Saturday, April 26, 2014

The End of a Chapter

God works in mysterious ways. For months I've been praying for direction from God regarding my jewelry business. I wrote about feeling led to teach. I felt it was God leading me to inquire at Hobby Lobby if they offered classes. It seemed like a door opening when the manager told me they had all kinds of classes, but none in jewelry. So I began a journey of preparing classes to teach at Hobby Lobby. I scheduled classes, both evenings and weekends, to work around people's busy lives. They didn't call. They didn't email. Nothing. The flyers I prepared were disappearing from the store, but yet the phone was silent. One day this past week I was in the store and saw the store manager, Natalie. I told her things were not going well, people just weren't interested. Natalie told me she had a new Wilton Cake lady who came in on a Saturday, sat near the front of the store, and talked with people to tell them about the classes on cake decorating. Natalie suggested I do something similar. So this morning I packed up some samples of pieces, some materials to work on as a demonstration, plenty of business cards, flyers, the works. I told myself I would give it four hours, and today was make it or break it - either the door was going to open, or it would shut once and for all. I sat there for four hours, smiling, nodding, working. I talked to probably only half a dozen people. Nobody was gushing like they were wondering where I had been all their life. After my allotted time, I packed up my case and told the manager that was it, I was done. People just weren't interested in classes at Hobby Lobby. I hauled my case out to the car and got in. Then I remembered that I wanted to browse in the clearance aisle, so I went back into the store. I browsed through the racks, but my heart just wasn't in it. I was feeling defeated, anxious. Then I happened to catch a glimpse of a key ring. On the key ring was a charm that read "KEEP CALM & TRUST GOD". Thank you God for that gentle reminder. I may not know your plan or your timing, but I know it is perfect.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Beading for a Cause

A few weeks ago I wrote about going to a "Spring Bling Fling" event where women learned about jewelry trends and how to repair/re-purpose jewelry. Little did I know that, on that night, I would meet a new friend!

Julie was so sweet. She knew I was going to be attending the event as the "professional" and, not wanting to step on my toes, she called me in advance to see if it would be alright if she brought along some of her tools also. Little did she know how non-territorial I am. Of course, my thought was "the more, the merrier"! She ended up being a life saver. I didn't know what would be necessary to repair the broken pieces and I couldn't very well bring along my entire studio since I don't own a semi-truck. So when one of the women needed something repaired with glue, I was thinking to myself "it sure would be nice to have some hypo cement". Later I happened to be looking for some jump rings in Julie's stash of findings, when lo and behold --- HYPO CEMENT! I was practically giddy because I could fix that woman's broken piece after all and she could leave with it fixed that night.

That night Julie and I ended up swapping Facebook contact info. Shortly after, we met for lunch to brainstorm some jewelry ideas. As always when doing something you love, time flew by and about four hours later when the servers were non-chalantly trying to scoot us out so they could finish setting for the dinner service, we made plans to get together in a couple weeks to bead for a good cause.

Julie hasn't lived in town long, but she has become a big part of the community. She has a huge heart for the homeless and hungry, so she volunteers at ACTS (Area Churches Together Serving). She has a deep, in-depth knowledge of vintage jewelry in addition to merchandising, so she's been helping the ACTS Resale Store with their jewelry.

Today we went to the resale store, set up a card table, and started making some jewelry to sell in the resale store. It gave us a chance to do something we love (bead!!), while we were also ministering to others by giving of our time and talents. I'm sure we'll do it again soon!

Meet and Greet at Hobby Lobby

Without making my hair any thinner than it is (thank you menopause!), for the past couple of months I've been diligently trying to determine what kind of classes to teach at Hobby Lobby. I've scheduled several classes, but apparently I was under the Field of Dreams misconception that "if I schedule them, they will attend". Let's just say things could be going better. It's very difficult to know what people are looking for. Maybe it's a timing thing. I've tried various times to see what schedule works for people. I've offered nine different techniques in the past two months. Some have had moderate interest, others.....not so much. So on Saturday. April 26th, I'm going to be at the Aiken Hobby Lobby to kind of gloss over some of the techniques I'm teaching and show some of my samples, but also I just want to meet with people to find out what they are interested in. I'll be there from 10 am until 2 pm. Come by if you get a chance. I'd love to meet you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Do You Know Your Aesthetic Style?

Everyone knows that the economy is really, really bad, and one of the first things to go are non-essential items. So it's no big surprise that jewelry sales during this slump are, dare we say, in the toilet. However, I've been doing some soul searching as to whether MY sales are down because of the economy or maybe it's because I'm not sure who I am as a jewelry designer.

For several years I've explored many styles and techniques; some of which I love, and some......not so much. It's so much fun to explore. But I've come to the conclusion, though, that I don't have a cohesive look that defines me as a designer. Most well-known designers have a distinct look that you can spot from a mile away. Well, my aesthetic "style" has been looking a little bit like one of those road maps you see in a diner where visitors stick in a push pin to show where they're from.

A few weeks back I was chatting online with Laura Bracken, a jewelry designer friend. She had written an amazing article, "Artistic Confidence, Being Nice, and Finding Your Artistic Voice". That article is what gave me a kick in the tush and got me wondering where my feet were planted on that road map. It made me realize I have never truly identified a specific design aesthetic.

So I've been taking some time to reflect and study. It's been really interesting and eye-opening. I can now say that I definitely know what style speaks to me and what doesn't. Now I just have to draw from the different techniques I've learned to make my own aesthetic style. I'm thrilled to see where this leads me!