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Dealing with celebrities

I had an call last week from a sort-of-famous performer asking me to
make her logo as a necklace in multiples, presumably for her
co-performers and crew. I honestly didn’t know who she was when I was
talking to her, so I didn’t take the bait for the argument that this
would be great exposure for me. I actually quoted the job a little
high since I am pretty busy right now.

My question is "what do celebrities expect in these
situations?"and"Does anyone in this forum have any experience, good
or bad, with placing your work in a high profile show-biz situation.

To clarify, the performer is young, but has already performed in a
very impressive number of mainstream venues and had a fair amount of
TV coverage. Asking my friends, several had heard of the group, but
not high on their radar. She doesn’t want my design, just wants me to
manufacture hers, but the style is similar.

Steve Walker

Just my two cents but when a celebrity says “this would be great
exposure for you”, run, away fast. Very fast. As a rule it is ego
run amok and they want free stuff because they are [insert
forgettable name here].I have done work for 3 people who I consider
celebrities and they were all nice people who were respectful. A
couple were merely multimillionaires. One is so rich that he is
probably richer then most of the top 1%. No big egos, no pushing
others aside. Just great people who happened to be famous.

Gerald A. Livings
Livingston Jewelers

Steve - Do you really need the exposure? You’ve got a pretty brisk
and steady biz going. We charge famous folks the same as we do the un

Beside this her logo and design. So your craftsmanship will make her
famous, not the other way around. When folks design a piece of
jewelry they often take full credit. Sigh.

Tim and I have done our fair share of high end work for folks who’s
names most people will recognize. We have never once been asked for a
discount in trade for exposure nor have we offered one. We also never
divulge the names of folks that we do work for out of respect for
their privacy and their personal security.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

I agree with Jo. I never give a discount unless it is for a good
reason. like the guy really wants to get married but does not have
the money to buy the rings they want. As long as I can cover my cost
and enough to cover my expenses then ok. but never for a star. They
should have the money to pay retail for my time. If not then it is
not worth me giving away my time to them. There are a million ways
you can get free publicity. Without giving discounts to those who
should be able to pay for what they want. Do they ask for a discount
from their lawyer or plumber for their works because they might get
some publicity ? I doubt it. Charge your going rate and take the
profit and buy a add. Much more a guarantee then the hope of
something that may never happen. Just my 2 cents worth…

Vernon Wilson
Panama Bay Jewelers

We have done some work for celebrities at our shop before, and I’ve
done other work for celebrities privately as well (not jewelry). From
what I’ve garnered in my experience, the more actual exposure a
celebrity’s commission will provide the less they throw exposure
around as an incentive. Basically, if they are filthy rich and
actually celebrities, they won’t care much about the cost of what
they want. If they are asking for deals because they are famous, they
aren’t really, and probably never will be. We have had movie studio
costume departments order from us without even mentioning who theyare
or what it’s for. If we weren’t paranoid about bulk orders we
probablywouldn’t have figured out who was ordering it. Name droppers
are not usually cash droppers. Tell her that she has to give you free
reserved VIP tickets to every show she ever plays in and a copy of
every album she releases for each of your employees and business
associates (try to get the number needed close to at least 100) and
if she’s willing to give up all of that andmaybe more “for the

Aaron Stafford

I’ve had good and bad dealings with celebrities/congress critters/
and royalty. Most not all will want everything for free or you to
even go so far as to pay them. Yet there are those few that remain
human. David Patrick Ohara springs to mind. He is the man who played
the crazy Irish man in Braveheart with Mel Gibson.

David spent the whole two hours I was on stage doing my metals
demonstrations talking to me and trying to teach me the proper
Scottish accent. He was marvelous to deal with and delight to get to
know. He never quibbled about my prices and bought many things.
Because of that I ended up teaching another aspiring actor how to
properly work metal for a movie role.

You never know. Politicians wives can be just as bad as some of the
given me celebrities.

Where the temps are finally supposed to go below 80 degrees F.

I have worked in Newport Beach, Balboa Island, Beverly Hills and now
the Washington, DC area. Of the many celebrities I’ve done work for.
None have been a problem. Odd perhaps, but not difficult. Tom

When I had my rare paper and book store I had many celebrity clients.
They came back because my prices were the same for everyone and two I
never treated them any different than any other client. My clients
are all my celebrities. In my business whether I am Fine Artist,
Jewelry Maker, or Chef.


Can anyone name the goldsmith that turned Jane Seymore’s bar room
napkin sketch into a salable piece of jewelry? My guess is no. That
person got paid $25 maybe $30 an hour to engineer that sketch into a
wax, but Ms. Seymore (if she even really did the drawing) got checks
for much more and Zales, well who knows.

Don’t fall for it.

Dave Phelps

I agreed to my celebrity commission and a deposit has been paid.

In reflection, she was not trying to use her fame as an incentive on
price. The exposure card was only played when I said that getting
the job done by Christmas was not likely. Based on all the factors,
at this point it seems like a good deal all around. It will be done
by Christmas and if there are any PR opportunities for me in it, all
the better.

I recall now another celebrity I made a sale to, about 20 years ago.
He was a book author who had also done a fairly popular PBS show. He
wanted a discount on a major piece because he was a “collector”. I
usually am very non-judgmental about who buys my work, but this was
one that I had a lot of emotional attachment to and that figured into
personal and spiritual decisions and opportunities that cannot be
overemphasized. I gave him the discount, but only after I interviewed
him as to whether he was someone I would allow to own this piece.
That sale stands alone in my experience as one of the most unusual.
It is the only time in my career that I made a customer prove that
they were worthy of the purchase, which is ironic because the
customer was used to being fawned over.

Steve Walker