You wrote (snip) I have done a little research on switching careers and
have learned that jewelry artists usually contract out their designs and
employ shops in
Mexico or Thailand to do 100's of dumb easy little pieces that constitute
your catalog. This is supposedly where you make your money. Then you do
your one of a kind pieces for more money.
I think I am starting to hear that "sucking" sound that Ross Perot was
always talking about. I have known people that do this, but I do not call
them jewelers. They are importers and their stuff is in all of the trade
magazines, and they set up at all of the major trade shows and some of them
tell people the stuff is made in their own studios. I suppose they make
money, but so do mercenaries.
As far as switching careers is concerned, the grass is always greener on
the other side. Whatever it is that you do not like about your graphic
design business, you will probably not like about running a full time
jewelry business. Instead of computers cutting into your business, it would
If you enjoy making jewelry as a hobby, do you need to make your living at
it? However, if you are intent on doing this, then I would suggest writing
a serious business plan. Figure out how much money you need to live and run
a business and get it all down on a spreadsheet and start doing what if
scenarios. I have had to increase the size of my business several times and
have had success doing just that. How much can you produce? Could you
produce your line profitably with labor? How large of a market is there for
what you produce. From my experience, the larger our business grew, the
more things changed. Insurance, marketing expenses, shop overhead,
equipment purchases, etc, etc, etc. we swim in bills. Fortunately, we had a
business plan and learned to swim.
I took a very long term approach to the development of our business and
decided to do as much of the production in house and purchase only metal,
findings and stones. We do all of our fabricating, casting, soldering, etc.
This gives us complete control over our production process. Timing,
quality, techniques, etc. I have talked to people who have everything done
out of house and or imported. They have no control over their business
except in the marketing arena. Even then, their designs must conform to the
skills their chosen job shops can perform. Sometimes it takes months to get
an order filled from overseas. Over the years our line has evolved and
improved. Work that is designed and executed by the same people eventually
develops and improves beyond what is possible through disjointed efforts.
Work that is designed by jewelers without production skills and produced by
others sometimes becomes clumsy looking and lacks that special look and
feel associated with well designed and manufactured jewelry.
Dave, I have seen your work on your web page and it is great looking stuff,
I do not think that it would translate well into flimsy, lifeless, poorly
made import junk. There is enough of that crap around. Stick to your vision
of good design and quality and work with reputable production shops to help
you with your production if necessary. It is best to make the transition
slowly, as this makes cash flow alot easier
By the way I do not endorse Ross Perot, just sticking up for American
Just my $.05 worth