should you branch out and have a wider field of possibilities?

This is something I'm working through myself.

In the early 2000s when I first started making jewelry, I followed the herd. Doing the easy stuff - the stuff I saw on other shop sites and at craft fairs.

The problem is, I don't want to be known for stuff you can get at craft fairs. I don't buy or wear that kind of jewelry and making it doesn't appeal to me.

So. I need to define my style and therefore my customer. In doing so, that means I can jettison some of the fussy/cutesy stuff that used to be in my line at first. Also, I can identify a particular type of jewelry that will help bolster that style to the customer.


The pause that refreshes

Now if that doesn't date me nothing will!

But I'm not going to write about soda.

I'm talking about knowing when to take a little break if things aren't going well.

So here's the thing. I had an idea rolling around in my head. It often goes this way when I wake up in the night and don't get back to sleep right away. Design ideas occupy my thoughts and most of the time I try them at the bench the next day. All well and good.

But this particular design was really fiddly and difficult. I had to wear my 2.50 magnification glasses just to see what I was doing. Then I had to use a loupe to see the really fine detail. Crazy!!

And it wasn't working. I messed up something and got quite frustrated at my inability to make it work.

Rather than force it and continue on, feeling bad the whole time, I put it down and walked away for a little while. I can't remember what I did, but it had nothing to do with the business or the bench.

Not every idea is going to work the …

A necklace is born and an old component sees the light of day

A quick story (with video!!) of how one necklace got made.

I imagine this happens with other artists, not just jewelry makers. You buy materials that you love right away, but don't use right away.

You keep hoping an idea will come to you. If none do the item sits. Waiting. Especially if it's something really stunning - a one-of-a-kind piece. Will you do it justice? Do you dare? Is your work good enough for that marvelous thing?

Well this is the story of one such item. Here it is, along with the things I'll use to make the finished product.

Next to the beads. That's it. A handmade glass pendant, 2 1/4 inches across. It's basically a long tube with a bend in the middle, but the colors are amazing. And the depth of the texture just knocks me out. I've had it for like 10 years. Picked it up at a bead show when I lived in New Hampshire. Loved it, but hadn't been brave enough to come up with a way to wear it. It was like when my mom gave me beads from her mother&#…