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Designer Day 2005 Review

Hello All,

I would like to take this opportunity to tell a little bit about
Designer Day, organized by Cindy Edelstein of Jewelry Resources.
This isn’t something I would be normally drawn to. I am not a high
end jewelry designer trying to eek out a living in NYC, but this
year, I thought it would be interesting to attend. Designer Day was
held at the Fashion Institute of Technology, with Michael Coan, the
Department Chair, assisting throughout with the 125 or so who
attended. Cindy had asked me to take part as one of their one-on-one
counseling sessions for business development.

First, I was pleasantly surprised to see Dana Singer, the Executive
Director of SNAG. Dana said that she was making a point this year to
visit different exhibitions, such as MJSA Expo, Designer Day and to
help her gain a broader view of the needs of the jewelry industry at

The day begun for me, hearing two excellent talks on marketing. I
took copious notes, recognizing some tweaking needed for my business.
Jerry Cisco, a buyer for Bloomingdales was very dynamic and
articulate speaker, recognizing the need for the service personnel to
be educated about fashion jewelry.

After lunch, I begun the counseling sessions. What I was happy to
discover, was that many of the questions, issues, fears and
enthusiasm were common to the hobbyist as to the professional. Some
where mid-career, and some making a very good business in selling
their work and thinking about hiring their first employee. I
reviewed press packets, portfolios and gained some excellent
about finding art reps and how to work with them, from
Alan Revere sitting next to me.

The one common challenge that nearly everyone voiced was, how do you
make a living when you are doing it all! Artisans were fabricating
their work, going to shows, working the circuit, publishing their
brochures, doing their books, etc.! There were a lot of very tired
people in their late 20’s out there!

Here is what we agreed upon.

  1. IF you hate doing the books, STOP DOING THEM! Hire a good
    bookkeeper to come once a week to once a month. Let them write the
    checks, balance your account, file, make calls to suppliers, etc.
    Think how much happier you will be when you know that every check you
    sign is good. You can find a good one for $20 an hour. It’s not
    rocket science, it’s tedious. Would you want your accountant making
    your jewelry? Of course not. Accountants love to count numbers.

  2. If you hate doing office work, STOP DOING IT! Find a part time
    person who is interested in learning the business. Can’t afford one?
    There are all kinds of people who are starting out who would love to
    have this experience. They are out there. ASK. Trade for learning
    to make jewelry, or send them to a class.

  3. Stop worrying how you are going to usurp 80 percent of the
    market place globally. Start in your own back yard. Get the local
    paper to write articles about you. Do you have a story to tell?
    Great, tell it! Until you have exhausted everyone in your
    neighborhood, then you can wander outside your domain.

  4. Rexamine what is selling. If it is not, scrap it. Present
    current work with fresh work. Now that you have more time not having
    to worry about your books, or have that perky assistant helping you
    with your office work, you will have more time to create your

  5. Do you have employees? DELEGATE! Give them the opportunity to
    help you. Do you hate setting stones, or polishing? Contract the
    work out.

One woman mentioned that she could have a stone prong set, bezel set
and polished for $12. “Wow” I said, “that is cheap”, “yes”, but
sometimes they are not very good". “Well, I hope you don’t pay them
when they don’t perform correctly”. “Oh”, she said, “you mean I
don’t have to pay then?”

What did I walk away with from this experience? You may think you
are just a designer, or contract jeweler, or a professional stone
setter, or an artist, the second you obtained a tax ID number, you
became a business person. Learn the business of doing business. If
you do only the things you love and give up the tasks you hate, you
will be a happier and more productive person.

I want to personally thank Cindy Edelstein for asking me to
participate. I’m impressed with what you are doing. Thank you
Michael Coan for being so gracious. I was honored to assist where I
could. I learned much from this event and look forward to attending
again next year.

Cindy Edelstein’s website

Fashion Instiute of Technology

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

Thank you Karen for such a succint and excellent report on Designer
Day. Your lectures went very well, and there were posters all over
for your upcoming book for Orchid, the first in AJM’s Orchid book
series. Looking forwards to it. Karen is the most wonderful star and
leader in her actions for the Ganoksin Project.

There was of course the Orchid dinner, crammed with people, Joel did
a lovely job and Kenneth was seen serving people right and left.
Lovely. It is interesting, too the friends we have in the industry
who attend Orchid events.

It was a particularly good show. MJSA has corralled all the events
that have been emerging at the show over the past six years and put
them together into an a conference format. Cindy Edelstein’s
Designer Day is truly superb and her events are matchless. Platinum
day assembled by Juergen Maerz was really great, with highlights
like Brad Simon. Andrea Hill was fantastic, she did a amazing job of
presentations, at Executive day and elsewhere. In fact, I think that
as an attendee the MJSA New York show has turned into something
really special, tons of and educational options,
networking with the field, meetings between groups (and it is often
art, design and industry working together these days in planning
projects). I am not sure how much it was to attend the educational
components, but I think it in the $150 range. MJSA has turned into
the industry powerhouse in America, working hard to benefit the
field in all kinds of ways, from leading research into innovation in
the field and reporting on it. Rich Youmans has been point man in

In fact, from my overview of the scene, I have never seen so many
groups working together on projects, often disparate sectors of the
field working together. I would hazard that this development is a
first for North America, artists and industry working hand in hand
in these ways. It bodes well for our field, and Ganoksin is a
significant part of this. I hold that Ganoksin greased the wheels
for it, that Orchid and Ganoksin have been in many ways the solvent
for the barriers between groups in the field.

This combined with the demographic presented as the
final talk on the conference day is good.

summed up: there are about to be a lot of wealthy, peak age, jewelry
buyers appearing, with a high around 2012 bigger than ever before in
North American history. With the existing decrease in the number of
jewelry stores this means that it is going to be a good time for
jewelry in the next bit.


summed up: there are about to be a lot of wealthy, peak age,
jewelry buyers appearing, with a high around 2012 bigger than ever
before in North American history. With the existing decrease in the
number of jewelry stores this means that it is going to be a good
time for jewelry in the next bit. 

Hi Charles,

For those of us who are shocked and awed by this news, could you be
a little more detailed? Did they say whether they will be buyers of
bigger and better diamonds, or whether they might be interested in
collecting “art”? Or…

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA