I recently had a designer contact me to make her designs in
jewelry. She has several shows a year and needs small production. I
am meeting with her this week and would like some advice on what
questions I need to ask her?
I’ve had a little experience with designers, lots of them wannabees.
Be careful. I’ve lost considerable money on “research and
development” when it turns out these individuals don’t know enough
about jewelry design to come up with a product that is actually
do-able. Better build in a fee, collected up front, to be applied
to the future bill, to cover yourself for the time you will spend
re-designing the pieces for production. I now request $500 US up
front before any work is done. It’s non-refundable. If they’re
serious, they won’t have a problem with this. You might also ask
for references from other vendors who’ve done business with them to
make sure they will be paying customers and to find out if they know
what they’re doing and understand what are acceptable production
quality standards. You don’t need people who nit-pick about things
that can’t be helped under the circumstances of their design
constraints. Then keep careful track of the time you spend
engineering the design to actually start production. I charge
initial production costs, then it’s time and materials from there on.
Make absolutely sure that you see the proposed designs before you
quote any prices whatsoever. I’ve had “designers” trying to snooker
me into production work on idiotic designs that they’ve run by other
manufacturers who’ve given them prices they didn’t like. When I’ve
seen (or been given hints about) the designs, they’ve turned out to
be ridiculously difficult and time consuming. Not only do some
"designers" have no clue about how to design jewelry, they aren’t
realistic about what it should cost to produce it either. And
please, those of you for whom I’ve done work, this is not about you,
it’s about some others who I’ve had to blow off. If I’ve done work
for you, we’re OK.
David L. Huffman