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I want to be a Jewelry Designer


#1

Good evening, Orchid Community. Here I am, yet again. I find myself coming back to this forum over and over again, because I find no better advice than right here from all of you. I am confident that most of you are rather experienced in this industry (that sounds better than saying you’re all older than I am), so I feel secure and confident coming to this community with the question that I have. Before I ask what I need to, let me first preface how I entered into this lovely industry if you have the time to read quite a bit.

When I was 19, I was miserable at my university. I was an average student on the path to becoming a programmer while minoring in marketing. I chose that career path, because it was safe. Not only was it safe, but it wasn’t too difficult if I applied myself. It wasn’t a passion of mine, but it would give me a mostly secure salary. One summer, while working for my university, I slowly found out I was truly unhappy. Having worked the third shift, I had ungodly amounts of free time to browse the internet and let my mind wander. Being a bit of a materialist, I would read articles about the luxury market and all of the neat things wealthy people would throw money at. I soon found myself discovering the luxury watch market, or haute horlogerie. I was completely enamored. I fell in love with brands such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and many more. I had no idea that mechanical watches could be so complex, yet so elegant in their execution! I wanted in. I soon began looking for a school that taught watchmaking/repair. This led me to an older school with a slightly antiquated curriculum in a small river town about three hours south of my current town. I left that winter and found myself taking the horology course. To my surprise, they also offered a nine month course on jewelry design and stone-setting. I decided I would take that course as well. I became absolutely enamored with creating jewelry. I loved the color, the textures, the ability to manipulate the metal, and countless other things. As a child, I had always wanted to create. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a spoiled child. I had far too many Legos as a child, but they never went to waste. All I did was create. I had an imagination and it was always working. It was working in school, when I should have been paying attention. I’m a dreamer and all I want to do is create.

After finishing school, I was lucky enough to be hired by what I would consider to be the nicest jewelry store in town (this town had a population of about 40,000, so not that large). It was a family business that has been around for over 100 years. The family is the sweetest ever, but I had to adapt quickly. I was always a troublesome kid and had a sailor’s vocabulary, so I had to change that. This store provided a certain level of service that set them apart from the other stores in town and I had to maintain that. I learned so much so quickly. I learned from ethical people. People who respect their customer. People who are honest with their customers. People who remember who got them to their success that they have now, the community. I have been groomed for this industry and I am fortunate. I am fortunate that I wake up every morning, put on my cheap H&M suit in my cheap one bedroom studio apartment in a small town, and go to a job that I absolutely love. Are there bad days? Oh, absolutely. The good ones outshine the bad. Not everyone has the fortune that I do and I am grateful. It could all be gone in a second. My life is wonderful, but it’s not enough. Every day I still imagine, like the child I once was. Every day I want to create. All I want to do with my time is create jewelry. I study trends. I study the industry. I study everything. I am taking as many GIA courses as I can. I read research articles on metalurgy, gemology, diamonds, marketing, etc. I participate in this community. I design. I sketch. I do everything I can in my spare time. I get two days off a week. Wednesday and Sunday. Wednesdays are the only days I would have time to come in and actually make something myself. Sundays the store is closed, so I barely get any time to make a single thing. I have an anxiety, because of this. I want to create my own brand and I don’t know how to get off of the ground. I know I will come off as naive, young, and overly-ambitious. I’m all of those things, I admit, but I know what I want. I want to be a successful, influential, high-end jewelry designer. Will you help me? Will you share advice? I am all ears.


#2

Being able to focus on achieving a goal requires specifically defining the goal. It might help to visualize what your working day will be like when you have achieved your goal.

Presently, would the time spent in your borrowed workshop move faster if you could do some of the work in your own space?

Practice photographing your work and post it on social media in order to help you find your target market (the people who love your work enough to pay for it). Never stop asking them questions, because you will always need to define your target market.

Branding is whatever helps folks remember you, and it requires a lot of repetition, so make sure it’s something you will never tire of promoting.

Designing for other brands might be a way to get name recognition. An interesting example of this in the fashion world is Karl Lagerfeld’s career.


#3

U are sooo lucky to have done what u have done, this coming from a poor self taught metalsmith, I dream my next life to be formally trained like you. As Nike says, just do it! Make your jewelry that u dream and love and hit the pavement selling it, there r so many options these days with technology, I have a feeling u will do quite well, don’t forget to send us pics, aloha, angi in hana


#4

Hi Austin, you will have noticed that you have been underwelmed with the 2 replies you have had to your, most useful background to what you dream of doing.
Before I weigh in and reply, can you confirm or otherwise recall if you and I corresponded here some time ago, I cant find out emails, about casting as a way of making?
If you can recall, can you please give me the dates so i can go back and find this correspondence?
Await your reply before anything else is said.
thanks
Ted.


#5

I’m not sure that we did. I haven’t been active for too terribly long and don’t seem to recall, but I’m interested regardless!


#6

Hi Austin,
Go to the date index of this forum and read my post to Jonah. of the16th/09/18.
There you will see how I started.
Also how she didnt respond to my questions. Another hobbyist.
I found a completly unexplored niche in this business and exploited it to my best ability.
You will need to do the same.
Also I cannot nor will tell you how to achieve your dream.
ONLY you can find the way.
When you can ask to see the buyer of Tiffany’s or Cartier or Graff
and show him something you know he hasdnt got, then you will have broken into the big ttime .
I did just that with Grima in London in 1972.
I have been at this metal smithing game now for 50 yrs and still working.
L:ike Michaelangelo, he did his best work when he was over 80.
We, oldies have all the skills, tools and contacts,
you have one advantage we dont have its your youth.
Use it to the full.
Ted.


#8

I’ll certainly find the post you’re referring to. I know I may seem a bit headstrong and somewhat overzealous for a 23-year old, but I know this is exactly what I want. I want to make an impact on the industry. I want to make my family proud. I don’t come from much, so I have to do something great (isn’t that what all young people want to do?). I’m willing to give it my all to have what I want. I’m prepared to put in 60+ hours a week to achieve my dream. The hardest part is transitioning from a store, working 8:00-5:30 (with most of my paycheck going towards rent, food, gas, and other living expenses), to creating pieces of my own to sell. I’ve made a few pieces, but they were for me or my girlfriend. I’m ready to thrive.