April 2009

Simone Welsh

Australian jeweler, Simone Walsh, is an inspiration to all one-man-band jewelery designs.  Not only does her jewelry reflect a sense of originality and dedicated to quality, but her success is a testament to her hard work and dedication to being a successful business woman.  Yet every...single...piece is completely handmade.   Here she gives us some insight into that productivity,  and I really feel that this gal is someone that many aspiring jewelers, and established jewelers alike can (and should) look up to. Your work features a lot of piercing and intricate patterns yet you seem to be highly productive.

Michael Peckitt

Michael Peckitt 's jewelry is a visual smorgasbord of vibrant colors in sturdy yet elegant silhouetted shapes.  Using highly unusual jewelry making techniques, his collections are eye catching and distinctive and above all, unmistakably his.  In a world where jewelers can often jostle to find their own sense of style without overlapping others,  Michael doesn't have to worry about building a strong brand image,  as there are few other artists with a vision and expertise that even comes close to his.  This month, his collection is being showcased in the Japanese Fashion Museum, in Kobe.  Here he takes a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about his work. How did you develop your use of usi

Sassy Glass Designs

The artist to catch my eye at Etsy this week was Sandi Carrico, of Sassy Glass. Sandi makes her own lampwork beads, and has a collection of stunning focal jewelry which uses large, natural stones set in chunky silver settings.  Her designs are a nice juxtaposition of geometry and geology, combining structured shapes with the raw natural colours and patterns of the stones.  Here she tells us a bit more about her work... Can you tell us a bit about your jewelry history?

Jewelry News

Well, how has everyone's week been?  I hope that no one was victim to the increased number of jewelry robberies that have been occuring around the US.  Unfortuantely, jewelry stores make ideal targets for opportunistic criminals look for quick cash.  Before you close up tonight, make sure you double check the locks. Here are just a few quick notes on some of the other jewelry headlines this week: The winners of the 2009 Platinum Design Awards were announced on 7th April.   These awards are run by the Platinum Guild International, to showcase the best designers using the metal. Picchiotti , from Italy, came top in the Platinum Bridal Jewellery category, with a

Jewelry Link Love

I want to mention a few great sites that I have spent a lot of time on this week,  that are great resources for jewelers.  Hopefully all of you will agree that a sense of community is invaluable in any industry, and sharing each other's work is a great way to fan the flames of creativity.   Here are a selection of my favourite blogs, forums and community sites where jewellers exchange information, ideas and advice.
  • Jewelry GeeksOK,  I am obvious late to the party at this site, but now I have discovered it, I'm hooked.  The community is busy and friendly, and members run the gamut from enthusiastic amateurs to old hat pros at the top of their niche.  (Go on, spot the celebs!)  You can create your own profile, link to your sites and blogs, share images and also videos if you are one of those confident types.

How it all began for Georgina Ettridge

In a new twist on my jeweler interviews,  I will be talking to artists about how they got started.  This is something that always fascinates me as people who seem like they were born to be jewelers sometimes actually ended up in the craft in a very roundabout way.  I hope that you will find this series interesting, and if you have an interesting 'How it all began' story,  please leave a comment at the end of this post. Here,  the jeweler featured today, Georgina Ettridge, kicks off this new 'How it all began' series with the story of how she first started making jewelry and shares the roots of her inspiration and the route to her success.
"I trained at Portsmouth University where I studied Three Dimensional Design, which covered wood, plastics, glass, metals and ceramics.

Jeweler Profile: Georgina Ettridge

Georgina Ettridge's work stands out because of the way it appears so organic.  If jewelry grew on trees, it would look like Georgina's work.   The irony is that her background is in design - a discipline which usually clings to straight lines and structure.  Here she talks more about her work, and her business. Why do you find nature so inspiring? From a very young age I have always been interested in nature and loved to be outside, whatever the weather. I enjoy looking at the details of leaves and the way they grow. What is your favorite design, and is this your best seller? I don't particularly have favourite designs but the pieces that I most enjoy creating are wedding and engagement rings, especially the leaf design.

Look on the Sunny Side

Despite all of the doom and gloom spread all over the news, there are jewelry businesses that are not only surviving, but thriving.  Some jewelers are reporting an increase in sales, and even record figures over the past quarter. I was recently interviewed by Jewelry Focus magazine (the magazine for the jewelry retail trade in the UK) on this very subject as to how this could be,  and I subsequently prattled on for ages, (probably boring the poor editor to death) about how excited I am about these 'terrible times'. You see as people's budgets shrink,  a very curious thing is happening: they are becoming far more selective on how they spend their cash.  People are (finally) returning to looking at jewelry purchases as investments, heirlooms, treasures rather than disposable trinkets.  Couple this with a new level of social awareness about responsible buying, with people taking into consideration labour conditions and environmental impact,

Avoid a Cashflow Crisis

Are you having a cashflow crisis?  If so,  you are not the only one.  Cashflow (or lack of it) is one of the top concerns for small business owners, and is said to be the main reason for closure within 18 months of trading. During my first year I was thrilled to have customers order hundreds of dollars of stock, only to have my naive joy crushed when it took over three months of emails, letters and phone calls to get the money in. Cashflow is critical because it helps you to keep your business running smoothly.  It allows you to buy new materials and tools when you need them, and to plan advertising and marketing campaigns.   If your money is coming in in fits and starts,  the chances are that this is how your business will run in general. Here are some ideas on how to increase cashflow, even during these tough times:
  1. Offer lay away or installment plans for larger items.  Be careful to get your terms in writing, particularly relating to any refunds if they cancel the purchase, and ensuring that your customers understand them.  Layaway doesn't have to mean neon yellow signs written in Sharpie in the window - you can use it as your secret weapon to secure a sale if you s