Woohoo I’m making progress! It’s ALL coming together and I couldn’t be happier :-)
We started the Build A Line Challenge (which is a 3 month masterclass sponsored by B’sue Boutiques) on the 8th of January. 43 days later (and after a lot of head banging and nail biting lol) things are finally beginning to take shape :-)
If you remember from the first blog hop, I am doing an Ocean Themed jewelry line.
Today I’d like to show you what I’ve made so far and also talk about some of the things that I am taking into consideration when I’m designing my line so that it’s as cohesive as possible. Also, I know that many wanted to take this class but couldn’t due to other commitments, so I’m going to share some of the things that I’ve learned so far as well.
You with me? Great :-)
So, one of the first temptations that I had as soon as I decided that I wanted to make an ocean-themed jewelry line was to buy everything and anything that I saw that was ocean-themed haha Big mistake! Why would that be a mistake I hear you say? Well my line will feature weathered, distressed and antiqued pieces so anything that doesn’t fit in this description is not suitable for my line. Of course I only realized this after buying about 10 bags (with 5 charms each) of sea shell charms which are the exact opposite of anything remotely antique and weathered lol Live and learn.
In the final blog hop (that’s happening on the 20th of March), I will share more about why I decided to go with a weathered and antiqued look. Not today though, because otherwise this blog post will get as long as the Great Wall Of China haha
Once I decided that I wanted that look for my line, it was time to take out my B’sue Boutiques pretties and get to “work” ;-)
Here are some of the stampings and filigrees that I’ve been working on so far. I got all of these lovelies from B’sue Boutiques. If you haven’t visited this website yet, I encourage you to do so. Best quality brass I’ve ever come across and the plating is out of this world beautiful. Check out B’sue Boutiques here. Be sure to also check out their Etsy shop here when you have a minute. I got some great deals there recently.
I’ve also been colorizing and sealing B’sue focals like a mad woman lol Result? I have lots of focals ready to be used but very few finished pieces haha
My lack of finished pieces is partly due to the fact that it’s taking me forever to come up with the designs *sigh* Because like I said earlier on, there are a LOT of things that we need to take into consideration. For example, we are learning in class that price will play a huge role on whether our line is successful or not. You can’t just have statement pieces in your line, you have to give people options and lots of them. You need to have pieces that are priced at impulse price points. Why? Because like it or not, these will probably be your best sellers. I believe that writing a great product description can help you close that sale on a larger pricier piece but your bread and butter pieces will probably always be the low and mid-priced pieces. Does this mean that you have to undersell yourself? Heck no!
It means that you have to work smarter. This is why it’s taking me forever to come up with a design that I’m satisfied with. I am choosing carefully, very carefully, what I use in my designs. Am I sacrificing quality? No way! That’s why it’s harder ;-) To give you an example, in some pieces (those that are priced at impulse price points) I am using suede cord instead of chain because it’s cheaper. I’m still using the best quality suede cord I know of though. Also, because these pieces are simpler in design than statement pieces, I’m using less material and therefore they will cost less to my customers. Doesn’t mean I’m using low quality cheap material though, I’m just using less :-)
Another thing that’s making me take longer to design something is the fact that I have to remember that I need to be able to reproduce a piece. So I’m taking note of the colors I used, etc. I am finding this quite helpful and will be adapting this “system” when I’m making my polymer clay artisan beads too if possible. Many times I’ve had people ask me to re-make a set of beads that’s been sold but can’t for the life of me remember what colors I used for the original set lol
Speaking of polymer clay, here are some ocean-themed charms that I made. I think that I will use these to make a charm bracelet.
And here are some polymer clay connectors and charms ready to be used in my pieces.
Another thing that we’re learning in class is that we need to look at our pieces as a “collection” if you will, not as stand alone pieces. I am personally viewing this as giving my customers the opportunity to add to their collection of my jewelry with each piece that I make. So for example, when I’m designing a necklace I’m thinking “Could this necklace be stacked with that other necklace I made?” or “Could this bracelet be converted into a necklace and then worn with that other more delicate necklace I made?” or “Could I make a brooch that can be turned into a necklace but also goes with that bracelet I made?”
I’ve seen this being done by the popular fashion jewelry designers. What? Am I following f-f-f-f-fashion trends these days? Well yes, I am, sort of :-)
You see, this class has made me realize that while I’m the first to admit that I don’t follow fashion you WILL learn a lot just by studying how the major fashion jewelry designers present their work to customers. I don’t have to do similar jewelry to theirs (that would be torture lol) but yes, I am finding it very helpful to follow what they do in terms of some of the elements they use in a design to make it more wearable, how they improve the marketability of their products by giving their customers lots of choices, etc.
For example before I started this challenge I had no intention of providing a silver tone alternative in my line. But if you think about it, unless you’re making jewelry for yourself, you really HAVE to think about your customer at all times. It doesn’t matter that I rarely wear silver these days because I won’t be the one buying my jewelry ;-) So yes, I will be making silver tone pieces for folks who like silver. The important thing is that they have the same look/style as my other pieces.
You can see more focals that I’ve colorized below, including a silver tone mermaid on seahorse stamping. I love how that one turned out.
As you can see, I’ve had many aha moments during this challenge. But perhaps the biggest one came when I watched this video from Brenda Sue Lansdowne. In this video, Brenda Sue explains clearly what you need to do to get a cohesive look in your designs. She basically explains what makes a line. Check it out! And be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel here for more pearls of wisdom and jewelry making tutorials.
OK enough talk about my struggles and aha moments. Do I have any finished pieces to show you? Yep! Glad you asked ;-)
Remember that bangle bracelet I showed you in the first blog hop? It was still a work in progress then but it’s finished now. I removed one of the sea-themed charms (I thought that it was too cramped with it) and added some beads and a polymer clay charm. Here it is below. I hope I don’t change my mind again and remove or add anything else! *sigh*
This bracelet will be at the lower level of my pyramid, so it will be in the impulse price point range. Most of my earrings (if not all) will be in this range too.
Here’s a pair of earrings that I finished. What do you think?
I think that I’ll stop here for today. For the final reveal I hope to finish lots of pieces (not just the required 5 pieces).
I also want to find a way to photograph my pieces in a consistent manner and hopefully learn to stage my photos in a way that they’re cohesive with my line and brand. Wish me luck! I really need it lol
And now it’s time to go see the wonderful creations of my fellow classmates. I’ve copied the list of participants below. This is so exciting! Join me will you? :-)
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