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Hand Made (designers?)


#1

Sorry, I was not able to follow the handmade discussion, so I
might repeat something that somebody already said. But here is an
example that is really bothering me. At any of the handcrafted
wholesale shows, there are more and more “designer” jewelers, who
"make" their jewelry. The reality is that they choose the stones
(I am sure there are a handful of choices) and the jewelry is
made in Bali. Almost all have the same motives, so if you know
Bali jewelry you know what I am talking about. I talked to
several of these people, and they very indignantly refuse that
their jewelry might not be handmade. After all they designed it
(whatever that means) and it was manuhactured in their studios
(in Bali with Bali workers).

Actually it probably was handmade or hand fabricated- just not
by the “designer”. There are quite a few designers who just draw
up designs- some do have bench experience, some hire modelmakers
or wax carvers to produce master models, some have pieces made by
bench jewelers (my friend Paula Crevoshay does not sell cast
pieces). Some people are better at conceptualization than acually
making things. My old roommate Jill designs for a Providence
costume jewelry house- she is also capable of making models (she
likes sculpy clay). Designers get well paid if their designs sell
well. Jill came to me when she wanted her diamond reset, but had
her own rendering of the piece that she wanted. It came out well,
we were both happy.

The problem is if they mis-represent their work. A local shop
owner spends his winters in Bali and brings back local jewelry.
It is light weight, cheap, and though not something that would
leave my shop, is decent low end jewelry.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#2
There are quite a few designers who just draw up designs- some
do have bench experience, some hire modelmakers or wax carvers
to produce master models, some have pieces made by bench
jewelers (my friend Paula Crevoshay does not sell cast pieces).

Does Paula Crevoshay actually do any metalworking at all? Or
does she only do the drawings?

Karen


#3
she is also capable of making models (she likes sculpy clay).

Richard: whats the process of making a model (for casting I
assume?) out of Sculpey clay. Does this involve making a rubber
mold of it? Curious…Dave

http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html Crystalguy
Art Jewelry, Magical Art Jewelry for the Enlightened Mind


#4

If I may add a comment… have you ever noticed how frantic
and angry those people get when you ask them, “did you really
fabricate/cast this piece…”

Ed


#5

Karen,

Paula Crevoshay contracts with a firm in Beverly Hills to do the
actual construction of her designs. She does no benchwork at
all, just designing.

Barry Hansen


#6

Does Paula Crevoshay actually do any metalworking at all? Or
does she only do the drawings?

I worked from her drawings on the piece that I made for her
client. She also sent several pieces for reference for the bale
and pin back. She prefers that even the findings are handmade.
She is an accomplished painter and sometimes does shows where
both her jewelry designs and paintings are displayed. She is
also a very nice, funny, down to earth woman and good
salesperson. Her husband George is a gem dealer. To my knowledge
she does not do metalwork. She is currently doing a show here on
the Vineyard at Momilani this weekend.

Rick
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#7

Paula Crevoshay contracts with a firm in Beverly Hills to do the
actual construction of her designs. She does no benchwork at
all, just designing.

the US and probably uses some in the Orient, as well.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#8

If I may add a comment… have you ever noticed how frantic
and angry those people get when you ask them, “did you really
fabricate/cast this piece…”

That has to do with how secure or insecure they are. The
designers who knock other designers and jewelers work, or claim
that it was inspired by their own when it probably wasn’t, are
the least secure.

Some designers are metalsmiths, some are not. I don’t think that
you can judge design on this basis- though you can certainly
evaluate the resulting work by its craftsmanship. The 20th
century has brought about the mass production of crafts- and it
is much less expensive as a result to own good design.

I sized a platinum ring today that was by a NYC designer- it
wasn’t an original design by any stretch of the imagination, and
was poorly finished to boot, when it arrived. It left in much
better shape.

One last thing- if you think that you are competing with $30
items then you really are going to struggle to support yourself.
On the average I charge about $500-700 for a fabricated or carved
wax cast ring setting in 18k, not including the stones. This
includes the hours I spend with the client to make sure the piece
is all that they expect. I’d rather (pleasantly) refund their
money than have a disappointed client. I filter out the few I
know I can’t please at the beginning- and give a refund once a
year or so.

Rick Hamilton

Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#9

Rick:

Regarding your comments about $500-700/item, I’m impressed with
your success. Do you have any advice to share regarding
attracting such higher end clients?


#10

Regarding your comments about $500-700/item, I’m impressed with
your success. Do you have any advice to share regarding
attracting such higher end clients?

This is what I have determined that I need to charge for custom
mountings. There are pieces that I make for less- simple bands or
settings, or pieces from my cast line. Currently I figure my shop
time at a certain rate, and use that as a guideline. I usually
know how long a piece will take- the benifit of years of
experience. My clients find me- usually having seen my work in a
store or gallery, or my name has been mentioned by another
client.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#11

X-No-Archive: yes

Ditto, Rick! My thoughts exactly! Ken


#12

… Do you have any advice to share regarding
attracting such higher end clients?

Pardon my butting in, but Rick has what is known as “location,
location, location”. The best way to attract high end customers
is to set up shop in or near a high end neighborhood.

After that’s done, you practically give away your first few
pieces, making your customers swear they won’t tell anyone what
they paid, and then wait for the word to spread. Hopefully, you
won’t starve to death in the meantime.

Seriously, one marketing strategy I have recently used (actually
last week)did involve giving a piece away. There is an annual
fundraiser for the hospital in this area which draws over 2,000
affluent women. I called the organizers and offered to donate
something for their silent auction. They were thrilled to the
point of handing my business cards to everyone who came within
reach of the piece. I donated a handmade sapphire and diamond
slide which I listed as retailing for $840. Less than $200 of
that was material cost, the rest labor. The highest bid they
received was for $500. The woman also paid me $130 for the chain
I had it displayed on. I couldn’t have targeted a more precise
market for high end goods if I had spent thousands of dollars in
media advertising.

A number of marketing types have told me direct mailings are
also the way to go, but until I spoke to someone at the NY show,
I had no idea how to get the name and address of the people I
wanted to target, without spending a small fortune for a mailing
list that I would have to sort through and clean up. I knew what
addresses I would like to send advertisements to just by driving
around, but I didn’t want to do a mailing to “Resident”. I was
told that my local library has what is called the Cross
Directory. If you have a street address, you can find the names
of people living there, assuming that they have a listed phone
number. If you even only hit one or two on a given street, and
invite them to meet you, or offer free consultations in the
comfort of their own home to discuss re-designing that old
jewelry that’s just thrown in their jewelry box, they will
probably talk to their neighbors and your name will start to get
out.

I also discovered, at least in this area, that people don’t
really read the ads, but they sure do look at the business
section of the local paper. Find ways of getting your name in,
even if it is just little news briefs, saying that you attended a
show somewhere, or took a seminar. Make yourself look like
someone who keeps abreast of their field.

One last word (really!) be prepared to do a lot of plain and
simple things for people as a way to earn their trust. It takes
time to develop a relationship with your clients, so that when
they are looking for that high-end purchase, they will think of
you.

Sorry for the babble, but it’s late and I’m tired.

Have a great day.

Sharon
GoldStones, Inc.


#13

Sharon:

You gave us all wonderful advice- I love the idea of donating a
piece to an auction!!! Its brillant thinking!!

DeDe


#14

Sharon:

Thanks for your comments, which weren’t babble at all. Wish I
made so much sense when I WASN’T tired! I think I could target
some people to direct mail to here in my town. Could you say
more about what you say to them. Just a toney brochure or letter
with high end language about your design and/or custom cut
stones?


#15
A number of marketing types have told me direct mailings are
also the way to go, but until I spoke to someone at the NY show,
I had no idea how to get the name and address of the people I
wanted to target, without spending a small fortune for a mailing
list that I would have to sort through and clean up.  I knew
what addresses I would like to send advertisements to just by
driving around, but I didn't want to do a mailing to "Resident".
I was told that my local library has what is called the Cross
Directory.  If you have a street address, you can find the names
of people living there, assuming that they have a listed phone
number. If you even only hit one or two on a given street, and
invite them to meet you, or offer free consultations in the
comfort of their own home to discuss re-designing that old
jewelry that's just thrown in their jewelry box, they will
probably talk to their neighbors and your name will start to get
out.

The City Directory, i.e. the cross listing, for most cities can
be gotten on CD-ROM. I don’t remember from where, unfortunately.
Probably if you went to the library in your city, and got the
address of the company that produces the directory, you would
find the producer of the CD. A good friend was telling me about
it some time back, and I’ll get more info from him when he
returns from running in Road America next week!

<> Marrin T. Fleet <>
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