I’m excited to be entering the Flourish & Thrive Academy Multiply Your Profits scholarship! Crossing my fingers!
As you all know, 2014 is going to be a huge year for me. (Getting married!) This has also caused me to really sit down and reevaluate every part of my life, including my jewelry business.
I started out with polymer clay, and loved the freedom and versatility it offered, but am moving into more easily replicable designs, like my new bronze rings.
Instead of working in wax, I use metal clay to make the original. Part of that choice is my impatience; since I have a kiln in my studio, I don’t need to wait for casting. So far, it’s made a huge difference in my mentality. Instead of worrying about running out of time, or hand making hundreds of pieces between shows, I can design more freely. I’m also teaching myself 3D rendering.
Unfortunately, I have run into a catch-22. My marketing skills are minimal at best, and I want to focus on designing rather than promoting because I feel uncomfortable putting myself out there. I’d love to be able to hire someone to do marketing for me, so I can really concentrate on what I do best, but because I’m not good at promoting my designs, I don’t consistently have enough to commit to a marketer. I need to learn to share my jewelry without feeling pushy or boastful, so I can get my sales to a place where I can play to my strengths and afford help in those areas where I’m lacking.
One of my favorite parts about designing a new piece is research. I created a small collection, Towee, that is completely based on literary quotes. The thrill for me was analyzing each book, finding the themes, and then taking the perfect quote and turning it into a tiny sculpture. I love to steep myself in inspiration, and find every facet of meaning that I can, while still creating a piece that can simply be beautiful. Armenta is one of my idols because of this. The amount of cultural significance and symbolism in her jewelry is apparent, and yet her designs are still beautiful to people who know nothing of the piece’s heritage.
Ideally, one day I’ll have help to take care of marketing and accounting, so I can spend more time on research, design, and innovation. I’d like to have wholesale accounts with large chains. Hopefully this will give me the sense of security I need in order to take risks with my designs. Playing it safe is salable, but I’d like to have enough of a financial cushion to design some outrageous pieces for the sake of creation, and see them on a runway.
I’d love to move my production to the Philippines, where I have family. My ultimate dream would be to have a facility where employees would be given an opportunity to design, if they wanted. Hopefully by then my brand would be well know enough that featuring their work would help them break into a world they wouldn’t have had the chance at before. It kills me to know that there are geniuses of every field, medicine, design, engineering, who are locked away in poverty. Ideas are nothing without opportunity and means, and I want to give that, if I can.
I know these dreams are years, maybe decades into the future, but I’m willing to push myself however much it takes to get there. I truly hope I get the Flourish and Thrive Academy scholarship so I can take another step.