Good for you Dwain. Don’t loose sight of what you want to
accomplish. But, never forget either, that there is a great difference
between being a professional jeweler and doing it as a hobby. I
worked for the government for nearly 40 years before retiring and for
the last 20+ of that I was also a lapidary, designer, and metal smith,
did restorations, repairs, you name it…if a pro did it, so did I. I
built a client base of nearly 200 faithfuls, and even after moving
away some years ago, many are still with me long into retirement.
The difference was (is), none of this was my livelihood. I did it
for fun, for excitement, for satisfaction…everything but livelihood.
When I think back, I have never charged my worth! But what I made
went into new equipment, stock, etc.
For a while after retirement, I even began to make a nice profit,
then we moved and other priorities took over for a time. Now, while I
still do a few commissions, cut stones, and fuss over several design
lines, which even sell now and then, my big priority is teaching and
ensuring our art endures. The rest is a rat race.
So, while your aspirations are noble and worthwhile, at some point
you are going to be forced to make a decision. “Do I want to do this
for serious profit or keep it more on the lighter side?” The danger
of the former is becoming more concerned with the profit rather than
the joy of the art, while the latter might result in the utilities
being turned off! I know a young jeweler in Sarasota, FL who, it
seems has combined the two. He won an all Florida design award a few
years ago and has a nice shop in a shopping mall, produces some of the
best designs and workmenship I have seen in many years and yet seems
to really enjoy (read-love) what he does. I wonder, with that
combination will he ever be rich?
Realize this view will probably cause a burp in the list but it is
good for aspiring jewelry artists to understand who they are, what
they are and where they are going! Perspective is everything.
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!