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MARKETING / PROMOTION / POSITIONING:

Posted by learntobead on September 4, 2022

Enhancing The Designer’s Influence and Persuasion

Abstract:

Marketing is about creating persuasive arguments which can influence a person’s beliefs, attitudes, motivations, intentions and behaviors. Influence comes with knowing what the best outcome that the marketer should seek. Persuasion includes the tools you use to get there. Persuasion can take many forms. The marketer’s success depends on a handful of persuasive factors. Marketing strategies follow one or more of eight universal principles of persuasion. Information within any successful persuasive argument is best presented in a certain order.

Influence and Persuasion

Marketing is about creating persuasive arguments which can influence a person’s beliefs, attitudes, motivations, intentions and behaviors. The marketer wants to be able to persuade the client to focus their attention on the jewelry product line, to approach it, touch it, try it on, buy it, exhibit it, share it with others, then, moreover, to further persuade these others (thus making the marketing message contagious) to want to buy it. Influence comes with knowing what the best outcome that the marketer should seek. Persuasion includes the tools you use to get there.

When we are trying to persuade someone, we might be trying to get them to change their mind about something. We might want them to change the weight, ranking or priority they give one thing over another. We might want them to see the interrelationship among two or more otherwise unrelated things. We might want them to re-evaluate the cost and reward calculus they use when deciding to make a purchase.

When trust is present, influence increases and persuasion ends in more positive outcomes.

Persuasion can take many forms. It can be…

· Coercive, done aggressively through direct commands, threats, fear mongering, shaming.

· Informational, spread as biased in some way towards a particular position or idea.

· Leveraging a belief by appeals to logic and reasoning.

· Leveraging a belief by appeals to feelings and emotions.

· Establishing a high level of credibility or character.

A marketer or jewelry designer is not born as persuasive. It is something to be learned, practiced, applied and applied again. The strength of the marketer’s influence centers on a handful of persuasive factors, such as:

1. Commonalities: People like people like themselves.

2. Logic and Rationality: When you see data, it tells a recognizable story.

3. The Target Audience’s Needs, Wants, Values and Desires: It is important to pay attention and hone in on these.

4. Attractiveness: Attractive people are more persuasive.

5. Confidence / Charisma: Confident /Charismatic people are more persuasive.

6. Preparation: Learning, Practicing and Preparing are how you place yourself in a powerful, persuasive position.

Persuasion and Marketing

Persuasion in marketing involves the ability not just to influence people’s actions, but their attitude as well.

Persuasion is a matter of establishing mutual trust or shared understandings. You develop that sense of trust in your client. That means, they believe that you will deliver on any and all your promises, and that your product will solve their problems, needs and/or desires. The marketer presents some type of evidence which the client must interpret as relevant and valid for themselves, whatever that might mean.

Marketing campaigns are various strategies attempting to influence, direct or change client behaviors by eliciting reactions. Marketing campaigns rely on imagery and word associations tied to emotional responses.

To be persuasive, the marketing message must have value and relevance for your target client. She or he might see a reward or a minimization of costs and agree to change their behavior. She or he might be trying to shield themselves from anything which refutes their sense of self and self-esteem. She or he might derive pleasure when they can align their self-concept with that of the emotional message associated with the product. She or he might find that they can meet their needs for understanding and control by finding out more information about your product.

In response to any marketing campaign, the client can do one of three things:

1. Accept

2. Non-commit or remain indifferent

3. Reject

And it is important to think of persuasion as a continual process. You might be able to persuade someone to purchase your product once, but will they purchase your product again?

The Marketer Should Have A Detailed Familiarity
With Everything Involved With Consumer Behavior

What causes clients to purchase certain products and brands, and reject others? It is important to begin to document client shopping behaviors, motivations and their psychological and sociological underpinnings.

The marketer will want to get a handle on the target audience in terms of

· Psychological Factors: How assumptions, perceptions, understandings, values and desires affect responses to the marketing message.

· Personal Factors: How demographic characteristics, such as age, culture, profession, gender play roles in forming responses to the marketing message.

· Social Factors: How socio-cultural groups, such as income, geographic residence, education level, affect shopping behaviors and responses to the marketing message.

How Can Marketing Affect Client Shopping Behaviors?
The Eight Universal Principles of Persuasion

Persuasion works when the client feels that, by purchasing your product, you and your product have made a positive contribution to their life. There are different ways or principles marketers follow for establishing that sense of positivity.

There are eight universal principles of persuasion the marketer can resort to in order to influence client shopping behaviors. These are,

1. Reciprocity

2. Commitment

3. Consensus

4. Authority

5. Affinity

6. Scarcity

7. Visibility of Consequences

8. Information Exposure

Reciprocity

If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you.

People tend to feel the need to return the favor. You offer or remove incentives and play with client’s natural tendency to be grateful and want to do something for you in return. You might offer them discounts or a free sample. You might put them in a frequent shopper rewards program. You might do a special customization. You might offer them a gift. You might offer something special to first time buyers or to clients who register for your email list.

Commitment

I am a loyal customer.

Once someone is engaged with something, they are more likely to stick to it and commit. They become loyal to the designer, the designer’s business and the designer’s brand. The marketer would do those things which enhance customer loyalty. You might have a special showing or trunk show. You might include them on your email list. You might make them aware a way ahead of time of some deals or opportunities.

Consensus

If it’s OK with them, it’s OK with me.

Sometimes this is referred to as the herd response. If the client sees others doing it, they are more likely to do it as well. The marketer here would demonstrate the popularity of their products with other clients and client groups.

Authority

If such-and-such expert tells me it’s OK, I’ll think it’s OK.

Clients are more likely to listen to an expert they trust, than anyone else. The marketer would have the marketing message put forth by trusted experts who could be seen as authority figures. These authority figures are seen as having already established proof of their knowledges and beliefs. Authority might be actual or implied. Thus, their advice is recognized as trustworthy. You might seek endorsements from well-known figures. You might create an ad where the expert is delivering the message. You might rely on influencers online to spread your marketing message.

Affinity

She bought it, and she’s a lot like me, so I’ll buy it as well.

The client is more willing to follow through on the marketing message and goal if she or he knows someone who is similar to themselves who bought the product. Similarly might be by gender or age or economic class. Similarly might be people who belong to the same church or shop at the same store or attend the same events. The marketer would emphasize shared interests. The marketer would present reasons why conformity is the best choice here.

Scarcity

I better get it right away, if I’m to get it at all.

People tend to want what they think they might not be able to have. When something is scarce, clients tend to assign it more value. Defining the context becomes very important for this principle of persuasion. It might be something that is exclusive. It might be in limited supply. It might have some sense of rarity. It might be subtle clues provided in how the products are displayed to make it seem like you are running out of stock (such as, a very large container with a few items left in the bottom). The product might not be available from any other competitor. The product might be temporarily on sale or only available for a limited amount of time. The marketer might emphasize that this product does what no other product can do. The marketer might emphasize that if the client doesn’t act quickly, the likelihood that they could ever purchase the product will be very low.

Visibility of Consequences

I know what will happen when I purchase and use this product.

The client is more likely to purchase a product if they can anticipate the consequences of their choice. Every purchase is a risk. Will it work? Will it hold up? Will it be appropriate? Will I get the reactions I want? Here the marketer would highlight evidence which makes the consequences obvious, and then more evidence which minimizes the likelihood that any risk and uncertainty might occur. The marketer might emphasize the positive results, and minimize any negative ones. They might point to past successes of this or similar products. They might present the pros and cons and comparative imaging of future outcomes. They might present the pros and cons by comparing antecedents. They might explain that the client will have emotion regrets of they don’t make the purchase.

Information Exposure

I was told it was important now to act.

Clients often have to make choices when they have more limited information upon which to rely. How and when the client is exposed to certain information, prompts, triggers and cues may affect their choice whether to buy a product or not. The client might be distracted. There might be time / timing / seasonal considerations where they pay more attention, say to holiday merchandise during Christmas season, than at other times of the year. Some information may have increased salience, depending on the context. For example, what the jeweler says when standing behind the jewelry counter may have more salience than what that same person says about the same product when randomly meeting that person on the street.

The marketer might present or withhold information based on timing considerations. The message might be different presented during the day from presented during the evening. It might be different in the Spring from the Fall. The marketer might try to connect positive emotional information the client already holds to the product the marketer is trying to sell. This could be a positive memory such as a song or image or experience. The marketer might stress how even with this limited information the client can still anticipate a level of success. The marketer might emphasize negative information about a competitor or competitor’s products. The marketer might use popular phrases and words that have a particular emotional or cognitive association with the target audience.

The Persuasive Argument

Whatever principle of persuasion the marketer follows, the presentation of information in their persuasive argument follows a pattern. That is, informational content, when presented in a certain order, makes for a more persuasive argument. This order is presented in the table below.

A Few Cautions

When marketing your products, you have a professional responsibility not to cross the line between influence and manipulation. You might be successful in manipulation in the short term, but this will probably spell disaster for you mid- and long-term. People are willing to be influenced and persuaded, but resent getting manipulated. And if manipulated, they usually find out.

Don’t present yourself falsely in any way. Don’t claim to be an expert when you are not, for example.

Last, don’t over emphasis economic factors — price, discounts, and the like — in your marketing messages. Rely more on one or more of the universal principles of persuasion where you play towards emotions, perceptions and desires.

_________________

FOOTNOTES

Abelson, Herbert I. Persuasion: How Opinions and Attitudes are Changed.
Spring Publishing, 1965.

Clements, Jon. The Power Of Influence and Persuasion in Business.

As referenced in:
https://metamorphicpr.co.uk/power-of-influence-and-persuasion- in-business/

Davis, Suzanne. 7 Sensational Hooks That Grab Readers’ Attention,
7/14/2022.
As referenced in:
https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/7-sensational-essay-hooks/

DeFalco, Nicole. Influence vs. Persuasion: A Critical Distinction For Leaders, 10/30/2009.

As referenced in:
https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/influence-vs-persuasion-critical-distinction-leaders#:~:text=Influence%20is%20having%20a%20vision,earning%20their%20sincere%20buy-in.

Druckman, James N. “A Framework for the Study of Persuasion,” Annual
Review of Political Science, 2022.

Feld, Warren. Health Planner Influence. 1979.

Miller, Michael. The Art of Influence and Persuasion in Business.

As referenced in:
https://www.mindwhirl.com/entrepreneurship/business-mindset/the-
art-of-influence-and-persuasion-in-business/

Peek, Sean. The Science of Persuasion: How To Influence Consumer
Choice, 8/3/2022.

As referenced in:
https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10151-how-to-influence-
consumer-decisions.html

Vatz, Richard E. The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion. Kendall Hunt,
2013.

Wikipedia. Persuasion.
As referenced in:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persuasion

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, Entrepreneurship, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Success or Failure? Some of my jewelry design students’ experiences at business

Posted by learntobead on July 29, 2022

I’d estimate that 25–30% of my students are in the jewelry making /design hobby to make some extra money. Some see a way to supplement their income. Some see it as a retirement strategy. Others see it as a career transition. Whatever their goals, some have been successful, and others less so. Here are some of their stories.

Cindy

Cindy saw it as a career transition. She made and sold jewelry, went to craft shows and church bazaars, put her stuff on consignment all over the metropolitan area, did home shows, whatever.

After about two to two-and-a-half years, she took the giant leap and quit her full-time legal aid job to be a full-time jewelry artist/entrepreneur. She was successful because she knew how to promote herself, and was very comfortable at this.

Her designs were fashion-current, but not bizarre. One business that had her stuff on consignment told me how great she was to work with.

My only concerns were that she often short-changed some of the quality of materials, and perhaps pushed the pricing a bit too high. But I marvel at her success. if you stick to it, and are confident in yourself, you’ll get there.

Mona

Mona refurbished old pieces into new. She took old brooches, fixed them up, restored missing stones, polished or colored damaged edges. She turned them into pendants, and then created necklaces with the same sensibilities, colors, textures, bulk, and patterns to go with them.

Sold like hot-cakes. She took old, gaudy belt buckles, glued on Austrian crystal rhinestones, found leather belts to go with them, fashioned some tpe of bail, and voila! She had great stories to go with each piece. She also was great at self-promotion. She was very confident. And she got her pieces into all the major stores in the area. She also formed great connections to power-fashion-players, including many people in the music business.

Sharon

Sharon made lampwork beads, and turned these into necklaces and bracelets. She was shy. She tried to sell them to friends and family. She tried to get them into one store on consignment. She tried selling them on EBay. She’s still trying.

Yanxi

Yanxi made Native American style earrings mostly, but some chokers and bracelets, as well. She relied on traditional bead weaving styles of Peyote and Brick. She used traditional materials including Czech seed beads, beading thread, sinew. She used traditional colors and designs. She sold in stores. She sold at markets. She was doing very well for many years.

Until around the later 1990s. Chinese businesses began copying Native American jewelry, and selling their pieces at prices so low, that Native Americans could no longer afford to make a living at making jewelry.

Yanxi’s business faded away to nothing. She was unable to adapt to the changes in the business environment. She could have gone more upscale in the choice of materials and the elaborateness in the designs. But she did not recognize that as a pathway.

Veronica

Veronica made high-end clothing with an edge to her designs. At one point, with her clothing, she decided to create accessories, including jewelry. Necklaces out of old men’s ties. Bracelets out of leather suspender straps from Germany. Odd beads which always catch your eye dangling from old, antiqued, large-linked chain.

She had an acute sense of what jewelry women — of all shapes, ages, sizes, body shapes — could wear to empower themselves. Attract that kind of attention which borders on admiration.

At first, she sold her jewelry pieces to individual stores in various cities she visited. They sold her pieces very quickly. In response, she began working in more of a production mode. She sent these stores boxes of her pieces to be sold as special trunk shows. That idea worked well.

She then worked on setting up a shop-within-a-shop. Several stores were eager to have her store-within-a-store. She envisioned taking over a 6’x8′ area. She created display cabinets, display pieces, and an organizational plan for displaying her pieces. She went to hotel foreclosure sales and purchased old odds and ends to use for displays, such as old wooden clothes hangers which had the hotel logo or name etched in them.

Her jewelry lines overtook her clothing lines.

Debby

Debby made beautiful, elegant, dainty jewelry from bracelets to necklaces to eyeglass leashes. She put them in a few stores. She had been an airline stewardess, and frequently brought her jewelry with her to sell at get-togethers and conventions with past and current airline employees.

Everyone loved her pieces. Everything she made sold. She was reluctant, however, to place them in many stores. She was afraid people would copy her designs. One person, in fact, had copied some of her designs.

Debby wanted to mass-market her pieces to high end boutiques and department stores. She spent years making contacts and connections, which she was very successful at. But she couldn’t reel in the opportunities. Her fears overcame her — people would copy her designs, or they would not manufacture her pieces to her quality expectations, or the manufacturers wanted to make pieces with more mass appeal.

There was always something that got in the way of her making a living by making jewelry. She built walls. She couldn’t climb over them.

Larry

Larry approached Barneys New York about his line of jewelry. He had a personal connection there. He had a marketing strategy for them, which included explaining why the lines of jewelry they currently carried, were not working for them.

He showed them a very full line — jeweler’s tray after jeweler’s tray after jeweler’s tray of jewelry.

With each tray he showed them photographs of jewelry which were carried by their major competitors in New York, as well as fashion spreads in major magazines.

He kept making the point: His jewelry is better, and this is why. His jewelry is better, and this is why. His jewelry is better, and this is why.

Success!

Kiki

Kiki wanted to sell on-line. She knew she needed a web-site with a shopping cart. But she shied away from the $50.00 per month price tag. She knew she would have to hire someone to design her website, but again, the $500.00 quoted price seemed daunting to her. She spent year after year researching web-hosts and web-designers, each time finding something that made her more and more uncertain.

Virtual jewelry, virtual business.

Rosie

Rosie lived in the wealthiest part of town — Belle Meade. She custom made jewelry for the rich for them to wear at special occasions. Her biggest obstacles to overcome: many of her clients were not sure that anyone could actually make jewelry. Jewelry was something that you bought in New York. Not Nashville. Somehow it could only be made in New York and probably by machine. Her clients hesitated, not sure how anyone, let alone anyone local, could actually make jewelry for them.

She took their naivete in stride. She made the making of jewelry seem straightforward. She made the custom designing seem specialized and right up her alley.

She made a necklace and earring set for someone to wear at the Swan Ball.

She made a very unattractive, yet very appreciated by the customer, necklace to wear at a horse race. the colors had to match the specific colors in the horse’s blanket — navy, white and rose. The rose was a special color rose associated with some Queen’s rose somewhere. On the face of things, navy, white and rose don’t usually result in something rich, elegant and status’y looking. But Rosie did a fabulous job. She would not, however, have ever worn this particular necklace herself.

She made a lariat for someone to wear on a cruise. Plus, 5 different sets of earrings, each coordinating with the lariat. Plus, 10 different bracelets, each having a different clasp, and again, coordinating with the lariat.

Rosie’s willingness to adapt to the peculiar needs of her customer base made her a success. And to her customer base, money was no object.

Alejandro

Alejandro didn’t want to design jewelry per se. He wanted to find jewelry designed by others and find places that might sell this jewelry. His mom had gotten breast-cancer (she’s a survivor). And he had this brainstorm.

He visited the Dallas Merchandise Mart. He found about a dozen vendors who represented lines Alejandro thought would do well in the various fundraising events the state’s Breast Cancer Society sponsored.

From these vendors, he gathered information about the products, the minimum units which needed to be purchased at a time, the unit cost, and the suggested retail price.

He determined what kind of commission he needed to make this work and wanted to get.

He sat down with the marketing executives at the Breast Cancer Society. He showed them pictures of the various products and the numbers. He negotiated a deal and a plan.

This is what you call a Win-Win-Win. The vendor wins. The client wins. and Alejandro wins.

Getting Started In Business

You need to look yourself in the mirror, and be very, very, very honest with yourself. Getting started in business is a big step. It’s not all fun and games. There’s paperwork, repetition, tradeoffs to be made. Be honest with yourself.

Ask yourself:

o Why do I want to start a business?

o What type of business do I want?

o What kinds of things do I want to sell?

o What kind of time and energy commitments do I want to commit?

o Where will the money come from to get started?

o Where will I work — kitchen table? craft studio? at a store?

o What will I name my business?

o Where will I get my jewelry making supplies?

o Do I want to do this alone, or with a partner(s)?

There are many different kinds of jewelry you can sell. Necklaces. Bracelets. Earrings. Eyeglass leashes. Name badge jewelry. Rings. Anklets. Ear cuffs. Body jewelry. Jewelry for dogs and cats. Jewelry representing social causes. Beaded jewelry. Wire jewelry. Polymer and metal clay jewelry. Fabricated jewelry, such as with silver smithing techniques. Lampwork jewelry. Blown glass jewelry. Micro macrame and hemp jewelry. Jewel-decorated objects like pillows, lampshades, dinner ware.

There are many different approaches and venues for selling jewelry. these include selling to friends, co-workers and family. Selling at home shows. Selling at craft shows or trunk shows. Selling online. Selling in stores and galleries, either retail, consignment or wholesale. Selling in a truck, driving from city to city, parking, and opening your truck doors for people to come into your mini-showroom. Selling in print catalogs. Designing and/or selling for promotions and events, such as a fund-raiser for breast cancer. Doing repairs.

Whatever the approach and venue, you need to step back, and be sure it is on a solid business basis. This means delving into some bureaucracy and administrivia. You can’t get around this.

Yes, you can make money selling jewelry. But you have to be smart about it.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, Entrepreneurship, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WHEN RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE TO SELL YOUR JEWELRY:  6 Things To Be Sure To Do Which Will Improve…

Posted by learntobead on March 11, 2021

The Trunk Show

The women were so excited about the jewelry. Trying it on. Adjusting it to see if they could wear it a different way. Changing up the silhouettes. Pretending they were wearing different outfits to visualize what the pieces would look like. It was a very versatile line of jewelry, and all the women noticed that very quickly. They could wear necklaces as bracelets. Combine bracelets into necklaces. Take one bracelet, add it to a necklace, and create a longer piece. They could purchase different pendant drops, all as add-ons as they wished or none at all. And the drops easily converted into earrings. Imagine that! And the awe and glee and elation and animation — yes, these women were more than happy to have found this jewelry designer and her custom pieces.

I was there that day. In the store. At this one-day trunk show. I saw it all. These women were purchasing almost every last piece. It was the right aesthetic. Contemporary but conservative as well. An individualized look but not outlandish. Easy to wear. Easy to adapt. Easy to visualize what it would look like with different outfits and in different situations.

The jewelry designer was very attentive. She demonstrated the flexibility of each piece in the line. She, at first, asked the women individually a lot about themselves and how they liked to wear jewelry. Then she subtly shifted the conversation a bit so they were talking about themselves and how they would want to wear her jewelry.

At one point, I slowly looked around this upscale clothing, accessories and jewelry store. There were seven store associates standing around. Standing around. A glazed look on their faces. The enthusiasm and energy before them somehow foreign. After the trunk show, when the designer was no longer there, they would be the ones to represent her and her jewelry.

They stood there with blank faces. As if watching a movie they found uninteresting. None of them stepped in. None of them stepped up. Even though the jewelry designer was mobbed with seven or eight women at any one time. They obviously were unable to empathize with the crowd. They had no clue how to sell the pieces because these were pieces of jewelry they didn’t wear themselves. They were somewhat clueless about how to suggest how these store guests could put things together in a stylish, wearable way.

At the end of the day, the jewelry designer was very happy with her sales. But it hit her. Her jewelry would remain at this store for the next several months. But she would not. She would be leaving that day. And she was worried. She thought that over the 10 hours, her purpose was not only to sell to customers, but her purpose was also to model for the sales staff the smart ways for working with these customers and selling her product.

Had the store associates been reliable deputized partners with the jewelry designer that day, all would have made many more customers happy, and made a lot of money and commissions for store, sales staff and designer. Going forward, the designer now had doubts.

Jewelry Designers Often Have To Rely On Others,
 The Designers’ Success Relies On Their Whims

Most jewelry designers do not own their own shops. They rely on other people to sell their stuff. They might put their jewelry in a clothing, accessories or jewelry store on consignment. They might be represented by a gallery or sales representative, with their jewelry spread out in many stores. They might package their jewelry into trunk shows or pick boxes where they send out their jewelry to various stores. These other venues can pick and choose and sell what they want, then return the rest.

The success of sales becomes the whim of who sells it. Their understanding of the designs. Whether they like the pieces or not. Their motivations to keep things clean, neat and displayed well. If they can see themselves or their friends or spouses wearing these. Their sense of style, knowing what things might work well together with what fashions. How well they communicate with their customers. Perhaps even IF they communicate with their customers. If they follow-up with their customers.

Designers Must Take The Lead In Preparing Others To Sell Their Jewelry

The designer must play a leadership role here. The designer as leader must effectively influence, persuade, train and convince whoever will be selling their jewelry how to sell it. As best as possible, the designer must build shared understandings about the product with those who will sell it.

Passive assumptions won’t work here. The designer cannot assume that store owners and their sales staff, because they supposedly want to show a profit, will be good at their jobs. More likely, they are not — particularly when it comes to selling someone else’s stuff. The consequences of poor salesmanship are virtually invisible until many months, even years, later. That’s too late to wait.

To add to the difficulties, the opportunities in terms of time, resources, and follow-up are very limited. The designer may get just one shot to build shared understandings and accomplish several goals. Ideally this should happen in person. Often, it is not. Often it is reduced to shared emails, some printed materials, and some phone calls.

Six Key Shared Understandings

There are six key understandings which the designer must influence others to share. These include,

1. The Key Product Details

2. The Primary Product Benefits

3. The Smart Ways To Use The Products To Build Customer Relationships

4. What Rewards The Sales Staff Should Expect For Themselves, Based On Their Performance

5. At All Times, How To Maintain The Optimum Inventory and Product Mix

6. How To Routinize Timely Feedback

1. The Key Product Details

Think of every line of jewelry as its own culture with a group or tribal identity. Which three to six words or simple phrases encapsulate what that identify is all about? What were the key, primary design choices made which give this line of jewelry its character and resonance? How would anyone know that any piece of jewelry was a part of that group or tribe?

These key words or details might relate to materials and techniques. They might reference fashion, style and taste. They might be things about the designer or about jewelry design in general. There will be lots and lots of details which can be conveyed, but the list of details will need to be severely culled.

People have what is called finite rationality. They can only handle and remember between 4 and 10 pieces of information at a time, with 7 pieces of information usually the upper limit for most people.

Don’t confuse the sales staff. Don’t let them confuse the customers. Limit that descriptive words you use when explaining your jewelry, your design choices, and your design goals. Keep these descriptors simple, un-jargoned, devoid of business babble and clichés.

Keep repeating these 3 to 6 things. Repeat them in ways you want the sales staff to learn them, understand them, and be able to repeat these 3 to 6 things to their customers when you are not around.

2. The Primary Product Benefits

It is not the features of your jewelry that result in sales; it is the benefits people perceive the jewelry will provide for them. People do not focus on what the product is. They focus on what the product means to them.

People buy things to solve problems. These problems might relate to needs and wants. They might relate to achieving status and position. They might resolve emotional desires.

What problems for the potential customer does your jewelry solve? Think carefully about this. Make lists.

Then reflect awhile on how you think your jewelry solves these problems for your customers better than any of your competitors. What are your competitive advantages?

Convey to store owners and sales staff the results of your thinking and synthesis. You do not only want to list for them what customer problems your jewelry solves for them. You do not want your explanation divorced from the actual selling situation. You are not presenting an academic assessment; you want to present a marketing assessment. You want to convey how your jewelry resolves customer problems better than anyone else. This is a little more difficult to do and get the words out, and requires some practice.

And, again, remember that people have finite rationality. Don’t talk about everything. Focus on the couple of primary competitive advantages your line of jewelry has.

As best as possible, make your benefits concrete and specific. Think of which benefits would most readily stick in people’s minds.

3. The Smart Ways To Use The Products To Build Customer Relationships

Any sale is an interaction based on communication. The sale is not the only result. The building of a relationship also results. Too often sales staff performance is rated based on number of sales, and too rarely rated on building relationships. But it is in the building of relationships where we get those repeat sales and bigger sales and broader sales and better word of mouth and more new customers and, you get the idea.

Ideally, if you get the chance, like in the trunk show described above, you can model these relationship building behaviors in front of the sales staff. You can demonstrate how you elicit customer needs, wants and problems to be solved, and how you gain their awareness and trust in how your jewelry will meet these in an advantageous way. If there are other types of products in the store, you can demonstrate how to co-market, such as your jewelry with the store’s clothing.

Absent the in-person approach, you can provide ideas in periodic emails. You might do some simple one-sided-page images and short descriptive content. You might create a fun video that you can share.

You can also work with store staff in developing customer lists detailing the who, how to contact them, the what they bought, the dates, the follow-up sales, customer preferences, any descriptive information about the customer to help future sales.

To help guarantee that sales staff keep these lists and fill them out completely, you can ask to see them periodically to review. You can encourage sales staff to communicate with customers pre-, during, and –post sales. Based on your review, you can suggest specific items in the line that each customer might like to see, and possibly buy. Even though you are not physically present, you can still show how building relationships can generate sales and profits.

4. What Rewards The Sales Staff Should Expect For Themselves, 
 Based On Their Performance

It is helpful if you not only generate commissions and sales for the store, but also some kind of reward for the sales staff each time they sell one of your pieces. Show you recognize their efforts and appreciate them. If sales staff get paid no matter what they do, they may not give your line of jewelry the attention and promotion it deserves.

Besides some reward, perhaps a thank you note, or giving either a monetary extra commission or a piece of your jewelry, you most likely also want to reward the sales staff’ customer follow-ups, without actual sales, such as sending thank you notes or calling them when you send new pieces to the store.

5. At All Times, How To Maintain The Optimum Inventory and Product Mix

Do not assume that the store will maintain the optimum inventory and product mix of your jewelry at all times. There will always be other companies, other designers and other product opportunities competing for any store’s attention. So you will need to step in and capture that attention on a regular basis.

Create an easily update-able plan for the store that details the ideal mix of product — types of jewelry, price points, color, finishes and textures.

Reduce this to a simple product inventory sheet to give the store.

Contact the store periodically to update the inventory, compare to your plan, and make inventory suggestions accordingly.

6. How To Routinize Timely Feedback

You need to get feedback routinely, say at least every 3 to 6 months. You need regular feedback on your jewelry, on the sales process, on other things you can do to help sales staff become better at selling your jewelry.

If your jewelry is not turning at least twice a year, the particular store is probably not right for you. It might be the inattentiveness of the sales staff. It might be a lack of fit with the store’s customer base. But, if you are not getting a minimum of 2 turns a year, this location is not working either for you or the store.

You might formalize requests for quarterly results. You might call the store or any of its sales staff periodically to get information feedback. You might send a questionnaire to customers who have previously purchased your jewelry.

It helps the feedback process along when you provide rewards. This might be in the form of refreshments, such us sending an evaluation form with a box of cookies. This might take the form of adding some free pieces of jewelry to be sold, or one-time discount on purchases.

______________________________

FOOTNOTES

James, Geoffrey. 6 Ways to Persuade Customers to Buy. Inc.com, 2020.

As referenced in:

https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/6-ways-to-convince-customers-to-buy.html

McLeod, Saul. “Short Term Memory,” Simply Psychology, 2009.

As referenced in:
 https://www.simplypsychology.org/short-term-memory.html#:~:text=The%20Magic%20number%207%20(plus,it%20the%20magic%20number%207

Sales Motivation: 18 Tips To Keep Your Salespeople Happy.
 As referenced in:

https://www.pipedrive.com/en/blog/sales-motivation-tips

_____________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

So You Want To Do Craft Shows: Lesson 4: Set Realistic Goals

The Competition: Underestimate Them At Your Peril!

___________________________________

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Major Pitfalls For Designers… And What To Do About Them

Posted by learntobead on September 6, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Warren Feld at work, around 2010

For the novice, all that excitement at the beginning, when thinking about designing things, sometimes collides with a wall of developing self-doubt. It’s not easy to quiet a doubt.

The designer organizes their life around an inspiration. There is some fuzziness here. That inspiration has some elements of ideas, but not necessarily crystal clear ones. That inspiration has some elements of emotions — it makes you feel something — but not necessarily something you can put into words or images or fully explain. You then need to translate this fuzzy inspiration into materials, into techniques, into color, into arrangements, into a coherent whole.

You start to create something, but realize you don’t know how to do it. But you want to do it, and do it now. However, to pick up the needed skills, you realize you can’t learn things all at once. You can’t do everything you want to do all at once. That initial excitement often hits a wall. Things take time to learn. There are a lot of trial and error moments, with a lot of errors. Pieces break. Projects don’t gel. Combining colors and other design elements feels very awkward. Silhouettes or structural layouts are confusing. You might get the right shape for your piece, but it is difficult to get the right movement, drape and flow, without compromising that shape. Or you might get the right placement of objects, but difficult to get everything into the frame, without compromising the placements. Things take time to do.

To add to this stress and strain, you need to show your designs off. You might want someone to like it. To want it. To need it. To buy it. To wear or use it. To wear or use it more than once. To wear or use it often. To exhibit it. To collect it. To publicize it. And how will all these other people recognize your creative spark, and your abilities to translate that spark into a wonderful, beautiful, functional design, appropriate for the wearer or user and appropriate for the situation? Things need to be shared.

Frequently, because of all this, the designer experiences some sense of doubt and self-doubt. Some paralysis. Can’t get started. Can’t finish something. Wondering why they became a designer in the first place.

Doubt holds you back from seizing your opportunities.

It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be.

It adds uncertainty.

It makes you question yourself.

It blocks your excitement, perhaps diminishing it.

While sometimes doubt and self-doubt can be useful in forcing you to think about and question your choices, it mostly holds you back.

Having doubt and self-doubt is common among all artistic types. What becomes important is how to manage, channel and overcome it, so that doubts do not get in the way of your creative process and disciplinary development.

8 MAJOR WAYS DESIGNERS FALL INTO SELF-DOUBT

There are 8 major ways in which designers get caught beginning to fall into that abyss we call self-doubt:

1) What If I’m Not Creative Enough or Original Enough or Cannot Learn or Master or Don’t Know a Particular Technique?

2) What If No One Likes What I Make?

3) What If No One Takes Me Seriously As An Artist And Designer?

4) I Overthink Things and Am A Bit of a Perfectionist.

5) How Can I Stay Inspired?

6) Won’t People Steal My Work?

7) Being Over Confident or Under Confident

8) Role Confusion

1. What If I’m Not Creative Enough or Original Enough or Cannot Learn or Master or Don’t Know a Particular Technique?

Everyone has some creativity baked into their being. It is a matter of developing your way of thinking and doing so that you can apply it. This takes time.

So does originality. Originality is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Originality grows in stages. At first, you’ll try different ways of personalizing projects. There are always things you can do to bring some aspects of originality to your pieces. This might be the choice of colors, or using a special component or object, or rearranging some elements in your composition. Again, as with creativity, the ability to be more and more original will evolve over time. It is helpful to think of originality, not necessarily as coming up with something completely new, but rather as differentiation — how you differentiate yourself from other designers.

For almost everyone, you don’t begin your design career at the height of your levels of creativity and originality. Yes, if you look around you, other people are more creative and original than you or have more skills than you. Don’t let these observations be a barrier to your own development as a designer. You get there through persistence and hard work. You handle your inner critic. You may not be there, yet — the key word here is yet. But you will be.

2. What If No One Likes What I Make?

We all have fears about how our creativity and originality are going to be evaluated and judged. We project our self-doubts to the doubts we think we see and feel from others. What if no one wants to wear my pieces, or buy my works, or use my projects?

We can’t let these outsider reactions dictate our lives and creative selves. A key part of successful design is learning how to introduce what we do publicly. At the least, it is the core nature of the things we create that they are to be worn on the body. Design is a very public thing.

Turn negative comments into positive ideas, motivators, insights, explorations. Allow yourself some give and take, some needs to step back awhile, some needs to tweak. Design is an iterative processes. It in no way is linear. Your outcomes and their success are more evolutionary, than guaranteed.

Distressing about what others may think of your work can be very damaging to your self-esteem. It can amplify your worries. Don’t go there.

Don’t become your worst critic.

3. What If No One Takes Me Seriously As An Artist And Designer?

Design is an occupation in search of a profession. You will find that a lot of people won’t recognize your passion and commitment. They may think anyone can design. They may think of design as a craft or some subset of art, not as something unique and important in and of itself. They may wonder how you can make a living at this.

The bottom line: if you don’t take yourself seriously as a designer, no one else will.

People will take you seriously as they see all the steps you are taking to master your craft and develop yourself as a professional.

4. I Over Think Things And Am A Bit Of A Perfectionist

Some designers let a sense that their work is not as good as imagined get in the way. They never finish anything. They let doubt eat away at them.

Perfectionism is the enemy of the good. It’s great to be meticulous, but emotionally, we get wrecked when anything goes astray, or any little thing is missing, or you don’t have that exact color or part you originally wanted.

Go ahead and plan. Planning is good. It’s insightful. It can be strategic. But also be sure to be adaptable and realistic. Each piece is a stepping stone to something that will come next.

The better designer develops a Designer’s Toolbox — a collection of fix-it strategies to deal with the unfamiliar or the problematic.

Overthinking can be very detrimental. You can’t keep changing your mind, trying out every option, thinking that somewhere, someplace there exists a better option. Make a choice and get on with it. You can tweak things later.

Yes, attention to detail is important. But so is the value of your time. You do not want to waste too much time on trivial details.

Be aware when you begin over-analyzing things. Stop, take a breath, make a decision, and move on.

5. How Can I Stay Inspired?

Designing something takes time, sometimes a long time. That initial inspirational spark might feel like it’s a dying ember.

Don’t let that happen.

Translate that inspiration into images, colors, words, sample designs, and surround your work space with these.

Talk about your inspiration in detail with family and friends.

6. Won’t People Steal My Work and Ideas?

Many designers fear that if they show their work publicly, people will steal their work and ideas. So they stop designing.

Yet design is a very communicative process which requires introducing your work publicly. If you are not doing this, then you are creating simple sculptures or paintings, not designed work.

Yes, other people may copy your work and co-opt your ideas. See this source of doubt as an excuse. It is a self-imposed, but unnecessary, barrier we might impose to prevent us from experiencing that excitement as a designer. Other people will never be able to copy your design prowess — how you translate inspiration into a finished piece. That is unique and special to you, and why the general public responds positively to you and your work.

7. Over Confidence can blind you to the things you need to be doing and learning, and Under Confidence can hinder your development as a designer.

Too often, we allow under confidence to deter us from the design tasks at hand. We always question our lack of ability and technical prowess for accomplishing the necessary tasks at hand. It is important, however, to believe in yourself. To believe that you can work things out when confronted with unfamiliar or problematic situations. It is important to develop your skills for thinking like a designer. Fluency. Flexibility. Originality. There is a vocabulary to learn. Techniques to learn. Strategies to learn. These develop over time with practice and experience. You need to believe in your abilities to develop as a designer over time.

With over confidence comes a naivete. You close off the wisdom to listen to what others have to say or offer. You stunt your development as an designer. You overlook important factors about materials and techniques to the detriment of your final designs and products. You close yourself off to doubt and self-doubt, which is unfortunate. Doubt and self-doubt are tools for asking questions and questioning things. These help you grow and develop as an artist and designer. These influence your ability to make good, professional choices in your career.

8. Role Confusion

Designers play many roles and wear different hats. Each has its own set of opportunities, requirements, and pressures that the designer must cope with. It’s a balancing act extraordinaire.

First, people who design often wear different hats: Artist and Designer, Manufacturer, Architect and Engineer, Distributor, Retailer, Accountant, Exhibitor, Marketer and Promoter.

Second, people who design have different needs: Artistic Excellence, Recognition, Monetary Gain, or Financial Stability.

Third, the designer needs to please and satisfy themselves, as well as other various clients.

Fourth, the designer constructs things which need to function in different settings: Situational, Cultural, Sociological, Psychological.

Last, the designer must negotiate a betwixt and between situation — a rite of passage — as they relinquish control over the piece or project and its underlying inspirations to the user (and the user’s various audiences), who have their own needs, desires and expectations.

This gets confusing. It affects how you pick materials and supplies. Which techniques you use. What marketing strategies you employ. How you value and price things. And the list goes on.

It is important to be aware (metacognitive) of what role(s) you play, what goals you have, what clients desires you need to satisfy, in what contexts your work will function, when, and why. Given these things, it is important to understand the types of choices you need to make, when constructing an object or a project. It is critical to understand the tradeoffs you will invariably end up making, and their consequences for the aesthetic, emotional and functional success of your designs.

Some Advice

While doubt and self-doubt can hinder our development as designers, some degree of these may be helpful, as well.

To develop yourself as a designer, and to continue to grow and expand in your profession, you must have a balanced amount of both doubt and self-doubt. Uncertainty leads to questioning. A search for knowledge. Some acceptance of trial and error and experimentation. A yearning for more reliable information and feedback.

Design uses a great deal of emotion as a Way of Knowing. Emotions cloud or distort how we perceive things. They may lead to more doubt and worry and lack of confidence. But they also enhance our excitement when translating inspirations into designs.

· Don’t let your inner doubts spin out of control. Be aware and suppress them.

· Be real with yourself and your abilities.

· Keep a journal. Detail what your doubts are and the things you are doing to overcome them.

· Create a developmental plan for yourself. Identify the knowledge, skills and understandings you want to develop and grow into.

· Remember what happened in the past the last time doubt got in your way. Remember what you did to overcome this doubt. Remember that probably nothing negative actually happened.

· Talk to people. These can be friends, relatives and colleagues. Don’t keep doubts unto yourself.

· Don’t compare yourself to others. This is a trap. Self-reflect and self-evaluate you on your own terms.

· Worrying about what others think? The truth is that people don’t really care that much about what you do or not do.

· Don’t beat yourself up.

· Get re-inspired. This might mean surrounding yourself with images and photos of things. It might mean a walk in nature. It might me letting someone else’s excitement flow over to you.

· Take breaks.

· See setbacks as temporary.

· Celebrate small steps.

· Keep developing your skills.

· Set goals for yourself.

__________________________________________

Footnotes

(1) Henri Neuendorf, A Young Artist’s Brief Guide to Art World 
 Ambition
,
Art World, November 18, 2016
 As referenced: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/4-motivations-that-make- 
 artists-successful-752957
 
 (2) Drew Kimble, Five Fears That Can Destroy An Artist, Skinny Artist, 
 As referenced: https://skinnyartist.com/5-fears-that-can-destroy-an-artist/

— — — — — — — — — —

Other related articles of interest by Warren Feld:

PART 1:THE FIRST ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER
SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:
Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?

GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS: What You Do First To Make It Official! Design-In Practice Series

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business? Design-In-Practice Series

“Backward-Design” is Forward Thinking: Design-In-Practice Series

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Changing Careers: From Health Care to Jewelry Design

Posted by learntobead on June 19, 2020

For many people, jewelry design is a career choice that comes later in life. You work hard, continually frustrated or disappointed or unsatisfied in your current job. And you reach a point where you want to find something — a job or hobby or avocation — that makes you happy. That gives you a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You want to make a change.

That’s what happened to me.

I had been in the health care field for over 25 years. I never really liked health care as a field, but it paid a lot, it was a big source of status and power for me, and I did very well. I reached a point where I was near the top of my field, and no longer could push myself to take the next step.

Money had been one of my prime motivators. But that was less important to me now. I had traveled a lot, had lots of stuff and collectibles, a $10,000 wardrobe of the finest clothes and shoes. Except for the travel, I didn’t care about much of these things anymore.

Proving myself to myself had been another motivator. And I had proved myself to myself. I had accomplished some Herculean tasks and projects, under difficult conditions, with good and not so good people. And, though I hate to say it, I didn’t care about promoting health care and health care access anymore. I had done my part thoroughly and thoroughly well. It was time for someone else to take over these reigns.

I was at the top of my field, and social relationships equated with work relationships. I didn’t have friends outside of work. Many “friendships” were shallow in that they involved the machiavellian maneuverings you have to do when involved with work. My staff were not particularly honest and forthright with me, unnecessarily fearing for their jobs, if they were. And while I was surrounded by people every day, and I talked with people every day, and I played and worked with people every day, I felt very alone and lonely. My social connections were shallow or political or discolored by events. A few years earlier it was fun and challenging to manipulate these relationships. But now I yearned for something more real, more personal.

My life was going to continue to wither on the vine if I didn’t do something more drastic. I had to stop my world, and step off.

I had grown up in retail. My parents owned a pharmacy. They put me to work when I was 11 years old. I did so well, that they never put my younger brother or sister to work. [Still a psychological issue for me, though this is for another story…..]

When I graduated college, I looked for a non-retail pathway, because the money potential wasn’t there, and the social status potential wasn’t there, the hours were terrible, and the stresses that come with the monthly ups and downs in business were unpleasant.

Yet “retail” was in my blood. I always envisioned having a little retail store on the side. And when I was ready to make my change in careers, it was retail to which I jumped.

It wasn’t one big jump. Rather it was a managed transition over a period of two years. I made deliberate decisions. I pretested each of my ideas. I assembled the funds I needed to get started. And I started small.

The retail grew, had set-backs, grew again.

After a few years, I evolved from a passion for selling jewelry to one for making it. A lot of things were trial and error, but gradually I began to define a philosophy of design and build upon some great ideas.

I’m very happy to make a living in the creative arts. And to have some of my income and success flow from my designs for jewelry.

I have to admit that my family and friends were horrified at my decision. The saw it as a come-down. Loss of prestige. A failure.

But that is not what it felt like to me. I was happy, motivated, and reconnected to the world.

It’s less money. Less status. Less opportunity to travel. But every day, I wake up and go to work at something I love.

Some final words of wisdom:

1) Be purpose driven.

2) Surround yourself with other creative people who can be supportive of you as a person and as a designer

3) Be a continual learner. Styles, techniques, technologies and materials constantly change. As do fashions and tastes. And there are always new jewelry designers to admire and gain insights from.

4) Always set aside some time each day for reflection and self-care

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MY AUNT GERT: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Posted by learntobead on April 28, 2020

My Aunt Gert

My Aunt Gert had, what some people call “Chutzpah” and others “Cajones”. She could always make a business situation work to her advantage. She had no self-doubt, some would say no self-restraint. One time, she came up from Florida to visit us in New Jersey, where I grew up. An A&P grocery store was going out of business. Aunt Gert prepared herself for the kill.

At the beginning of the week, the A&P had a big banner on the outside of the store — “25% OFF EVERYTHING”. My Aunt Gert moved rapidly towards the entrance, grabbing two, not one, but two shopping carts, and rushed to the meat section first. When the carts were both full — a matter of minutes, it seemed — she approached one of the managers, and asked him, since she was getting so much, could he do better on the price.

With little hesitation, the manager agreed. He told her to grab him when she was ready to checkout, and he’d give her another 50% off at the register. My Aunt Gert filled two more shopping carts that day, and at the register, they first took 25% off, then another 50%.

Exciting, great, good deal, almost war-winning. Yes?

No, Aunt Gert wasn’t quite finished. She went back the next day, got her 25% then 50% off. And the next day — 25% then 50% off.

On the fourth day, the A&P now displayed a banner that read “50% OFF EVERYTHING”. This only egged my Aunt Gert to get more eggs and cheese and canned meats and vegetables. Another 2 shopping carts worth. And at the register, they first gave her 50% off, and as she pointed the cashier to look in the manager’s direction, she reminded her that she was to be given another 50% off. And another 50% off it was.

And Aunt Gert went back on the 5th day, and got 50% then 50%, and on the 6th day, and got 50%, then 50% off, and to her glee and the store manager’s dread, she came back once more on the 7th day. But now the banner read “75% OFF EVERYTHING”. And, I’m not sure how she found enough to fill another 4 shopping carts worth of food, but when she got to the cash register, they very reluctantly gave her the 75% off, then her extra special, the-manager-was-very-nice-to-be-giving-her her additional 50% off.

Well, my Aunt Gert lived in Florida, so virtually everything she bought was for us. But she was determined to bring back her 276 cans of tuna fish, that she had paid $0.04 per can, with her back on the plane. She stuffed these into two large leather suitcases.

When we got to the airport, an airport attendant offered to get her two cases out of the trunk. Was he ever surprised? I wish I had a camera to capture his face. And at the ticket counter — the ticket counter lady tried to lift the bags onto the conveyor belt. She’s probably still going to the Chiropractor.

This story doesn’t have anything to do with jewelry, which is my thing, I know, but I love my Aunt Gert, and always love to tell her stories. But, in her week-long grocery shopping business, she does illustrate a point and some lessons about business which can serve you well. Negotiating, price consciousness, and persistence are keys to success. Very often “creative” types are uncomfortable with these more business oriented skills. But these are important to your success.

Whenever I feel uncomfortable in a business situation, I role play. I suppress who I am, and try to become someone else. Very often, I pretend to be my Aunt Gert.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

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