Happy New Year Everyone!
I guess it's my turn. Close to 20 years ago my previous spouse, then
just dating, gave me a hand-made silver ring with a piece of common
green opal he dug himself in B.C., Canada. I was hooked.
From there I took every evening or weekend course I could find out
about and afford as well as joined the local rock and lapidary club.
I also learned rock hunting, lapidary, faceting and anything else of
interest. I was like a large sponge in soak up mode. My ex also had
most of the basic equipment to do silversmithing so he started to
teach me. Found out that though he was great at lapidary he wasn't as
good at silversmithing. So I concentrated on the Silver. I did it as
a hobby for about 2 years and then I was offered a job to go work for
a local shop where they sold equipment, stones and silver, plus the
husband did make and repair jewellery. It was like going to school
and getting paid for it. After 2 1/2 years and being told I was the
best employee that they had ever had, I asked to fill the part-time
position that they were looking for and help to train the new
full-time person (so I could start to do a little more jewellery
myself). Instead, due to a little personality conflict with the wife,
I was let go. First time fired, and only time, what a blow.
After a while of nursing hurt feelings, I realized that my wages had
gone into some business schooling and most of the supplies and tools
I needed for a while. My ex told me that I should make jewellery full
time and look after the house of course, and look for places to sell
our jewellery and rocks that we had collected. Started getting into
any and all craft sales I could.
Then we moved south of Calgary, into a artsy area and I discovered
Farmers markets. After again trying all the sales I could at first
get into, the next year only went back to the few where I made money.
Eventually giving most of those up as I got into the Farmers Markets.
They are different from the Flea markets where everyone wants it for
I went as far as I could there as I was not allowed to expand into
taking credit cards or checks. Eventually I woke up and took a look
at my situation. I decided I finally had to start living for me and
moved back to Calgary by myself. After a year of getting my health
back together and moving around a few times I met a great guy that
said I could rent a couple of rooms in his house to live and do my
jewellery, of course we were dating anyway. So I closed my eyes and
leaped into a whole new story. We married a year later and he built
me a wonderful silversmithing area in the basement. Now he even goes
with me to shows to help me sell, which is great as he is handsome
and the ladies (my best customers) like him:-).
After a year away from the markets and making jewellery, it was nice
to be making jewellery again. It was also great to get back to all my
friends at my markets. I also opened a business bank account and
started to accept Visa, Debit, M/C. I also changed my focus from all
low end and imported jewellery & rock to some imported and much
higher end, one-of-a-kind jewellery and Crystals. I also started to
consign friends jewellery for variety as most of them were not sales
people, and I am pretty good at PR.
Now, two years later, even with a poor Christmas sales season,
because of poor weather, I am still doing twice what I was doing
before I made all the big changes. During the winter when I am not
selling at shows, I am teaching at the local College, as well as rock
& mineral classes to the Grade 3 students. I am also making more
jewellery and finally taking some of the courses that I have wanted
to for 10 years to upgrade my skills. I also plan to finally get some
of my better pieces into galleries this year.
One of the best things about rocks & minerals, or jewellery making
is that you can't know it all. When you think you do, you will meet
someone who does it different or better :-).
Karen Bahr "the Rocklady" (@Rocklady) K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.