I did it!!! Woohoo! :-) Many times in my life I’ve felt like Rocky Balboa on those steps. And today’s no different. Whew! What a journey it’s been. I’m exhausted but it was totally worth it.
Welcome to the final blog hop of the Build A Line Challenge sponsored by B’sue Boutiques. Oh my God where did 3 months go??!!! If you remember from the first and second blog hops, over 50 participants were given the task to create a jewelry line in 3 months. We had to create a minimum of 5 pieces.
Since I had been planning on creating an ocean themed line since last year, I immediately knew that I wanted to create more than 5 pieces. In my application for the challenge, I told Brenda Sue Lansdowne that I would probably make a few more pieces than the minimum that was required for this challenge.
Those few more pieces became 30!!! Gulp! Yep, sometime along the challenge I decided that I was going to make 30 pieces, take photos, edit them, write product descriptions, list and open a new shop on Etsy. Phew! Are you beginning to see why I feel like Rocky Balboa today? lol
Thank You Thank You Thank You Brenda Sue!
Before I continue, I would like to thank Brenda Sue Lansdowne from the bottom of my heart for organizing and teaching this masterclass. How fortunate we all were to learn from the absolute best!
Brenda Sue (who’s the owner of B’sue Boutiques and a successful jewelry designer in her own right) not only shared her extensive jewelry industry knowledge with us but also made it a point that everyone understood clearly what was being taught. You see, some may think that building a jewelry line is easy. But from what I’ve seen and experienced these past few months, there are SO many things that you need to think about and be aware of when creating a line that without proper guidance, one can easily feel overwhelmed, make the wrong decisions or quit altogether.
It’s no secret that a lot of us tend to make OOAK pieces. And that is OK. I still plan on continuing to make OOAK pieces but those will be at the top level of my price pyramid.
We tend to see each piece as a stand alone item. With a jewelry line you can’t really think like that. With most lines, you need to be able to reproduce a piece. You need to offer various price points and color/finish options.
In short, I think that with a jewelry line you really have to think like your customer and put her (or him) first. I feel that your customer needs to be “sitting” next to you when you’re designing your pieces.
Well duh! Isn’t that what great marketing is all about? Getting inside your customers’ heads and giving them what they want? I’m a marketer by profession and I KNOW all this stuff. So how come when it came to creating jewelry most of this flew out the window? Beats me! lol
I’ve thought about this a lot and I have no idea why this happened. OK for some of my pieces I DID put the customer first. And whenever I did, those pieces sold like hot cakes.
BUT, I was not consistent. Sometimes I’d sit in my studio and create fabulous (well I thought they were anyway haha) chunky statement pieces without even the slightest consideration for my customers. No thinking about what colors my customers might like, no thinking about what materials my customers prefer, no nothing. I now know and realize that I was creating these pieces for me and no one else. But is that really clever if you want to sell your pieces?
So does this mean that you have to sell your creative soul to the devil? Nope. With my ocean-themed line, I’m STILL making jewelry in the style that I like. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it. So what’s changed? I think that this challenge has pushed me to become less “selfish” if you will. Because I am now seriously considering my customers’ preferences too.
And it’s not even hard to do! Does it make a real difference for me (or my creativity) if I offered the option to customers to choose their preferred colors when it comes to the bead dangles I use? Not really. It’s still the same design. I’ll just need to substitute the beads if someone asks for a different color, that’s all. End result? Everyone’s happy :-)
Focus focus focus
With the help of this class, I have become more focused. I no longer buy beads and supplies just because I like them and then they just stay there for years until I figure out what I’m going to do with them. I’ve always loved buying supplies (don’t we all?) but lately it’s become much more fun. Because I now have a definite style and look, I know right away whether a particular bead or finding will fit in with my style or not. Amazing how easier and more fun things become when you know what you’re doing haha
Less talk more pics please :-)
I know what you’re thinking. “When is she going to stop rambling and FINALLY show us her jewelry line?” lol
OK OK! Want photos? I got them. But not before I make the official introduction of my brand. Hey it took me 3 months to get here. Can’t rush things in the last minute :-) Drum roll please!
Because I’m feeling extra benevolent today haha I won’t tell you the story of why I chose this name, otherwise you’ll be here all day. You can read all about it on the ABOUT page of my Etsy shop here.
The look and feel of my brand will be weathered, rustic, bohemian. This will be reflected in both the style of my jewelry as well as in the branding of the shop, social media channels and packaging.
So far I have completed and listed 30 pieces in my shop. But I am planning on making much more in the coming months. To see all the pieces I’ve finished so far, please visit my Etsy shop here. At my shop, you can see many other photos as well as get more info on each item, such as prices, etc.
You will also see my half-finished mannequin!!! Yikes! In order to meet my own self imposed deadline haha of opening my Etsy shop by the blog hop’s date I had to take photos with my unfinished mannequin! Will have to re-take those photos. I also need to refine my ABOUT page and my product descriptions. So still loads to do but at least my shop is open :-)
I will actually have various lines and sublines. Since I will be starting out with an Etsy shop (I plan to have my own website in future) I will have to categorize my pieces into 10 sections because that’s the maximum amount that Etsy allows.
Some of the categories that I have right now in my shop are mermaid necklaces, mermaid earrings, seahorse necklaces, seahorse bracelets and octopus necklaces.
Here are some photos of necklaces that I’ve finished featuring mermaid, seahorse and octopus focals. Love how these turned out :-)
Here’s a close up of one of the mermaid necklaces shown in the above photos.
And one of my seahorse necklaces. This one features a gorgeous seahorse stamping from B’sue Boutiques and a couple of lovely hand connectors also from B’sue Boutiques. The “plaque” is made from polymer clay using my custom color combo and has the phrase “Seas The Day” hand engraved on it. This is one of my favorite pieces from my line :-)
I love that seahorse stamping from B’sue Boutiques and I plan on using it in many of my pieces. Here it is again in a cuff bracelet :-)
I used B’sue’s gorgeous book chain in this bracelet. It doesn’t show in the above photo but you can see it clearly in my Etsy shop listing here.
Group photo of some of my ocean-themed necklaces :-) I’m so happy with the way my line has taken shape!
More mermaids and seahorses haha For this necklace, I used B’sue’s gorgeous mermaid on seahorse stamping.
As I add more pieces to my shop, I will probably have to re-organize the categories and possibly put all mermaid-themed pieces in one category, seahorse-themed pieces in another and so on. I hope that I won’t have the need to have more than 10 categories, because then I’d have a problem lol On my website, I will have total control on how I want to present my pieces.
Some of the things that I’ll be using to embellish my lower priced pieces will be recycled sea glass beads (of various colors – I’ve started with purple, green, teal and desert yellow) and brown imitation suede cord. I’ll be using the suede cord both in necklaces as seen in the photo below (featuring my masthead and ocean goddess necklaces) and also as a “charm”.
I will have many items priced at impulse price points. This doesn’t mean that they will have low quality components, far from it. It just means that I will “work” smarter by choosing the right components (as explained above) for each piece according to the price tag that it will carry.
Here are some of the pieces that will be positioned at the bottom tier of my price pyramid.
Close up :-) I love these mermaid earrings!
And some ocean-themed charm bangles. They are priced at impulse price points too.
I love this starfish ring I made. Was very tempted to keep this one for myself lol
For some of my medium priced pieces, I will be using gorgeous sparkly glass beads (which cost slightly more than the recycled glass beads). I will also be offering various colors. I’ve started with blue and aquamarine so far.
The plan is to eventually be able to offer my customers the option to choose the color of the beads themselves. So say for e.g. someone likes a bracelet and it has a blue bead dangle. He or she will have the option to have the bead changed to a green one for example, if green is their preferred color.
For items that will be at the top levels of my pyramid, I plan to use gemstones. I will use color combos that are similar to the low and medium priced items. This will help me maintain a cohesive look.
Another thing that I plan to do is to offer silver tone alternatives for a lot of my pieces. So far, I have only managed to make one piece in silver but the idea is for these pieces to have similar embellishments as the other ones but have a silver chain, focal, polymer clay connectors, etc. The look and feel will still be weathered, rustic and bohemian.
Here’s the silver charm bracelet I made. It’s got one of my organic, rustic polymer clay connectors in silver, a shell and two starfish charms from B’sue and of course that fabulous book chain that B’sue carries.
A very important element that will be present in ALL my pieces is polymer clay. Each and every piece will have a polymer clay “something”. It can be a charm, connector, base or focal. It will always have the exact same color (I’ve created and written down my custom “recipe” so I don’t forget how I mixed the colors lol).
I feel that these polymer clay components pull my whole line together and make it more cohesive and recognizable.
But there’s more to these components ;-) They ALL have my signature hand engraved on the back :-) So all my pieces, including earrings will be signed by yours truly.
These components do not take too long to make and they can be easily reproduced. Perfect! I like creating them in batches. All I need to do then, is simply pick the one that is most appropriate for the project at hand.
Here’s a photo of the back of some pieces so that you can see my signature on the polymer clay components.
I have great plans for Salvina’s Treasures for the future. I want to make brooches that can be converted into necklaces and also bracelets that can be converted into necklaces. I also want to create more necklaces that can be layered together. I’ve made a few but want to make more.
My plan is to also branch out from jewelry and start offering ocean-themed wall decor. But that won’t happen until a couple of years I think. I want to establish Salvina’s Treasures in the ocean-themed jewelry niche first and since I don’t have an existent following (I just opened my Etsy shop and created my social media profiles) it’s going to take time.
In due course, I also plan to start making ocean-themed key chains. These will be at the very bottom of my price pyramid.
Whew! I think I’ve covered everything about Salvina’s Treasures and my plans for the future.
OK one last photo. Sorry I HAD to do this lol I HAD to take a group photo of ALL the pieces I’ve finished so far. Here they are! :-)
And now I can’t wait to see what my fellow classmates have made. We’ve all been working so hard on our lines. I’m sure that we’ll see some fabulous, fabulous designs today.
I must admit that I’m a bit sad to see this adventure end. But all good things must come to an end as they say. I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way and I feel incredibly fortunate for being given the opportunity to pick Brenda Sue Lansdowne’s brains on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to jewelry lines.
Brenda Sue you rock! I’m so glad I joined your Facebook Creative Group two years ago!
OK I’m outta here. Off to see my classmates new jewelry lines. Woohoo! I’m so excited. I’ve copied the list of participants below. You and me have some hopping to do. Off we go :-)
Much love and peace,
Brenda Sue Lansdowne
Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Clever Designs by Jann
Apt to Wander Studio
Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales
Marica Zammit (That’s me!)
The Vintage Gem
Shattered Time Jewelry
MJCasady Copper Works
Leila Nicole Designs
Howling Dog Jewelry
Leila Bee Designs
Wings and Beads
Wind Dancer Studios
Jan Lea Designs
Sweet Willow Designs
Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs
Desire Divine Jewels
Mary Katherine Deis
The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry
Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs
Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog
From the Bead Board
Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art
The Journey of Pens and Things
Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Artists of All Stripes
Denise Lussier Poirier
Jewelry by Denise
Small Stuff Design
1996 Shabby Lane
Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Mama San’s Mojo