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Independent Jeweler in Today's Market


#1

Forgot to mention that I am not a consumer. My husband and I started
long ago to judge the cost of luxuries, etc., in terms of hours
worked to pay for them. There’s really nothing I need that I don’t
have. I think the main financial “wants” that my husband and I both
have is for more equipment/tools to take part in our passions–me as
a jeweler and him as a fine furniture maker. We would like to travel
a little more but if I had to choose between going back to a job full
time and a vacation, I’d gladly skip the vacation.

I don’t want to buy anything else to dust. I don’t want to own any
more pets (although I love animals and will always be involved in
their welfare in some way). We own one car and share it. Our
furniture is old but presentable. We don’t take expensive
vacations…you get the picture. I think this is an age-related
thing. I am 58. I didn’t feel this way when I was 30. Instead, I
wanted all the stuff in spite of the debt that came with it.

What makes me happy? I have discovered again and again that I am the
most happy when I am creating. The rest of the time, life is not
nearly as rewarding for me. So the most important thing for me to
"buy" is my freedom to have time to create.

I will have to work part-time for now and maybe forever, who
knows–as long as I still have at least part-time to create.

J. S. (Sue) Ellington
http://www.jsellington.com


#2

Hi, it is Terri again. Like you I can’t handle a job where I have to
be there and told when I can and can’t have my own time. We are not
rich, I like a white picket fence and my husband likes Corvettes.
Does this hint our way of life. He doesn’t have a Corvette but a
little old antique tractor. He has his own business and a garage
ready to set up for “his” jewelry business. He is 62, I am 57. I
love to create, I don’t care what from food to jewelry but what I
love most is sharing my passion with others who appreciate it. I
have been an artist since a child starting with pencil drawings and
like many artists flipping around to find a niche. However money had
to come in there somewhere and I was a little unwilling to let go of
my one of a kinds to do more affordable for the general public, bread
and butter.

However I did but now with a following for my Indian Art, I am having
a ball with my jewelry but again I don’t wish to be the girl next
door stringing beads but doing unusual one of a kind pieces. So this
art show bit. i don’t want a shop, 10-5 stuff and hope to just do a
few good shows a year and build a reputation. It is nice altho not
the same ethnic following that I have friends in the retail, however
I WILL NOT (as I said before) scarifice price points to get my pieces
out there. So big question…websites…I have heard
good and bad…Answers, suggestions? Terri–


#3

Hi Terri:

I WILL NOT (as I said before) scarifice price points to get my
pieces out there. So big question.....websites.....I have heard good
and bad...........Answers, suggestions? 

The last thing I want to do is hurt your feelings. However, the big
question here seems to be, “do you want to make any money or not?”.
A website is good for 2 things. The first is having something out
there to show your friends. The second is to make money. If you don’t
meet the needs and wants of your potential customers, you will not
make money. There’s just no fuzzy area in there. Make what the
customer wants and let the income that comes in from that finance
your ability to pay bills and make the things that you want. The
girls next door may be stringing beads, but they’re also making money
at it. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be doing it.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


#4

Hi Kim

your ability to pay bills and make the things that you want. The
girls next door may be stringing beads, but they're also making
money at it. If they weren't, they wouldn't be doing it. 

Actually, the girl next door IS stringing beads! And the girl across
the street 'round the corner!

But are they making money? Definately yes (if you ask them). Does
their efforts pay the rent?

One barely, the other not yet their work is of good quality. Is the
goal to make a living? No, but the extra cash is good, especially as
it seems to bypass the IRS.

Of course this does NOT apply to all “stringers” maybe just to a
small minority but to me that is the girl(s) next door. And I would
have to steal to be able to compete with their prices. Occasionally I
do sell pearls to one of them!

michaela


#5
I WILL NOT (as I said before) scarifice price points to get my
pieces out there. So big question.....websites.....I have heard
good and bad...........Answers, suggestions?

I think you need to realize that a website is not a panacea - I
started my website 11 years ago when shows were beginning to be too
much for me to do both physically and mentally. I was 63, a widow,
fortunately with retirement income, and it has been extremely hard.
It took me 2 months full time just to learn html and to build a
halfway decent website - then came a lot more study to learn how to
get good listings on the search engines. Now the internet has
expanded way beyond my ability to count such things and it is harder
than ever to get good listings.

I did begin to attract customers right away and I have only had one
month in all that time when the site did not do enough business to
pay its expenses. It still does not do well enough that I could live
on what I make from it and it is still a lot of hard work. I love
making jewelry, and I love working on the computer, but I spend a
great of time working on the site (which includes the paper work
that the business entails) each day. Also, I rarely get to make what
I want to make, because people want me to do custom work for them.
That sounds negative, I don’t mean to be - I do love working with
people on the designs, that is one of the joys of doing jewelry for
people, I feel as though I am making wonderful friends in the
process, but I have all these stones calling to me and ideas swirling
around about how to set them so sometimes it is a frustration.

I’m only relating my own experience, I’m sure there are those whose
sites bring in all kinds of business and they do just fine - also,
if you have the means, you can hire someone to do the website
business for you. Having limited means and also wanting to have
control over the thing, I choose to do everything myself.

I’ve now reached the point in my life that I think its time to cut
some slack - I’m going to try to cut way back on the custom work and
answer the “songs of the stones.” Its scary, because I have
commitments for the money that the custom work brings in each month,
but I know I will not be able to keep on producing forever. Its time
for some fun!

Jan
www.designjewel.com