Jul 20, 2008

Design Challenges

Sometimes we are faced with challenges in our jewelry businesses, from taking custom orders or in determining what to do with beads purchased by mistake.

I normally keep a ruler in my desk drawer so I have a visual of the millimeter size before placing a bead order. But sometimes I am in a rush and don’t check. Or maybe you’ve seen a great strand of beads on an auction getting ready to end at ebay. You quickly buy the item only to discover they are 25 mm. You think to yourself “It just didn’t look that big on the screen” and then “what in the world am I going to do with these??” You then have yourself a design challenge!

Another example - a beading friend of mine was asked to create a bracelet with large gold focal beads. The customer also wanted red and blue bicone crystals with it. The color combination was not something we would normally put together and the results were pretty much what we expected. We looked at each other and agreed that we did not like it. However, the personality of the customer came to mind and we knew better than to question her wishes. Although the color combination was not pleasing to us, the buyer loved it. And that’s the important thing; that the buyer is pleased.

I love taking on custom orders, but they are also intimidating at times. Sometimes we need to learn a new trick to accommodate the request. When someone asked for a necklace with a beaded drop for the first time, I needed to figure out how to do that. Custom orders help us grow as artists by making us do new things, or see things in a new light.

What we’ve learned too, is that there is pretty much a buyer for everything! We’ve made things we don’t like and think “this piece will never sell” only to see them move quickly. Much to our surprise! So if my friend makes something that she doesn’t like, I remind her there is a buyer for everything. I may not like huge chunky 25 mm beads on my petite frame, but others may love them, are taller than me, and can pull off the look. It’s important to think beyond what WE like.

Have you considered your own jewelry style as it evolves over the years? Most of us can look back at particular pieces or photos of past work and realize how far we’ve come. We want to move our older inventory because our style and techniques have changed. Or we tear apart old designs to reuse the beads in a new creation.

So remember, it is pretty easy to make something that we like. The challenge is to create something outside our comfort zone that is pleasing to someone else. This helps us to grow and learn from the experience!

If anyone on our team has any design challenge stories, please share them with us. We would love to hear about your experience. And we can learn from it too!

Kim Ries
Creative Eye Studio


ChezChani said...

Wonderful blog, and so true. Thanks!

Annette Piper said...

I have one very dedicated client who is quite a bit younger than the average. She gives me design challenges frequently and so far I have managed to rise to them with success. I haven't changed my overall style of design, but she has certainly helped me be confident if someone else wants something made along 'different' lines. :)

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