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Starting my own jewelry business

John Donivan:

good business is good business. Bottom line is "you can't fool all
of the people all of the time... 

I’m not sure what you are trying to say, but I can assure you that I
don’t try to fool any of the people any of the time. I tell anyone
who buys my jewelry exactly what it is made of whether it is A-Grade
pearls and Swarovski crystal or sterling silver and dendritic agate.
I occasionally use gemstone beads to make a necklace, a pair of
earrings, or a bracelet. I used to call these "semi-precious"
but I quit because of a thread on Orchid that said we
should stop using the term semi-precious, and I think you were one of
the ones who agreed to this. When I tell someone what the necklace
is made of, I don’t say “I say amethyst, citrine, topaz,
ruby or whatever it is. Not once, never, have I ever tried to fool
anyone about anything I do. Am I fooling anyone by not calling them
"semi-precious i.e. amethyst, citrine…”?

Helen had made a reference to costume jewelry to which I had
responded that I didn’t consider what I made to be costume jewelry.
Maybe you believe that any jewelry that doesn’t contain gold and
diamonds isn’t real jewelry, I don’t know. Maybe our definition of
costume jewelry is different. But then, I guess that’s what makes
race horses.

Carolyn Vinson
Frog Pond Studio

Frankly, I really like Frog Pond. But then, I’m from a place that
had a Frog Hollow just down the road. He made log furniture while she
planned & catered bridal parties in their beautiful back
yard/acreage…My business, Herb-n-Antiques, runs the gambit from
re-purposed/repaired vintage jewelry, silver smithing, PMC,
stringing, primitives, folk art dolls & bears and herbal “stuff”.
Now that I’m retired from a “real job” I can pursue way too many
creative outlets… I do concentrate on smithing & beading as much as
possible - but, these other interests are things I’ve done since I
was a child & it’s hard to stop. Although, my first attempt, a
necklace at age 7, with encouragement from my Grandma was a chicken
bone & wooden beaded creation - especially enjoyed by our Cocker
Spaniel…

Not even a little bit, Helen. I wrote it a bit too creatively, I
guess. 

Thanks for the clarification John. I see you have a similar post
from Carolyn. Looks like we both got the wrong end of the stick!

Helen
UK

Maybe you believe that any jewelry that doesn't contain gold and
diamonds isn't real jewelry, I don't know. Maybe our definition of
costume jewelry is different. But then, I guess that's what makes
race horses. 

I already clarified this today, but it needs to be even more clear,
I guess. I didn’t just go “poof” and become a fine jeweler. I started
out making $30 turqoise rings, worked in Hawaii making cheap black
coral rings - I’ve done lots of things. I’m not a snob, and the
topic of this thread is “Starting my own business”. I never said or
implied any of the above - not sure where that even comes from,
actually. When people read “Good business is good business”, they
should have stopped there, I guess. Laurel Birch is/was the epitome
of this whole thread. She took a pretty enameled earring for $50 per
and turned it into an empire. She did that by doing everything right,
and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. That’s all, that’s it.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

This very same confusion arose a few months ago when someone
posted about setting sapphires in silver for "bridal" jewellery 

The confusion I mentioned (this week) was the first post in this
thread said bridal is not her thing, then later it is (so if bridal
is indeed not her thing then my thoughts regarding the name could be
out of context, hence the silver animal charm comment). I just won’t
touch the March thread, if that’s OK. I’m not dissing her work at
all. Just responding to a call for business advice(I’ve been thru
wash, spin, and wringer. Now its fluff dry so I have a varied
perspective, survivor that I am) and again suggesting to make
business decisions based on reasoning it out. I understand very well
that the name chosen has meaning to Carolyn. Ideally, in a for profit
enterprise, its good to fine tune your image for profit. You do that
by standing in your customers’ shoes sometimes. Just trying to help
like I said.

I don’t know if she took offense or not(hope not) but that can happen
with a Dutch Uncle. I dare say there are more than a couple of Dutch
Uncles on this board.

Dear Helen, John Donivan, Neilthejeweler, Dr. Rourke, Steve, Jan,
David and anyone else who offered advice/criticism Re: starting my
own business,

As the original poster of this thread I want to respond to some of
the comments that have been made.

First I want to thank everyone for taking time to respond. A special
thanks to Helen for taking a look at my newest piece and giving me
feedback. Thank you Dr. Rourke for the offer of consultation. I may
take you up on it. John Donivan, I posted to you earlier, but I feel
the need to clarify some of my comments. To Neilthejeweler and
David, thanks for the advice regarding the name Frog Pond Studio. I
think I said in an earlier post that I may have to change the name
of the business, but my studio will always be the Frog Pond.

I searched for domain names and find that the name
FrogPondStudioJewelry.com is available. I will probably buy it,
because I like the name. Many of you have said Frog Pond Studio
doesn’t say anything about jewelry and doesn’t identify me. Not that
I have to justify it, but by adding Jewelry to the end so that the
whole name is Frog Pond Studio Jewelry, I believe it is unique
enough to garner some attention. I tend to be a very adventurous
non-conformist so it suits me fine. Having a website is not on my
short list of things I need to do to get this business up and going
but I believe it is important in order to sustain it.

Now, as to the matter of making “bridal jewelry.” I was asked to
participate in this expo because they did not have a jeweler as a
vendor. They specifically requested jewelry that a bride and her
attendants would wear on her big day. I agreed to make the jewelry
and have done so using A-grade natural and/or dyed freshwater
pearls, Swarovski crystal, sterling silver and gold or gold-filled
when appropriate. I have also made some pieces that are sterling
silver with semi-precious I make jewelry to the best of
my ability and have sold a number of pieces, both of the strung
variety and my sterling silver pieces. I have a number of repeat
customers, so I guess someone likes what I make. Every piece of
jewelry I sell comes with a tag identifying what it is made of,
i.e., A-grade pearls, London blue topaz, sterling silver, dendritic
agate, or whatever it is made of. The includes my name,
my phone number and my e-mail address so that I can be contacted if
there is a problem with any piece of jewelry I sell.

John, you responded to Helen that “what some people trying to get a
business going sometimes just don’t grasp is that you need to offer
what people want to buy.” I agree with that 100%. Fortunately for
me, I don’t have to sell what I make in order to put food on the
table, which gives me an opportunity to make things I want to make
and see if anyone will buy it. I also know what my few customers
tell me they like and try to expand on that.

I’m sorry if this sounds like a rant, because I don’t mean for it to
be. I just don’t like the idea that some of you have judged my name,
and my work without ever having seen it.

Carolyn Vinson
Frog Pond Studio (until I change the name)

I think the name Frog Pond conveys romance and remembrance
perfectly. Haven't you ever heard "Froggy went a courtin'." 

I have heard of having to kiss a lot of toads…I might suggest
looking in a phone book at the names of jewelry stores or bridal
shops and see what they are trying to convey. The people on this
forum that have decades of experience can only offer opinions or
advice relational to their experience, and I doubt many of us have
gone for the cute aspect in naming our business’s.

You might want to have a name that moves people toward your product.
If I did not know what you did, Frog Pond Studio might make ceramic
products or frog related items.

If I was Elaine’s Bridal Accessories, I would love to have
competition named frog Pond studios. It’s so cute! How about Frog
Pond Jewelry Studio. Go Daddy says it is available.

Richard Hart

Carolyn -

While all of the posters who spoke of the advantages of a business
name in some way communicating what the business offers were
correct, it is also important that you are enthusiastic about the
name. Your enthusiasm will translate into creative ideas for all the
promotional and branding components of your business, from business
cards to the boxes and ribbons you use at point of sale. Is “Frog
Pond” “cute”? If you brand it to have cutsey looking frog images all
over everything, then yes. But I could also see it as charming. It
depends on how you handle those branding details in terms of images
and overall look.

(That said, there are names I don’t think you could turn to your
advantage, no matter what you did. “Skull and Bones Studio” would be
a tough sell for your kind of product!)

I would think that the bridal jewelry business is very much a word
of mouth enterprise… one bride wears your jewelry, and other women
see it and want to know where it came from. In that situation, your
business name need only be easily remembered. Frog Pond is certainly
easy to remember.

As for a website, the name of your business is only one thing that
the search engine considers when it amasses hits, and if the name
does not include the specific term “bridal jewelry” it would be
obviously a very weak one, but this is easily mitigated. How will
your prospective customers most likely search for jewelry such as
yours? What search terms will they use? Once you have determined
that, it is easy to be sure your website includes those terms in the
appropriate places. An internet search on “how to be found by search
engines” or something of that nature will lead you to much info on
where you need to put those words or phrases.

As a final thought, and just one coming from someone who has done a
fair amount of promotional work, it occurs to me that you might take
advantage of your very musical and lovely name by using it as a sort
of subtitle for your business - “Frog Pond Studio, featuring Carolyn
Vinson Bridal Jewelry”. This would help you get website hits, and
could also be used in a myriad of other ways; on promotional
material, signage for shows, even in a brick and mortar shop.

I actually think using “Bridal Jewelry” in your name is a bad idea.
It limits you. How do you know what you might want to expand into as
time passes?

Best of luck to you in your new business. As I said, I’ve done a
fair bit of promotional work (lots of print design work), and as I
read all the various posts I could not help but flip into
"promotional mode," so I thought I’d just share what I ended up
thinking, for whatever it’s worth to you.

Rachel

Rachel:

Thank you for your? very valuable input on the name? Frog Pond
Studio. I’m glad to hear you say you think it is a musical and lovely
name. There is a reason? for the name and I’m not willing to change
it at the present time. I don’t use anything “cutesy” in my
packaging. My business cards are black linen with? embossed silver
lettering with the name Frog Pond Studio, then my name and? contact
info. I like the way silver looks on black. Packaging is simple white
boxes. I wrap necklaces in white acid free tissue if they are too
large for a box or if the purchaser prefers it that way. Bags are
white with a silver swirl pattern.

As I’ve tried to say before I’m a silversmith who started out
stringing beads (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but I’m doing
the bridal? expo because I was? asked to create bridal jewelry since
no one else was doing that. My exhibit will include? some of my just
silver pieces as well as a number of silver and gemstone? pieces
because the bride needs something? to wear on her honeymoon and then
there are all those gifts someone wants to give.

I really like your suggeston about using "Frog Pond Studio, featuring
Carolyn Vinson Bridal Jewelry. " You’re a genius! I’ve been
struggling with having? signage made for this expo and? have to meet
with the printer tomorrow in order to get the banner made by Friday.
Your suggestion set off a light bulb? in my head and now I know? what
to do about it. Thanks!

Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m? excited about? starting a
new business. I’ll keep you posted. ?

Carolyn
Frog Pond Studio, featuring Carolyn Vinson Bridal Jewelry!!!? ?

Hi Carolyn:

I have been short on time to post, but have read much of your
thread.

I also have a BS in accounting. Your business experience should help
but…

The Biggest piece of advice one can ever get is to listen to advice.
I’m quoting you now “BTW, I have had a number of people offer advice
on what to do next. I’ve ignored all those suggestions until I get
the real scoop from the experts - the collective knowledge of the
Orchid Forum” No offense, but it doesn’t seem like you are quite
ready to listen to the guys on Orchid either. They’re not trying to
hurt feelings (most of the time)…they do have an awful lot of
experience. A person going into business needs to remain objective,
big time. This is the hardest part (in my opinion). There are a
bazillion tiny decisions to be made, all by you. It’s tedious, but
you own the whole process…from conception to profit. It’s all
yours. That’s what will make the business worth it. You’ll get a lot
of crappy advice, but try to listen to the good stuff when you get
it.

On your banner…I’ve done a couple of shows now and really thought
that I was planning to “do” too much. I didn’t really need a sign
(show provides one)…I also thought I would need fancy backdrop
curtains (not really). With my budget, I decided to skip or tone down
anything that seemed to be a bell or whistle until I got my feet wet.

I’m sorry. Frog Pond Studio may be a lot more difficult to work. The
customer will have to think of you and your jewelry every time she
sees a frog. There is going to have to be a lot of work done on
branding in order to get that to happen. I guess it could work, it
just might be a bit more of a challenge. Personally, I picked
Kstardesigns…and my logo is a starfish…because my name is
Starbard, so it ties. Do you have anything tying you to a frog?

I have only ever accepted one AMEX card, so that’s my opinion on
that. I’ve only ever seen one.

If bridal is not going to be your thing, maybe this bridal show is
not where you should put yourself. At some bridal shows, the
promoters offer advertising in the catalog. This would put your work
in front of the potential clients w/o having to spend as much
time/effort/money.

A lot of us make beautiful jewelry, but, unfortunately, that is only
about 5% of the equation.

Above post is all objective and my opinion.

Kim Starbard
Unique Jewelry Designs

http://www.kstardesigns.com

So glad something I said was helpful! I can feel your strong
personal connection to the name, and I think your “branding” tools
(cards, boxes, etc.) are certainly anything but cute. They sound
clean and elegant.

Best of luck!
Rachel

Speaking of business names…allow me for a moment to totally
solicit some advice. My company’s name is fuzzishu. I am toying
with the phrase ‘jewelry with joie de vivre’ to follow it on most
promotional things (postcards etc.). Funny enough, I had been toying
with this phrase in my head and had one customer come up and tell
me…‘Your jewelry has so much joie de vivre!’ I could have kissed
her! I had no idea that the feelings of the work spoke for themsevles
so well.

I’d love to get some feed back on both the name and the descriptive
phrase. Too weird? Too unidentifiable? Does anyone else (including
Johnny Q. Public) know what the heck ‘joie de vivre’ means? I get
mixed reviews on ‘fuzzishu’. Certainly no one’s forgotten it once
they hear/see it, which is kind of what I was going for (unusual,
funky, unforgettable). But others say that it doesn’t promote the
image of mid to high end art jewelry. FYI my jewelry is contemporary
and colorful. The colors are waaaay off but you can see a sample on
the splash page of my yet-to-be-completed website. fuzzishu.nu I
could really use some feedback as I’ve started promoting my business
this name and I value all of your opinions. Orchid has yet to steer
me wrong. I feel it’s a bit too late to try and change the name now
and I am happy with it (although my background story on the name
needs a little fleshing out. It’s kind of lame) but am open to other
suggestions/opinions. Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Rachel
www.fuzzishu.nu

There is actually a small store located in my block called Joie de
Vivre. She sells an assortment of gift items.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com

Since you are locked in to fuzzishu, you have run with it. However I
think I’d be reticent to further add fuzzi-ness about your identity.
Do all your prospective customers speak french? A tag line that comes
right out and says it would probably work better. A brand works best
when its accessible.

Jewelry That Colors Your Life

The Joy Of Wearing Color

something like that. Nah the second one isn’t quite right, doesn’t
say ‘jewelry’.

I’m no marketing guru but I might guess that a tag line used FOR
identification is not as good as a tag line used to reinforce the
identification. Take General Electric. “GE, We Bring Good Things To
Life” speaks volumes over “GE, We Make Refrigerators and Jet
Engines”. Its the old Features and Benefits pitch but wrapped up
concisely. I think your jewelry with joie de vivre’ angle is a good
concept if it was more recognizable but I also think it’d work much
better with a company name people can relate to instantly.

BTW the first and lingering image I got from your name was that of
those fuzzy dice and baby shoes that people hang from their '55 Chevy
mirrors, but then I’m a die hard punstering gearhead.

I think “fuzzishu” is not your best choice for marketing and a brand
name-

your work is better than that - it sounds like a kids slipper
company…I think pink fuzzy shoes when I look at that name…Rachel x
designs may be too stolic for your taste or what you want your target
market to think when they see your eventual brand…joie d’vivre-
could be a line of your contemporary colourful works, then on from
there, but in my worthless opinion, I wouldn’t go with fuzzishu
unless you make slippers! Pick a brand that will last you through any
transitions and evolutions that becomes your work…rer

Hi Neil -

Thanks for the response. I definitely want to stay far far way from
any tie ins with fuzzy-ness and/or shoes. I mainly chose it for the
’huh?’ factor. If people have to think about something it tends to
stick with them. Plus it seems the Name as Brand thing is a bit
overplayed. It needs to be something that stands out from the crowd,
no? I am working on building a brand (yeesh that STILL sounds dirty
to the art school kid I was/am) and you’re right that accessibility
counts. I don’t want to confuse or alienate people. As for french
speaking customers, perhaps. I do hope to go international - I am
desperate to do Inhorgenta but the booth fees are killer, not to
mention the travel etc. I like your first tag line. I was trying to
figure out how to phrase ‘funky elegance’ without having it sound
awful. There’s still fine tuning to be done. We’ll see how this
plays, thanks again for your advice and opinions.

Cheers,
Rachel

fuzzishu
not just sneakers covered in cat hair! ;-p

There is actually a small store located in my block called Joie de
Vivre. She sells an assortment of gift items.

Ah but does anyone know or care what it means? Is that important?

I do not agree with those that have posted negatively about your
business name. I believe that a quirky name like fuzzishu is
entirely workable for a funky and very contemporary line of jewelry,
and I think your idea of adding “jewelry with joie de vivre” is
brilliant. From the picture on your website (I wish I could see more
of your work), I think that the added phrase is exactly what you
need. It describes your work in a very enticing and clever way and
gets the word “jewelry” in there. I think most people know what
"joie de vivre" is, especially if they are in the market for mid to
high end contemporary jewelry.

My viewpoint might differ from others because I am not thinking
strictly “inside the box” of jewelry, although certainly examples of
very unusual names can be found in this arena. But think about the
names of some clothing or shoe lines, for instance. I say add on the
tagline and go for it. I like it the whole concept. I think it’s
terrific, in fact.

Rachel

Hi R.E.-

No opinion is worthless, we learn from them all. I asked for
opinions (perhaps too late in the business planning stage!) because
it’s often hard to stand back and be objective. I tend to have a very
childish (big bright colors, ridiculous puns, gimmicky gadgety
functions) outlook on design. You aren’t far off on the fuzzy slipper
thing. The name originally came from the red fuzzy shoes (Ikea, kid’s
section) that adorn the legs of my desk. That’s why when people ask
what it means I kind of turn pink and stammer a bit. Need to brush up
on my story telling abilities if I do keep the name! :wink: Thanks and
I’ll let you know where I end up on this one…

Cheers,
Rachel

fuzzishu warm and cuddly sleek contemporary jewelry…hmm nope. not
there yet

fuzzishu contemporary jewelry that won’t leave you cold…meh.

fuzzishu jewelry that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy
inside…yeesh i think they are getting worse! :wink:

My company's name is *fuzzishu*. I am toying with the phrase
'jewelry with joie de vivre' to follow it on most promotional
things (postcards etc.). 

Well, Rachel, I’d suggest you back up a bit and rethink your
promotional plan. Meaning that I have my own thoughts about the name
itself (not much - slippers, etc.), but nobody asked me. But we find
out quite a lot about fuzzishu through a search - light social
drinker, speaks French and Spanish… The internet is unforgiving,
I’m afraid. If it’s a business, my strategy would be to treat it as
one. Or is it, "any muppet movie where miss piggy attacks kermit. "?
Sorry, but the internet is unforgiving… Treat it like a toy, it’s
a toy.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com