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Job advice


#1

Fellow Orchidians, I’d like your advice and any resources you’d like
to offer (contacts would be great!). I live in central Bucks
County, PA, and am trying to find a job in the jewelry industry. I
cannot relocate, but I can work remotely. My target geographic
region is central Bucks County (just outside of Philly), including
New Hope, Lahaska, Doylestown, Newtown, Quakertown and even into NJ
(Flemington, Frenchtown, etc.).

Here’s my background. I spent over 20 years in (non-jewelry)
corporate business, managing creative teams and doing marketing and
consulting on web technologies and online learning. A little more
than a year ago, I was laid off (hurray), and have taken the last
year to go back to school full time and amass some formal studio
training in the fine arts, including sculpture, jewelrysmithing and
"foundation" courses. I’m viewing this as a welcome opportunity to
embark on my “2nd career” in life.

Several years ago, I started making jewelry, and up until I returned
to school was largely self-taught, except for a small group of
fellow craftsmen who provided advice, support, and tips. So last
year, I immersed myself in “the biz” and have spent many, many hours
learning everything I can. I realize, too, that I have a long way
to go, and have no intention of stopping now.

Having said that, the sales from my handmade pieces are not (yet)
going to support my family, and the money’s getting tight. Time to
look for a job, one that is long-term (not seasonal).

In an ideal universe, that job will be one that helps me support my
family while not totally disabling my ability to continue taking 1 -
2 classes and doing some jewelrysmithing on my own. I’m figuring
that maybe something in jewelry sales might be appropriate (I have
excellent customer skills, and have done sales corporately, but
nothing terribly recent in retail), even something that includes
light repair work.

Bottom line is that I simply love working with and around jewelry.
While an apprenticeship with a designer/smith could be a dream job
in many ways, I don’t know how realistic that is. That’s why I’m
thinking a sales job might be best.

So… what advice do you have? What contacts can you provide?

Thanks so much, as always, for your advice and help!

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


#2

Karen,

I wish you lived in Frederick, MD. Sales in my gallery are up 30%
this year…a record. Unfortunately, this also means that I am
spending less and less time at the bench, doing what I really love.
I am forced to choose between managing the gallery or working as a
goldsmith.

In a gallery like mine, it is important that the person working with
the customer really understand goldsmithing. They can explain the
different techniques used, the various alloys, as well as help in
selecting the proper Understanding how the jewelry is
made also gives them an understanding of proper jewelry design.

It may take a lifetime to master all the skills necessary to be a
master goldsmith. Most of those who have taken that path seldom have
the time, or interest, to master the skills necessary to operate a
business. I have found that the best jewelry businesses are often a
symbiotic partnership between a great craftsman and a great business
person.

Perhaps the skills you already have are of tremendous value to the
designer/smith that you wish to apprentice with…

Doug Zaruba