Thank you so much for your feedback--this is exactly the kind of
input that I was hoping for!
I am in the process of trying to flesh out what the practical
reality of my bare-bones idea should look like. I have been doing
my jewelry business for about 5 years now, and it has been full time
for the last year or so.
My stuff sells fairly well (about 70% of it w/in 6 months) in the
two galleries that I am represented in, but I am not able to make
things quickly enough to have adequate inventory at large in the
world to make enough money to survive. I am doing 22k one-of-a-kind
stuff ENTIRELY by hand (alloyed and fabricated by me alone), and it
just takes FOREVER to make a piece. My average necklace takes about
1 week of my time (and I work 6 days a week, 7-10 hours per day).
So it takes about 3 months for me to get a solid collection together
and, just when I hope to get it placed in a third store, one of my
first two comes up empty and I need to place it there.
So what it comes down to is, I need more stuff than I am able to
make on my own. And I figure that if I am going to go the
production route, I want the stuff that I am producing to be even
BETTER than the stuff that I can do on my own--I am good at ancient
jewelry techniques--fabrication, granulation, bezel-setting--but I'd
like to incorporate sculptural components done with carved wax,
enamel work, gypsy and pave settings, etc... into my offerings.
I know that I have the vision to do something really unique and very
cool. Marketing yourself is always a challenge, and I know it might
be tough to get represented in one of the stores that I have
envisioned, but I am confident that I will ultimately get it done.
What I need to understand is HOW to get all of this done. I have
very basic questions, like, do I hire "assistants" to make the
models, carve the stones, do the casting, assembly, etc...? Or do I
bring my ideas to a contract manufacturer? Do I buy all of the
stones that I will need for each piece, or just a few to get a
sample done? Is it essential that each replica have exactly the
same stone, or can I vary the stones and sort of customize each
production piece? Then I also need to find some great people to
Anyway, thank you again for your input thus far and, if you have ANY
further thoughts/isights/advice/contacts etc... I would LOVE to hear