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SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS… LESSON 5: Get Those Applications In Early

Posted by learntobead on December 2, 2020

LESSON 5: GET THOSE APPLICATIONS IN EARLY

John Jacob thought he could set up anywhere and anytime. So he missed the April 30th deadline for the Red Hills Fair. And he sent in an incomplete application without the required pictures to Napa Sweets Festival. And he didn’t take seriously the fact that Naples Symphony Days was a juried competition. And he couldn’t understand how adding one more jewelry vendor to the Rocky Mountain Showroom would make much of a difference.

He had calculated that he needed to do 4 shows a year to make a living. But for several years now, although he had applied to at least 12 shows each year, he rarely was approved for more than 2.

Sample Application Form

THE APPLICATION

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Prepare a Generic Application

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

Some organizations have a formal, printed application form to fill out. More and more, however, organizations are using online application services.

I suggest creating a generic application form, from which you can cut and paste into these printed or online application forms.

They may ask you for these types of information:

1. Company information, address, phone, email, contact phone, onsite-contact phone, website, license plate #, re-sale or tax number and state which issued it

2. Type of merchandise to be sold

3. Hand-made?

4. High and low price range of merchandise

5. Describe your craft (techniques, materials, designs)

6. Artist Statement (about 150–250 words)

7. Booth size requirements (will you need more than one 10’x10’ booth space?)

8. Requirements for additional services, such as electricity, table and chair rental, tent

9. 5 photos of your crafts (be sure your photos are sharp and attractive, as if they were publishing in a book. No dark photos. .jpg or .tif)

With photos, you might need slides, or you might need .jpg images that are 72–96 dpi, or you might need hi-resolution .jpg images which are 300 or 600 dpi. Use 16-bit color. Be prepared with each of these.

10. 3 photos of your booth set-up (They want visually appealing, customer enticing, user friendly booth set-ups, again, no dark photos.)

11. List of special preferences, such as “corner booth, if available”.

12. Credit card number, expiration date, security code number, billing address (They will probably want this number to keep on file.

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

At this point, you have selected shows which you feel are a good fit with your business.

Now, determine if you are eligible for them. Do they put any limitations on who can and cannot apply? Do they require that your creative work be juried?

Most craft shows make simple acceptance decisions based on
 — submitting an application form, and
 — paying the fee

Some may restrict the number of jewelry vendors they accept, because they want a balance of types of merchandise, and often, too many jewelry vendors apply.

Other shows want to maintain some level of merchandise quality standards. They subject the applicant to a more intensive jury-review process.

The jury process is probably what you would expect. Usually a few people review all the application and score them against a set of criteria. They choose the ones which score the highest.

Some typical criteria they use:
 — products considered best for the show
 — aesthetics and visual appeal
 — functionality
 — creativity
 — originality
 — technique
 — marketability
 — quality of work
 — booth design

They want to end up with vendors whose wares will sell, where there won’t be much duplication, and whose presence and set-up is exciting for the people who attend the show.

Your short write-up and submitted photographs need to make your case.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A JUROR SAYS “NO!”?

Most rejections are based on the limited number of openings, particularly for jewelry vendors.

Another major reason for rejections is the poor quality of photos submitted. Look at your photos. Share them with some friends. Judge them according to the previously discussed judging criteria. How well do they make your case? Are they clear, focused, bright?

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

You have created your list of possible shows, based on your sense of fit, the goals you have set for yourself, and your budget, given the costs involved. You have determined whether you are eligible for them.

Decide about how many shows you want to do a year. Select 5–10 more shows in addition to the number you ant to do.

Another rule of thumb is to select 3 events to apply to for each weekend you want to work. If you want to work 4 weekends, then apply to 12 events.

Get their application forms, and review the rules and application deadlines.

READ ALL THE RULES !!!

Determine how long their review processes are, and figure out when you should know whether you have been accepted.

Call or email each one, and verify that all the information you have — dates, fees, application requirements, deadlines — are true. Things change. Things get printed wrong.

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Organization is critical here.

Get a good 3-year calendar. Map out every date. Every Application deadline. Every application acceptance notification. Every deadline for notifying them, confirming your acceptance, and submitting any up-front fees. Every show date, including set-up and break-down dates and times.

Remember, for many craft shows, you will be applying 6–12 months ahead of time.

It takes a lot of coordinated effort to keep everything on track. You might set up a spread-sheet or data-base. I use a calendar app that links with my email program. I set up automatic reminders, so they pop up when I need to take action.

After you send in your fees, follow-up in 2 weeks to be sure they received your application and payment.

5. BEFORE SAYING YES!…

Re-review your
 — fit with the show
 — break-even analysis
 — calendar schedule
 — the money needed up front

And, …
 — whether there are any cancellation penalties or rules
 — what kinds of local and state licenses, certificates and permits you will need
 — if the show promoters assist you in obtaining temporary ones for the duration of the show

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).

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. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.
Check out these two other tutorials:

Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry. Learn an easy-to-use pricing formula and some marketing tips.

So You Want To Do Craft Shows… 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows. Understand everything involved and make the smart choices.

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

Add your name to my email list.

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

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS…

Posted by learntobead on November 1, 2020

LESSON 4: Set Realistic Goals

At the Tennessee Craft Organization Fair, Nashville, TN. Image by FELD, 2005.

From my online video tutorial:
SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS…
 16 CRUCIAL LESSONS I LEARNED
 
BY DOING CRAFT SHOWS

Instructor: Warren Feld

LESSON 4: SET REALISTIC GOALS

Roland and Rolanda

Making money at fairs and shows isn’t as easy as it seems. As Roland and Rolanda quickly found out. They thought all it took was to rent a table at any show or fair, lay out their jewelry, wait for customers to come by, and purchase their stuff.

All through the shows, they sat on chairs reading books, waiting for people to come by. They spent more money on inventory, packing, displays and travel than they ever made.

And they never developed any kind of plan of action.

Roland and Rolanda needed to set realistic goals:

– (1) how much money did they have to get started and sustain themselves?

– (2) what was their break-even point?

– (3) what did they need to prepare themselves to “sell”?

  • (4) what amount of repeat business and follow-up sales were they looking for?
Typical Budget Items

BUDGET

How much money will you need?

Make a list of all possible costs. There are the obvious like transportation, lodging and meals, and the costs of displays, packing and marketing, and the costs of the parts used to make the pieces which sell.

Entry fees will vary widely from show to show. They cold cost $25/day up to $400 and up per day. They could go as high as $5000 per day.

If you have a specific craft show in mind, review their rules, and what they entry fees cover, and do not cover.

What are the costs of extras, like electricity, tables, special lighting? Do they also collect a percent of sales? Do they offer special services, like booth sitting, for extra fees? Is parking free, or do they charge? Do you need to provide additional insurance? Will you need to purchase special licenses, registration and permits, such as an out-of-state wholesale license?

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF COSTS TO ACCOUNT FOR:
 Fixed Costs and Variable Costs

There are two types of costs: Fixed and Variable

You need to prepare a budget to be sure you can pay for what you are committing yourself to.

You will need display supplies, packing supplies, marketing and promotion supplies, and probably some food and drink for yourself. You will be traveling. You may have to stay overnight somewhere. You will probably have some credit card finance charges and cell-phone charges associated with sales you make. You may need to pay someone to help you staff your booth. You probably will be paying various fees — entry, electricity, table rental. And you will need enough money to buy enough supplies to make up your inventory.

Your breakeven point is when your revenues = your costs.

How much money do you want to make?

At the very least, you want to come home from the show and breakeven. That is, you want to cover all your costs.

So, in your budget, you have begun to list all your costs.

Now, how much inventory will you need to make, and sell, in order to breakeven?

Inventory: Bring 4x what you need to sell

At this point, we are going to talk about inventory in terms of retail prices, not in terms of numbers of items, and not in terms of wholesale costs.

Our total inventory would equal the total of all retail prices (=the prices you are selling each piece at), if every piece sold.

A good rule of thumb for figuring out how much inventory to bring is this:

You will need to bring with you, at a minimum, 4 times the inventory (=total retail dollars) you hope to sell.

YOU WILL NEED TO BRING WITH YOU, AT A MINIMUM, 4 TIMES THE INVENTORY YOU HOPE TO SELL.

For example, if you need to sell $200.00 of merchandise to breakeven, you will need to bring $800.00 of merchandise with you. Again, $800.00 is the total of all the retail prices of what you bring.

If you want to take in another $100.00 of sales on top of your breakeven, then you will need to sell $300.00 (=$200 + $100) of merchandise, and then you will need to bring a total of $1200.00 (=$800+$400) of inventory. This is $400.00 more inventory that you would need to bring to make one hundred more dollars over your breakeven point. Again, $1200.00 is the total of all the retail prices.

BREAKEVEN ANALYSIS

I want to introduce you to a quick and dirty breakeven analysis. I call this “Quick and Dirty” because we are using imperfect information. However, this imperfect information is good enough to help us make a decision whether a particular craft show is worth the risk.

Your breakeven point is where you have sold enough inventory to cover your costs. That is, the total retail dollars you have taken in equals the sum of your fixed plus your variable costs.

We use our quick and dirty breakeven analysis to answer the question: How much inventory do I need to sell in order to breakeven?

Let’s familiarize ourselves more with the components of the formula, and then review the math.

Examples of Fixed Costs

FIXED COSTS

Fixed costs are costs that remain the same, regardless of how many items you sell at your craft fair.

Fixed costs include things like fees, travel, food, and staffing. Again, you have to lay out this money for fixed costs whether you made no money at all, or made a bucket full of money at your craft fair.

Examples of Variable Costs

VARIABLE COSTS

Variable costs are costs that get incurred when each unit is sold.

Thus, variable costs fluctuate based on the number of units sold. If you seel very few pieces, your variable costs are small. If you sell a lot of pieces, your variable costs will be much higher.

Variable costs include special packaging and displays, brochures and business cards handed out with each sale, credit card fees you are charged by the banks after each sale, and the cost of the parts used to make each piece that has sold.

We estimate variable costs using some industry standards about the percent of total retail price these costs are associated with.

Tamaya Soul Necklace by FELD

­

NOTES:

When we calculate the cost of inventory, we differentiate between the cost of those pieces which we actually have sold from the cost of those pieces we did not sell.

For purposes of developing a budget and calculating a breakeven analysis, to help us decide whether a particular craft show is worth the risk, we focus only on the estimates based on what we sell.

From an overall business standpoint, because you will want to bring 4x the inventory of what you predict will be sold, and these additional out of pocket expenses associated with the pieces which would not be sold have not been included in our breakeven analysis, you will need to be realistic, whether you can afford the show, or not.

Examples of Investment Costs

INVESTMENT COSTS

There are some additional costs you will incur which are also not included in our breakeven analysis. I’m going to call these “investment costs.” Investment costs are things you pay for which have to last a very long time, and which you will use at many, many craft shows.

These include “long term assets”, such as buying tables na dchairs, a tent, and display cases.

These also include “long term liabilities”, such as paying down loans and credit card charges over a longer period of time.

We do not include these investment costs in our breakeven analyses.

FIXED AND VARIABLE COSTS LAID OUT WITHIN A BUDGET TABLE

FIXED AND VARIABLE COSTS LAID OUT WITHIN A BUDGET TABLE

Say you will be doing a 2-day craft show out of town, 200 miles away from home. And you will need to hire 1 person to help you. Let’s look at our budget for doing this particular craft show.

You have budgeted for your fixed and variable costs as shown in the table above. I have plugged in some typical numbers into this budget table.

Our fixed costs are relatively easy to figure out.

Our variable costs, however, will have to be estimated. These variable costs are keyed off the retail prices you set for your jewelry. We will use some industry percent of price standards, as well as our breakeven analysis formula, to help us figure out the “TO BE CALCULATED” variable costs in our budget table.

Calculate Estimated Variable Costs Using Rates (aka, multipliers)

For example,

I have used 12% as the proportion of the total retail price that would be spent on marketing costs. These costs would include brochures, business cards, a post card mailing, some promotional ads, some effort to contact previous customers to let them know you will be at this craft show. The industry standard for marketing ranges between 5 and 15 per cent.

If you are getting started, you can use my numbers presented in this table. After you have done a few craft shows, you can begin to analyze your own sales and cost data, to develop what are called multipliers for each variable line-item category.

Again, our quick and dirty analysis is keyed off our retail prices.

I am assuming that you already know how to set fair and reasonable prices for your merchandise. If not, I would suggest reviewing my PRICING AND SELLING video tutorial.

BREAKEVEN ANALYSIS

LET’S TRY SOME MATH:

THIS IS HOW WE SOLVE THIS FORMULA:

Let’s review this breakeven formula application again, in English.

For those of you who haven’t had algebra, or are somewhat math-phobic, I want to go over the mathematical analysis in more English terms. It is important to understand the concepts, and to understand how to do the math.

First, we have the breakeven formula itself. Basically, it says:

100% of Breakeven revenue
 Equals
 The Total of all our costs.

Some of these costs are fixed, meaning we have to pay for them, whether we make any money or not.

Some of these costs are variable, meaning we only incur these costs when we sell something. The amount of variable costs “Varies” based on how much we sell.

We are trying to figure out how much we need to sell in order to breakeven. We can easily figure out our fixed costs. We estimate our variable costs as a percent of revenues.

In this particular example, 
 Our fixed costs were $535.00. So, Y = $535.00
 We estimated our variable costs as 65% of revenues. So our variable costs = .65 times X.

This is all the information we need to do the algebra in the formula and figure out our breakeven revenue=costs point, which we have called “X”.

We begin to re-state the formula as:
 100% of revenue equals $535.00 + 65% of revenue.

So, we continue to play with the formula so that we get:
 Total Breakeven Revenues on one side of the equals sign, and everything else on the other side.
 
We have to do this is a few steps.

We re-write the formula again:
 100% of revenue minus 65% of revenues equals $535.00.
 

 And we simplify this a little by writing the formula as:
 100% minus 65% times revenues = $535.00

And simplifying the formula even more, we subtract 65% from 100% and get 35%, and the formula reads:
 35% times revenues = $535.00

Since we want to end up with 100% of revenues on one side of the equation, and the dollar amount that this 100% equals on the other side, we have to do one more math step.
 To change .35X to 1X, we have to divide it by .35.

Mathematically, if we do something to one side of the equation, we have to do it to the other side, as well.
 That’s how we get:
 100% of revenues = $535.00 divided by 35%.

And the answer is that our breakeven revenue, where our sales equals our costs, is 
 $1528.57

So, to breakeven, we would need to sell a retail total of 41528.57 of merchansie at our 2-day show. To sell that much inventory, we would need to bring about 4x that much, or $6,000.00 of inventory with us.

While we do not include the costs of this additional inventory, and which we assumed would not sell, we still need to anticipate in our realistic goal setting process, the financial impact of all this.

Let’s update our budget table for this 2-day craft show example:

ONE MORE EXAMPLE

Now, let’s review our breakeven analysis with another example.

Say you are doing a 1-day craft show, close to home, low fees, you bring your own tables, and you don’t need electricity, and don’t need extra staffing. Also, you don’t plan on doing a lot of marketing.

First, you begin to set up a Budget.

Here we have fixed costs equal to $70.00.

Our variable costs we estimate to be 54% of our total revenues.

Next, we calculate our breakeven point, using our quick and dirty formula.

Breakeven Analysis Formula

We see our breakeven point is $152.17. And using our rule of thumb about how much inventory to bring, we need to bring 4 x $152.17, or about $600.00 of inventory.

The Next Question To Ask Ourselves: How Much Profit Do You Want To Make?

How much more money do you want to make above and beyond your breakeven point?

You don’t just want to breakeven. You want to make a profit. At our breakeven point, we have covered both our fixed costs and our variable costs. Our fixed costs are now all paid for.

As we bring in more addition revenues, we will have more variable costs to cover, and only based on how much more we sell.

Example 1 above: In our first example, our breakeven point was $1528.57.

In this example, 65 cents of each dollar in price that was earned was spent on variable costs, and 35 cents on each dollar earned was spent on fixed costs.

As we go beyond our breakeven point, and become profitable, again in this example, we would be spending only 65 cents out of each additional revenue dollar for variable costs.

We would have no more fixed costs.

If we had sold one more dollar, we would have had 35 cents remaining. We could have used that remaining 35 cents out of each dollar of additional revenue to pay for some of our investment costs, as well as pay ourselves something.

Profit Goal

How much of a profit goal you want to set is your personal choice. However, I like to tell students that breaking even at the show itself is OK, if you also have strategies in place to generate follow-up sales, either through repeat sales between shows, or repeat sales at the next show.

WHAT DID THEY NEED TO PREPARE THEMSELVES TO “SELL”?

Selecting and doing craft shows requires research and planning. And it requires an ability to keep up a good “Retail Personality” while standing on your feet for ong hours, sometimes when it’s too hot or too cold or too windy and dusty.

Selling Jewelry requires a different mind-set than Creating Jewelry. If you don’t have the personality for Selling, bring a friend with you who does.

WHAT AMOUNT OF REPEAT BUSINESS AND FOLLOW-UP SALES SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

A good goal to set is to generate repeat business equal to 25%. So, if you have 10 sales at the show, your goal would be to get 3 repeat sales. These could occur when the customer contacts you between shows. These could also occur at the next show you do, when the customer buys from you again.

You will make a might higher profit and experience better long-term outcomes, through repeat business. With repeat business, you can considerably lower your variable costs, particularly those associated with marketing. Because of this, that 2nd or follow-up sale is often more important than that 1st sale at the show.

Lesson 4 was to set Realistic Goals.

It is OK to start small. To start locally. To gradually take on bigger and bigger shows, while you are establishing your reputation and building a following.

You obviously want to keep your expenses to a minimum, and there can be some steep up-front costs, such as creating a sufficient inventory.

Starting small gives you a chance to test out your ideas about costs, whether you like doing craft shows, whether there is a good fit between your merchandise and the shows, and whether there is a good fit between your personality and doing craft shows.

When you start, you might be able to share booth space with another friend who has a business, and share some of those other fixed costs, like travel and fees.

Do your homework when selecting craft shows which fit well with your goals and your budget. Figure out your breakeven point, and how much inventory you need to bring to make a profit.

As Roland and Rolanda should have done.

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).

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. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.
Check out these two other tutorials:

Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry. Learn an easy-to-use pricing formula and some marketing tips.

So You Want To Do Craft Shows… 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows. Understand everything involved and make the smart choices.

Add your name to my email list.

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

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

Posted by learntobead on July 16, 2020

But First, If You Have Not Already Done So,
 Make These Particular Choices Right Now

Pick a date. It might be easiest, from an accounting standpoint, to pick January 1st. But you can pick any date. This is the date your business has been founded, and your business obligations (discussed below) begin.

Define your fiscal year. It would be easiest to make your fiscal year January 1 through December 31. But any 12-month bounded period which works best for you would be acceptable.

Set your goals for success. Everyone’s goals will be different. You might want to sell a few things occasionally. You might want some steady extra income. You might want to be financially self-sufficient.

Determine what business organizational type you want now, and how you might want to evolve into the future. These range from hobbyist to sole proprietor to partnership to various types of corporate arrangements.

The purpose of this article is to provide the how-to knowledge you will need to know to get started in your design business, whether making jewelry or other crafts, or working on projects involving design. While the specific names of some licenses and registrations will vary by locality, there will be comparable things where you live.

NOTE: The information in this section is a guide. It is not a substitute for sitting down with an accountant, lawyer or business consultant.

Specifically, I want to demystify and review with you these things:

1) Getting federal, state, local licenses and registrations

2) How to protect your intellectual property
 
 
3) What form of business? Sole proprietor, partner, corporation, limited liability corporation.

1) Registrations and Licenses

You register and get licenses for your business for several reasons. First, you will be setting up accounts with various government agencies. This allows you to collect money for them, and then transmit that money to them on a regular basis. This might be sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, income taxes, business census information, and on and on.

The account numbers associated with each registration or license, in turn, allow you to present yourself as a business. They make you look more official and give you more legitimacy. They open doors for you to get deep wholesale and manufacturer discounts.

But, after you register or receive a license, each is associated with some application fees, some have annual renewal fees, some have income or property tax levies, most require periodic paperwork and more involved accounting and bookkeeping.

So, to get the benefits of lower business costs to you, you will incur some additional monetary and time costs. You will have to decide at what point in time becoming an official business is right for you.

Let’s look at some of these things I have had to get doing business in Tennessee. Most of the application forms can be found totally or partially online.

STATE

a. Registration to Collect Sales Taxes (called a “tax number”, “wholesale number”, or “resale number”)

This registration sets up an account so that you can collect sales taxes on each of your in-state taxable sales, and then transmit these sales taxes to the state. You only have to register once. There is a small registration fee, but this is a one-time fee only.

The application will ask if you will be doing more than $4500. (or some similar amount) of sales within the current year. If not, you do not need to register. However, even if you don’t think you will, this does not prohibit you from saying Yes. Saying Yes means you will start to incur costs (fees, taxes, paperwork), and have to be more organized as a business. But it also means you will be able to purchase inventory at wholesale prices.

After a few years, the state will review your activity. If less than $4500/year (or that similar amount required by your state), they will de-activate your number. You can simply and easily ask them to re-activate it.

Handled in Tennessee by the state Department of Revenue.

b. Business registration number (you might end up with separate business registration numbers for the city, county and state you do business in, or there might be a single number used by all three).

This number allows you to pay business income taxes (to your city, county and state), usually once a year. In Tennessee, this is collected each April 15th. Tennessee also collects a registration renewal fee each year.

In Tennessee, handled by the state Department of Revenue.

c. State Employment Account Number. (It might be called a State Unemployment Account Number in other locales).

If you have employees, and thus collect payroll taxes, you need this number to submit these taxes to the state. Typically, you pay these quarterly. You only have to register once for this.

In Tennessee, handled by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

LOCAL CITY AND COUNTY

a. Business License from the county you live in (from County Clerk)

You use this number to submit business county income and property taxes. 
 You renew this annually.

b. Business License from the city you live in (from City Clerk)

You use this number to submit business city income and property taxes. 
 You renew this annually.

NOTE: If you register for a State Re-Sale Number, the State will eventually inform your local county and city. Your county and city will check if you have registered your business with them. If not, they will find you. This works in reverse, as well. If you register with the city and county, they will inform the State, and the State will eventually find you.

c. Business Property Taxes (sometimes called Use Taxes; in Tennessee, called Schedule B)

Each year you send the state and/or county and/or city a list of your 
 business property assets. About 6–8 months later, you get an invoice due 
 notice from the state/county/city indicating how much business property 
 taxes you owe.

Your business property is: displays, tools, register, telephone, computer, 
 fax, credit card machine, copier, furniture and the like; things that will be 
 around longer than 1 year. Some states might consider major (meaning 
 costly) software, such as accounting software, business property. Other 
 states do not.

You do not have to list everything, but you have to list somethings. Many people who first get started think that if everything — tables, calculators, computers, phone, etc. — are old and used, or given to them by someone else, that their value is $0.00. It is not. Here you would estimate the value or depreciated value at the time you consider the first day of your business. You can check auction sites online, like Ebay, to gauge current values.

If you are leasing any equipment, you would list this separately.

Your business property is NOT: inventory, consumable supplies (such as paper, ink, staples, and the like), the parts you use to make your jewelry. It is not something assumed to be used up within a year.

In Tennessee, the state uses a different depreciation schedule than the 
 Federal Government. Your property, from the State’s standpoint, never 
 gets fully depreciated as on your Federal taxes. You cannot expense your 
 property for state purposes, although you can for Federal purposes. This 
 means you have to keep separate Assets Lists for the state and for the 
 Federal government.

d. State Unemployment Insurance Form — if you have employees, you will be submitting state payroll taxes (SUTA) collected on their behalf to the state, usually quarterly.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Federal Income Tax Forms (available from the US Internal Revenue Service online)

Each year, you summarize your revenues and costs on an income tax form (really a series of forms, beginning with a Form 1040). Depending on what form of business (discussed below) you are organized as, you will have different forms to fill out. Learn how to do most of this by yourself without having to pay an accountant or tax attorney. This will save you a lot of money. Use these professionals for the more difficult, confusing parts of the tax code requirements. Besides the Form 1040 Income Tax Return, you will be completing one or more of the forms below.

Most of these are handled by the US Internal Revenue Service. All the forms are available online. Some can be submitted electronically; others, you submit by mail.

a. 1040-ES You will need to submit estimated income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at least quarterly. You do this online, and easily done by yourself. When you do your annual taxes, you will reconcile these payments on your form 1040.

You will be paying these online through the IRS website.

b. Schedule C — You use this form if you are a sole proprietorship to report your revenues and expenses, as well as the total value of your inventory on the last day of the year. This is a form you should be able to fill out yourself.

The only tricky part is that in the expenses section, when it asks for the Costs of Inventory, it is asking only for the costs of the inventory that you have sold during the year. This is NOT all your inventory costs. The inventory bought but not sold during the year is treated as if it were cash. [In your inventory management procedures, you need to be able to accurately track the costs of your inventory that has sold within the current year, so you can deduct these costs from your revenue, thus reduce your tax burden if you are showing a profit.]

c. Schedule SE — self employment taxes. You have to pay both the employer and the employee payroll taxes (so double-paying on yourself as the sole proprietor), if you show a profit on your Schedule C. This can end up being a big number. This is a form you can complete by yourself.

d. Schedule K — If your form of business is a partnership, you will be completing a Schedule K to document your revenues, expenses and profit distributions. This can be a very confusing form, so it is a good idea to have an accountant complete this. On this form, it will indicate where various calculated subtotals or totals should go on the 1040 form, which is something you can do yourself.

e. Form 1120 — If your form of business is an S-corporation, you will be completing a Form 1120 to document your revenues, expenses, profit distributions and tax obligations. It is a good idea to have an accountant complete this.

f. Depreciation Form — This can be a confusing form The depreciation rules can change frequently. It is a good idea to have an accountant complete this form, at least the first time you have to fill it out. Then, perhaps, teach you how to fill this out in the future.

g. 941 Form — If you have employees, you will be submitting payroll taxes collected on their behalf to the Federal Government, usually monthly or quarterly, and reconciling all your payroll tax deposits quarterly.

You will be submitting these taxes online, and will need to set up an account through the IRS to do so.

h. 940 Form — If you have employees, you will be submitting federal unemployment taxes (FUTA), at least annually, but quarterly if these exceed $100.00 in a quarter.

You will be submitting these taxes online, and will need to set up an account through the IRS to do so.

i. Federal EIN (or, FEIN) Number. You can apply for this online through the Internal Revenue Service. This Employer Identification number is a tax identification number (sometimes referred to as your TIN number) similar to a Social Security Number (also a TIN), but attached to a business rather than an individual. You need this number if you have employees and are collecting payroll taxes on their behalf and have to submit these taxes to the federal government.

However, if you do not have employees, this number is still useful to have On various forms and applications you will be filling out for your business, you will be asked to put down either your FEIN number or your Social Security Number. The FEIN makes you look more of an official business. There are no fees or costs involved by having this number. However, the first year after you applied, you will have to complete a Form 940. On this form, you can indicate that you have no employees and will not need to complete this form again.

They will not deactivate your FEIN number, even after indicating you have no employees.

OTHER

a) At some point, you may want to purchase business insurance. If you are working out of your home, this may be problematic. The zoning laws in most places forbid businesses in areas zoned residential. Most business insurance packages will not cover a business if they are violating any law, in this case, zoning. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover things related to your business.

b) If you have 5 or more employees (that’s the number of people, not the number of full time equivalents), you will need to purchase Workers Compensation Insurance. You do this through a private insurance company.

c) You will need a set up where you can process credit cards.

d) You will need a bank account. You can either set up a business account or use your personal account.

You will need checks preprinted with your business name on them. If you are using a personal account, get business-size checks printed up. If your business type is a sole proprietorship, whether the account is personal or business, your business name is your personal name. So you would have them print something like this, where DBA stands for Doing Business As:

Warren Feld
 DBA Warren Feld Jewelry

e) You will need an organized way (either in-house, or with an accountant or bookkeeper) to track your costs and revenues, and liabilities and assets.

f) You will need an organized way to store all your receipts during the year, and then all your receipts from prior years. You need to store all your receipts and ledgers for 10 years.

2) Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Trademarks and Service Marks

You will want to protect your business name, your slogan, your logo. A legal trademark or service mark expands the protections available to you. A trademark or service mark protects anything you use to identify your brand and differentiate it from other companies. These prevent other businesses from using any of these things, as long as you are actively using them yourself. If you stop actively using these, you lose your trademark or service mark rights to them.

Each State you do business in, as well as the US as a whole, offer opportunities to protect your trade or service mark. You can prevent someone else from using your business name, or product name, or logo, by registering this name or logo with the state(s), or US. You would put a TM next to the name you’ve trademarked, such as Be Dazzled BeadsTM

A US Trademark would protect you anywhere in the United States. The rules can be a little confusing. It is important to know ahead of time that you cannot trademark an adjective. For a US Trademark, I would suggest working with a trademark attorney. The trademark plus lawyer fees will be costly.

State trademarks protect you in the state you have the trademark in. This should include the state you do business in. It can include other states, as well. In Tennessee, this process is especially inexpensive and easy to do. You would not need to consult a lawyer here. For most designers, a state trademark coupled with some smart marketing and branding would be more than sufficient.

In Tennessee, trademarks and service marks are handled by the Tennessee Secretary of State. For the United States, these are handled by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Copyrights

Copyright is another form of legal protection. You can copyright advertising copy, brochures, other marketing materials, instructions, jewelry designs, project designs, articles and other written materials critical to your business.

Copyrights can be done two ways. 
 1) Through the US Library of Congress
 2) Using a Post Office strategy

When you have written copy you want to copyright, first, somewhere on the document, you want to either use the copyright symbol © or write out the word COPYRIGHT. List your name and the year.

Examples: ©Warren Feld, 2020 or COPYRIGHT, Warren Feld, 2020

At this point, your document is considered copyrighted. The issue for you is if someone violated that copyright and you went to court to contest this, this would not be sufficient evidence for the courts.

Library of Congress: You can get an official certificate of copyright by submitting an application to the US Library of Congress. Your copyright starts the date the application is submitted. There is a minimal fee. It usually takes about one year before you actually receive the certificate. Courts usually require this certificate as evidence.

US Post Office: You can put your material in a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail this Registered/Certified to yourself. On the outside of the envelope, write what is inside. When you receive it, however, DO NOT OPEN IT. The post mark date will be evidence of copyright. This will usually hold up in court.

NOTE: It is difficult to copyright a specific jewelry or project design. While there is no legal rule about what constitutes a copyright violation of the design, it is generally accepted that merely a 10% difference would not be a violation. That 10% difference might be a different clasp, a slightly different pattern, or a different color scheme (though the courts allow you some flexibility with color issues).

NOTE: It is expensive to contest a copyright violation in court. This might run $3,000 per incident.

The US Copyright Office will often reject jewelry and other creative project designs for lacking authorship because they consist of common or usual shapes and forms. When submitting your application, you should present a well-reasoned argument, based on basic principles of art and design composition, form and function, as to why your jewelry and patterns should be copyrighted.

You can also copyright a “collection of jewelry”, but you can’t add new designs to the collection, without getting new copyrights. In the collection, the pieces would need to share design elements and sensibilities, and these would need to be obvious.

Copyrights last for the life of the designer plus 70 years. Use form VA (Visual Arts). It usually takes about a year for the paperwork to go through, but your piece is considered copyrighted from the date you submitted your application.

3) What Form of Business?

Your form of business determines what tax forms you fill out each year. You can set y our business up as an unofficial or an official one.

One way you can set up your business is as an unofficial hobbyist. Here you do not need to register your business or getting any local, county, state, and federal licenses and accounts. Typically, your state or province that you do business in will have some kind of benchmark. In Tennessee (circa 2020), if you were going to make less than $4500. per year in sales, you would not have to register your business. You could make sales and not worry about collecting sales tax. You would not pay a business income tax to the city, county and state. You would not pay business property taxes. You would still, however, have to report your income to the government entities which collect personal income taxes. Virtually no paperwork. No worries.

Another way you can set up your business is as an official business entity. As you make your sales, you would also be accumulating money, such as sales taxes, which you would have to transmit on a regular basis to one government agency of another. You will begin to incur some monetary costs (business income and property taxes, and some bookkeeping / accounting costs, for example). You will begin to incur some time costs (securing and maintaining licenses and registrations; monthly, quarterly and annual reports to fill out; more time spent bookkeeping and accounting). However, a BIG ADVANTAGE!!! Is that you will be positioned to buy your inventory (and displays and furnishings) at steeper discounts, thus, make more money.

If you plan on becoming more than a hobbyist, you will need to organize and register your business as to its tax structure. Again, your options are:

(a) sole proprietorship

(b) partnership

c) limited liability corporation

(d) incorporation

Sole Proprietorship: Here you are the owner of the business and solely in charge.

If you are a sole proprietorship, your business name is your own name, and the name you use for your business is your DBA (Doing Business As) name. On various tax forms and registrations, you would list your own name where it asks for the business name, and there usually is a DBA line under this to type in your actual business name.

Sole Proprietorship Advantages: You will have less accounting and associated costs to contend with. Completing your state and federal tax forms will be easier. The business profits are your income, and are taxed as an individual.

Sole Proprietorship Disadvantage: This form of business does not protect you from liability damages. However, you can use your business insurance policy to provide a lot of protection here.

Partnerships: Here 2 or more people get together and form a business together. Partnerships, like marriages, are fraught with the potential for disharmony. Who makes what decisions? How are disagreements adjudicated? What happens to the relationship over time, particularly if the interests of any one partner begin to change?

If you are a partnership, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

Things partners should think about:
 
 a) You have a deep, honest series of discussions about each of your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can bring to the business

b) You write up a partnership agreement which 
 — details who will do what when
 — how you will distribute profits
 — how you will cover losses
 — how decisions for the business are to be made, especially when there are disagreements
 — rules for what happens when a partner wants to leave the business, or if all the partners want to dissolve the business 
— rules for how to handle growth, expansion, taking on new partners, managing employees

c) You notarize the agreement, and everyone gets a copy

Partnership Advantages: Two heads are better than one, usually. Share a lot of the administrative burdens. More accounting requirements and costs, but not as much as incorporation. Your business profits are your income as this profit is allocated among the partners, and taxed as an individual.

Partnership Disadvantages: This form of business does not protect you from liability damages. However, you can use your business insurance policy to provide a lot of protection here. It is difficult to share the responsibilities as partners.

From my experience, while one partner might be the “creative” one, and the other partner might be the “business one”, partnerships work best when both partners learn and take on both creative and administrative tasks.

Incorporation: Incorporating a business is essentially creating a separate entity (as if it were a person), thereby making the business separate from the owner (in a sense, the business has a life of its own). As a separate entity, the corporation exists independent from the shareholders/owners and its employees.

If you are a corporation, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

Incorporating Advantages: The advantages of incorporating a small business include: Personal asset protection. Both corporations and LLCs (limited liability corporations) allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets. In a properly structured and managed corporation or LLC, owners should have limited liability for business debts and obligations.

Incorporating Disadvantages: The administration costs are more expensive with a corporation than with a partnership or a sole proprietorship. Administration costs include incorporation costs, annual financial statements and annual corporate income tax return. If you are not an accountant, paying someone to do these can be very costly. Losses in an incorporated business can’t be personally claimed. The corporation is taxed first, and if it distributes profits to its owners, they are taxed again on the same money for their personal income taxes — a double taxation.

Limited Liability Corporation: Small businesses can avoid this double-taxation by taking advantage of the options given to a corporation by the states. Some options include incorporating as an S-corporation or filing as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). These options allow the taxable income to flow directly to the shareholders/members without being taxed twice, while at the same time, maintaining the benefits of incorporation. You still end up with a lot of accounting requirements and expenses. You are protected from liability damages incurred by the business, but you can also use your business insurance to cover a lot of this liability protection without all the accounting issues.

If you are a LLC corporation, your business name is your actual business name, and you would use your Federal EIN Number as your TIN.

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

Thank you. 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. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

Other Suggested Readings:

David K. William. 20 Books To Read Before You Start Your Own Business, Lifehack,

Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking, (FELD, 2020)

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency in Design, (FELD, 2020)

Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, (FELD, 2020)

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business, (FELD, 2020)

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

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

Posted by learntobead on July 12, 2020

Designed Impacts was a management consulting firm I started in 1980. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked with several large corporations on internet marketing. Today, I provide management and marketing assistance and training to jewelry designers under the Warren Feld Jewelry company name. Image Source, Feld, 2020

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: 
 How Do You Start and Run A Business Selling Creative Products?

Between Commerce and Art

Many people learn design in order to sell what they make. Designers create websites. They create interiors and exteriors. They build things. They craft things. They make art. All in an effort to make some money.

In today’s world, designers who sell what they create must become savvy in both regular retail selling, that is, directly business-to-customer, as well as internet retail, or virtually business-to-customer. This might seem too complex. Too overwhelming. Too impossible. Too boring. There are a lot of tensions here between commerce and art, not least of which is having to introduce your creative products publicly and persuade people to buy them. Creative thinking is not the same as business thinking. This makes many creatives uncomfortable.

Let Business Concerns Influence Your Artistic Choices

OK, you want to sell your work. But there is always this nagging question: To what extent do (and should) business concerns influence the artistic choices you make?

If you want to be in business, then I’d say, “A Lot!” But this isn’t what a lot of artists like to hear. Design is not the same as painting a painting or sculpting a sculpture. With paintings or sculptures, the artist does not need to communicate interactively with the viewer in order to create the product and that product be deemed successful. Design, instead, is more of an interactive art. It is like architecture, where success can only be created through some kind of meaningful interaction with others, and only be defined as successful as the product is introduced publicly.

Selling your pieces is merely another phase of this interactive art, but, as a business, selling creative products sometimes forces upon you some more limits and refinements. You have to market to audiences. You may have to make trade-offs between visual appeal and functionality. You may have to standardize things to be able to make the same thing over and over again. You may have to work in a production mode and repeat making certain designs, rather than freely creating and designing anew each time. You have to price things so that they will sell, and you have to price things so that you can make a sufficient profit. You shouldn’t undersell yourself, like offering discounts to family, friends and co-workers, lest you run out of money.

You have to conform to prevalent styles and colors and forms. You have to make things that will photograph well. You have to make things that clients want and are willing to buy. You may end up with a lot of “one size fits all,” because producing too much variety in sizes, shapes, colors and sizes could overwhelm you financially.

You find that if you want to make your designs into a successful business, you may have to compromise with yourself, your artistic drives and sensibilities. You may have to limit what you offer. In order to make that sale. In order to make a profit. And stay in business.

A Good Business Selling Creative Products involves:
— Putting your artwork on a sound cost/revenue footing
 — Developing market-driven (what they want) strategies as opposed to product-driven ones (what you want)
 — Pricing your work for sale
 — Implementing various selling strategies
 — Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business

Why Designers Fail In Business: Some Key Reasons

Over and over again, I have seen one designer after another fail as a business. Usually the reasons why keep repeating themselves with each designer.

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business

2. Gets bored

3. A fear of marketing your own things

4. Trying to please all audiences

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business.

Many designers get so excited after making their first sale, that they think they don’t have to get too involved with business principles. They misunderstand their “business” as a “project-by-project” endeavor. Make something, sell it. Doesn’t matter what the price. Doesn’t matter to whom. Doesn’t matter if making the work in the first place is in line with the resources you currently have, or will drive you in debt in order to get those resources. All that matters is the count — the number of pieces or designs you have sold.

Designers need to focus, not with the count, but on what’s called Velocity, instead. You need to have in place sufficient strategies for keeping your money turning over at a constant rate. You make something. You sell it. You reallocate the money you just made to reinvesting in more inventory, replacing the inventory you sold, evaluating the pros and cons of the sale that just happened, adjusting accordingly, and strategizing how to keep this velocity going at a constant, or ever-increasing, velocity or rate. If you can’t maintain this rate, you go in the hole.

And artists need to keep good records, and implement good accounting principles so they can monitor and evaluate the data about velocity.

2. Gets Bored.

People who get started are very excited. They’ve made a lot of pretty pieces or designs, and someone has bought some of them. But then you need to leave your creative mode, and enter a production mode. You need to discipline yourself to make the same things over and over again, particularly in the first 2 or 3 years of your business. Many designers quickly lose interest.

3. A fear of marketing your own things

You won’t succeed without marketing. Marketing is more than advertising. It includes all forms of self-promotion. It includes doing research on your markets and market niches. It incluces how to reach your potential clients in these markets, how to get their attention, how to get them to translate this attention into needs and wants and desires, and how to get them to part with some money.

Many artists are shy about self-promotion. Time to train yourself, if this is you, to get over it.

4. Trying to please all audiences

When people get started, they are reluctant to use the “No” word. They want to please everyone. But when you get started, you can’t. It will put you out of business.

Let’s say you are a jewelry designer, and have some jewelry for sale that is predominantly purple. Someone at work loves the jewelry, but asks if you can make it in red. If you don’t have an inventory of red beads, and will have to go out and buy them, it may make this sale foolish, from a business standpoint. You can’t buy just one bead at a time; you need to buy strands or packages of these beads — many more parts than you would need to make one piece of jewelry for this customer.

When you start in business, you need to pursue a strategy of depth, rather than breadth. As a digital designer, you want to invest in a limited number of software applications, equipment, and related resources, and narrow your focus on the types of projects you undertake. As a jewelry or crafts designer, you want to buy a limited number of pieces, colors, sizes and shapes of materials in large enough quantities to get adequate price breaks. So, initially, your designs will be limited, as well. If someone asks you to develop a project or design that is outside your budgeted resources, you need to be able to say No!. No! to your family. No! to your friends. No! to the people you work with.

Source, Feld, 2013

In my experience, such as the situation for the jewelry designer with red vs purple beads above, when you say No!, the potential customer tends to make a face. Pitiful. Angry. Frustrated. Sad. Pleading. If you can wait 60 seconds, in almost every case, the customer stops making this face, and says, in our jewelry example, for instance, “OK, I’ll take what you have in purple.”

60-seconds. That’s how long you have to wait without responding. Only 60-seconds before that person gives up and stops making the Face. It always amazes me, but so many jewelry and other designers can’t wait those 60 seconds. They cave.

And don’t give these people discounts. They’re already getting it cheaper, than if they bought the same design in a store, or purchased the design services from a large corporation. One major way your business will get built up is word-of-mouth. You don’t want some of that information to include extremely low price expectations. If you are stuck giving low prices, you will never be self-supporting in your business.

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

You need to understand how other designers you compete with function as a business.

How do they define their markets?
 How do they price things?
 What kinds of inventory, software and equipment do they own? What kinds do they NOT own?
 Where do they advertise? How do they promote themselves? 
How do they staff up, contract out, or learn the necessary skills to get the jobs done within the set time-frame?
 How do they define their competitive advantage — that is, all the reasons people should buy from them, rather than from anyone else, like you?
 Where do they sell things? What seems to work better for them?
 How do they figure out the best place — real or virtual — to link their product and product message to the customers most likely to need, want and buy their designs?

You can find a lot of this out by Googling. You can look for designers in your field and occupation. Directories of designers. You can plug in a designer’s website, and see where they are listed, and who lists them. You can look at their work. Often, you can discover many of their clients. You can look at reviews.

Can I Make Money?

Some designers are only interested in selling the occasional piece or project. Others want to create a steady flow of some extra income. Still others want to be financially self-sufficient as a designer.

Whatever your personal goal and commitment, can you make money? The answer is YES… That is, if you are smart about it.

Your friends and relatives might tell you that living as a creative designer “Is not practical,” or a warning “Don’t quit your day job.”

I won’t lie to you. It’s tough. It requires commitment and perseverance. It requires some introverted skills and some extroverted skills. It requires managing a process that includes some creative elements and some business and administrative ones. But you can do it.

First, Goals. Sit down and write down some do-able sets of goals for your business. Some sets of goals will be on the creative side; others on the business side.

One set of goals should answer the question: How are you going to manage the design process (from inspiration to aspiration to finished product to marketing and selling your products)?

Another set of these goals should answer the question: How are you going to maintain your cash flow throughout the whole year?

After you start implementing your goals, at some point you should be able to ask a friend: Did I achieve my goals or not?

Second, Time. Organize your time. You need to spend a certain amount of time with creative activity. Another block of time on business, administrative and marketing activities. And a certain amount of time for reflection and evaluation and self-care. You need to maintain balance between the personal and the professional, and between the creative and the administrative.

Third, Limits. Do not try to do too many different projects or work with too many different kinds of design elements and components at the same time — particularly in your first 3 years in business.

As your business grows, you’ll reach a point where you have enough cash flow — that Velocity of sales — that you can begin to broaden your efforts, meeting more of the needs of your current clients, and expanding the options for new clients.

Fourth, Realism. Do not go for roofs before setting foundations. Learn about materials and techniques in a developmental order. Things will make much more sense and be easier to accomplish as you advance your skills and endeavors.

Last, Supports. You can’t do everything by yourself. Find compatriots. Find a mentor. Share or coordinate some workloads. Be sure you structure in ways to be accountable and get feedback.

_____________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Bethke, Kelly. “A creative’s guide to starting a new business,” Fast Company, 11/9/18.

Campbell, Anita. “A 30-Point Checklist For Your Start-Up,” Small Biz Trends, 4/18/13.

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

Thank you. 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.

Other Suggested Readings:

Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking, (FELD, 2020)

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency in Design, (FELD, 2020)

Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, (FELD, 2020)

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

My Jewelry Is Over At The Consignment Shop: Did I Make A Mistake Leaving It There?

Posted by learntobead on June 29, 2020

She’s CHEATING ME!” the woman from Rhode Island screamed into the phone. She could hardly catch her breath, the anger overtaking her ability to explain why she was calling.

I read your article about Pricing and Selling on-line, and I’m not getting my $70.00 for my piece.

She didn’t have to say anymore. I knew right off the bat she was talking about CONSIGNMENT. I recognize the anger. The frustration. The feeling that someone put something over on you, and you’re powerless to correct the situation. You don’t know what to do. You know the sweat, time and cost you put into all the pieces you let some stranger have, and now what do you do?

I put 10 of my pieces of jewelry in her shop in Northern Rhode Island — not a big shop, no sales, except, this one piece sold, not in a major place,” she continued, taking breath after breath, to get it all out, in some way that made sense, and some way that kept her from losing it.

What do I Do?

She sold my piece for $70.00, and didn’t give me my money?

Should she have given me my money right away?

Should I take my jewelry out of her shop?

Should I never do consignment again?

She peppered me with questions, not waiting for an answer.

She indicated that the store owner told her that she paid her artists 30 days after a sale. Her customers had 30 days to return something. If the store owner paid before that time, she would be out the money. Store owners can set whatever policies they want, and in this case, I told the woman it was reasonable to wait 30 days, given the policy.

Of course, it had already been 7 weeks.

Should she call her?” Her husband told her not to call yet. He didn’t want her to make waves, or ruin this opportunity to sell her jewelry.

Call her,” I said. If the store owner said 30 days, then 30 days it should be.

Consignment may be a necessary evil, especially when you are getting started in the jewelry making business. But consignment is not the best situation to be in. Most stores that accept consignment do not understand the consignment business. As a result, when the time comes to pay the artists, there’s no cash flow.

In Consignment, the store is at greater risk than the artist. The store has to make space available for the pieces, and forgo the opportunity to get something else in that retail-real-estate that might do better. The store has to display the pieces, and keep them clean and presentable. The store has to train its sales staff so that they have sufficient information and motivation to make the sale. And, of course, there’s the tracking and accounting that goes with every consignment piece on sale.

Your best clue to whether a particular consignment situation is a good or better one, is the percentage split between the store or gallery owner and the artist. Given the level of risk each party assumes, the optimum distribution is 60/40 with the store or gallery getting the larger amount. But if the split is 40/60 or 50/50, this would be a acceptable sign as well.

However, when the split is 70/30 or 30/70 or outside this 60 and 40 range, yellow flags should go up. This shows that the store or gallery owner is not aware of the level of risk in their business. You probably won’t get paid on time, and not get paid without a lot of time spent yelling on the phone. Your pieces won’t be maintained. They won’t be displayed in a prominent place. No one will be trained or motivated to sell your pieces.

Just because you confront a potentially bad consignment situation doesn’t necessarily mean that you should walk away, however. There are a few prominent boutiques in Nashville that offer a 70/30 split between the store and the artist. They rarely pay their artists when the pieces sell. It takes a lot of screaming, “Bloody Murder!” before you get paid. But these are very prominent shops. Letting other stores and galleries know that you have pieces in these shops will open many doors for you. You might view the delayed payments and the effort to get your money as “marketing expenses.”

Other reasons you might settle for a bad situation:
 — You’re just getting started, and saying your pieces are in a shop anywhere has some marketing cache that goes with this
 — You can direct customers to this shop. At least you have a place to send people to view and purchase your work. You might not have a central base from which to work. Your main business might be doing craft shows, and here you can direct people to your jewelry between shows.
 — This might be the only game in town.

But otherwise, if consignment doesn’t have some added value for you, you want to minimize your consignment exposure.

When you negotiate consignment terms with a shop, try to:

1) Get a feel for the amount of consignment they do (and how long they have been doing this), the range of artists, the range of types of merchandise on consignment, and the types of customers they have
 
 2) Get a 60/40, 50/50 or 40/60 split
 
 3) Work with store or gallery owner on final retail pricing of your pieces.
 
 4) Get a written contract
 
 5) Get in writing if possible, but an oral agreement would suffice, to convert the situation to “wholesale terms”, if you pieces sell well. (Be sure to define what “selling well” might mean. Example: sell 10 pieces within next 6 months.)

6) Determine a specific date when to take your pieces out, or trade them out for new pieces. Usually it’s good to trade them out every 3–6 months.
 
 7) Determine exactly how and when you will get paid, after any one piece sells. A 30-day waiting period is reasonable.

As to my friend in Rhode Island, I suggested she take her pieces out of this shop. She was expecting to get paid 30% after 30 days. It’s years later. She was never paid.

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).

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.

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SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS AT CRAFT MARKETPLACES ONLINE

Posted by learntobead on June 14, 2020

I recently posted an article I had read about selling on Etsy (http://www.today.com/money/etsy-nomics-lets-sellers-stitch-together-living-new-pattern-2D11591368) . There was a big response, so I thought I’d do a little more research. I have been selling online with my own websites for almost 20 years now, but have not had much experience with selling through these online marketplaces.

I have found that many people get frustrated with these sites, in that sales can be minimal, or the numbers of people they are competing with seems daunting. But I have found these same people not doing all the necessary “good business” tasks, such as some intensive and persistent marketing of their wares, and smart photo and text detail for their pieces.

Question: WHAT KINDS OF EXPERIENCES HAVE YOU HAD, and WHAT KINDS OF TIPS CAN YOU OFFER?

Here’s some of the things I have found.

First, there are many, many online marketplaces to choose from. Some let you set up your own website, and others show your merchandise as part of a larger marketplace. Each has pros and cons. Perhaps one lesson is:
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

My list of these sites include:

Etsy
Zibbet
Artfire
overstock.com/mainstreet revolution
tophatter (an auction site)
Ebay (an auction site)
storeny
luulla
bigcartel
meylah
madeitmyself
handmadeartists
createinventandsell
thecraftstar
rubylane
dawanda
copious
1000markets
silkfair
ecrafter
supermarkethq
goodsmiths
freecraftfair
folksy
notmassproduced
market.poppytalkhandmade
jewelrywonder
ave21
jewelspan
artflock
bonanza
lilyshop
icraft.ca (Canada)
shophandmade

The PROS for any site:
– low commission on sales
– good traffic
– ease of setting up your shop
– having a lot of control over how your shop looks; how customizable it is
– no monthly fees
– web host does a lot of promotion
– site has a good search function
– site has good statistics, and lets you easily track traffic and what has sold, at what price point, and when, for both of your specific merchandise, as well as for all merchants with similar merchandise

The CONS for any site:
– high commissions and/or fees
– when site is too big, may be difficult to get noticed
– host limits how you list and present your items
– host restricts your contact with your customers

Other types of questions to ask:

– Does site handle the billing and payments for you?
– What kind of marketing does the site do?
– Is it relatively easy to set up your site and keep it updated?
– Are there are limitations on the numbers of items you might list at one time?
– Are there any limitations on the number or size of photos you can include on your site?
– How and where will your items appear in a search listing on the host’s site?
– What payment methods/options are allowed?
– Does the site restrict items to “Handmade” only, and how is “Handmade” defined? You do not want to compete with cheap, imported, machine made jewelry.
– How easy is it to contact customer service? Do they provide a lot of easy-to-follow tutorials for setting up and managing your site?

Different types of fees that might be assessed:
1. Listing fee
2. Sales commissions, usually as a percent of sale
3. Renewal fees (when listings are time limited)
4. Monthly site maintenance fees

Some Tips and Advice:

(1) Your items should be different enough from others to set you apart, and get you remembered
(2) If your items are similar to others, you might consider competing on price
(3) Do NOT depend on the host to promote your site; you must actively — that means, almost every day — do things to promote your site.
(4) Don’t just list your items and let them sit there
(5) Excellent photos are a must
(6) Treat your online shop as a business, not a hobby
(7) Categorize and label your jewelry and jewelry lines; picture the words someone might type into a search bar in order to find this jewelry, and use those as key words in your labeling
(8) Let your passion shine

Many, many people you will be competing with do not necessarily have good business sense, particularly when it comes to pricing their jewelry. People, in general, tend to underprice their pieces. They go out of business quickly. But while they’re in business, you are competing with them, and often you find it hard to compete on price.

This is a given. That means you have to spend more energy on marketing your competitive advantages, in order to justify the prices you need to charge, in order to stay in business. Some of this will come down to better presentation — more facts and great detailed images about your jewelry, and more details about the how your jewelry will benefit your customer. Better presentation equals more trust; more trust should translate into more sales. Some more competitive advantages: your jewelry is better made; it uses better materials; your line of jewelry is broader; you have better customer care policies; your style is more unique; your jewelry supports as “cause”.

And many, many more people you will be competing with have very good business sense. There are over 6 million items of jewelry on sale on Etsy at any one time — many by sharp, savvy artists. To get seen, heard and responded to takes emphasizing your competitive advantages, as well as persistent, broadly targeted marketing.

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).

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 »

NAMING YOUR BUSINESS / NAMING YOUR JEWELRY… You Better Get Good At This … Your Success Depends On…

Posted by learntobead on May 19, 2020

Topics Covered In This Article:

  1. NAMING YOUR BUSINESS: WHAT’S INVOLVED

2. DELINEATING ALL THE NAMING POSSIBILITIES

3. BRAINSTORMING (with other people)

4. PUT WORDS TOGETHER INTO PHRASES

5. REALITY TESTING

6. PICKING YOUR BUSINESS NAME (working title)

7. DON’T SETTLE ON THE FIRST NAME YOU COME UP WITH

8. PICKING YOUR BUSINESS NAME (final drafty)

9. PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS NAME

10. CREATING A TAG LINE

11. WRITE UP SHORT DESCRIPTIONS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

12. NAME YOUR JEWELRY

13. WRITING A STORY AND ELEVATOR PITCH ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

14. GO FORTH AND PROSPER

Right off the bat….

List your initial, first-things-coming-to-mind business name or range of business name ideas here:

  1. NAMING YOUR BUSINESS: WHAT’S INVOLVED

It’s Really Difficult To Pick A Business Name

Would you ever buy a Swarovski necklace or a bead crocheted rope lariat from a company called “Flan”?

The “FLAN CORPORATION” sells handcrafted, bead strung and bead woven jewelry.

The name “FLAN” doesn’t suggest anything associated with “jewelry” or the “emotions jewelry should evoke”. The name “FLAN” doesn’t connect in any way with people who might be looking to buy some jewelry. The name “FLAN” doesn’t lend itself very well to the kinds of imagery you might use in a logo, or on a business card or on a website. The name doesn’t really make you want to find out more information about the company.

As the people at the FLAN CORPORATION discovered every early on in their new, budding jewelry business, as new customers failed to knock down their doors…

IT’S REALLY DIFFICULT TO PICK A BUSINESS NAME

Your name choice can make your business the talk of the town, or doom it to obscurity.

Picking a business name can be harder than naming your child.

It can be harder than naming your dog.

I’ve tried many times to come up with business names with varying degrees of success.

And the first business name you pick might seem great and work great at the beginning, but will it evolve with your business as well? Maybe yes, maybe not.

People often make snap judgments about your business based on your business name.

Your business name can often make or break your success.

What’s important is not only how good your business name sounds, and how appealing it is today, but also how adaptable it is over time, as you grow or change your business.

TYPES OF BUSINESS NAMES
There are all types of business names.

Some are ABSTRACT — a blank slate upon which to create an image, suggestive of what your business is about.

Some are INFORMATIVE — so that customers immediately know what your business is, where it is, who owns it.

One problem that businesses which select an Informative name run into is that the name can become a straight-jacket. If your name is a niche business name, and you change or outgrow your business, your name might not grow with it.
You don’t want to outgrow your business name. What if Amazon had been named Bookstore.com — books were the primary item they were selling when they first started? They would be limited to selling books.

One name that outgrew itself is Burlington Coat Factory. When they were naming their store, they didn’t think far enough into the future. When they expanded their product offerings, they had to change their tagline to, “We’re more than just coats.” (They also always have to have a legal disclaimer in their ads that says, “Not affiliated with Burlington Industries.” Ouch.)

Some are COINED — names that come from made-up words, usually to try to evoke an emotional feeling or to make your business more memorable.

If you invent a new “word” for your name, be careful that it doesn’t sound unnatural. Mashing two words together or mixing up a bunch of letters to form a new word rarely appears or sounds smooth. And be cautious using trendy suffixes to make up a new word. Sprayology, Teaosophy and Perfumania are all train wrecks.

Watch out that you don’t run into a trap where you try to be Mysterious with your Coined business name.

A sure-fire way to annoy people is to choose a name that’s completely random and seemingly meaningless. One I wonder about a lot is Vungle. I have no idea what this company does, and I don’t want to know. Likewise, can you guess what companies Qdoba, Magoosh, Iggli, Kiip, Zippil, or Zumper do?

Blindly following naming trends will lead to nothing but trouble down the road. But don’t just take my word for it. Ask the founders of Xobni, Svbtle, and del.icio.us.

Some Coined Names involve NEW FORMS — new ways of spelling traditional words, like YRNGS for Earrings, to make your business more memorable and have qualities of innovation or with-it-ness.

The problem with having a name like Naymz, Takkle, Flickr, or Speesees is that you will forever have to spell it when you say it, because it isn’t spelled how people hear it. (Think about how often you have to spell your own first and last name. Why would you want to have to do this with your brand name, too?)

Plus, Siri and other voice recognition software do not understand names that are not spelled naturally. And if you and your employees have to spell your name out loud for people, you are wasting everyone’s time and apologizing for it, over and over again.

SELF-MARKETING ANALYSIS

Be Brutally Honest About What Your Business Is (And Will Be) All About.

You first need to know: What Do You Want To Communicate?

Over the years, I have had to come up with many business names for different types of businesses, some more, some less successful.

Take the business name, “Land of Odds”.

The name was always received well by customers, and was memorable.

Originally (starting in 1980), I used the name for a hobby business where I restored antique lamps and sold some antiques.

Years later, with my partner Jayden, we opened up a retail store (in 1989) that sold all kinds of handmade jewelry and unusual collectibles and beads. The name still had a good fit.

Eventually, Land of Odds evolved from a bricks and mortar operation to an internet e-commerce store. Here visibility and recognition depended on how well the website got indexed by search engines. We were not selling LAND. We were not selling ODDS. Our name, which had served us so well over many, many years, became a bit of a handicap.

We also opened (in 1999) a retail store we called “Be Dazzled”. At first, Be Dazzled sold finished jewelry, collectibles, some clothing, greeting cards, and beads. But at its location, mostly the beads sold, and nothing else. So we narrowed the operation to beads.

The name was always popular and attractive, but there are many bead stores across the country that called themselves some version of “Bead Dazzled”, and there were many hair salons across the country that called themselves some version of “Be Dazzled”. People frequently confused us with other businesses.

Again, as more and more business, directly or indirectly, moved online, I wished we had formally named our business “Be Dazzled Beads”, so it would be more easily indexed.

And for awhile, one business opened up a few miles from us in Nashville, and named their business, “BeadDazzled”. Nothing we could do about that.

On-line, however, I called our website’s domain name www.bedazzledbeads.com . Had to get that word “beads” in there so that search engines would index us correctly, and customers specifically interested in beads would find us.

Several years ago, I began making high end, handcrafted jewelry. Coming up with a name for this business was difficult, as well. I settled on Warren Feld Jewelry — www.warrenfeldjewelry.com .

Several things went into consideration here. I wanted to create a strong brand identity associated with my name. I wanted to make it difficult for other people to copy my business name. Since I anticipated that most of my business would be conducted on-line, I wanted a key word that search engines would see and associate with my business.

However, I settled for a name configuration that is so common among jewelry designers — Your Name Jewelry — that it was not a name that would stand out as much, set me off from the pack as much, or be as memorable as much — not like Land of Odds has been. [Same issue with Your Name Designs.]

Also, if I ever entertained thoughts of selling this business, having my name in the business name would probably be a negative.

Self-Marketing Analysis means that you take some time and write down what you think your business is today, and what it will evolve into tomorrow.

This includes:

BUSINESS ATTRIBUTES: What Is Your Business Today (Real or Anticipated)?

What do I want a name to accomplish for my company? What do you want your name to accomplish for you?
A name can help separate you from competitors and reinforce your company’s image, says Steve Manning, founder of Sausalito, Calif.-based Igor, a naming agency. He suggests clearly defining your brand positioning before choosing a name, as Apple did to differentiate itself from corporate sounding names like IBM and NEC. “They were looking for a name that supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different,” Manning says.

Exercise: DISCUSS Name Options, In light of each evaluative question posed below…

Will the name be too limiting?
Don’t box yourself in, says Phoenix-based Martin Zwilling, CEO and founder of Startup Professionals Inc., an advisor to early-stage startups. Avoid picking names that could limit your business from enlarging its product line or expanding to new locations, he says, citing the example of Angelsoft.com, a company formed in 2004 to help connect startup companies with angel investors. A couple of years ago, the company realized it needed to appeal equally to venture capital and other types of investors. So, it did a costly rebranding to Gust.com, which is less specific and evokes a nice “wind in the sails” image.

Does the name make sense for my business?
For most companies, it’s best to adopt a name that provides some information about their products and services. That doesn’t mean it can’t also have a catchy ring. Lawn and Order, for example, is a good name for a landscaping business because it gets people’s attention and also clearly relates to the company’s services, Zwilling says. While unusual words like Yahoo and Fogdog sometimes work, quirky names are always a crapshoot.

Is the name easy to remember?
The shorter the name, the better, Zwilling says, suggesting that business owners limit it to two syllables and avoid using hyphens or other special characters. He also recommends skipping acronyms, which mean nothing to most people, and picking a name whose first letter is closer to A than Z because certain algorithms and directory listings work alphabetically. “When choosing an identity for a company or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style and cost less to brand,” he says.

Is the name easy for people to spell?
That may seem to be a given, but some companies purposely select names that consumers can’t easily spell. It’s a risky strategy to try to make a company stand out, and some naming consultants recommend against it. “If your name looks like a typo, scratch it off the list,” says Alexandra Watkins, founder and chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, a naming service based in San Francisco. She also believes that it’s important that your name be spelled exactly as it sounds. Otherwise, you will forever have to spell it out for people when saying the name or your company’s email or website address aloud. “Think of how often you have to spell your own first or last name for people,” she says. “Why would you want a brand name with the same problem?”

How will potential customers first encounter your name?
Some naming experts believe there are exceptions to the easy-to-spell rule, especially if most people will see your name for the first time in a print or online ad. For example, consider Zulily, the online company offering daily deals for moms, babies and kids. “If you just heard that name, you might not guess how to spell it, but the company’s aggressive online ad campaign has meant that most people first see it spelled out,” says Chris Johnson, a naming consultant in Seattle and author of The Name Inspector blog, who came up with the name Zulily. “The payoff is that the unusual sound and spelling of the name have helped them create a very distinctive brand.”

Does the name sound good and is it easy to pronounce?
Manning says the sound of the name is important in conveying a feeling of energy and excitement. You also must be sure potential customers can easily pronounce your company’s name. “It is a hard fact that people are able to spell, pronounce and remember names that they are familiar with,” he says, pointing to Apple, Stingray, Oracle and Virgin as strong names. But he doesn’t like such company names as Chordiant, Livent and Naviant. “These names are impossible to spell or remember without a huge advertising budget, and the look, rhythm and sound of them cast a cold, impersonal persona,” he says.

Is your name meaningful only to yourself?
A name with hidden or personal meanings evokes nothing about your brand, and you won’t be there to explain it when most people encounter it. “Refrain from Swahili, words spelled backwards, and naming things after your dog,” Watkins says. She gives the example of Lynette Hoy, who was using her first and last name for her PR firm in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The name didn’t work because it failed to evoke Hoy’s fiery personality and passion, Watkins says. So, the company was rebranded Firetalker PR, and Hoy took the title of Fire Chief. She called her office The Firehouse, and began offering PR packages such as Inferno, Controlled Burn and The Matchbox. “Her entire brand is built around that name and lends itself to endless ways to extend the name,” Watkins says. “Her prior name didn’t lend itself to any theme or wordplay.”

Is the name visually appealing?
You also want to consider how the name looks in a logo, ad or a billboard, Manning says. He points to Gogo, the inflight Internet service provider, as a good name for design purposes. “It’s the balance of the letters, all rounded and friendly, versus a word with hard, angular letters like Ks and Ts and Rs,” Manning says. Other visually appealing names include Volvo because it has no low-hanging letters and Xerox for the symmetry of beginning and ending with the same letter.

How will your name look? — On the web, as part of a logo, in an email address, on social media, on packaging.

What connotations does it evoke? — Is your name too corporate or not corporate enough? Does it reflect your business philosophy and culture? Does it appeal to your market?

Is it unique? — Pick a name that hasn’t been claimed by others, online or offline. A quick web search and domain name search (more on this below) will alert you to any existing use. When naming a business, you need to think about your potential customers. What’s their appetite for embracing the new? Or should you place emphasis on tradition and history?

DELINEATING ALL THE NAMING POSSIBILITIES

Initially, at least, Don’t Limit Yourself.

How did you come up with your current business name, or list of business name possibilities?

If you were starting from scratch, and trying to name your jewelry-making business, what things could you do?

What factors are important?

What do you want your name to communicate?

Do you like how certain words sound or look printed on a page?

DISCUSSION Q: How does your business name, or name possibilities relate to what you wrote about your jewelry above?

Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. It should reinforce the key elements of your business. Your work in developing a niche and a mission statement will help you pinpoint the elements you want to emphasize in your name.

The more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, entrepreneurs should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words. People prefer words they can relate to and understand. That’s why professional namers universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice.

BRAINSTORM PROCESS:
You first brainstorm with yourself only.

First, write down every name, word, partial word which comes to your mind?

Second, What inspired you, or inspires you? Why did you get into this business?

Third, look at your jewelry and think about every word that might be used to describe it.

What are your styles of jewelry? Sophisticated, every day, novelty? Gemstone, crystal, glass? Only one of a kind, or more mass-produced? In what settings will you sell your jewelry?

Fourth, think about your work process — how you organize your jewelry making supplies, how you apply your craft, how you finish off your projects. What are all the words which come to mind here?

Fifth, think about your potential customers, markets and niche markets. Who are they? How will your jewelry benefit them? What are all the words which come to mind here?

Sixth, find out what types of business names are jewelry designers currently using?

USE YOUR RESOURCES…

If you do a Google search on “jewelry designers” or “directories jewelry”, you can come up with lists of names other people use. Most use the artist’s name and either the word “design” or the word “jewelry”. Susan Fein Designs. Susan Fein Jewelry. Susan Fein Jewelry Designs. Susan Fein Designed Jewelry.

The Google search will also show you other types of business names jewelry designers use. You might also page through jewelry popular and trade magazines.

Play With Words And Word Combinations

Write down all the words and phrases that appeal to you.

BRAINSTORMING (with other people)

Now, involve other people in this “coming-up-with-names” process.

Similar to what you did “inside” your head. Now see how other people think, react and understand what you are trying to do.

At this point, you come up with every word, phrase and idea that has any possibility.

Share your lists of words and names with others.

See what additional words and names they can come up with.

Brainstorm with EVERYONE. As many family, friends and strangers (who may be potential customers) you can. Don’t be shy about this.

Brainstorm. When making the decision about words and names, brainstorm a lot. Brainstorm with yourself. Your friends and family. Potential customers. In this initial part of the naming process, don’t reject anything. You want to pull out as many ideas as possible. You never know what combination of words and phrases might click.

How would they describe your work and your design abilities?

Why do they think you wanted to get into this business?

What do they think inspires you?

What qualities do they think people will associate with your jewelry?

What target markets do they think you should go after?

How do they see your products benefiting others?

When choosing a business name, keep the following tips in mind:

· Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract.

· Choose a comforting or familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories so customers respond to your business on an emotional level.

· Don’t pick a name that is long or confusing.

· Stay away from cute puns that only you understand.

· Don’t use the word “Inc.” after your name unless your company is actually incorporated.

Here are five of my most lucrative brainstorming tools and techniques:

  1. Open the thesaurus treasure chest.

Begin your online brainstorming on a thesaurus website, where you can find a jackpot of synonyms and related words. My go-to one is Thesaurus.com. When a consultant I know had to come up with fresh name ideas for a hip frozen yogurt franchise in Utah that was targeted at teenagers, he hit the jackpot when he typed in the word “cold” and found these three fun names:

Bitter: With one of the two yogurt flavors being tart, it was self-deprecating and fun
Goosebumps: Perfect for their target audience of hormonal teenagers
Frigid: Playful and fun. He actually used this later as the name of an ice cream store

2. Comb through glossaries of terms.

Every sport, hobby and industry has its own lingo of fun words and phrases. You can find pages and pages of them online by searching for “glossaries,” “lingo,” “vernacular,” “jargon,” “dictionaries,” “thesaurus,” “terms,” “words” or “slang,” which are essentially the same thing but will turn up different results in searches. While brainstorming frozen yogurt store names, my consultant friend looked at snowboarder glossaries and stumbled upon the word “Chatter,” which was perfect for this business, as it evokes teens socializing with each other.

3. Go “Googlestorming.”

There are endless ways to utilize Google for brainstorming, or as I call it, “Googlestorming.” For the frozen yogurt store, my friend searched for “coldest places on earth.” He found a small town “deep Siberian wilderness.” The word Siberian jumped out at him. “Siberia,” sounds hip, is relatable, and has an underlying humor to it. Great name for an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop.

4. Tune into iTunes.

Song titles make super sticky names, because just like the songs themselves, they get stuck in our head.

5. Search stock photos and Google images.

A picture says a thousand words. Photos can inspire awesome names, which is why I always do image searches to fuel my creativity. Stock photo websites such as Bigstock and Getty Images are fantastic places to get ideas and search for concepts related what you’re naming.

There are many word and image resources online to help stimulate your creativity. Try the ones above and poke around to find others. You’ll have the freedom to come up with ideas without anyone shooting them down. And you won’t have to buy anyone dinner.

6. Online Business Name Generators

FILTERING

PUT WORDS TOGETHER INTO PHRASES

See how combinations of words might work for you…

Then, filter

Start Putting Words Together Into Phrases. From this list of potential key words and tags, start putting words together in various combinations. Say them out loud. Plug in some of these words into the GOOGLE or Yahoo browser bar, and see what other suggested key words they are associated with.

For some of your favorite words, you might look these up in different languages — French or Spanish or German or Italian or Chinese or whatever.

Check these words in a Thesaurus to find related words. For each 2 or 3 or more word combinations, do a Google or Yahoo search on them, and see what comes up. Are these the kinds of businesses you want your own to pop up with in an internet search? See any other words other businesses use that relate? Does it appear that no other business is using the same name you want to use?

Filter

Begin to group the words and names into categories, such as GREAT, GOOD, FAIR and BAD.

If you are marketing to a multi-lingual audience, will the words you use be recognized in more than one language, and will they be seen as positive and have no negative connotations?

Some better business names function on more than one level of understanding — a play on words. That is, a word or part of a word can convey more than one meaning, and each meaning can be appreciated. A business called “JewelryWorks” or “DesignWorks” suggests that the jewelry is handcrafted, as well as successful — it works! — for the wearer.

Names that begin with hard sounds — K, — usually work better.

Find words or pairings with a rhythm or semantic flow, which helps to avoid leaving someone with a hard stop. This tends to create alliteration, such as Freaky Friday or Sunny Shores.

People are most likely to remember how something makes them feel. This means that beautiful-sounding names have a better chance of encoding into long-term memory. Interesting fact: “Cellar Door” has been rated as the most phonetically beautiful pairing of words.

Names with letters that have high point values in Scrabble — J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z — tend to be more memorable, likely because they are less commonly found in western languages. This less commonly found attribute makes a name more distinct for encoding into memory.

Letter form beauty. Brand names are more often seen in writing than any other form, so having a name translated into visual language, such as a logo, is an important next step. Take OXO and xpedx for example.

Context is important. A name should feel like a fit for the category it is going to occupy. Do this by being relatable through contextual meaning. For example, naming a small pillow company Microsoft today would be odd, but 100 years ago it may have worked.

The more physical and tangible a word is, the easier it will be to remember. The reason? It gives someone an image in their mind and helps to store it as a memory. Take “mossy rock” vs. “soft place” as an example. One is an object and the other is a concept. Guess which one someone would remember tomorrow?

Not every name is going to encompass all of these factors, but considering them gives a better sense of how memorable a name may be when it reaches the eyes and ears of a brand’s audiences.

Avoid tongue twisters. “Six Thistles Jewelry”, looks pretty on paper, offers many graphic illustration options, but is very difficult to say aloud.

Don’t Settle On The First Name You Come Up With

The best approach is to generate 3–5 business names, and start pre-testing them.

Again, search Google, domain name registries and trademark offices.

Again, bring your friends and families into a brainstorming session. Show your friends and family members all 3–5 names, and ask them to pick their favorites, and tell you why.

REALITY TEST

Subject your 3–5 choices to some rigorous and extensive reality-testing…

THE PRINTED WORDS. Type out the names, using different type-font faces. You can easily do this in your word processing or web-page editing software. How does it visually appear on the page, and do you like it or not? Besides the overall look, be sure that anyone reading your typed out name (or domain name or email address) won’t confuse lower case “L” with the number “1” or a capital “I”, or Zeroes and “O’s” or Fives and “S’s” or underscores with hyphens or blanks when the name or email address is shown as a highlighted, underlined link.

THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT. Type in your business name and domain name into a web browser and search engine. How does it look in the location bar at the top of the browser. In the search list, how does it appear, where does it come up, and what other businesses come up with it?

Type your email address into the TO section of an email.

Make sure you haven’t picked a name where, when you write it down, some letters slur together, making it illegible for others to read.

On the screen, it’s difficult to read “ill” , for example. Again, Besides the overall look, be sure that anyone reading your typed out name (or domain name or email address) won’t confuse lower case “L” with the number “1” or a capital “I”, or Zeroes and “O’s” or Fives and “S’s” or underscores with hyphens or blanks when the name or email address is shown as a highlighted, underlined link.

Some online applications may reject anything with a non-letter symbol, like a hyphen or slash or exclamation point.

Online applications will not typically recognize letters in different colors.

How long will it take or how difficult will it be for someone to type out your email address?

Does your business name lend itself to a logo.

A long time ago, I had done some consulting with a friend — Marje Feinson. We called ourselves Feinson-Feld Planning Associates. “Feinson-Feld” was easy to say, sounded professional and established, and we liked it.

We had a terrible logo, however. We took the “F” of both of our last names, and had one F upright and one F facing down, to form a right-leaning box, and people would frequently ask which one of us was the upside down F. (Of course, it was me!)

Hold your jewelry next to your name. Match? Mismatch?

Say your business name out loud. How easy is it to say and pronounce and be understood? Have other people say your business name out loud.

Your name pronunciation is not güd. Your name should be approachable and intuitive to pronounce in your brand’s country of origin. Don’t rely on punctuation marks or letters in different colors to aid in pronunciation. Your name will not appear in color in the press or in search-engine results and people go batty trying to find accent marks and umlauts on their keyboard.

DISCUSSION: Relate business name/names to questions below…

Can people spell your business name?

Can people remember your business name?

When people hear your business name, will they know what your business is about?

Does the name seem as workable for a physical bricks and mortar business, as it does for an online business?

Think about how you intend to market your business — brochures, directories, ads, email campaigns, signage — does your name feel good and fit with these marketing strategies?

If your primary means of marketing is a listing in the Yellow Pages or some other directory, then the first letter of the name might be important. Should your business start with the letter “A”? Should your business name avoid the “a”, “an” and/or “the”?

Do certain words in your name make different people react in different ways? I remember a gemstone shop named Art By God. On the one hand, gemstones are literally Art by “God”. Lots of people can appreciate that. On the other hand, whenever you use “God” in a name, it may seem that you’re diminishing something some see as sacred. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable naming one of my businesses, “Land of Gods”. And I remember the TV commercial where a woman names her new shoe store “Clothing Optional”, and attracts a hoard of nudists.

If you have an identifiable major competitor, does your business name sufficiently distinguish you from them?

Using “DESIGN” or “JEWELRY” as part of the business name…..This has pros and cons. On the positive side, it’s important to get your name associated with the jewelry you make, and the certain style, look and/or quality of your jewelry. This is called branding. You always need to keep re-emphasizing your name. In terms of both positive and negative, this gives the search engines something to work with when indexing. The name is user friendly in that it is easy to interpret and understand.

On the negative side, it seems that almost everyone you are competing with uses the same naming construct. If a potential customer is paging through the yellow pages, or scrolling down a list of designers in a search engine, you can get lost in the crowd.

Sample potential customers.

What will the future bring?

Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? What will you be selling, to whom, at what price? Will it be the same merchandise you began with, or very different merchandise?

Will the name limit you in any way over time? Have you chosen something like Tennessee Jewls, and may want to sell outside Tennessee, or have non-Tennessee products to sell? Do you think you might want to expand beyond jewelry?

PICK YOUR BUSINESS NAME (consider this a working title for now)

Now you are ready to choose the ONE…

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Double meanings often work best, such as in DesignWorks or DesignedExpressions.

DON’T SETTLE ON THE FIRST NAME YOU COME UP WITH

That first name you come up with probably won’t be the chosen name…

PICK. Pick your business name. (final draft)

Now, how do you make your final decision?

Recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind?

Some entrepreneurs arrive at a final decision by going with their gut or by doing consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You can doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future. Use any or all of these criteria.

PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS NAME

Registration, Trademark, Service Mark, Copyright…

Register Your New Business Name

Registering a business name is a confusing area for new business owners. What does it mean and what are you required to do?

Registering your business name involves a process known as registering a “Doing Business As (DBA)” name or trade name. This process shouldn’t be confused with incorporation and it doesn’t provide trademark protection.

Registering your “Doing Business As” name is simply the process of letting your state government know that you are doing business as a name other than your personal name or the legal name of your partnership or corporation. If you are operating under your own name, although you can skip the process, it is still a strategically sound idea to register your name. In some states, you may have to register your name at the City and County level, as well as with the State.

Learn about the requirements in your state and how to file in this Registering Your Doing Business As Name guide.

Apply for Trademark Protection

A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting. You can file for a trademark for less than $300. Learn how to trademark your business name.

When it comes to starting a business, there’s often some confusion about the process of business name registration. How are trade names and trademarks different? Does a trade name afford any legal branding protection? Can your trade name be the same as your trademark?

Simply put, a trade name is the official name under which a company does business. It is also known as a “doing business as” name, assumed name, or fictitious name. A trade name does not afford any brand name protection or provide you with unlimited rights for the use of that name. However, registering a trade name is an important step for some — but not all — businesses (more on this below).

A trademark is used to protect your brand name and can also be associated with your trade name. A trademark can also protect symbols, logos and slogans. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting.

An important reason to distinguish between trade names and trademarks is that if a business starts to use its trade name to identify products and services, it could be perceived that the trade name is now functioning as a trademark, which could potentially infringe on existing trademarks.

NOTE: You cannot trademark adjectives.

Registering a Trade Name

Naming your business is an important branding exercise. If you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name (i.e. a “trade name”), then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authority as a “doing business as” (DBA) name.

Consider this scenario: John Smith sets up a painting business and chooses to name it “John Smith Painting.” Because “John Smith Paining” is considered a DBA name (or trade name), John will need to register it as a fictitious business name with a government agency.

You need a DBA in the following scenarios:

  • Sole Proprietors or Partnerships — If you wish to start a business under any name other than your real one, you’ll need to register a DBA name so you can do business under the DBA name.
  • Existing Corporations or LLCs — If your business is already incorporated and you want to do business under a different name, you will need to register a DBA.

Note that many sole proprietors maintain a DBA or trade name to give their business a professional image, yet still use their own name on tax forms and invoices.

Depending on where your business is located, you’ll need to register your DBA name through either your county clerk’s office or your state government. Note: Not all states require fictitious business names or DBA registration. SBA’s Business Name Registration page has more information about the process, plus links to the registration authorities in each state.

Registering Your Trademark

Choosing to register a trademark is up to you, but your business name and identity is one of its most valuable assets, so it’s worth protecting.

Registering a trademark guarantees exclusive use, establishes legally that your mark is not already being used, and provides government protection from any liability or infringement issues that may arise. Being cautious in the beginning can certainly save you trouble in the long run. You may choose to personally apply for trademark registration or hire an intellectual property lawyer to register for you.

Trademarks can be registered on both federal and state levels. Federal trademarks can be registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Applications can be submitted online, by using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), or by requesting a hard copy application and mailing in a paper form. Although both methods are acceptable, filing online is a faster and more cost-effective process (less than $300).

It usually is more expensive to get a US Trademark. This can be confusing, and I would suggest consulting with a trademark attorney.

It is usually less expensive to get a Trademark in the state you do business with. The process is usually very simple, and usually you would not need the services of a trademark attorney.

Tip: Before you register, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Determine whether your product is eligible for a trademark
  • Conduct a trademark search using TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System)

Because it can be tricky with US Trademarks to identify potential infringement or clashes, and the penalties for doing so are high, it’s worth talking to a good intellectual property lawyer to ensure you cover all bases.

As with trade names, registering a trademark at the state level varies from state to state. Check out the USPTO’s State Trademark Information page for links to your state’s trademark office.

For a step-by-step guide to filing a trademark application, FAQs and more, refer to SBA.gov’s Small Business Guide to Intellectual Property.

TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS

As you begin to narrow down a name, check with the US Trademark office to be sure no one else has used these names. Go to www.uspto.gov , and search the business names. Your state trademarks office may also have a searchable list.

Protect your business name by registering the name (and logo, if you have one) as a trademark or service mark. Also copyright your brochures and advertising copy, and any sets of instructions, if you create these.

As soon as you pick your business name, register it as a trade or service mark with your state trademark office. Each State you do business in, as well as the US as a whole, offer opportunities to protect your trade or service mark. It may or may not make sense to trademark in multiple states, or for the US as a whole.

In Tennessee, this process is especially inexpensive — around $40.00 per trade or service mark. You can prevent someone else from using your business name, or product name, by registering this name with the state(s), or US. You would put a TM next to the name you’ve trademarked, such as Be Dazzled BeadsTM .

Have I conducted a proper trademark search?
A great name is worthless if someone else already has laid claim to it. Start with some free resources like Trademarkia.com or USPTO.gov to do a cursory search to see if the name is already in use. Then, hire a trademark attorney to do a more thorough screening, and if the name isn’t taken, to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “Get it right the first time,” Watkins says. “A third of our business comes from companies who are being threatened with trademark infringement.”

COPYRIGHT

You can copyright any documents or marketing materials (brochures, instructions, etc). You can do this by registering a copy with the Library of Congress, or just putting © YOUR NAME, date somewhere on the document.

Or you can send a copy to yourself in a Registered letter, write on the outside of the envelop what is inside, and don’t open the envelop when you receive it back in the mail. This is a proof of date, should you need to challenge anyone.

REGISTER ONLINE DOMAIN NAME

Check to see if anyone has registered your business name online as a registered domain name. Go to www.networksolutions.com/ or www.GoDaddy.com and type in the name you want. If the name you want is taken, you can always vary the domain type, such as “.net” or “biz” instead of “.com”. You can vary a name by adding punctuation like a hyphen or period or deleting a space between words. You can vary a name by making it plural. You can vary the name by playing with the spelling of certain words — even making up your own creative spelling for some words.

Next, register a business domain name, so that you protect your business name from other people who might use it on-line. In translating your business name to an internet domain name, keep in mind that your email address will include that domain name. You want people to be able to easily and quickly type in your email address into an email. You do not want people to confuse the spelling or any added punctuation.

Pointers:
The business name does not have to match your domain name.
The .com extension would be best, even though there are many other choices.
If possible, the domain name should be rich in key words.
Avoid using punctuation as part of the business name.

To find out if your business name has been claimed online, do a simple web search to see if anyone is already using that name.

Next, check whether a domain name (or web address) is available. You can do this using the WHOIS database of domain names. If it is available, be sure to claim it right away. This guide explains how to register a domain name.

SET UP YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES

Determine how you want emails to be directed to you. Never use “info@yourname.com” or “customerservice@yourname.com” or “webmaster@yourname.com” or “store@yourname.com” or “mail@yourname.com” or “contact@yourname.com” or “ask@yourname.com” and generic things like that. These too often are challenged by spam prevention systems as spam. You don’t want your customers’ email systems automatically deleting your emails.

Claim Your Social Media Identity

It’s a good idea to claim your social media name early in the naming process — even if you are not sure which sites you intend to use. A name for your Facebook page can be set up and changed, but you can only claim a vanity URL or custom URL once you’ve got 25 fans or “likes.” This custom URL name must be unique, or un-claimed.

Along with the URL for the business name, you’ll want to check and make sure there are places on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, and Instagram (at the minimum) to claim early on.

You will want your business listed as a business in various search engines, like Google and Bing, and various directories, like Yelp.

Being active on public social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter in addition to your own business blog, is almost an essential part of any business marketing toolkit. These tools can have enormous benefits, but they also have their dangers.

For example, some businesses jump on social networking sites only to discover that someone has already registered their company or product names on Facebook and Twitter and is misrepresenting their brand as a consequence. Likewise someone might be out there reproducing your copyrighted web copy, blogs, photographs and videos (all that good multi-media stuff that social networks love to propagate) — without your knowledge.

CREATE A TAG LINE

Use a catchy phrase to summarize your business and get people’s attention…

Create A Tag Line

On written documents, brochures, stationery, envelopes and on online documents with titles, headings and the like, you have an opportunity to present more “words”, that is “meanings”, about your business. This gives you a second opportunity to convey things about your business that perhaps your specific business name falls short on, or needs more emphasis.

After you’ve come up with a business name, return to your lists of key words, and not-so-key words, and think of a tag line. Think of it as a “subtitle”.

Your Tag Line is a marketing opportunity, and should be worded in a catchy way.

Great tag line for taxidermy business:
the only game in town

A great tagline captures the essence of the value you provide to your customer in one or two concise sentences.

For my shop, Be Dazzled,
“Don’t be Frazzled, Be Dazzled”

For my shop, Land of Odds,
“Your Partner In Design”

Creating a tagline is a powerful exercise, as it forces you to think about exactly what it is you do for your customers that is unique. I call this a business’s Unique Advantage Point (UAP). It’s the perfect place to start when developing a tagline for your business.

First write a 9 words or less tag line. You need to be able to tell someone, in 1-sentence, preferably seven to nine words, who you are as a jewelry designer. What’s your style? What’s your approach? What’s your uniqueness? What’s your competitive advantage?

No qualifiers. No further supporting detail and elaboration. 1-Sentence.

It might be helpful to fill in this blank: “You want to buy/sell my jewelry because….(blank)….”

Or, “My jewelry is different and more relevant and better than everyone else’s because… (blank) …. “

A tagline doesn’t need to be overly clever or cute to be effective. A good tagline is primarily functional. It should explain the unique value that your business offers as clearly as possible.

Sure, many classic taglines are pretty smart. “Let your fingers do the walking” is a clever play on words for a telephone directory company. But it also clearly evokes the value that the Yellow Pages offers: easy access to reliable information.

Don’t Worry About Being Too Cute

Make It Memorable

Inject a Little Personality

Settle on a final draft.

Some examples of tag lines / slogans:

De Beers. A diamond is forever.
Citizen. Beyond precision.
Crystal gets closer to the body than ever before.
Diamonds by the Yard.
Every kiss begins with Kay.
Live the moment.
Perpetual spirit.
Quality is Remembered Long After the Price is Forgotten.
The crown jewellers for 150 years.
The Jeweller of Kings.
The right time for life.
The added value of the first impression.
Where Maryland gets engaged.
For those who want more.
Honesty, my addiction.
Getting rid of headaches since 1888.
Ring on your finger, necklace on your neck, and men on their knees.
Diamonds. Divas. Desire.
Love’s embrace.
Want honesty?
She only has two things on her list.
Unleashing the beauty of the stone.
Unstoppable.
Our reputation shines as brightly as our diamonds.
Beautiful, masterful design never goes out of fashion.
Walk down our aisles first.
Hearts on fire.
The ultimate in luxury and style.

NEXT WRITTEN EXERCISE:
Write Up Short Descriptions of Your Business

At this point, you have done a lot of work generating terms, key words, phrases all very relevant to your business. Take a little more time to generate some descriptions of your business which you can cut and paste into forms, such as the application forms for getting listed in various online directories.

Then, come up with a 250 word description of your business.

Then, come up with a 100 word description of your business.

Last, come up with a 25 word description of your business.

All these will be useful, when creating written documents, as well as web-pages, and, just as important, will be useful for filling out forms to register your business name with various search engines and directories online.

NAME YOUR JEWELRY

Naming your jewelry will increase your sales…

I was filling out an entry form the other day for a jewelry contest sponsored by Beading Daily, a part of Interweave Press. I was submitting my Duchess Aiko Necklace under the Czech Glass category. On the entry form, they asked you to name your piece, and I’m glad I had.

This piece was very classical looking, very European sic Roman sic Greek sic British aristocracy and French bureaucracy. Stuffy, Uppity, and Refined. Hence the “Duchess”.

I have frequently used a variation on a Japanese jewelry design technique and motif called a bundle of straw. The bundle of straw allows some interlacing, some interpenetration of forward, center and receding spaces, and some simple movements. I used a variation of this technique with a narrow tube bead that slipped through the larger holes of two positioned rondelle separator bars, and underneath two 14mm faceted and frosted carnelian discs. This had the effect of pushing the upper disc forward, increasing the dimensionality of the piece, as well. Hence, the “Aiko”.

I kept thinking how important it was to name all your pieces, and how I had named them — The E. Taylor (a take-off on a multimillion dollar piece worn by Elizabeth Taylor), the Barcelona Necklace (a translation of contemporary Spanish jewelry fashions and techniques), the Etruscan Vestment (a contemporary interpretation of an Etruscan collar), and Blue Waterfall (for a piece in silvers and a multitude of blues that felt very much like a moving waterfall).

The point here is, Name Your Jewelry. I find it useful in increasing attention and sales to name my jewelry. I name each piece of jewelry, and organize similar pieces of jewelry into collections and series, to which I assign names, as well.

This helps people relate to the various pieces I make. They get connected to my pieces because the “titles” give them meanings to relate to. Naming allows me to segment all the jewelry I make into smaller subsets. This enables me to explain techniques and materials pertinent to particular pieces, so I don’t end up, in my sales pitches, making broad generalizations about what I sell. And I find people often like to own more than one piece within any series or collection. People are natural “collectors.” The familiarity these names generate seems to encourage people to want to own a second or third piece of mine.

Pointers:
Keep your names short.
Relate the names to your design work, but not necessarily too literally.
Have fun with your names.

WRITE A STORY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
Sell yourself as an artist by telling your story…

Write A Short Story About Your Business and Your Biography as an Artist

Sell yourself, the jewelry artist, as well as your jewelry creations.

Buyers of your jewelry and other craft creations will want to know a lot about your craft or jewelry background. They will want to know about the piece, how you thought about it, what kinds of techniques you used to make it, where the materials come from, what makes the piece special or original. The more they know about you, the more connected they feel towards you. And the more comfortable they will feel about doing business with you.

They might want to know who taught you and how you learned your craft. They might want to know if you make your items full-time or part-time. They might be interested to learn where else you sell or have sold your pieces.

Write up a 3–4 paragraph story about yourself. It could be a true story, or it could be a fantasy you want associated with your products. This story, or parts of it, may end up in your brochures. It may end up on your packaging, such as earring cards, bags or gift boxes. It may end up on your web-site. It will be something you should be prepared to tell orally, as well.

Then re-write these paragraphs as 3 short, concise, distinct sentences. You won’t be able to tell everything about yourself. You won’t be able to go into your creative process.

Things that will work well in this 3-sentence structure are titles of articles you’ve written, awards won, specialized training programs, classes you teach, your website address, specialties you concentrate on, state where you are from.

ELEVATOR PITCH

Last, translate your short story and 3-sentence summary into a 30-second Elevator Pitch. Picture yourself on an elevator with a potential client, and you have 30 seconds to “make the sale”, so to speak.

While you are at it, ….

GO FORTH AND PROSPER

Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you’re in business.

Part of the success of your business name is how you effectively use it in your marketing plans.

Right or wrong, the name you choose, or don’t choose, speaks volumes about your business savvy and understanding of the world you are about to enter.

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).

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.

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

Posted by learntobead on May 14, 2020

Copyrighting Your Pieces

People think that they can copyright their designs, and this single act will be sufficient to prevent people from copying their work. However, to prove that someone has violated the copyright, and to sue them in court, is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to do.

A copyright is a grant from the United States Government for a specific jewelry design. It can cover the actual piece and the drawings for the piece, but cannot cover a specific idea or concept. You can only copyright something that is tangible.

Your registration covers the specific design, and may be flexible to cover a color change. However, if there is any obvious change in the piece — different shapes, different patterns, different sense of dimensionality — , you would want to register each variation on a core design.

You can also copyright a “collection of jewelry”, but you can’t add new designs to the collection, without getting new copyrights. In the collection, the pieces would need to share design elements and sensibilities, and these would need to be obvious.

Copyrights last for the life of the designer plus 70 years. Use form VA (Visual Arts). It usually takes about a year for the paperwork to go through, but your piece is considered copyrighted from the date you submitted your application.

The US Copyright Office will often reject jewelry designs for lacking authorship because they consist of common or usual shapes and forms. When submitting your application, you should present a well-reasoned argument, based on basic principles of jewelry design composition, form and function, as to why your jewelry and patterns should be copyrighted.

To bring a lawsuit, you must formally register your copyright with the US Library of Congress.

Federal law specifies the amount of damages you can sue for. In 2006, if your copyright registration was filed at least 3 months before the infringement, damages could range from $750 to $30,000 per infringement up to $150,000 maximum without having to prove that you had lost any profit. If your registration was last minute, you can only sue for your lost profit, and/or your infringer’s profits.

When is a copy an infringement? The standard is that the piece must be substantially similar and that the infringer copied the piece. There is a general idea that if the piece is 10% different, it is not an infringement. However, this is not a legal principle or standard. It’s “infringement” whether the person copied your design directly, or copied it from a photo or other image that someone had taken of your piece.

If you want to pursue any legal action, consult a copyright lawyer. A lawsuit can easily set you back $2,000–4,000.

The Mess over Copyright

It’s true. Many people copy other people’s jewelry. A large number of these folks want to copy other people’s jewelry exactly, bead by bead, clasp by clasp, part by part. They come into the store with pages torn from fashion or bead magazines, and want to make the same thing. They try to take photographs or make sketches of finished art-jewelry in our Open Window Gallery. They try to duplicate what they see others wearing — particularly the news ladies on the various programs on TV.

Over the years, beader after beader, and jewelry-maker after jewelry-maker, stood before us, plain scared that, if anyone saw their pieces, their designs would be stolen. After all, they saw it happening daily all around them. For too many of these artists, this was an insurmountable mountain. One of our friends would bring her pieces for us to see, but if another customer walked up to the counter, our friend would cover her pieces with her hands — shielding them from the potential design-thief. Over the 15 years we knew her, our friend was determined to launch herself into the jewelry design business — a business based on not allowing anyone to see her merchandise, for fear they would steal her designs. I’m sure she’ll be at this business enterprise of hers for 15 more years, as well. And not getting any further ahead.

If you want to sell your stuff, you have to put it out there. People will try to duplicate your pieces. So what? Successful businesses are successful, not just because they have great jewelry to sell, but because they’ve marketed well, placed their products well, priced their products fairly, distributed their products in a timely manner, and kept a tight control over the financial management of their businesses. They work, market, and invest in themselves so that eventually they create a “brand” recognition for their jewelry.

Jayden once took a lampworking class where the instructor was teaching one of her signature beads. However, in her instructions, she left out three pieces of critical information, which prevented her students from duplicating her work. The water of the lampwork-aquarium did not glisten blue. The dimensional arrangement of fish and plants could not be achieved. The students were very upset, because their pieces were inferior, by comparison, to those of the teacher. The students blamed themselves. But this teacher had been very dishonest and deceitful with them. She hadn’t really taught them how to make the bead they came to this class to learn to make.

If you want to teach classes or publish your work in a magazine or book, you have to put your instructions out there, (as well as present them so that anyone following them can come up with a result that is similar to the original as pictured). People will follow your instructions. They may teach your instructions. They may try to publish your instructions as their own in another book. So what? Successful instructors are successful, not just because they have great patterns to sell, but because they’ve marketed them well, placed them to maximize their visibility, priced them fairly, and created a steadfast brand loyalty on the part of their students and readers, who begin to associate particular looks, styles, steps and designs with particular designers.

If you don’t want the public to “consume your intellectual property,” don’t teach and don’t publish. I always felt that if you teach or publish instructions for the consumable public, then it’s like making a contract with them that they can follow and use those instructions. It’s no longer exclusively yours. As a teacher, it should be a natural part of the lesson to show your students how they might vary the instructions and make the piece their own. And ethically, it would be appropriate for any student or jewelry designer to reference the source of their ideas, if not their own, or not primarily their own.

This issue percolates to the surface every couple of years. Most notably was the shot heard around the world, when the editor, Mindy Brookes, at Bead & Button magazine wrote an editorial (June 2006 issue) about “When, if ever, is it acceptable to sell or teach another person’s designs?

From the editorial:

That’s a question we hear frequently at Bead & Button, and it tells us that many of our readers care about the ethical and legal issues involved when it comes to the money-making aspects of beading. Unfortunately, we also have first hand experience with beading’s darker side — the dishonest few who cause heartache and financial harm by cashing, in on another person’s original work. And when unethical people profit from ideas that don’t belong to them, it hurts us all.

Maybe it was inevitable that as beading became more popular, people would look for shortcuts to exploit the growing number of lucrative opportunities, and maybe there is nothing one editor one editorial can do to change that. So, it’s gratifying to know that my concerns about the ethics of beading are shared by the editors of other beading magazines, including Cathy Jakicic of BeadStyle, Marlene Blessing of Beadwork, Pamela Hawkins of BeadUnique, and Leslie Rogalski of Step by Step Beads. They will also be covering this topic in upcoming issues of their publications.

To address the question presented at the start of this editorial, Bead & Button’s position on copying designs is as follows:

  1. It is unethical to copy an artist’s work to sell without the artist’s permission.
  2. It is unethical to copy any work that has appeared in a magazine, book, or website and represent it in any venue as an original design.
  3. It is unethical to teach a beading project that has appeared in a magazine, book, or website without the artist’s permission.
  4. It is unethical to teach a beading project learned in another teacher’s class without the teacher’s permission.

If you agree, please help disseminate this message by including a copy of these statements with your class materials, your kits, and the pieces you sell. You can download a copyright-free version at beadandbutton.com.

The reactions of our customers, teachers and students in the store were strong, worried, concerned, angry, frustrated, soul-searching, and very questioning of the Bead & Button manifesto. The primary concern was that most people liked to try out the patterns in the magazine. Was this unethical? Many teachers took cues from the magazines about fun projects to teach. Was this now unethical?

How much, in percent, of a project would have to have been copied, to suggest that this copying was unethical?

If determining the correct percentage, what did you count? Color? Bead? Style? Stringing material? Pattern?

How many original designs can people truly come up with? What if the originators were some tribal or provincial group hundreds of years ago? With 54,000,000 people who bead or design jewelry in the United States, how many original ideas can there actually be?

What if someone created an important variation on someone else’s design? Who’s project would the project be, and would that variation have to be suppressed?

Should there be a distinction between “copying” and “learning new techniques”?

How could anyone find out what was already copyrighted in jewelry? Copyrights are filed by title, not design elements. There is no searchable database. There are so many books and magazines and so many hundreds of years of beading.

I had read of a court battle in Washington State of a glass artist suing two of his apprentices, who went off and started their own business. The original artist claimed that he had sole rights to create certain curvatures in glass. Can you really copyright or patent a curvature in glass — how many curvatures can there be, before the glass breaks? The original artist claimed that the work of the two apprentices was too similar to his own. To complicate the situation, the original artist had been physically unable to make his own pieces. He designed them, oversaw the work of the apprentices, and signed the pieces. If the original artist were to win in court, would this force all other glass artists out of business, because they would no longer have the rights to make certain curvatures in glass?

By trying to clarify the issue, I think Bead & Button muddied the water more. They confused the moral value of copying someone else’s work, with the legal value of copyrighted material.

What I say:

1. Don’t be a jewelry designer, teacher or craft-writer, if you don’t want people to copy your work.

2. Don’t copy someone else’s work and sell it or teach it, without at least referencing or acknowledging your source material.

3. When teaching or designing based on someone else’s work, set a goal for yourself to try to “make it your own”, by personalizing or varying the piece.

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).

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.

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ABOUT PEARL KNOTTED JEWELRY: CHOOSING CLASPS

Posted by learntobead on May 7, 2020

pearl clasp

You can use any type of clasp that you prefer.

However, pearl knotted jewelry is very strongly associated with what are called pearl clasps or safety clasps. These are often marquis-shaped clasps, with a hook like tongue that pushes inside them. If the tongue should somehow come undone and slip out, it would catch on a bar in the clasp, saving you from losing your string of pearls.

box clasps

In terms of that vintage-type look, other widely used clasps are filigree or other box clasps. These are pretty, but not as secure as safety clasps.

Usually, you will want your clasp to compliment and not compete visually with your pearl knotted piece. If you decide to use a very show’y clasp, it should blend organically with the rest of your piece.

You will be attaching your bead cord, either to the loop(s) on the clasp itself, or to soldered rings attached to these loops. You want both these loops, as well as any rings attached to them, to be closed, that is soldered — thus have no gaps in them. If there are attached rings, and they are open, you will want to remove these, and attach the cord to the closed loops on the clasp.

Whatever Your Preference, 
You Would Be Hard Pressed Not To Use A Pearl Clasp

If you are making pearl knotted pieces for re-sale, you would be hard pressed Not to use a pearl or safety clasp, or some similar looking clasp.

The woman who originally owned the American Pearl Company in Tennessee was always looking for a clasp that would be durable, but attractive to her customers. The American Pearl Company made a lot of its money by selling finished jewelry.

Pearl and Safety clasps, particularly those made of 14KT gold, break easily. The tongue bends and breaks, and no longer can wedge into its marquis shaped home. Her biggest frustration was that the clasps on the necklaces and bracelets she sold broke too easily, and the pieces came back for repair. It’s a big effort to re-string pearl knotted pieces, since you have to cut off each pearl individually, and then re-knot between each bead. And there is some obligation within a reasonable amount of time (say, 3–6 months), where it is the seller’s responsibility to cover the costs of repair.

At first she tried switching to other types of clasps, like toggle clasps and lobster claws. But these pieces did not sell. People wanted pearl/safety clasps.

Next, she tried switching from 14KT gold to gold-filled clasps. Gold-filled is real gold fused to brass, sometimes copper. Gold-filled has the value of real gold, but is very durable, retaining the color, shine, shape and value over many years, even decades. These did not sell either. People wanted 14KT.

Finally, she gave in somewhat. She returned to the 14KT gold pearl/safety clasps. But she doubled her prices, to build in the cost of one re-stringing.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started Story

The Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

About Pearls In History: Or Why The Indians Sided With The French

About Pearls: Choosing The Rights Ones

About Pearl Knotting Jewelry: Choosing Clasps

Re-Stringing Pearls: 5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Pearls Need Re-Stringing

A Note About Caring For Pearls: 10 Things You Should Know

Styles and Lengths of Pearl Necklaces

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.

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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).

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 »

DESIGNER CONNECT PROFILE

Posted by learntobead on April 27, 2020

Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

Founder and Designer, Lock & Key (www.lockandkeydesign.com)

STARTING OUT

Tony: “I have memories of always being surrounded by the arts.” 
 
 Tony comes from a family that was very arts-oriented, and very supportive of him pursuing the arts and crafts — wherever it took him. His mom was a watercolorwatercolorist and oil painter. His father was a small business owner as well as a photographer. His dad’s dad sculpted for Lockheed, and even was a street dancer. He had a great uncle in New York who had a jewelry business, and Tony remembers, even at age 5 or 6, his uncle was always making jewelry for everyone in the family. 
 
 Starting out with gymnastics, Tony graduated to dancing (because his older sister danced). As a dancer, he had to teach himself to sew for costumes as his Mom was much better with a glue gun then a needle. He remembers his family always making things — food, pastry, lapidary, painting. He has fond memories of always being surrounded by art and creativity. 
 
 A family friend — Frank — taught him how to bead weave the summer he was ten. That Summer Frank and his wife exposed Tony to the artisan craft as well lapidary, jewelry festivals and much more.

Warren: “Do you think now, with all the creative things you are doing, that you, in some respects are re-creating your childhood?” 
 
 Tony: “Oh, for sure! I would say that’s part of a goal I have. I swore I would never be a teacher, but kids gravitate towards me like a moth to a flame. I realized it is because I am ‘5’. Kids get me, which should be the other way around. I am young at heart. I think trying to retain that naivete, that sort of blissful ignorance, especially as a Creative, just allows you to be a little more free with your aspirations. All of a sudden you grow up. It’s like Peter Pan. You lose that sense of innocence and exploration.” 
 
 Tony grew up in Los Angeles, spent some time pursuing a career in fashion in New York City. He moved back to Los Angeles for a few years. And then he came to Nashville with his wife who is a singer-songwriter. Today Tony wears several hats: Jewelry Designer, Dance Educator, Choreographer, Costume Designer, Jewelry Design Educator. 
 
 Tony: “Growing Up, I always thought I had to do one of these things, or the other. Before I moved to Nashville, jewelry making was just a hobby. When I moved here, one of my goals was how do I interweave all of the creative aspects that make me whole. I think a lot of creatives are creative in more than one discipline, as well. So I’m just trying to figure out how to make it one — one happy world.”

KEEPING GOING

Warren:”Today, how would you describe what your jewelry making is like today?” 
 
 Tony:”I describe Lock & Key as a modern interpretation honoring an artisan craft. I am doing something that is ancient in terms of its art, as a form of communication and expression. The loom that I use is about 80 years old at this point, so it’s touched many different hands and many different stories. It’s definitely art jewelry. I describe what I do as boho eclecticism. Tribal influences, so I say it is international in feel. One of the main feedbacks I get is that it is fashion, but not trendy.” 
 
 Tony continues by describing his core consumer.
 
 Tony:”My core consumer is 40+. Is a woman who appreciates artisan product, as well as pieces which make them feel modern with a sense of timeless appeal.” 
 
 Warren:”So, that first day you decided to become a business. What was that like?” 
 
 Tony’s first piece, done around 1998, was a custom piece. He was asked to design a piece for the head designer at Betsey Johnson, a New York fashion designer of clothes and accessories. It was a loomed piece, 1 1/2″ wide choker with multi-colored skulls in it and dangling feathers. He was excited, to say the least. He shared the story about making this one piece, which inspired other people to ask him to design a piece. People responded to his authenticity, and then it became all about the product. 
 
 When Tony moved to Nashville, he decided to focus on jewelry. It was part, what was he going to do to make a living? Part, honoring his childhood mentor who had made the Indian jewelry. Part passion about his loom, and gradually adding precious metal clay to the mix of media he relied on for his jewelry designs.
 
 Tony:”And I still love it. Exhausted. Up until 3am getting production ready. Fingers chewed up by my drill bits. But I absolutely still love it!

CREATIVE PROCESS

In describing a typical piece, Tony begins with multi-media. This includes some loom bead weaving. He incorporates ball and chain. He likes to use a lot of color and texture, and mix matte and glossy. People respond well to his color sensibility. He uses many square shaped beads with round beads. With the beadwork, he includes a piece of metal, like a sculpted metal clay piece, either an integral part of the piece, or as a pendant. He often includes semi-precious stones. He likes to mix metal finishes.”Silver and Gold is the same conversation as Navy and Black. If it is well-balanced, it makes it very versatile.”

Tony mentions that, to understand his creative process, you have to go back to his goal of trying to meld together all his creative worlds. His creative process is not a linear process.
 
 He cites as an example a very successful pair of earrings he designed which are precious metal clay based. But they were flowers, which is very specific seasonal iconography. When he started thinking about what he wanted to do the next season, he thought about how he could adapt these earrings. He mentioned that a lot of his pieces and his bead weaving have an almost art deco or art nouveau feeling to them. At the time, there was an Egyptian revival style that was prominent because of a world wide tour of Egyptian antiquities. 
 
 He reflected on his artistic style and the current revival trend, and asked himself: This was a successful piece. I’m thinking business here. How do I creatively then come up with the next version of it? So for the Fall holiday he explored hieroglyphics and lotus flower motifs. And for the following Spring, he thought about incorporating the scarab and other Egyptian touches. 
 
 Tony: “Things started to trend in High Fashion — snakes, beetles, insects, and bees. I have a scarab beetle tattooed on my back that is about 14” long, the whole width of my back. It’s an icon that is important to me. It symbolizes the sun god Ra. It represents newness and renewal, and I have chronic back pain, so it was interconnected. It started from something that was authentic and meaningful for me, and which started to become a trend years after I had gotten my tattoo. I introduced this sculpt and coupled it with beadwork. People responded to it. Then I started thinking how to tie this all up from a business perspective. If we’re just creating ‘pretty’, who cares? You have to be able to speak to an audience.” 
 
 Tony discussed that jewelry artists have to be able to synergize the Business-Creative Mind. Both worlds need to be respected. It’s a hard business, he agrees. Artists have to monetize their creative output and still remain authentic to themselves.
 
 Frequently, he asks himself: Do I need to break up with my design? It is OK, he indicated, to say Yes! His scarab beetle was a good idea, but some reality testing was in order. Was it too early before the trend? Would it be marketable? 
 
 On a second business level, Tony poses the question: Can I stand behind my product?Can the store that sells his pieces be able to stand behind his products? 
 
 A third major consideration is whether he has successfully differentiated his products from the mass market. That is one reason he incorporates glass seed beads and Czech beads within his work. Glass beads allow him to inject colors, where more mass market pieces are mostly metal and look very machine made.

MOVING ALONG

Tony reflects daily how art jewelry, as opposed to jewelry mass produced overseas, will be accepted by the general public.

He sees that consumer demand for artisan jewelry is on the rise, but there are still nagging questions whether you can make a viable business out of it. Can you make enough product? Can you do it efficiently? Can you transition from a one person designer business to having staff make the pieces, as well? Meeting business goals gets more complicated if you are not going to produce your jewelry overseas. 
 
 One of his biggest challenges coming up is to create sufficient infrastructure — studio space, supplies and personnel — to be able to easily kick out 30 pieces of 20 styles on demand.

MARKETING

Tony is natural marketer, so I asked him what kinds of things he does to reach his target audience. The extent of things he does can provide a lot of ideas and insights for all of us.
 
 Tony:”I always try to make marketing creative so I still enjoy it.”

FUTURE PLANNING

Tony is a planner. He’s developed a clear vision for the future. Some of the things he wants to accomplish over the next 3 years include,
 
 — maintaining a 60% year-over-year rate of growth
 — grow from a more regional line to a national one
 — focus on his infrastructure — studio space, materials and personnel — to keep production, shipping/receiving, website and marketing all on track
 
 The big questions before him: How does he meet demand that he has created for his jewelry? How does he enhance his brand? How does he grow his ability to distribute his products?
 
 He wants to contine to be flexible, given the instability of our economy. He wants to maintain his constant rate of sales so his business can sustain itself. He sees, perhaps, his line represented in a showroom. Perhaps he can gain more presence in museum shops. 
 
 Tony:”I have a lot of jobs right now and it would be great to have one focus. Or add a couple hours to the day.”

FINAL WORDS

Tony: “The true test of a good designer is an ability to sell it.” 
 
 Tony: “If I don’t get that gut feeling that my piece is going to be successful, it’s time to move on.” 
 
 Tony has had to create the opportunities himself. This has involved a lot of reflection, reality testing and planning. He has created a business plan framework with year over year goals for design, production, and distribution. 
 
 Tony:”In today’s world, you always have to be creating your own rules to stay on your feet. There is wide competition. Email inundation. I like the challenge but it’s exhausting.” 
 
 Tony: “Whether or not these jewelry artists work professionally, they need patrons, and that sometimes is even more important than being an artist.” 
 
 Tony wishes there was more of a connected jewelry designer/artist community in Nashville. It is still very fragmented. He finds that politics gets in the way of creative collaboration.
 
 Tony:”There’s room at the table for everyone.” 
 
 He wants to call artists attention to the Arts and Business Council of Nashville, as well as their Periscope program. There are opportunities for networking, expanded contacts, a support system of creatives and their ideas, developing business skills and confidence.
 
 Jewelry designers in Nashville still need a more functional, consistent support system, particularly to thread the business-needle better. Help to find studio space. Getting a small business loan. Finding an angel investor. Connecting to mentors. This is all important, and we need more organized systems to make these kinds of things easier, smoother and more reliable.

WHERE TO FIND TONY’S JEWELRY

Tony has taken a shot-gun approach to getting his jewelry out there. He does a little direct retail through an e-commerce site. He finds that this is a great billboard for him, but not a great selling outlet. He does art and craft festivals. He likes to focus on juried or well-curated shows in particular. 
 
 He wholesales his products to stores. Sometimes this involves cold-calling on stores, with product in hand. But he also does wholesale markets, like the Atlanta Gift and Apparel Market. In 2017, he did 2 shows there; in 2018, he plans on doing 4 shows. His pieces currently are in 28 stores in the United States and the Virgin Islands. He is looking at other wholesale markets. He is exploring options to lock in with a jewelry rep or a jewelry show room. 
 
 You may find Tony’s jewelry locally at:
 
 Two Old Hippies (the Gulch)
 401 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 
 
 Stacey Rhodes Boutique (Brentwood)
 144 Franklin Rd Suite A, Brentwood, TN 37027 
 
 T. Nesbitt & Co. (Franklin)
 2nd Ave N, Franklin, TN 37064 
 
 Kitty (East Nashville)
 521 Gallatin Ave #2, Nashville, TN 37206 
 
 
 Tony has an eye out to find his ideal studio-showroom. He pictures it full of natural light. Small and intimate. A low wall separating the front from the studio. Inspirational and calming. A sancturary.
 
 Find Tony online at www.lockandkeydesign.com

Be Dazzled Beads is a community of Creatives. Some people use our beads to make jewelry. Some to do mosaics. Some to adorn and embellish costumes. Some to enhance things like wine classes or drapes or mirrors or sweaters or cross stitch patterns. Some to embellish paintings or sculptures. Some actually use our beads in science experiments. To us, all Creatives are Designers. That is, they make artistic and functional choices about how to incorporate the types of supplies we sell into personal visions. Some design for themselves. Some design for friends and family. Some design as a business. It is not as much fun to work alone or isolated when you realize you are part of the larger Be Dazzled, Land of Odds and Nashville communities. We can learn a lot of insights from each other. We can support each other. It’s all about Connection!

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).

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 »

Why Jewelry Artists Fail At Business

Posted by learntobead on April 16, 2020

BUSINESS AND JEWELRY ART

To what extent do (and should) business concerns influence the artistic choices bead and jewelry artists make?

I’d say “A Lot!”

But this isn’t what a lot of artists like to hear.

You have to market to audiences. You may have to standardize things to be able to make the same thing over and over again. You may have to work in a production mode and repeat making certain designs, rather than freely create and design anew each time. You have to price things so that they will sell, and you have to price things so that you can make a sufficient profit. You can’t undersell yourself, like offering discounts to family, friends and co-workers.

You have to conform to prevalent styles and colors and forms. You have to make things which will photograph well for sale online. You have to make things that local stores want and are willing to buy or put on consignment. You may end up with a lot of “one size fits all.”

You find that if you want to make your jewelry design into a successful business, you may have to compromise with yourself, your artistic drives and sensibilities. You may have to limit what you offer. In order to make that sale. In order to make a profit. And stay in business.

Business involves:
– Putting your artwork on a sound cost/revenue footing
– Developing market-driven strategies (as opposed to product-driven ones)
– Pricing your pieces for sale
– Implementing various selling strategies
– Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business
 — Understanding how the creative marketplace works

Over and over again, I have seen one jewelry artist after another fail as a business. The reasons repeat themselves as well.

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business.

Many jewelry artists get so excited after selling their first piece, that they think they don’t have to get too involved with business principles. They understand their “business” as a “necklace-by-necklace” endeavor. Make something, sell it. Doesn’t matter what the price. Doesn’t matter to whom. Doesn’t matter if making the piece in the first place is in line with the resources you currently have to make the piece, or will drive you in debt in order to get those resources.

Artists need to focus on what’s called “Velocity” — the rate of sales, rather than the number of sales. You need to have in place sufficient strategies for keeping the money turning over at a constant rate. If you can’t maintain this rate, you go in the hole. You make something. You sell it. You reallocate the money you just made to reinvesting in more inventory, replacing the inventory you sold, evaluating the pros and cons of the sale that just happened, adjusting accordingly, and strategizing how to keep this velocity going at a constant, or ever-increasing, velocity.

And artists need to keep good records, and implement good accounting principles.

2. Gets Bored.

People who get started are very excited. They’ve made a lot of pretty pieces, and someone has bought some of them. But then you need to leave your creative mode, and enter a production mode. You need to discipline yourself to make the same things over and over again. Many artists quickly lose interest.

3. A fear of marketing your own things

You won’t succeed without marketing. Marketing is more than advertising. It includes all forms of self-promotion. It includes doing research on your markets and market niches, how to reach them, how to get their attention, how to get them to translate this attention into needs and wants and desires, and how to get them to part with some money.

Many artists are shy about self-promotion. Time to train yourself, if this is you, to get over it.

4. Trying to please all audiences

When people get started, they are reluctant to use the “No” word. They want to please everyone. But when you get started, you can’t. It will put you out of business.

Let’s say you have some jewelry that is predominantly purple. Someone at work loves the jewelry, but asks if you can make it in red. If you don’t have an inventory of red beads, and will have to go out and buy them, it may make this sale foolish, from a business standpoint. You can’t buy just one bead at a time; you need to buy strands or packages of these beads. You will have a lot left over.

When you start, you need to pursue a strategy of depth, rather than breadth. You want to buy a limited number of pieces in large quantities to get adequate price breaks. So, initially, your designs will be limited, as well. You need to be able to say No. No to your family. No to your friends. No to the people you work with.

In my experience, such as the situation with red vs purple beads above, when you say No, the potential customer tends to make a face. Pitiful. Angry. Frustrated. Sad. Pleading. If you can wait 60 seconds, in almost every case, the customer stops making this face, and says, “OK, I’ll take what you have in purple.” But so many jewelry artists can’t wait that 60 seconds.

And don’t give these people discounts. They’re already getting it cheaper, than if they bought the same piece in a store. One major way your business will get built up is word-of-mouth. You don’t want some of that information to include extremely low price expectations that will never be self-supporting in your business.

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

You need to understand how other jewelry artists you compete with function as a business.

How do they define their markets?
How do they price things?
What kinds of inventory do they carry? What kinds do they NOT carry?
Where do they advertise? How do they promote themselves?
How do they define their competitive advantage — that is, all the reasons people should buy from them, rather than from anyone else, like you?
Where do they sell things — stores, shows, fairs, online, etc? What seems to work better for them?

You can find a lot of this out by Googling. You can look for jewelry designers. Directories of jewelry designers. You can plug in a jewelry designer’s website, and see where they are listed, and who lists them.

6. Doesn’t Educate Self About The Business Marketplace

You already know that you want to sell your pieces. But why would someone else want to sell them for you?

What’s in it for that gallery or consignment shop or boutique? How do they make money? What’s their customer base? Why do they shop there? What are their preferences? What is the feel and flavor of what the businesses carry in their shops?

Most businesses spend years establishing a reputation and brand. They attract customers who, in turn, are attracted to that brand identify. So they are looking for certain similar things they already carry or fit with the theme or perspective of their business. But, at the same time, they don’t want the exact same things. They already have those things. They want things that coordinate and compliment. If your style is avant garde, and the business style is Victorian romantic, there is not going to be a fit. It won’t work out for you in this location.

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).

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 »

Consigment Selling: A Last Resort!

Posted by learntobead on April 16, 2020

Consignment Selling — A Last Resort

Over At The Consignment Shop

“She’s CHEATING ME!” the woman from Rhode Island screamed into the phone. She could hardly catch her breath, the anger overtaking her ability to explain why she was calling.

“I read your article about Pricing and Selling, and I’m not getting my $70.00 for my piece.”

She didn’t have to say anymore. I knew right off the bat she was talking about CONSIGNMENT.

I recognize the anger. The frustration. The feeling that someone put something over on you, and you’re powerless to correct the situation. You don’t know what to do. You know the sweat, time and cost you put into all the pieces you let some stranger have, and now what do you do?

“I put 10 of my pieces of jewelry in her shop in Northern Rhode Island — not a big shop, no sales, except, this one piece sold, not in a major place,” she continued, taking breath after breath, to get it all out, in some way that made sense, and some way that kept her from losing it.

“What do I Do?” “She sold my piece for $70.00, and didn’t give me my money?” “Should she have given me my money right away?” “Should I take my jewelry out of her shop?” “Should I never do consignment again?” She peppered me with questions, not waiting for an answer.

She indicated that the store owner told her that she paid her artists 30 days after a sale. Her customers had 30 days to return something. If the store owner paid before that time, she would be out the money. Store owners can set whatever policies they want, and in this case, I told the woman it was reasonable to wait 30 days, given the policy.

Of course, it had already been 7 weeks.

“Should she call her?” Her husband told her not to call yet. He didn’t want her to make waves, or ruin this opportunity to sell her jewelry.

“Call her,” I said. If the store owner said 30 days, then 30 days it should be.

Consignment may be a necessary evil, especially when you are getting started in the jewelry making business. But consignment is not the best situation to be in. Most stores that accept consignment do not understand the consignment business. As a result, when the time comes to pay the artists, there’s no cash flow.

In Consignment, the store is at greater risk than the artist. The store has to make space available for the pieces, and forgo the opportunity to get something else in that retail-real-estate that might do better. The store has to display the pieces, and keep them clean and presentable. The store has to train its sales staff so that they have sufficient information and motivation to make the sale. And, of course, there’s the tracking and accounting that goes with every consignment piece on sale.

Your best clue to whether a particular consignment situation is a good or better one, is the percentage split between the store or gallery owner and the artist. Given the level of risk each party assumes, the optimum distribution is 60/40 with the store or gallery getting the larger amount. But if the split is 40/60 or 50/50, this would be a acceptable sign as well.

However, when the split is 70/30 or 30/70 or outside this 60 and 40 range, yellow flags should go up. This shows that the store or gallery owner is not aware of the level of risk in their business. You probably won’t get paid on time, and not get paid without a lot of time spent yelling on the phone. Your pieces won’t be maintained. They won’t be displayed in a prominent place. No one will be trained or motivated to sell your pieces.

Just because you confront a potentially bad consignment situation doesn’t necessarily mean that you should walk away. There are a few prominent boutiques in Nashville that offer a 70/30 split between the store and the artist. They rarely pay their artists when the pieces sell. It takes a lot of screaming, “Bloody Murder!” before you get paid. But these are very prominent shops. Letting other stores and galleries know that you have pieces in these shops will open many doors for you. You might view the delayed payments and the effort to get your money as “marketing expenses.”

Other reasons you might settle for a bad situation:
– You’re just getting started, and saying your pieces are in a shop anywhere has some marketing cache that goes with this
– You can direct customers to this shop. At least you have a place to send people. You might not have a central base from which to work. Your main business might be doing craft shows, and here you can direct people to your jewelry between shows.
– This might be the only game in town.

But otherwise, if consignment doesn’t have some added value for you, you want to minimize your consignment exposure.

When you negotiate consignment terms with a shop, try to:

  1. Get a feel for the amount of consignment they do (and how long they have been doing this), the range of artists, the range of types of merchandise on consignment, and the types of customers they have
  2. Get a 60/40, 50/50 or 40/60 split
  3. Work with store or gallery owner on final retail pricing of your pieces.
  4. Get a written contract
  5. Get in writing if possible, but an oral agreement would suffice, to convert the situation to “wholesale terms”, if you pieces sell well. (Be sure to define what “selling well” might mean.)
  6. Determine a specific date when to take your pieces out, or trade them out for new pieces. Usually it’s good to trade them out every 3–6 months.
  7. Determine exactly how and when you will get paid, after any one piece sells. A 30-day waiting period is reasonable.

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).

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 »

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

Posted by learntobead on April 14, 2020

Adobe Stock Photo

PUBLICITY — WHEN THE REPORTER COMES A-CALLING…

Kathryn was so very excited! She had just finished speaking with a reporter for a local arts magazine. He wanted to do a story about her as a jewelry designer. The magazine was 4-color, very substantial and distributed widely in her hometown area. Moreover, the reporter promised he’d include 5 pictures in the article. They made an appointment to meet in the middle of next week. And Kathryn was thrilled!

The reporter met her at her home. She greeted him, somewhat giddy, not sure what to say, or say next. She thought she would let him lead the conversation and interview. She gave him a short tour of her house — her beading room, her den, her living room. The reporter marveled at her collection of Pez dispensers and puppets. A short time later, a photographer joined them.

After 2 hours, the reporter and photographer had left. Kathryn was satisfied that they had seen several of her bead-woven jewelry pieces. She felt that she had given them a good history of how she got into jewelry making. The photographer had taken at least 20 shots of her around the house. The article was to come out in 3 weeks.

Three weeks later, and there it was.

A 4-color article. In a prominent local art magazine. About her wonderful Pez collection. And the long staircase from the street level to the living level in her house. And all her puppets. And information about her moving from Connecticut to Tennessee and having lived in Georgia. And she had three children.

And no pictures of her jewelry.

Or her bead room.

Or her making jewelry.

And no pictures, surprisingly, of her Pez collection or her puppets, given how prominently these were featured in the article.

There was a picture of her staircase. Three pictures of her sitting on a couch or chair. And a picture of a treasured vase, and quite beautiful.

Kathryn had these high hopes — Now Nashville will know about her jewelry making and design prowess.

Until she saw the article.

And knew now she’d be known for Pez dispensers.

The opportunity to get featured in a newscast or newspaper or magazine doesn’t come around often. However, when the opportunity does knock, this can have a big and positive impact on your jewelry making business. But you have to be prepared.

You Have To Remain In Control

You have to remain in control — even if this leads to a little tension between you and the reporter.

Jewelry Designers At Workshop with Warren Feld, Photo, Feld, 2013

First, pre-prepare.

MAJOR POINTS: Determine the 4 or 5 or so major points you want to make about yourself as a designer and about your jewelry.

No matter what questions the reporter asks, turn the conversation back to your major points. During the interview, keep making the major points. When the reporter returns to his notes to quote you, this will be all the material he has to draw from.

WHAT YOU SHOW AND DON’T SHOW: If you give a reporter a tour of your home, only take him to the design-relevant points of interest. Where you make the jewelry (or other product or project). Where you display your work. Where you have people try on your jewelry or use your products. Where you get inspiration for your designs. And if there’s a photographer or cameraman there, direct and narrow their attention and focus as well.

WHAT PICTURES WOULD BE MOST STRATEGIC: Pre-think what will be the 5 or so most strategic pictures that should be taken. Definitely have an “action” shot that shows you making or manipulating your designs. Perhaps another “action” shot that shows you fitting someone with your product, or them using one of your designs. Have some of your products or projects “staged” so that they are photo-ready, with great background, foreground and pedestal. Don’t wait to take your product out of a box or to boot-up your computer to show your work. If what you design is very detailed or uses very small parts or objects, these might not photograph well. Show the photographer the parts of your work that lend themselves to detailed close-ups.

Make your points. Get your images.

Second, set the stage.

YOU SHOULD BE INTERVIEWING THEM AS MUCH AS THEY WILL BE INTERVIEWING YOU: When the reporter (and photographer or cameraman) arrives, butter them up, and find out how deep and wide their knowledge is about the design work you do. If they only have a shallow understanding, educate them. How do you find the parts? How do you determine how the pieces or projects should be constructed? Do you use specialized tools? How does someone learn to do what you do?

Also, ask them about the “audience.” What kinds of things do they think that their “audience” would most like to know about the design work you do?

Given all the things you have learned from them, you might want to modify parts of your game strategy.

Third, before they begin, ask for tips.

Get them to prepare you so that you look the best, your design work will look its best, your voice will sound the best, and so forth. They are the experts. Use their expertise.

If this is getting filmed, ask about how you should stand, (or sit), the direction you should look at, and any do’s and don’ts, as they see it.

What kinds of things do they like to see/hear in an interview?

Last, when you are done, ask to get a copy.

Be sure you will be sent copies of the written articles, or DVD or video copies of any filming. Don’t assume they will automatically send you something.

Don’t be self-conscious. Don’t think all this will make you seem too pushy.

Remember: Everyone will be happy if the story comes out great!

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.

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 »

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-PROMOTION: Don’t Be Shy!

Posted by learntobead on April 14, 2020

Often, I have found, creative-types can be shy when it comes to self-promotion and marketing.

If you are a jewelry designer who has ambitions to have your work publicized in books or magazines, or to be accepted into a juried show or exhibit, or to sell your things in a store or gallery, you need to be able to promote your work.

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS…
 Write Your Answers Down On A Sheet of Paper

What insights, from your own experiences, can you offer your fellow jewelry designers about self-promotion?

What kinds of things help you to overcome any fears about marketing your work?

How do you handle criticism and other rejection like getting the dreaded “No”?

From an article I wrote….

Jewelry designers often find a self-satisfaction in working intensely on a project, often in isolation or solitude. But when it comes to tooting their own horns — this is not as easy or satisfying for them. There is a discomfort here. You might want to show your pieces to others, perhaps submitting them for review or a juried competition, or perhaps wanting a store or gallery to accept your pieces for sale.

Then humility kicks in. Or perhaps a lack of confidence in yourself. Or a fear of criticism. Or a rejection. Hearing: No, we don’t want your pieces.

We don’t want to appear desperate for a sale, or too eager for acceptance.

But, if you don’t believe in yourself and your products, no one will. Your fantasy of striking out on your own will never materialize, if you don’t find it within yourself to do some self-promotion.

Promote Your Value

And the first step is understanding and recognizing:

that to promote yourself
 means promoting your value
.

Your jewelry has VALUE to them, why….?

If something has value to someone, then they typically want to know about it. Your jewelry has value to them because it solves a problem for them. It might make them happier, more beautiful, more enriched, more satisfied, more powerful, more socially accepted, more understanding of construction or technique or art and aesthetics. It might be better than other jewelry they see or wear or think about buying.

For a store or gallery, your jewelry might be more saleable, more attractive as displayed, better constructed, more artistic, more stylish or fashionable, a better fit with their customer base, with good price points.

You promote the value of your jewelry to your audience. You do not have to brag. You do not have to be shameless. You do not have to do or say anything embarrassing.

Just speak the truth about value.

Share examples of your work and what you have done, not your ego.

Speaking

And that brings up the second point — speaking.

People who are more comfortable speaking about themselves and their products tend to be more successful in their careers.

Products don’t sell themselves. People need to be nudged.

This “speaking-about-themselves and their products” is a basic communication process. This communication process is a process of sharing information.

You want to educate the right people, in the right way at the right time. You want to speak about who you are, and what you make. The values your jewelry has to offer them. And how you would like to develop your relationship — whether designer/client or designer/retailer or designer/jury — so that you may both benefit.

Fundamentally self-promotion is about communication. Communicators frame the narrative. Communicators start the conversation. They begin on favorable terms.

They would not say: 
Would you like to see my jewelry?

Instead, they would say
I have jewelry you are going to love
.

Be Relevant

And this brings up the third point — be relevant.

Know your audience, what their needs are, what their problems are that need solving. You may have created the original piece to satisfying some personal yearning and desire. But if you want someone to buy the piece, wear the piece or sell the piece, you need to anticipate why. Why would they want to buy, wear, review or sell your piece of jewelry?

Do not assume they will figure all this out on their own. You will need to help them along in this process. You will need to communicate about the value your jewelry will have for them. You will need to do some self-promotion.

Inspire People

The last point — inspire people to spread your message.

Your best marketing and promotion will be what is called “word-of-mouth”. So you want to create supporters and fans and collaborators and colleagues. And you want them to be inspired enough about you, your creativity and your jewelry, so that they tell others about you. You inspire your current network of family and friends. You might make a presentation or teach a class. You might share images of your work on social media like FaceBook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest. You want to regularly connect with people, so that you and your work are frequently in their thoughts.

There are many self-promotion strategies that you can do. You don’t need to do everything at once. You might try one or two ideas first, and do those, then pick a third, and so on.

Self-Promotion Strategies

Some Self-Promotion Strategies That Have Worked Well For Others

1. Wear your jewelry all the time, and don’t be shy about saying you made it!

2. Have attractive business cards made, perhaps a brochure. Vistaprints online is a good place to start.

3. Have an active presence on social media, particularly Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest; participate in discussions; get people to click on those LIKE buttons (or similar thumbs-up registers) next to your images and your discussions.

NOTE: When a person hits the LIKE button or adds a comment, look them up on the social media site. Find something about their background or their own creative work, and respond to them: (a) First, re-state their name at the top of your response, (b) thank them for the like or comment, (c) comment on what you learned about them, (d) type your name and perhaps a link to your website or your social media site.

4. Have a website, either as a “billboard”, or as a full-fledged e-commerce site

5. Get your website listed in as many online directories and search engines as you can

6. Generate an emailing list and use it regularly, such as sending out a newsletter; get into the habit of asking people if you can add them to your mailing list

NOTE: Try to maintain some more routine follow-up contacts with at least 50 people on your emailing list. Always point out something of interest about them to you.

7. Collect testimonials about your work, and post them publicly

8. Always speak and act passionately when discussing or showing your work.

NOTE: You don’t want to be sales’y. Simply show your excitement and passion and story about making the piece.

9. Organize your own discussion groups on FaceBook or LinkedIn, or begin a blog (WORDPRESS is a good place to start a blog)

10. Post video tutorials or videos showing you making things on YouTube

11. Submit images of your pieces to bead, craft and jewelry magazines

12. Teach courses, either locally, or as a connection with one of the many websites promoting teachers online

13. List yourself with websites that list custom jewelry makers for hire, such as Custommade.com

14. If your jewelry has done well for a store, convince them to carry more of it and let it take up more display space

15. Doing the occasional craft show, bazaar or flea market is also a good form of advertising and getting your message out to a large number of people you probably would never have met otherwise

16. Create a good, rememberable image to use as your avatar, on such websites as FaceBook

17. Follow up with customers and contacts, such as after a purchase, or after someone accepting to include you piece in a magazine, or sell their pieces in a shop. Thank them. Reinforce your personal brand with a short comment about the value of your pieces for them.

18. Have a clear personal style that you can point to in your jewelry, and that you can speak about.

19. Have a clear idea of what is called your “competitive advantage”. What are those 5–10 things about you and your work that sets you apart from, and perhaps makes you better than, the competition.

20. Search for companies or people that may want to see or buy your work. Use directories on Yahoo, Yelp and Google. Use LinkedIn.com. Search Twitter looking for people who are saying they need custom jewelry work done.

21. Network with other jewelry designers, both in your local area, as well as online. Ask for feedback on the self-promotional activities you are doing. Have any of these worked well for them? Are they doing other things you haven’t thought of?

22. Get out of your studio and meet people in the flesh.

23. Attend trade shows, networking events and charity events, or other types of places where your clients might also attend.

24. Offer something — one time only — for free. A free class, a free repair, a free pair of earrings.

25. Publish or self-publish a book or book-on-CD, and promote that

26. Develop your “elevator story”. Pretend you are stuck in an elevator with someone, and you have 30 seconds to say something about yourself which is very impressionable and relatable. This will prepare you for the frequently asked question: What do you do?

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).

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.

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