Thursday, April 29, 2010

Falling in Love with Jewelry

As a teenager I worked for a friend at a local gift store called Turandot.  I enjoyed the store-the silly books, journals, candles, and gift cards, but most of all I loved the jewelry.  By learning about the designers who made the jewelry and understanding their inspiration, I felt connected to their creative process.  I also loved the way the jewelry made me feel.  It was means of self expression; It made me feel different, unique, and special.   Working for the store started my love affair with jewels.

In high school I heard about a class at a local bead shop.  It was for making lamp work beads.  I signed up and spent a 6 hour seminar learning to make beads.  At the end of the class I was totally discouraged.  I had never worked with both of my hands in that capacity before and it was hard!  I walked away with all the tools and none of the motivation to keep practicing.  About a month after I took the class I spent a weekend locked in my bedroom with my torch and a whole lot of determination to figure it out. After a whole weekend I started to get the hang of it.  In high school I had my first show.  I made tons of little beads and invited all of my friends and my parents friends over to look at the jewels and place orders.  It was a small selection of jewelry, but I was so so proud of what I had done.

In College I pursued a degree in Fine Art.  My degree gave me the tools to market and promote my work while teaching me great skills about the creative process.  I could shoot my work and design print material, catalogs, business cards and brochures.  College also introduced me to the world of stone shows.  The Gem Show came to San Diego every six months and I had never seen anything like it!

The next step was really learning the craft.  I enrolled at GIA during my senior year in school and started taking classes at night...I was learning the book side of the trade, but it wasn't until I left GIA and started my apprenticeship with William Travis Jewelry that I truly learned the ins and outs.  It was another huge step when I moved to Colorado and went out on my own.  I have had loads of bumps along the way, but one thing remains my passion to create and my love affair with jewelry....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Something New

I am always looking for new ways to enhance my designs...different techniques, fun packaging ideas or new creative designers that could provide some inspiration.  Recently I have been trying out resin jewelry.  Its a fun medium because it has endless potential---Check out Alexis Bittar.  He has turned resin into a high fashion must have by making it more than just a crafters medium.  A couple of weeks ago I thought I would play with it a little to see what I couldn't come up with.  I got all the materials and read some articles about creating resin jewelry.  Turns out resin and I just don't go together.  I have made 5 or 6 batches and somehow I have screwed up every batch.  For someone who prides herself on creativity, this has been incredibly discouraging!  I over mix, over heat, mis-measure, insert photos too early, or too late, and worst of all, I am impatient. Regardless of whether or not my resin endeavors have succeeded it has been really fun to learn something new.  It has offered me inspiration and affirmation in my own abilities and techniques.  Sometimes I try things that work and are great additions to my tool box and other times my experiments end a bit like resin...sticky and messy.  Either way, I love to try them.  Do you have any ideas, designs that you have seen, or techniques that you always wondered about? Send them to me...I'll try it and blog about it to let you know how its going! If you have happened upon this blog by accident check Samantha Louise Jewelry out on Facebook or online at and let me know what you think about my work!

ps- A little update on my goal setting....I have done some research and picked out a few stores. I also am trying to get my line sheets together.  My good friends at Oster Jewelers in Cherry Creek have agreed to take a look at my most recent stuff...I hope they like it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sales and Goals

I am queen of goal setting...the only problem is I struggle with follow through.  This week I am going to set a goal and I am hoping by writing it down I will be forced to follow through and track how I am doing.

I have a really great store in Texas who sells through my line and reorders often.  They love my work, give me constructive feedback, and are always looking for new designs.

The Goal: Three high-end stores just like them who carry Samantha Louise Jewelry.
The Question: How am I going to do it?

Step one: Store Research. What stores would be the best venue for my work?  What other designers do they carry? price points, location, etc?

Step two: Line Sheets.  Make sure my line sheets, photos of work, and pricing are all up to date. Create a PDF version of my line sheets that I can email to stores.

Step three: Elevator Pitch.  What is my competitive advantage? Write an elevator pitch for an email, a phone conversation and in person encounters.

Step four: Be Confident in my work!  Make a plan to get in touch with stores and follow through with it.  Get them by email or phone, and drop into to set up appointments with local venues.  Try other means of connecting with those stores---social media like facebook, industry events, or networking events.

Step five: Connect.  Stay committed to connecting with those stores regularly. Even if they are not interested now they may be in the future. Plus once you sell a store it is much easier to keep a customer than to sell a new one.