Well.....it's about that time again!
The application process for this year's Build a Line Master Challenge Class begins Monday, November 14, 2017. I will accept approximately 35 students into class.
Alumni are welcome to join us again, and this year we have option for a few who are more comfortable auditing the class. I will accept students up until the end of December if we still have openings so if you still need a bit of time to decide, it's fine. The only thing is, the sooner you sign up, the better your chance of having the choice of theme you'd like to do for your project pieces. More about that in the application blog post, and continuing, below.
Also, you must be a member of the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group at Facebook
But what IS Build a Line, or BALC, as we call it?
How far have you come in your jewelry making journey?
Are you a hobbyist, a maker....a production designer? Do you work in many types of media? If you do....is there one that speaks your artistic voice louder than the others? Have you found ONE COHESIVE LOOK that identifies you and pulls everything you do together?
Do you sell your work or aspire to sell it? Would you like to sell MORE of your work and see more people wearing the pieces you make?
Do you simply wish to supplement your income, or is it your dream to become a self-supporting artist with a recognizable brand and steady clientele? These are the things you'll uncover if you take the three-month BALC class.
It will commence January 9, 2017 and continue through April 14, 2017. The class is conducted in a special, private Facebook classroom and consists of modules/discussions that address important topics to lead to your discovery and improvement in what you do.
All skill levels are invited to join us...in fact, the 'younger' you are in your journey, the better off you will be. Being young in your journey and taking this class will help you to avoid some of the pitfalls that many of us, myself included, had to work through before learning that less is more, cohesive and pulled together is best. You will also learn why staying lower on the pyramid of sales means growth in income and quicker success.
In class you will create a cohesive five piece prototype line. If you aren't quite sure what cohesive is, check the dictionary....or come to class! We will teach you.
My line from last year speaks my voice as an artist and is cohesive, so I will use it for an example:
As discussed in the post regarding the application, you'll simply write me starting November 9, 2016 at firstname.lastname@example.org with
BLOG NAME AND URL
NAME of the PHOTO EDITING PROGRAM you use and ASSURANCE that you can make a collage, using it
YOUR CHOSEN THEME (see the application post in my blog, just previous to this, for ideas).
Having the working blog with a URL that clicks through and knowledge of the photo editing program are imperative. With out them, you would not be able to participate in this class.
Only two students can use the same theme for your line, so pick several when you write me. Also, please include the PayPal email you use so I can invoice you for the class when accepted. If you would like to pay by credit card, you can let me know when you write, too, and you can call that in when you're accepted to participate.
Class fee is 75.00 alumni, 100.00 new student, and 125.00 for those who wish to audit rather than participate fully. (No more than 3 will be accepted for auditing). Class fee must be received within 48 hours of acceptance.
There will be two blog hops in class. The first will be Friday, February 10, 2017. In this hop you will talk about what you have discovered so far and tell a little about what you plan to accomplish in the class. The second will be March 31, 2017. This is when you will reveal your line.
As soon as you have paid your class fee, you will gain entry to our classroom, which is the same one used last session. All of the modules are there in the FILES section, so you can start reading. You can also scroll back and see some of what we did last year. We will not, however, be discussing modules before class begins, and I reserve the right as instructor to decide in what order they will be discussed.
Since it is online, the classroom is open 24/7. Students should plan on checking in to class at least 4-5 times a week. The class is not in real time, however....so you can fit it in to your schedule as you like. The two blog hops are mandatory to staying in the group and to graduate, or finish the course. If you cannot meet those deadlines, you cannot continue the class. That's pretty firm with me.
Other than that, you can come or not come as often as you like, you can participate or not participate in discussion in class. There is no requirement there. BUT! Like everything worthwhile in life....you'll get out of this what you put into it.
Class materials you will find helpful:
A subscription to Netflix. Don't worry if you don't have it! But there are some wonderful fashion documentaries on Netflix that are more than worth your time. I'll check to see what all is available when we start filling the classroom and make you a list.
A subscription to VOGUE or at least a couple of current copies, the SEPTEMBER ISSUE being the one most important.
A journal or planner with a calendar for notes.
Materials to 'build your line'. You do need to use visible pieces from the B'sue Boutiques website in your work, but you can use ones you already have and you may also fill in with things you may have picked up here and there, so long as you can make a full line.
I will building a line along with the class, but it will be quite unique. First I will be choosing pieces to develop my own proprietary line of findings, which will be pewter castings with special finishes. Later they will be available to others at B'sue Boutiques
After I have enough chosen and made for me, I will develop them into a prototype jewelry line.
I am working with the 1928 Jewelry Company to make this happen, it's a joint project we are developing. So students will get to be privy to this most unique process as well as learn a few new little chestnuts I have picked up from working with Melvyn Bernie, the owner of the company. He is the perfect model for this class, as he began his jewelry making career with nothing at all, not even any knowledge of making jewelry! With focus, determination and a few shekels saved from his meager job as a watch salesman, 1928 Jewelry Company was born in a humble garage in Van Nuys, California....in 1968.
And as they say....the rest is history!
My story is similar to Mr. Bernie's. I began with a 20.00 bill and a whole lot of hope in my heart. Inside of three years I had a 300 piece line of gift jewelry that was sold to 500 gift shops, florists, hospitals, museum shops, catalog houses and small department stores. I continued making my line available for nearly a decade. I'll explain why I quit.....and why Mr. Bernie was able to continue until his jewelry line was known worldwide, worn by many brides, prom and homecoming queens, a gift purchased by many a husband for a wife, or a boyfriend for a girlfriend....collected! and worn to work, too.
There are many lessons the students can learn from both these unique jewelry making experiences.
Before the FIRST HOP, we'll talk about why we chose our lines and why we think our choice was practical.
I'll ask you to begin doing internet research on current trends in fashion. Think about what sort of clothing would go with the sort of jewelry you plan to design and form into a line. Begin to define your customer....their age, their style, the sort of money they can spend.
We will discuss what it means to be "artistically generous".
The reason for the subscription to VOGUE will be explained in class.
There will be a discussion of jewelry design periods, concentrating on the Golden Age of Jewelry Design (late 40's through early 70's) and successful designers, past and present.
You will be examining your design style by way of making collages of photos of your work and sharing them in class. These collages will not be shared outside this class by me and should not be by you, until our first blog hop.
More information on the first hop in class, again it's February 10, 2017.
After the first hop, we'll talk about whether you feel you are a hobbyist, a maker, or a production designer....and what the difference is. Also, we'll talk about if it even MATTERS!
We will discuss one of a kind designing versus a line of jewelry that can be reprised in production or in limited edition.
We will talk about efficiency and the cost of your time in producing your pieces. And we'll talk about pricepoints. Which sell best? What IS the pyramid of sales? What about pricing your pieces for profit?
Wholesale versus retail....which one is for you?
We will also talk about our design influences and we will share photos of jewelry made by contemporary designers or artisan makers that we admire.
Heading into the home stretch in March, we'll talk about the importance of a good schedule and productive channeling of energies. We will talk about deadlines, inventory management, and custom work.
Very important will be the discussion of developing your personal brand via good photos, marketing, blogging and packaging. Some of our alumni rejoining us this year have done a brilliant job of that and will be happy to share with you their progress as well as their thought process in developing packaging, brochures, signage, etc.
We will talk about why you should regularly BLOG, and why a social media promotion schedule is so important. And, we will discuss garnering return business, the power of lagniappe, and making each customer feel important.
The final blog hop is FRIDAY, March 31....and that is when we will reveal our lines.
Within a week after class finishes, a team of judges formed by alumni of this class and myself, will determine who hit the marks best. There will be a winner and a runner up. The runner up gets a 50.00 gift certificate to B'sue Boutiques, and the winner gets a 100.00 certificate, plus the privilege of joining us for the next year's class for FREE.
Last year's winner was Erin Whitacre and I do believe she is excited to be with us again this year. In fact, if she makes it, it will mean she has attended ALL of the Build a Line classes so far!
In summing up, we will talk about what we learned and where we hope to sell our lines. We will talk about if we will continue the line from class and grow it, or start a new one....or do both!
After final discussions, all who complete the course, or graduate! will be moved from the classroom to the alumni group where everyone else who has finished the course is waiting to congratulate you.....and continue the discussion among peers. The class modules are also housed at the Alumni group so you will always have access to them. It will be like the little class that never quit!
I hope to see your application in my email@example.com email box tomorrow! There must be 25 students for me to present the class, but if past years are any indication, I think we will be okay. ;-)
Here's to Build A Line Master Challenge Class for 2017!