ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS
CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE:
Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design
HOW DREAMS ARE MADE
BETWEEN THE FICKLENESS OF BUSINESS
AND THE PURSUIT OF JEWELRY DESIGN
This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I focus on straightforward, workable strategies for integrating business practices with the creative design process. These strategies make balancing your creative self with your productive self easier and more fluid.
Based both on the creation and development of my own jewelry design business, as well as teaching countless students over the past 35+ years about business and craft, I address what should be some of your key concerns and uncertainties. I help you plan your road map. Whether you are a hobbyist or a self-supporting business, success as a jewelry designer involves many things to think about, know and do. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including
• Getting Started: Naming business, identifying resources, protecting intellectual property
• Financial Management: basic accounting, break even analysis, understanding risk-reward-return on investment, inventory management
• Product Development: identifying target market, specifying product attributes, developing jewelry line, production, distribution, pricing, launching
• Marketing, Promoting, Branding: competitor analysis, developing message, establishing emotional connections to your products, social media marketing
• Selling: linking product to buyer among many venues, such as store, department store, online, trunk show, home show, trade show, sales reps and showrooms, catalogs, TV shopping, galleries, advertising, cold calling, making the pitch
• Resiliency: building business, professional and psychological resiliency
• Professional Responsibilities: preparing artist statement, portfolio, look book, resume, biographical sketch, profile, FAQ, self-care
At The Beginning
When I began making jewelry 35+ years ago, my only interest was in making money. Concerns about design and art, construction and appeal, functionality and emotional engagement were superficial. Probably non-existent is a better word. And yes, this meant I did not care about what any piece of jewelry I made might mean for the person buying it. Or wearing it. Or otherwise putting it on display. There was no consequence for my actions in making jewelry. Except making money. There was a hollowness here which I was, at the time, totally unaware of.
That was a shame.
I missed out on a lot of excitement that emerges from the design process and that special relationship between designer and client. As I became more proficient in making jewelry, I questioned more and more of myself about what I was doing. Why were some pieces of jewelry I made more successful than others? Why did some sell better than others? Why were some received more warmly than others? Why did some hold up much better from wear than others?
I had had to place a value on the pieces I made. Initially I used a simple pricing formula which related the costs of parts and the costs of labor and the costs of overhead to the price set. But over time, I noticed that some of my pieces were more resonant than others. More desirable. More intriguing. Sexier. Should I increase my prices to reflect these greater, though more difficult to measure, kinds of things? I didn’t know. But I was thinking about it.
Over the years, I thought more and more about what made jewelry more or less successful. How to know when a piece was finished. How to know that I made the best tradeoffs between beauty and functionality. How to know what my jewelry was worth. How to market jewelry. How to sell it. How to sell it in a store. How to sell it at a craft show. How to sell it online. How to organize it into a coherent line of jewelry. How to measure and assess costs, revenues and returns-on-investment.
I share part of my developing knowledge in my book SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Y3VNNMW). Here I go over the many hard and soft skills required to become fluent, flexible and original in jewelry design. It is important to understand what jewelry is, how design elements are selected, arranged, constructed and manipulated, how to manage the design process, and how to introduce your designs publicly.
In this book, CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE, I focus on strategies for integrating business practices with the creative design process – things which can make balancing the creative self with the productive self easier and more fluid. I talk about how dreams are made between the fickleness of business and the pursuit of design.
I go into great detail about all the things you need to think about, know and do when getting started. This begins with basic bookkeeping and accounting as well as developing a business model and also understanding how to protect your intellectual property.
I discuss briefly about how the more literate jewelry designer is more successful in business. Disciplinary literacy involves a set of skills which enable the designer to best relate the jewelry design to client understandings and desires. These skills influence how the client interacts with the piece of jewelry, seeing relevance, value, usefulness, and the designer’s intent.
It is important to understand some basic concepts – Risk, Rewards and Return-On-Investment, and how these play out in all aspects of your business. Also critical is to recognize how what you do in business and what you do creatively affect the Efficiency and Effectiveness of both your design process as well as your business operations.
I have several chapters devoted to product design and development. These range from product goal setting to needs assessment to product distribution, pricing and promotion to managing product launch.
Another section focuses on marketing and branding. You need to create an identify for your business, one that people become aware of and feel positively towards. This leads to the next section on selling. I review selling strategies important in different settings from retail to craft shows to home shows to online. I talk about resiliency in business. What kinds of things – emotional, administrative, creative – lead to a greater level of resilience in your business as you face growth, market ups and downs and fashion and taste changes.
Last, I review and present advice for creating the kinds of documents you will need to complement your business goals. These include a creative resume; portfolio; artist statement, biographical sketch, certificate of authenticity and the like.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. AN INTRODUCTION: CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE
2. THREADING THE BUSINESS NEEDLE
3. Where Can I Sell My Jewelry?
4. Can I Make Money?
5. Why Designers Fail in Business
6. DISCIPLINARY LITERACY IN THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE
7. GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS
8. Write A Business Audit Memorandum To Self
9. Your Getting Started Story
10. Naming Your Business
11. Protecting Your Business Name and Other Intellectual Property
12. Tag Line, Descriptions, Naming Jewelry, Story, Elevator Pitch
13. What Do I Need To Become Official?
14. What Form of Business?
15. Retail, Wholesale, Consignment
16. Your Business Model
17. Custom Work
18. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT
19. Understanding Risk and Reward
20. Tracking Costs and Revenues With Bookkeeping and General Accounting
21. Other Record Keeping
22. Fixed and Variable Costs, Budgeting, Break Even Analysis
23. Managing Inventory
24. Efficiency, Effectiveness, Component Design Systems
25. Employees and Independent Contractors
26. Banking, Insurance, Credit Card Processing
27. Getting Terms
28. Getting Paid
29. Developing a Growth Mindset
30. Crowd Funding
31. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
32. Product Goals
33. Product Target Market / Market Niche
34. Product Design Management and Design Coherency
35. Build A Distinctive Line Of Jewelry
36. Product Production
37. Product Distribution
38. Product Marketing, Promotion and Positioning
39. Product Pricing
40. Product Launch
41. Product Feedback and Evaluation
42. MARKETING / PROMOTION / POSITIONING
43. Finding Your Target Market
44. Competitor Analysis
45. Fashion and Consumption
46. Influence and Persuasion
47. Marketing Strategies
48. Social Media Marketing
49. Collaborating With Influencers
50. Increasing Credibility and Legitimacy
51. Building Your BRAND
52. Self Promotion and Raising Your Visibility
53. Writing A Press Release and Preparing For Reporters
55. How Will You Link Up Your Product To Your Buyer?
56. Knowing Your Competitive Advantages
57. Training and Educating The Customer
58. Selling At Art And Craft Shows
59. Selling Online
60. Selling In Local Shops, Boutiques and Department Stores
62. Selling In Galleries
63. Selling At Home Shows
64. Selling At Trunk Shows
65. Selling At Jewelry Making Parties
66. Selling Through Mail Order Catalogs
67. Selling On TV Shopping Sites and Streamed Web
68. Selling Through A Mobile Truck Business
70. Cold Calling And Making The Pitch
71. Working with Sales Reps, Agencies, and Show Rooms
72. Selling At Trade Shows
73. Teaching Classes and Selling Patterns and Kits
74. Other Selling Venues
75. About Contracts and Agreements
76. Overcoming Setbacks and Fears of Rejection
77. Relying On Other People To Sell Your Jewelry
78. Saying Goodbye To Your Jewelry
79. Merchandising and Display
80. DesignerConnect – Interview With Tony Perrin
82. PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
83. Artist Statement
84. Portfolio and Look Book
85. Biographical Sketch and Profile
86. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
87. Certificate of Authenticity
88. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
89. Self Care
About Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer
Thank You and Request For Reviews
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