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The Jeweler, The Custom Piece and your Inventory

The Jeweler, The Custom Piece and your Inventory

Even if you don’t do jewelry repair or custom personally I know all
of you sell it in some way. So if you’re a store owner and don’t mess
with the repair department, you should read this anyway. You’ll get
a lot out of it from an inventory side.

I got a call from a jeweler yesterday that is having cash flow
problems. He’s a 3 man band. He, along with another guy are the two
jewelers and there’s a young woman who works 2 days in the office and
3 days as an apprentice jeweler.

Cash flow is not great and he’s working lots of hours past the
number “40”. Sales are down for May. Did I mention cash flow stints?

Here are some of his problems. Now this guy is doing less than
$500,000 a year and many of you are much greater than that. But read
on, there s lesson here.

He does have product in his case and it’s a combination of things he
buys and a fair amount of things he makes. But easily 75% of all
traffic is driven towards “service”.

He uses The Edge, which has a report, key to success in the jewelry
industry GMROI. Jewelry Shopkeeper has it as well as just installed
with Ibis. This report tells you how well you are doing with
inventory. He stinks. His GMROI is 36 cents; it should be over $1.00.

For those not versed in GMROI, you can acquaint this to TURN. Turn
in a jewelry store should be greater than “1”. This means if you own,
at cost, $250,000 of jewelry, you should sell, at your cost $250,000
of jewelry. The formula is simple. Turn is the cost of what you sold
for the past 365 days (year) divided by the average inventory you’ve
had for the past year. Average inventory is what you had a year ago,
added to what you have today, and divided by “2”. (Its actually more
complicated but this is fine).

Turn should be “1” or greater, selling all inventory in a year. His
was.36, meaning he had enough inventory for three years.

He’s working his butt off at the bench, is ready to fire the admin
person because money is tight. He uses my price book and is making
money from the shop, hands down. His problem is this:

"Every time he makes some money from the bench, he takes probably
1/4^th of the shop profits and sends it to New York to a vendor, or
makes stuff himself to put in the case, with the full knowledge that
it won’t sell for almost three years (turn of.36).

Could you afford to send 1/4th of your paycheck to your Uncle Bob
who’s out of work, with a promise he’ll pay you back and it’s now
three years later and your cash flow stints, all because of Uncle
Bob’s drain on your account?

Inventory not selling at the end of a year is Uncle Bob.

Now I promised you something to get you to action based upon:

The Jeweler, The Custom Piece and your Inventory

It’s hard to get jewelers and jewelry store owners to give up on
their antiquated notion of “Hey, it will sell!” Doesn’t matter if it
ever sells, what matters is it must give you a profit somewhere
between the 1st day it sits in the showcase and its 365th birthDAY.

Here’s how I convinced him. Have you ever custom made a piece of
jewelry that was a round circle disc where you pierced out the
initials and placed a bail on it and it looked like this?

I found this picture on the web at:

So how to price the necklace was the question I asked him. I gave
some assumptions.

  1. If you had to buy a round disc from Hoover and Strong or Stuller
    and it was the size of a half dollar (the diameter of the above
    monogram pendant) and the disc cost you $100.00, how much would you
    charge the customer for the gold?

  2. After marking up the gold disc to the customer for materials, how
    much would you charge for your time to cut out the letters, clean it
    up and polish it? (We’re ignoring the bail at the moment)

He told me if the disc cost him $100 he’d charge a 2.5 time markup.

He’d sell the disc for $250.

He then said he’d figure almost all day to make it and wanted $700 a
day for his bench time. That comes out to $87.50 an hour if he really
worked 8 hours on it. Actually no jeweler has an 8 hour day at the
bench. Free time, customer time, bathroom time, all eat into our
billing time. My book is based upon $100 to $125 an hour so if he
actually spent 6 hours on it, he’d be charging $116 an hour for bench
time ($700 divided by 6 hours). I’m cool with that.

So the charge would be $700 plus $250 or $950.00 for this custom
pendant. The question is not is worth it nor can it be bought
someplace else cheaper. If the customer said I want the darn thing!"
this is what you’d charge.

Now back to the disc. Look at the pictures. Did the customer pay for
a whole “half dollar” size disc? YES! Did the customer take home all
of the gold from the half dollar disc?


Or was she? No she wasn’t. It is typical in almost all industries
that the custom pays for the scrap. If a guy repairs sheet rock in
home and uses half of it to fix a hole in the wall, you pay for the
whole sheet rock, plush time. Bad roof? You pay for all of the
shingles, even if he uses _ of them.

So it goes with a gold circle. Yes you can refine the left overs but
if you paid $20 a pennyweight, with all costs added in you’d be lucky
to get $15 a pennyweight.

So the pricing rule in custom design is if you order a disc to make
a monogram, 95% of the time your cost is for the whole disc and the
markup and charge to the customer is based upon the whole disc.

The entire disc, parts that left the store (on the customers neck)
plus any parts that don’t leave the store must 100% be paid for by
the profit of the item leaving the store.


Now onto Inventory. Same story. The profit from inventory that you
sell must pay for the product the customers bought plus the products
the customer didn’t buy.

To take it a step further:

"The profit from inventory that you sell must pay for the product
the customers bought plus the products the customer didn’t buy plus
it must give enough extra profit to also pay for overhead/expenses.

That’s what GMROI measures. Your inventory profits should pay for
the entire inventory, sold and unsold, plus enough profits to also
pay expenses.

His store didn’t, that’s why he had cash flow problems.

Many bench jewelers work their butts off at the bench and make good
money but then they take too large of a portion of their profits and
plow into an area of the business that can’t make enough profits on
IT’S own. That’s “excess Inventory”.

He has merchandise that was dragging down the whole operation, his
problems were:

  1. Had three times as much inventory than he could sell in one
    calendar year.

  2. Had too many pieces that were way above the norm in price than
    customers were buying. Too heavy in slower selling higher price

  3. His customers didn’t conceive him as being a place to buy these
    items. Bridal was a great example. He stocked it but people weren’t
    buying it. They bought else where.

There are several solutions for this jeweler who makes a lot of his
living from the bench and wants to sell product for extra profits.

  1. Do what he does best and focus on it. This happens to be bench
    work. There is great money to be made from the bench.

  2. Advertise correctly, often and your strong suits. He didn’t
    advertise much at all and complains business is off. When everyone is
    buying jewelry in America, even people with bad breath will sell
    jewelry. But when times are rougher and sales drop the people who
    continue to advertise continue to steal sales from those that don’t.

  3. His product mix should be geared towards his strong suits in his
    store and stock less of it overall. This is not to say that his life
    long inventory plan should be to stock less, but he needs to drop off
    the items that haven’t sold in a year and pay off debt. Then start
    experimenting with what will sell and be good at it.

  4. Over 50% of all jewelry sales are made by woman for themselves.
    Typically a married woman will consider an “impulse” item in jewelry
    to be $500 to $800. This means if she wants it she doesn’t need
    anybodies permission! Above that amount the “couple” will discuss a
    higher end purchase. I’d stock more fashion items of all types under
    and way under these price points. Then re-order fast sellers
    immediately and deep six anything not selling in 10 months.

This applies to all stores but especially to benchies. But the point
I wanted to make here was like pricing a gold disc where the customer
pays for the gold they received and also the gold that dropped into
the bench pan, selling retail merchandise must be the same way. Sold
inventory must also pay for the unsold merchandise.

Gross profit from selling inventory for the past 365 days should be
GREATER than your average inventory levels. Overall, by at least 10%
to be healthy. Meaning a good GMROI is $1.10 or greater.

David Geller

Director of Profit

David Geller


Over 50% of all jewelry sales are made by woman for themselves.
Typically a married woman will consider an "impulse" item in
jewelry to be $500 to $800. This means if she wants it she doesn't
need anybodies permission! 

Thank you for a most informative post. I have a question about the
above statement as I am a married woman, but this statement does not
describe me. I consider an “impulse” purchase to be about 75
dollars. I will spend 125 to 150 if it is money I have made from my
business. I live in kind of a well to do area (Connecticut
shoreline). My husband is a very good provider. I guess I could spend
500 dollars, but I won’t. Does the above statistic really describe a
lot of the women around me? How do I move past a psychological
barrier that prevents me from selling to them? I recently sold a 300
dollar necklace to a woman, but I am not at all “good” at it. I have
this personality trait already. If I know I have this trait, should I
take steps to learn to change it? (take classes in high end selling)
or gravitate to an area where I don’t have to work with it (internet
sales or have someone else sell for me). If, as you say, someone
should find what they are really good at and then do that to the
best of their ability, then I should take myself out of the selling
aspect altogether, right? Nothing about it appeals to me. Wholesale
and internet sales are good. The prospect of selling an expensive
piece of jewelry to someone just makes me break out in hives. Thank
you again for the

Kim Starbard

Hi, Kim,

The prospect of selling an expensive piece of jewelry to someone
just makes me break out in hives.

I would by no means hold myself up as a paragon of sales, but I have
learned to allow myself to price my work in the hundreds to low
thousands and to help people buy it.

I do not say “sell it” because I do not try to convince anyone of
anything. But I do help them to decide to buy. I tell them stories
about how or why the pieces are made, so they feel they have an
investment in me as an artist before they even decide to invest in
my work. If they feel they understand what went into the piece, they
are more likely to be comfortable with the purchase.

About the closest I come to salesmanship is, when a woman says “I
don’t need any more jewelry” I say “Jewelry is not about need.” Then
sometimes I mention that one of the ways archaologists decide
whether ancient bones were human is whether they have ornaments with
them, showing that self-adornment is part of what it means to be

This has not been easy for me-- it has taken years of doing shows to
get to the point of being able to chat with customers in a friendly
and helpful way. You can learn it too.

One thing that helps me is an experience I had at a cosmetics
counter of a big department store that was having a promotion, where
if you bought one thing, you got other stuff thrown in. I like to
buy cosmetics, even though I seldom use much. I wanted to get the
special deal, but hesitated over the purchase. The sales girl said,
“It isn’t a bargain if you don’t need it.” I felt deflated-- I
wanted to buy it, but felt that I couldn’t. I left unhappy.

I try not to get in the way of someone who wants to buy.

On the other hand, I often say, “As I like to say, ogling and
fondling, no charge.” I try to make it fun and no pressure so that
if they want to buy, they will. I won’t go any farther than that.

I hope this is helpful. Remember, you are not putting anything over
on anyone (though I think we all feel that way sometimes). And
remember what another jeweler told me years ago. “If you toes don’t
curl when you give the price, you’re not asking enough.”



The prospect of selling an expensive piece of jewelry to someone
just makes me break out in hives. 

Why does this happen? Do you not feel that your work is worth that
much? Do you not believe what you do has value? You may want to
rethink what you are doing if you can’t get over this barrier (or
stick to the internet/wholesale end). As someone who routinely sells
pieces in the $4-5000 range I can tell you that I don’t break out in
hives, but just the opposite. Making a good sale always makes me
feel great! I know the product I sell is worth every penny I charge
for it, I know that the people I’m selling to I’m making happy,
whether they’re spending the money on themselves or their significant
others. Because so much of what I sell marks important dates or times
in people’s lives (even if it’s a woman buying something significant
for herself the first time) I know that I will always be a part of
their lives. How could this possibly upset someone? Time to break out
of the box and stand up with what you do and shout out that it’s
worth every penny (and then mark it all up some more—after all just
filling your car sets most people back $75 right now)!

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi Kim

Regarding your last few lines:

If, as you say, someone should find what they are really good at
and then do that to the best of their ability, then I should take
myself out of the selling aspect altogether, right? Nothing about
it appeals to me. Wholesale and internet sales are good. The
prospect of selling an expensive piece of jewelry to someone just
makes me break out in hives. 

There are 2 kinds of people:


Race horses love to WIN! They love the race, they love to beat their
opponent and many times just likes to run just for “the Roses” (the
reward). Race horses don’t pull plows, carry folks on nice Sunday
afternoon rides or other chores.

Work horses don’t like to race, don’t like competition, just as
happy to pull plows, make gardens grow by their hard work, carry
people on long trips.

Sales people are race horses. Typically jewelers, operations people,
accountants are work horses.

Breaking out in hives means to me you are not a race horse. Not
everyone can be a race horse. Might be better to be a 1st place WORK
HORSE than a 7th place race horse, wouldn’t you agree?

David Geller

This is a perfect explanation of how I have operated for the last 20
years. Growing up in this business since I was 12 yrs old, I had
dreamed of having my name in lights in the jewelry business. Custom
made pieces filling my cases, and selling loads of big diamonds was
all I could think about. I ran stores for other people until I could
pulloff my own store, and just knew that I was about to hit the
bigtime at last.

Reality set in in a hurry when I realized that the only way my name
was gonna be in lights was that I would have to buy my own sign for
a few grand, and a decent safe for a few more thou. I wanted to sell
big fancy stuff to be able to pay for all those fixtures I needed
but, what actually sold better than anything else(in my market
anyway) was repair, more repair… and some more repair.

I kept pouring more & more into inventory, which was still going
nowhere. I couldnt sell cheap enough to compete with the bigbox
boys, and I couldnt pay for enough advertising to sell it at any
price. A bridal department was a joke and a half, but I made sure I
always had the biggest inventory of quartz movements, crystals,
batteries, watchbands, clasps,and the oddball watchparts that I saw
people ask for so often, of anyone else around.

Thats when I realized I needed to focus on what people knew me for
best- quartz watch repair. And I made darn sure that everyone who
walked in my door knew it. I still get to make plenty of nice jewelry
pieces, & sell a nice carat diamond or colorstone often enough, and
best of all, pay all my bills no sweat as well as have enough left
over to live a less than rugged lifestyle.

My reputation for quartz watch repair brings 'em in from miles
around, even received packages of watches and jewelry from unknown
airline stewardesses, who sent to us on a passengers reccomendation.
But while that battery customer is standing there, we keep showing
pieces. Even most of my competitors send loads of people to me daily,
because I am able to get their butts out of hot water so often. You
wouldn’t believe how many people come in on a reccomendation from
their normal jeweler, for quickie watch repairs, and never go back.
My overall volume is not as high as David mentioned in the example,
but because of the multi time turn of inventory dollars each year, I
manage quite nicely.

Ed in Kokomo

There is a very big reason why ANY sales person has a hard time
selling what they sell: 

The reason a jewelry sales person can’t sell what they sell is
because they can’t envision themselves owning the things they sell.

David Geller

Why does this happen? Do you not feel that your work is worth that
much? Do you not believe what you do has value? As someone who
routinely sells pieces in the $4-5000 range I can tell you that I
don't break out in hives, but just the opposite. 

It’s not that I don’t think my things are worth it. I know I make
very nice jewelry and I have a very good vision of the beauty of what
I will make in the near future. However, I think it has more to do
with the fact that I live in ‘the land of make believe’. Around here,
a lot of people have 5000 sq ft houses, beautiful furniture, dress
their kids in Ralph Lauren…and can’t afford to buy an extra cup of
coffee in their day. It’s probably more because I can see right thru
their disguise.

A little background might help. My Dad left when I was very young.
We grew up very modestly. I went in the military and worked my way
through college. Up until a few years ago, I could always tell you
exactly how much I had in my wallet. So, here I am…My husband is
director of an IT dept. We live in a very nice place and I don’t give
a 2nd thought to an extra cup of coffee.

It’s not that I’m insecure about my work. I feel sorry for them.

In another post, someone mentioned (it may have even been you) that,
when they started to work with a little gold, it added “intrinsic
value” to the work. I have to admit, I am a major victim of
advertising campaigns and I really very badly want to work with gold.

My husband calls me an underwear gnome…A while ago, we saw a
cartoon where the underwear gnomes were planning to take over the
World. They outlined their plan on a chalkboard. Step 1 collect
underwear Step 2 rule the World…there was nothing in between, get
it? Step 1 for me is ‘make jewelry’ Step 2 is make lots of money and
be highly successful…I need to fill in the middle.

I know my posts go all over the place. I get on a rant sometimes.

Kim Starbard

Hi David

Breaking out in hives means to me you are not a race horse. Not
everyone can be a race horse. Might be better to be a 1st place
WORK HORSE than a 7th place race horse, wouldn't you agree? 

I would rather be the work horse, yes. I’m extremely comfortable
there…but only if the workhorse can make lots of money. I’m not
ashamed to say it. I used to be ashamed of my quest for money. I
like to learn, I like to work hard, I want to make lots of money.

I have to say, something has happened to me very recently to change
my life outlook. Since Jan, I have been training for a marathon and,
this past weekend, I ran it. Now, I’m kind of a little girl. I always
have been. Everyone has always wanted to carry things, lift things,
move things for me, because I’m small. Even one of the coaches said
"your tiny, you don’t have a lot of extra (meaning weight) to get you

I tried my best. I picked a program and I followed it. I planned it
and then I did it. Today, I don’t feel like the same little girl.
Like I said, my husband takes care of us. Things are good. Why do I
need to be successful? Isn’t enough, enough?

It has to do more with my strength as a person. I want to own it.
Finally, I have come to a place where I know what I want to do and I
want to do it to the best of my ability.

I’m telling you, when people post about their sales, their stores,
their books, their successful lines…I absorb every word. I want to
do well.

So, I am a work horse, born a work horse, but yes I do. I want to be
the first place work horse. Am I a work horse who wants to morph into
a race horse or a work horse who just wants to try her best?

Thanks for listening… Kim

p.s. Looking for someone to engrave my medal :slight_smile: The first thing I
said when I went across the finish line was “when can I do it again?”

Kim Starbard

Hi everybody

Might be better to be a 1st place WORK HORSE than a 7th place race
horse, wouldn't you agree? 

Sorry to drone on and on, but I just want to clarify one thing…I
said “I want to make a lot of money” Undoubtedly, someone will
wittingly retort “get a job”

I want to write my own ticket, do something for myself, own
it…however you want to put it, I don’t want to work for some one
else. Well, I guess it’s about more than just money then.

I’ll be quiet now
Kim Starbard


liked most of your advice to Kim until the “investing in me as an
artist” statement …personally, unless you are an established brand
it seems like the focus should be on the quality of workmanship,
features that are unique in a given piece and why the investment
benefits the customer.not in convincing a buyer that you are worth
their money. Any one’s life as an artist probably has no real value
to a given customer - in fact it may cause certain classes of buyers
to resent investing in ‘an artist’, in favour of investing in
something that has a tangible,appreciable value…

I’m not saying this for any reason other than i believe more sales
are made by pointing out what the objective value of the goods or
services one is selling are…Personalizing it is in one’s makers
mark . At the point you are not standing there selling your own
work,“after years of doing shows”, then, perhaps,investing in the
name has merit and perceived value attached.

I see jewelry making as a business,not a serendipitous opportunity to
relay my personal experiences or motivations for making a piece to
customers seeking,for instance,high karat golds and perfect
gemstones to enhance their vanity and increase their precious metals
holdings.For the record, I have never personally felt as though I
was "putting something over on anyone " as you stated. In fact, I
find that concept such, I am not one of the “all” you

I tend towards the role of appraiser though if forced to sell my own
items. Its safe and then one dosn’t feel as though they are getting
any inforamtion aside from how it will make them more welthy,or at
least appear moe wealthy asa they willbe paying off of y I could also
be wrong!


The reason a jewelry sales person can't sell what they sell is
because they can't envision themselves owning the things they

Then for those of us making the pieces, selling should be easy…
for until we sell it… we own it. =)

I may be hesitant asking, without heart palpitations, for the price
I want, (and I am getting over that) but every piece I make I am
enthusiastic about selling. Most all of them are my favorites until
I make the next piece. And selling is what allows me to continue to
create and take classes. I like selling the less expensive pieces
because they are “bread and butter”… paying for supplies, the
expensive pieces at this point allow me to take classes and
experiment. (less expensive $100 and under, expensive for me is a
$500 necklace) I am not trying to support myself yet, I am just
trying to get my name out, set the foundations, and make the most of
the training I can afford. =)


I am a jewelery artist at the hobby level. When I started out
crafting jewelry, silver was the only noble metal in my reach. After
a couple of years I wanted to work with gold but I was intimidated
by the price and the fear of not making my money back. At that time
I was friends with a very nice lady who owned a shop in Redondo
Beach, Calif. She told me I should go for the gold and not be
intimidated by the cost. Well I hemmed and hawed till finally she
made a deal more like a dare. We had gone to a rock and gem show
where she had picked up a very small slab which she said was her
ticket to an African safari. She paid 25 cents for that slab and in
one years time accomplished her goal. That 25 cents and another
$1.50, total $1.75 was the only out of pocket expense she had and
the safari cost over $5000.00 not including airfare. She just kept
reinvesting all the money she made from each higher grade piece
until finally she had the money needed for the safari. She dared me
to do the same thing to get my gold. So with only $1.35 out of
pocket, just like she did with her safari, I got my $500.00 oz of
gold and didn’t have the intimidation I had previously. I know this
is probably long winded but I wanted to get my point across which I
hope I did. This is a true story and the ‘she’ was a good friend and
smart business lady by the name of Ivy. Her shop was Ivy’s Lapidary
and Gifts located in Redondo Beach just across the street from the
beach. So Kim, if you want to work in gold bad enough try this out,
it worked for at least two people I know, Ivy and myself.

Wish you well
Tom Timms

"investing in me as an artist" statement.. 

Perhaps, this is the main reason I am feeling disjointed to the
whole situation of selling. I have read a lot of artists’ statements
and can’t help but feel I have to wait for some kind of mystical
experience to happen where I suddenly have an awe-inspiring vision of
a beautiful piece of jewelry. I have nothing like this. Jewelry is
pretty and I like to make it. That’s pretty much it. I don’t feel
like an artist at all.

Maybe I am waiting for something that will never come.

I see jewelry making as a business, not a serendipitous opportunity
to relay my personal experiences 

See, so do I. I see colors and shapes. I can see what compliments a
stone and what doesn’t. To me, it’s more like a game, a puzzle.
Which stone goes here? Which bead (up until now) goes here? It’s fun

I see jewelry I like and so I check out the person’s website to see
how they market themselves and how much experience they have. I read
their artist statement and it always seems like they’re from another
planet…“so and so was deeply moved and inspired by a recent trip
to India. The work represents the inner beauty found in the deepest
recesses of the soul…the enlightenment of humankind etc etc” I’m
making this up, obviously, but, do you see what I mean? I don’t
experience anything mystical when I look at jewelry and I probably
never will. I like the idea of running a business and, personally,
just see myself as someone who is making something that fills a need
that a potential customer has…I’m not saying I’m not passionate. I
am very passionate about what I do…well, I’m very passionate about
the potential cash that flows in from what I have the potential to

Kim Starbard

My husband calls me an underwear gnome.....A while ago, we saw a
cartoon where the underwear gnomes were planning to take over the
World. They outlined their plan on a chalkboard. Step 1 collect
underwear Step 2 rule the World....there was nothing in between,
get it? Step 1 for me is 'make jewelry' Step 2 is make lots of money
and be highly successful...I need to fill in the middle. 

Ha ha ha! That’s hilarious Kim. Sounds like perhaps trying to get
media attention for your jewelry might help. Getting movie placement,
getting your j onto local news anchors. Get into Lucky magazine.

Read Barbara Sher’s Wishcraft.


liked most of your advice to Kim until the "investing in me as
an artist" statement.. 

Well, goes to show there’s more than one way…

I will refrain from calling any of your statements “ridiculous”. The
difference here is that I consider myself an artist, who expresses
that in the form of jewelry. I consider it very personal. The work
isn’t just about precious materials and perfect stones. It is not
fungible with other jewelry, just better-made. So that isn’t what I
emphasize about it. Those who buy it probably appreciate the
craftsmanship, but they buy it for the creativity and, dare I say
it, content. Hence my advice.

So, if someone finds it useful, great. If not, well, it didn’t even
use up any paper to write it out, just a few minutes and some
pixels. I can afford that.


Perhaps, as in all discussions, there is the possibility that
opinions will differ. I am an artist. My abilities are pretty good in
several areas. I long for my abilities in designing and making
jewelry to improve and slowly they are. Personally, a lot of
"creative" jewelry turns me off. Hey, it’s my own personal taste. So
I probably design pieces that some would find boring or pedestrian.
Same with my paintings.

But I strongly believe there are many people who would align
themselves with my tastes. Many years ago, 20 in fact, I sat next to
a successful Palm Springs business man, Mel Haber, at the bar of his
then newest nightclub. Mel had several hospitality businesses at that
time and they flourished. I asked him what made them so successful,
to which he answered that he figured that if he really liked
something, surely there were others who liked that same thing.
Fortunately he enjoyed rather posh surroundings in the restaurants
and clubs in which he wanted to hang out, had good taste and the
capital to create what he wanted. That and a good knowledge of his
targeted clientele translated to a rather lucrative business plan.

And so it goes with jewelry. Know your customer, know yourself,
investigate some marketing strategies, know how much capital you can
invest and make a plan. The county where we live offers classes for
small business owners and those who want to start small businesses.
These classes encompass just about every aspect of starting and
operating a business. Some are one-time classes that just touch
briefly on these subjects for a few hours and then there are weeks
long courses that go into better detail. Perhaps you have these same
offerings in your area.

As to the “artist’s statement”…bleck! I’ve been an artist all of
my life, started winning awards for oil painting when I was 12 (40
years ago). So I totally feel confident that I am a bonafide artist.
It ain’t no airy-fairy thing in my mind. But I think most artist
statements are a bunch of hooey, for lack of a better euphimism. They
often strike me as childish and narcissistic. Of course, this might
come back to haunt me since I am currently working toward the goal of
earning my MFA with the intent of teaching art at the university

This means I have to submit an artist statement to the art department
of the university to which I am hoping to matriculate in the masters
program. The idea of having to write one of these god-awful navel
pickings is as repulsive to me as the prospect of having to spend
time with my ex-monster-in-law. I mean, who cares what I was thinking
when I painted the blah-blah-blah? It strikes me that art, whether is
is defined by materials such as gold, canvas, clay or photographic
paper or is intangible such as music or dance, is left to the end
user or audience to experience individually and subjectively. There
has to be an implied trust that the artist has in the audience and
the individual has in the artist that each will do his job in the
process without a detailed written users manual. Okay, so I guess
that is my artist statement. Crap…I was really trying to avoid

See…NelTropical Storm Barry blew through and brought us much
needed rain. The sun is shining and, with a mild breeze, it promises
to be a delightful day.

To me, it's more like a game, a puzzle. Which stone goes here?
Which bead (up until now) goes here? It's fun 

OK, so tell people that.

When I say “tell a story”, I mean, let people into the process.
People have no idea how we get our ideas, even fairly mundain ones,
or how we bring those ideas to reality. When you tell them a little
about how your mind works, or how your technique works-- " I like to
put strongly different shades together to set up a kind of
vibration…" or whatever it is-- they get a little insight, and the
piece means a little more to them. This is what I mean by “an
investment in me”.

Listen to Bruce Baker’s CDs-- he says the same kind of thing. It
isn’t about whether you’re an artist, it isn’t mystical. If people
buy from the artist (creator) personally, it is often because they
prefer that kind of interaction to the more impersonal experience of
buying jewelry the same way they buy pork chops. The difference is
you, your personality-- your stories.


See, so do I. I see colors and shapes. I can see what compliments
a stone and what doesn't. To me, it's more like a game, a puzzle.
Which stone goes here? Which bead (up until now) goes here? It's

So there 's your artist statement. That’s your motivation.

Many artist statements are full of um, it, so I wouldn’t worry about
measuring up to them.



The bliss in being at all involved with a community of scientists,
artisans, jewelers, (or- anyone’s, for that matter) that communicate
in quasi-annonymity on this glimpse into the technology that is
perhaps truly ‘the space age’’ that feeds singularity and altruism
simultaneosly comes in the form of a good post…thank you for your
distillation of marketing strategy and pointing out another reason
that I am here…

I know too well the disdainful if not nauseating task of supplying an
artists statement…I have always gotten away with writing “Statement
of Purpose” or “Statement of Intention” on pursuit of a
larger, and supposedly more weighty piece of paper…and I could
always defend them…