I read a tongue-in-cheek article about someone who wanted to quit her “day job” and make her living with her jewelry designs. So far so good. I think that covers a lot of people. But then she had a list of things she wouldn’t be willing to do. She was shy, so she didn’t want to try to approach people to get her jewelry into boutiques or galleries. Craft fairs were out as she didn’t like talking to strangers. She didn’t understand social media, so that was out and of course she had no money to hire someone to do these things for her. How successful can she be?
We can laugh at that, except that we all would like people to just call us up and buy our jewelry. I know I would. But the real world doesn’t work that way. So what do you have to do to be successful in the jewelry field? How can you take your love and turn it into a money-maker?
The simple answer is that most people never will. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For years, I was happy if I made enough money with my jewelry to buy more supplies so I could make more jewelry. Then it got to where I could buy more supplies AND take “buying” trips with my wife and charge it to the company. It was wonderful.
After reading that article, I got to thinking about “success” and how it is achieved. It got me thinking about my stint as an actor. After college, I went to Hollywood as a starving actor to “make it” in acting. (A lot of starving, very little acting. Here my kids are rolling their eyes…) For what it’s worth, here’s what I discovered.
In Hollywood, it really IS who you know. The streets are literally filled with gifted, talented people. If you get your shot, you had better be able to deliver the goods, because you ain’t gettin’ another chance. Let’s analyze this as it applies to jewelry.
Unless you happen to be born with a famous or connected parent, or live next door to one, you have to create who you know. The good news is with hard work you can do this. (Dirty word, I know.) You can network, go to shows and schmooze, and broaden your horizons. The nice thing about this is, you will meet a lot of creative, artistic people, and most artistic people are very nice and very interesting.
The next step is being able to deliver the goods. If someone gives you an opportunity, your stuff had better be good, because if it isn’t up to snuff, it makes you look bad, and it makes the person who gave you the opportunity look bad also. Guess what? They won’t do THAT again. And they will also tell all their friends you can’t cut it.
To make sure you CAN cut it, keep improving your craft. Practice, practice, practice. Take classes, be open to critiques, take risks, and try something new. Take a sculpting or drawing class. Keep the creative juices flowing. Try selling at a craft fair or gem show. The next thing you know, you WILL be able to deliver the goods. But most of all, have fun.