SO much has happened since our first blog hop about a month ago.
Lots of things I don't think our participants were counting on. Like Toby here, a few are a bit exhausted. And some head-banging!
Others pounded metal, instead, as the aha! moments occured and the ideas began to flow.
The first unique point was learning about the PYRAMID.
This is not like the pyramid scheme type thing which carries a very negative connotion.
Instead is it a triple tiered system of developing a line according to pricepoints.
The bottom tier, or foundation, is based on lower priced goods from 15-50.00. This is the range most people spend on gifts and things they buy as a treat for themselves, without giving it a lot of thought.
A number of us had never given that level a lot of thought, and a few confused it with being asked to cheapen their lines. Not so! Instead, it was about thinking outside the box to be able to provide goods for a broader scope of potential customers.
Things like ....
fun key chains!
simple finger rings.
Pendants on simple chains!
LOTS of earrings! Never go to a show without a full rack of earrings.
These are things that I have made and sold in the lower reaches for my little shop.
No, they really don't show off my ability as an artist, but not everyone who comes around understands handmade design or even cares. You may need to educate them!
The best way to get them to hang around so you can do that is to offer them easy-peasy things that are nicely made, have some appeal, that they can afford.
Here is Javi putting back into shop stock things we took to a local show. At this show ALL WE SOLD were the lower range items.
That being said, what we all REALLY want to make are statement items. These form the wide CENTRAL part of the pyramid. Most of these goods would be sold in the 50- 125.00 range. This is the FUN level, where we get to stretch our wings, show our abilities, and get some attention as jewelry makers and designers!
But how do we mesh those larger statement pieces with a lower priced line, so that it would be cohesive?
A good thing would be to take one of our favorite statement pieces and examine it for design elements, things we could take from it, whether components or color families....and step them out into smaller elements. This could be the start of the lower priced foundation gift-impulse line.
From there we can pull our statement line together by working in certain mixed metals families:
We can really take that any way we please.....but again, trying to do it in a way so that at the end of the day, we have lines that form a collection, and a designer look that becomes part of our brand.
Then of course we can have the greatest fun by branching out to the peak of the pyramid with custom design, custom bridal, one of a kind, runway jewelry. These are the designs that will pull customers into a show booth, a website, a shop because they are a feast for the eyes.
BUT....they are also the pieces that sell the least. They may be costly, but you will probably not sell enough of them to keep your line and your brand afloat.
The next thing we considered......and again, was a new thought for a number of us!....was how does our work fit in with the fashion of the day?
Are we aware of color trends? Have any understanding of what colors flatter most skin types? Do we know what sort of clothing is coming down from the top fashion designers, destined eventually to influence what people wear at least to some extent, in our own demographic?
Especially if we sell on the internet, the world is our demographic....so wow, YES, we really need to have at least an over-all understanding of what current fashion is, EVEN IF we completely personally eschew it !
Marica Zammit, one of our class participants, expressed it well in her poster made to bring a little levity into a difficult 'light-bulb' moment:
Thank you, again, Marica, for the poster! I'll be using it again and again!
Have you ever considered that VOGUE magazine is the world's fashion leader and that many of the decisions that eventually affect even what is sold in WALMART are made in its offices?
Probably everyone has seen the movie, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Perhaps you found it entertaining but the truth of it is, it's more fact than fiction. The character played by Meryl Streep is based on Anna Wintour, who is the editor of Vogue; the situations in the movie happen in the fashion world every day.
And YOU, the artisan designer, cannot pretend these things do not exist.
WHAT TO DO?
Elizabeth Hildreth of MadScientistDesigns took the bull by the horns. She had determined that she would be designing a Boho-Mediterranean style line. Stepping back, she began to imagine what sort of woman would be drawn to and buy......and WEAR! her jewelry. From there, she began to imagine what sort of CLOTHING this woman would wear, so that her jewelry would accent it.
Going forward, Elizabeth did research to find out which fashion designers were making clothing like that.....and find them she did!
She started a visual journal at Pinterest which I'll share with you here:
If you are struggling to find a fashion pathway that fits who you are as an artisan jeweler, you might want to think as Elizabeth has and spend an afternoon doing some internet research. Make yourself a Pinterest board! It's fun and it will be very revealing.
We also had some pricing discussions. At first I had rather hoped we would not go this route as at the end of the day, pricing is up to you and your knowledge of your customer, as well as the components you are using.
I do think the discussions were fruitful and we found a blog post that was easy to read and made a ton of sense:
I hope you get a chance to look at it.....but be SURE to check out all the posts to ensue. We still have 55 participants and though it truly has been a challenge for them so far, there are plenty of AHA! moments and great new ideas. We have some amazing opinions and you are going to enjoy the insights. TAKE YOUR TIME, get a journal, TAKE NOTES!
Join us on this adventure:
Mary Katherine Deis
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier