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The Jewelry Life and Traveling


#1

I was curious about what opportunities or excuses related to jewelry
require or allow any of you to travel regularly? My definition of
’regularly’ would be 3-5 times a year.


#2

Hi:

I was curious about what opportunities or excuses related to
jewelry require or allow any of you to travel regularly? My
definition of 'regularly' would be 3-5 times a year. 

I’m not sure what the meaning of your question is exactly and I’m
not sure if you’re in the U.S. or elsewhere. By saying “allow you to
travel”, do you mean deductible items on your tax return or do you
just mean job opportunities that might require travel? I don’t want
to get into anything lengthy without knowing what you’re talking
about, so can you clarify?

Thanks
Kim Starbard


#3

Hi Kim,

Actually I meant any and everything - from gem finding excursions,
to jewlery trade shows, to jewelry related classes or just casual
travel.

If it makes it any easier, I am compiling a list of possible trips I
will take in the next few months. If they are related to jewelry
design and manufacture maybe I will be able to write off a portion,
but that is not my primary goal. I just have a hard time justifying
casual travel if it’s not some how related to growing my business…


#4

Hi Elkka:

I just have a hard time justifying casual travel if it's not some
how related to growing my business... 

I have this problem also, especially since I am not the primary
breadwinner for the family with the jewelry that I sell. My husband
has a very hard time going anywhere if he is not being “productive"
as he calls it. I think there is a line for many that is easy to
cross, but it can become very risky to remain on the other side for
very long. Everyone needs down time or"non-productive” time.It
probably will even help you and your creativity in the long run.

That said, I often plan trips by looking into area galleries that I
can scope out or make an appointment with. I can then deduct the
mileage for the trip. I did this with a nice little trip to Newport,
RI a couple years ago. Totally legit, however, you cannot really go
on a trip to say Reno for a week and write off the whole thing
because you visited one gallery. It has to be a justifiable
deduction.

There are many “intensive” courses offered in the summertime. I
don’t know where you are, but Metalwerx in Mass has so many
interesting courses to offer this summer…fold-forming, weaving
with metal etc. Also, Valentin Yotkov (sp?) in NYC is offering
summer intensives in the design process as well as repousse. These
classes are excellent opportunities in themselves, but the
geographic proximity to many beautiful museums (the Metropolitan)
and galleries (Boston’s Society of Arts and Crafts and Aaron Faber
in NYC) also make the trips well worth it.

I have thought of looking into teaching at out of area bead show
(like the Whole Bead Show or the Bead and Button Show). I have never
tried because I have a confidence problem, but it would give you the
chance to travel to an exciting place (there are shows in Hawaii
even) work and deduct the whole thing. I’m not saying youhave to
teach beading(I don’t know what your work is) but it’s just what i
know about.

I used to have this thing where I couldn’t feel justified in making
jewelry unless I did one “productive” thing for the business each
day. It was some kind of weird ritual punishment thing. It put a lot
of extra pressure on me. Now, I try to have a broader definition of
what is productive for the business. Things like taking the kids to
the beach, going for a jog, sitting down to think or draw…they
can all be productive.

I could go on and on. If you would like some more ideas (or anyone
else) please feel free to write me off list.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


#5

Kim,

I wanted to thank you for your lengthy post, and it’s nice to know
someone else can understand the whole ‘guilt’ issue with doing fun
potentially expensive things that may not translate into profits for
your business.

My friend gave me the lecture about finding the balance between work
and play not to long ago, which is what prompted my post. I’ve been
wanting to go to Mexico for a while. I wonder how many pieces of
turquoise I’d have to bring back to be able to write off the trip as
a business expense?


#6

If you really want to travel and your jewelry lends itself to the
theme - The Renaissance Faires Circuit. There are two tiers of Ren
fairs and they are all over the nation. I understand that several of
the other reenactment groups have the same spirit.

Belinda


#7

Hi Elkka:

I've been wanting to go to Mexico for a while. I wonder how many
pieces of turquoise I'd have to bring back to be able to write off
the trip as a business expense? 

Well, I did a little looking on this and up front I will say that I
am not a CPA, so the usual disclaimer would be to please consult your
tax professional…(they are so worth it if they are good).

Anyway, publication 535 details the deductible expenses related to
doing business. The IRS links are lengthy, but, if you go to
www.irs.gov and do a search on pub535, it should come up. According
to this pub, the portion of the trip related to your business would
be completely deductible. An example, I fly to Mexico and the
roundtrip ticket is $500 (for ease of math). On one day of the trip,
I spend the day traveling to vendors and buying turquoise. I remember
to keep all of my receipts for everything. I am in Mexico for 5 days
total and 1 of the 5 is now for business. Now, 1/5 of my plane
ticket($100), 1 night stay in my hotel, all my taxi, bus etc. for the
business day, and 50% of my meals are all deductible. Everything else
for the trip is personal. If I am hiking one day and I happen to come
across a beautiful flower, I sketch it, and it becomes my greatest
design ever…sad to say, but I don’t think it makes the whole trip
deductible. Not saying you would try to do that, but I would probably
try to do that if given the chance and then i would be ever afraid of
getting the dreaded IRS letter in the mail.

Have a great time. I would recommend, of course, that anyone
tinkering with business travel talk to a CPA. They can be wonderfully
creative…in a totally legal way and they know all the ins and outs
because they do it every day.

Best Regards
Kim Starbard


#8

Elkka,

I do not think you need to bring any Turquoise back in order to
write off your trip.

First off, if you are in the U.S., you will only be able to write
off the part of your trip that is related to your business. In other
words if you go to Mexico for one week and you spend one full day
related to your business and 6 days laying on the beach then only 1/7
of your trip is considered a write off.

If you go on a trip and you visit jewelry stores or anything related
to your business make sure you collect a business card. Make notes
concerning the visit such as store layout ideas, jewelry design ideas
or any other things that you learned at the time. This should be all
that is needed to write that part of the trip off.

Good luck and have fun
Greg DeMark
greg@demarkjewelry
www.demarkjewelry.com


#9

Kim and Greg,

Thank you for the travel and expense examples, they were quite
helpful. Kim, I had a good chuckle about the flower sketching
scenerio - if only it were that easy, I would be on a beach in Brazil
painting 1 30 minute seascape per day and write off the whole trip!

As I was researching I found a few articles I wanted to shaRe:

Lapidary Journal - importing or bring home materials from abroad
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/feature/jun01str.cfm

The IRS Bussiness Travel Expenses
http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511.html


#10
If you really want to travel and your jewelry lends itself to the
theme - The Renaissance Faires Circuit. There are two tiers of Ren
fairs and they are all over the nation. I understand that several
of the other reenactment groups have the same spirit. 

The SCA does NOT lend itself to the life of a traveling jeweler. You
find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the SCA.
(And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA are
cheap).

Keep in mind that I have been in the SCA now for almost 20 years,
and that artist friend has been in for 35.

However, you can make a VERY nice living doing the Faire circuit. It
can be expensive, though. I know of several Faires where you must buy
your booth, and some booths cost as much as a small condo.

Elizabeth Schechter
RFX Studios


#11
You find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the
SCA. (And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA
are cheap).

Hmmm… I have told a friend of mine who has bought a ren faire
booth that I will make some jewelry for her to offer. I would be
very happy to have any knowledgable input on what kind of thing
might sell, and what price range.

Thanks!
Noel


#12
The SCA does NOT lend itself to the life of a traveling jeweler.
You find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the
SCA. (And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA are
cheap). Keep in mind that I have been in the SCA now for almost 20
years, and that artist friend has been in for 35. 

Too true, however I’ll argue that it may be more a matter of the
overall cost of the hobby and the strong DIY streak making those who
want the quality more prone to try to pull it off themselves.

But, yes, you aren’t going to make real money selling to SCA folk.
(I’ve been in the Society for 25 years myself).

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#13

ren faires and the sca are two different animals ren faires are the
best money makers between the two.

area finances are different but go into a target or area dept store
an look here the jewelry sells for 29.99-59.99 there are some higher
priced pieces for sure but the bulk is that range. That tells me to
stop making my high priced one of a kinds and start focussing on
jewelry now that sells for …guess? 29.99-59.99 lol

SCA’ers in general may be cheap but then they too require more from
their jewelry than blakes brothers celtic silver on a chain. I am
still one foot in the door for pennsic this year and I am sure that I
can for sure make quite a bit of money selling to those Cheap sca’ers
being one myself long before I went into jewelry making I think I
know what to expect quite well.

However, all of those jewery makers I have seen so far are
considered third tier sellers. Blake brothers or another supplier
like Quantum stuff. That stuff is fine and good to supply but
definately mass produced. Second tier level are people who have a few
items they design and produce flushed out by ready made reproduction
jewelry. First tier…like me are people who fabricate every item
from scratch in as period methods as safely possible. It is supposed
to be the best of the middle ages. Death is not required.lol

SO this cheap SCA’r says whatever. I will be at Pennsic eventually
and a few other events so if you see Cornelius’s Pick I will be the
one at the forge working say hi same with ren faires you draw them in
with fabulously hand forged whatever and when they gasp at 1000
dollars you sell the ones that resemble the better piece for 200.

Peace,
Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#14
You find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the
SCA. (And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA are
cheap). 

Hmmm… I have told a friend of mine who has bought a ren faire booth
that I will make some jewelry for her to offer. I would be very happy
to have any knowledgable input on what kind of thing might sell, and
what price range.

Hmm…I’d beg to differ with the statement that SCA people are
cheap. While I’d agree that the SCA is not an outlet for a
substantial income, I’d have to say it is a good supplement for me.
Far better than the renaissance festivals.

speaking), with folks that are willing to plunk down the cash for a
piece if the workmanship is good, and historically accurate. While
the renaissance festival crowd is more interested in fantasy (wizards
and fairies), not history. Also, by the time they’ve paid $12 to get
in the gate, $4 for a soda, $5 for a hot dog, etc., they don’t want
to spend more than $10 on a piece of jewelry…they’ll nickel and
dime you to death. Overall my average SCA sale is five times that of
my average renaissance fair sale.

These two outlets are just a small part of the bigger picture though
if you’re serious about historical jewelry studies. There are more
serious historical reenactment groups, museums, actors, collectors,
medieval conferences, just to name a few. The last few years, I’ve
made more crowns for weddings and theater, than for SCA use. I’ve
also been surprised to see that some of the juried art shows are
eager to offer something a bit different in the jewelry category.

The market for historical jewelry is out there. Making a decent
living from it requires you to be not only a good jeweler/artist, but
an independent history scholar as well. It’s not the easiest way to
make a living, but for me, it sure beats a 9-5 as a bench jeweler.

Lyn Punkari
http://www.darkridgejewels.com


#15
I'd beg to differ with the statement that SCA people are cheap.

Maybe I missed it earlier in this thread but what is SCA?

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://home.covad.net/~rcopeland/


#16

I hope you have a better Pennsic experience than I did. I did
Pennsic 30, and didn’t even make expenses. All of my work is
researched and handmade (No blakes brothers celtic silver on a chain
from me, thank you very much. Although that kind of thing sold VERY
well from OTHER vendors at that Pennsic.)

I’d done well at smaller events in Atlantia, and had won A&S
competitions, so it was an unpleasant shock.

And I’d been in the SCA nearly 15 years before I did Pennsic, so I
thought I knew what to expect, too. I wish you well.

Elizabeth Schechter
RFX Studios


#17

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve done 3 to 5 times better at
Faire than I have at an SCA event. So… personal experiences and
mileage may vary.

The difference that I’ve seen is that people tend to go to the Faire
to shop for things that they are NOT going to see anywhere else. (At
least in Maryland they did.)

Whereas I’ve had people pour over my displays at SCA events, listen
to the research that I’ve done, and then do off to attempt to do it
themselves, because they wouldn’t pay my prices. Some of them come
back and shop once they realize that it’s not as easy as I make it
look. But not often.

Elizabeth Schechter
RFX Studios


#18
The SCA does NOT lend itself to the life of a traveling jeweler.
You find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the
SCA. (And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA are
cheap). Keep in mind that I have been in the SCA now for almost 20
years, and that artist friend has been in for 35.

Sadly true. I’ve been doing Pennsic War, the largest SCA event, for
several years now. Although I do make a profit on it, it’s not a
huge one, and I’ll admit that I do this one as much for a working
vacation for myself as anything else.

It is a unique immersion experience, not to be missed by anyone who
enjoys people watching, and the almost two-week stay, far from the
distractions of home, affords me time to actually get some serious
work done. I spend a lot of time working and talking to people about
my work, kind of a perpetual demo. I bring a portable studio box,
and I can do waxwork, to be cast when I get home, and I can do
piercing, to be soldered and polished when I get home. I bring
projects I’ve been planning to get around to, stones I have a
half-formed notion of what to do with, and try every year to do some
really challenging pieces.

I guess it’s my own version of a workshop or retreat, although most
people’s idea of a retreat wouldn’t be in a medieval encampment with
ten thousand people, many in armor. I actually find it tranquil, and
every year I come home refreshed and invigorated, ready to start my
busiest season, and with a lot of new work ready to be finished.

Janet Kofoed


#19

Rick Asked “what is SCA?”

http://www.sca.org/
The Society for Creative Anachronism


#20
The SCA does NOT lend itself to the life of a traveling jeweler.
You find very few people who are willing to pay for quality in the
SCA. (And artist friend of mine said it best- People in the SCA are
cheap). Keep in mind that I have been in the SCA now for almost 20
years, and that artist friend has been in for 35. 

Replying late but what the heck. Also (as a member of the SCA who
makes very modern stuff) one never wants one’s escape hobby to be
eatten by your job. It is good to be productive nd multitask but it
is good to have something to just let yourself decompress too.

Norah Kerr
www.besmithian.com