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.