Tag Archives: business

New Items Galore! Click on Pics to Link to Etsy!

29 Dec

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Aerial

18 Aug

A unique charm, this propeller actually spins! The ring itself is also size adjustable.

Aerial in Silver

Measurements

Propeller

2.5 cm span across fan

Ring

Width

2.6 cm from front of propeller to back of ring band

See it on Etsy.

$15

Necklaces

15 Jun

Green With Envy

Green With Envy is one of my simplest pieces and sends the strongest message. A single peacock feather lies against your neck, its feathers spraying out to make a beautiful statement.

Black Plastic Wire
51 cm long
Less than a mm wide

Gunmetal Cable Chain
4.5 cm long (for size adjustment)

Peacock Feather
15 cm long
8 cm wide

$18

See it on Etsy.

Flared Out

This delicate goose feather necklace sites lightly along your neckline. The feathers flare out to create a dramatic look. Held together with a strong, light, wire.

Please let me know if you need a different size.

Feather Gathering

Feathers range from 8 – 12.5 cm long
Feathers are 5 mm wide

Necklace

37 cm long

Wire is less than 1 mm thin

$30

See it on Etsy.

Gilded

This beautiful copper and gold necklace warms up your style. Elegant, simple, and classic. The Chain that loops around your neck is adjustable in length, you can have this necklace hang long, or keep it short.

Measurements

Charm
4 cm long
1.8 cm wide

Necklace
88 cm at its longest

Adjustable Chain
36 cm long

Chain
.2 – .5 mm in width

$18

See it on Etsy.

Chained In

Chained In is the perfect necklace to go with everything. Black and copper chains in different sizes and types drape beautifully to form a finished piece.
This necklace is also size adjustable. You can close the lobster claw clasp along any link along the chain that sits on the nape of your neck.

Chained In Necklace in Brass and Black

Black Cable Chain (Adjustable)
34 cm long
5 cm wide

Black Rope Chain
41 cm long
.5 cm wide

Brass Cable Chain (2 pieces)
34 cm long
51 cm long
.6 cm wide

Black Diamond and Circles Chain
38 cm long
Diamond – .8 cm wide
Circle – .6 cm wide

Thin Black Cable Chain
46.7 cm
.1 cm

$20

See it on Etsy.

Photography

21 Apr

I have found photography to be one of the most difficult aspects of starting a business. Most businesses would source this part out, they would hire a professional photographer and rent or purchase the required equipment. This can easily move into the gazillion dollar range, which is at the moment a little bit out of my start ups budget. 

I decided to take on photography myself for a few reasons. One requirement of my store on Etsy is that I be able to post something new every few days. Outsourcing the pictures didn’t make sense, because it would hold up my postings that much longer. I felt that if I made something, it should be online as soon as I could get it there. It also felt right to see each design through from an idea to publication.

I was very naïve with photography at the beginning. I thought it would be as simple as propping my jewelry in an aesthetically pleasing way and snapping like crazy. This did not cut it. 

My first pictures turned out like this:

 

These aren’t totally terrible, but they are still not on par with what I expect. These pictures were planned out for weeks. I had purchased lamps, special bulbs, and spent a few hours making adjustments to the settings on my camera. I had also debated what kind of background I would use. I decided a plain white background would work best with the colorful pieces I make because it would not be distracting.

These were okay to begin with, but I knew I would have to keep improving.

My next set of pictures were these:

 

Over all these pictures were taken using the same method as the first. The only difference was some photo editing software. I used it to brighten up the background, but in the end didn’t like the result. I felt it washed out the actual jewelry and it was time consuming to match up the background colour.

These are the next set:

 

I was inspired by some pictures I had seen in a magazine. I thought it would be cool to have some paper backgrounds that were colourful. I stopped by the paper place and grabbed these guys. But in this case, I felt the background was too distracting.

And now we have:

 

These are the pictures I am currently taking. I think these are working out quite well. I use the sun as my lighting and incorporate both the plain and colourful backgrounds. I like the way this method represents each design. The detail of each piece is accompanied by an interesting pattern paper that goes with the style of each design as well.

What’s Next?

The next step is models. I want to take pictures of the jewelry being worn in a story setting. The concept will be powerful and dangerous ladies. I think it will be a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. It took me five months to get to this point where designs remain stationary when photographed. I can only imagine how long it will take to snap awesome live action shots.

Branding

20 Apr

One of the hardest parts about starting your own business is branding. Before you can sell anything, you need a name people will recognize. The challenge is huge, very similar deciding the cover for your novel, when your novel is only one of the millions of billions being sold in a giant super bookstore. How do you make your book stand out? What colours do you use on your cover? Do you go classic black and white? What’s your title?

All these little things decide so much because they make up the FIRST impression a client will receive.

When I was first coming up with an idea, I had a a list in my mind that I would tick off.

My List

1 – Does it stand out?

I needed my brand to stand out for a few reasons.

I always harp on about being original and unique. If the jewelry is so great, the brand has to encompass this. If I do a poor job on branding it or give it a very run of the mill image, people aren’t going to be drawn to my work.

Also, unique branding comes in handy for technical reasons. If somebody opens up Google and punches in the name of my company, will I be the first result at the top of the list or will I show up on page 3 of 6 million?

And let’s face it, my biggest exposure is when I wear my work. If I’m on a night out with friends, and someone notices my work but it feels too informal to hand them a business card, I tell them the name of the company. Will they remember it the next day when sitting in front of their computer? The more original brand, the easier it is for potential clients to track it down.

2 – Is it appealing to my target market? Is it appealing to other markets?

Starting out I had a vague idea of what my target market would be. Most of the jewelry I made was what I personally wanted to wear. It turns out my tastes are all over the place. Some of my pieces are a hit with girls in their 20’s, others get the strongest response from women in their 40’s. This age range made it necessary that my brand be something that can appeal too a wide group. Usually a target market is very specific and fixed, down to an individual personality. This niche concept wouldn’t work for me, the brand couldn’t be too specific as I didn’t want to exclude anyone.

3 – Would I trust this company?

When first starting out, I know I have to do a lot of convincing that I am educated in jewelry making. Each design has to be slick, clean, and well made. A huge help would be if my brand was something that represented this. My brand had to be something that people could trust and help them to view me as a legitimate designer.

How did I start?

My first branding idea was “Creepy Baby.” Now before you laugh, let me explain my logic.

Initially, I thought to attract an audience I should have something a little bit funny and weird. I also thought this would make it very easy for people to remember when they wanted to look it up later. I had been sitting on the computer and drew up a little alien baby.

This is what it looks like:

After working with this for a bit, I decided it wouldn’t appeal to my audiences. This type of branding would exclude more than it would include, as only a certain niche would find it appealing. Also, as a new company, I didn’t want potential clients to dismiss me as a joke. It seemed the value of remembering the brand didn’t outweigh the amount of clients that would simply dismiss it. I ultimately decided to go with something a little bit more classic.

After going through many more concepts, I decided Felt Your Heart Beat would work the best. I had been working with felt quite a bit during the time and had felt flowers on the mind. Luckily, this concept met all of my requirements.

1 – It actually stood out! The past tense of feel separated “felt your heart beat” from “feel your heart beat” which is a a widely used phrase.

When punched into Google, Felt Your Heart Beat is one of the first results.
See it now!
When you punch in Felt Your Heart Beat
When you punch in feltyourheartbeat

2 – It appeals to a wide range of audience. It has a more classic feel, that anyone, at any age would find they could relate to.

3 – It’s not difficult to take it seriously. This brand seems clean, cut, and put together. When glancing at it, it invokes hard work and something that was created with care, exactly the ideas I want coming to mind when clients think of my designs.
And most importantly, this meant something to me. I would always joke that each design I create has apiece of my soul in it. After reflecting about this, it is ultimately true.

Each piece has a creative process that includes the amount of time I spend coming up with an idea, the running around to grab the right materials at a reasonable price and high quality, the the day (sometimes days) labored over one piece to get all the parts right, the prototypes and re-imaginings to make sure it’s good enough to market, and finally getting it posted and published for people to see. At the end of a design, when I’m wearing it and prancing around the apartment, I look back and see that it’s a long road to get to this finished piece. Its not an exaggeration that I’ve invested myself in each creation.

I also thought about the feeling I want to invoke in each person. When I initially think of a design in my head, there’s a rush, my heart speeds up and my mind starts whirring with ideas as I realize it’s something I must make. I want to mirror this feeling in each client that looks at my work. I literally want get their blood pumping because they are excited to wear a new piece.

This was the image I wanted and I am quite happy with it. I’m sure it will continue to evolve, just like the other aspects of this business. It is however, one of outcomes I am most proud of and continue to improve.

The Creative Process

20 Apr

The Creative Process

Every designer has a different creative process. Whether it be lunging buckets of paint at walls, or making giant collages out of magazine clip outs, or trimming a bonsai tree, somewhere along the way a process is somehow hammered out and repeats with each creation. Its not a science, closer to a path that is meandered along. Here’s the process I try to keep too with each creation.

Stage 1 – Initial Idea

This stage is very open ended. I’ve had ideas pop up while at work, brushing my cat (named kitty), taking a shower, munching lasagna and watching Midsomer Murders with my Mom. Pretty much every time, an idea pops up that is completely unrelated to whatever activity I happened to be engaged in at that moment. This is the most abstract stage, something happens and POP I have an inspiration.

One of my cutest sources of inspiration:

Stage 2 – Drawings/Sketches

After my initial idea bubble happens, I try to get it down on paper as quickly as possible. I grab a pad and start sketching. These sketches are usually incoherent (as I’m not their greatest artist) Mostly, I’m trying to make a solid image join my head of the piece I want to bring to life. Often, I’ll write small jot notes about details (color, length, feel).

Sketches can be as incoherent as what is pictured here. The curvy squiggles are ribbon and the lines looping up represent chain.

Stage 3 – Materials

When it comes to materials I’ve got to hunt them down and find the best quality I can. Once I’ve worked out the basic details of a piece, I look for the materials that I will use to make it. This can mean a lot of things.

The Hunt

The hunt for materials begins on my regular visits to shops in the city. I have specific items I always need to refill, these are usually metal findings, chain and beads. Once I’ve completed gathering my regular stock, I’ll take a look around to see if I can find anything suitable for the piece I am working on. My materials are found by hitting the streets, strolling through countless shops, spending hours browsing online, and raiding my mom and grandmas boxes of old items.

You’d be surprised, but something as simple as black ribbon took about three weeks to find. I have to get material right, down to the type and length. Using the ribbon example, I began with organza ribbon that was 1/8 inches wide. I found that this didn’t make a fluffy enough bow and it felt too scratchy on the skin. My material changed from this ribbon to a wider organza, to a wide satin sash. These are small details but they make a world of difference in the final delivery of each piece. I never assume I’ll get the right material on the first try because most of the time, I don’t.

Quality

Often, I’ll begin with a cheaper version of what I will use in the final product. This way, I’m not investing too much in the piece to begin with, in case it doesn’t pan out. When trying to figure out what I will use as my final material, I have to factor in the price of the supplies versus the price of the final piece and decide if its worth it. If I truly love a design, but find it’s too expensive to sell, I usually make one for myself and wait until I have some extra money to invest in a few more.

Stage 4 – Build It

This is the best and most challenging stage. By this stage, I’ve spent time growing an idea and I’ve gathered the materials I need. Now the pressures on and I have to assemble my design. This stage can be totally gratifying or completely disappointing. There are times when I’ve finally assembled a piece only to find it’s a total flop. Nothing connects the right way, the design has no flow in it, it feels too fussy. Sometimes a design is just a better idea on paper. This can be devastating after investing so much time in the initial planning stages – but it happens.

Other times the piece will turn out better then I initially thought. This is the rewarding experience I live for. When I make something I am truly proud of, I like to celebrate with the test run stage.

Stage 5 – Test Run

The test run stage is one of the most fun stages. This is where strutting around like a proud peacock occurs in copious amounts. This is my chance to showcase my work and give it a whirl in the real world.

Work

The first test run occurs at work. I will wear my jewelry with an everyday work outfit. I factor in how easy the design was to put on in the morning when I’m half awake. I pay attention to how it moves when I’m running from the subway to the street car. If the piece is too messy, or too jangly, or too anything, I take this into account and think about how I can adjust it. I also pay special attention to how resilient the design is. If it falls apart during the work day, it will definitely not survive test two.

Play

The second test run occurs while at play. The best test runs happen when I’m out for a night of dancing with friends. I save this test for the more extravagant pieces that will most likely be worn in a social atmosphere. (The bigger necklaces and any statement pieces run this course and have survived.) This test is the battering ram of the car industry. I will shake it and break it if I can. Only the most resilient pieces move forward and they have to be tough as nails.

One piece I was very proud of was an ostrich feather bracelet. It was dramatic and colorful, (bright orange feathers paired with an emerald green ribbon.) It was the perfect piece to wear with a flirty short dress on a night out. To my disappointment, the bracelet did not stay on well and the feathers were destroyed in the dancing and movement throughout the night. The bracelet began as a beautiful, light fluffy piece and ended as a mangled mess. This prototype of the ostrich feather bracelet never came to fruition, but I am still to this day working on different models to see if one will finally pass both tests.

Stage 6 – Back to the Building Blocks

After a design has passed both the work and play stages, I will make any necessary tweaks. If it flops around and jangles too much, I’ll modify it with a pin. If any part of it is irritating or scratchy, I’ll change the type of material I use in it. If it’s too heavy, I’ll try to lighten it up. These little tweaks improve the piece so that it can stand on par with the best work out there.

At any point during this process, I may have to cycle back and begin again. Sometimes a design won’t make it past the drawing board or it will pass all the stages with flying colors. I never know what will happen with each design, I just try my best to be innovative and keep creating. With every new design I’ll learn something to help me improve for the next time I begin the creative process.