by Claudia Endler,
Ladies Who Launch member, Los Angeles
Recent fashion trends and the availability of quickly producible products has made it easier for a new breed of jewelry makers, from hobbyists to entrepreneurs, to enter the marketplace. This influx, however, has increased competition in an already highly competitive arena. The subtleties of what distinguishes one jewelry maker or designer from the other are at times almost imperceptible to any potential client, so this makes carving out your own niche all the more important.
The more of YOU you put into the development of your work the more you create distinction. Your jewelry, like your company, should be recognizable with a signature look. Every facet of your creation becomes an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the sea of other jewelry makers, which in turn adds value to your work.
Here are a few ideas on how to put a unique, individual stamp on your pieces:
• Finding new sources for materials. Do you use beads, stones, or other components that are easily sourced? How about finding those unusual sources that no one else has? Or my favorite, create your own design. Work with someone who can carve or manufacture your own look if you cannot. Better yet, take a class in something you are not familiar with, whether it be metalsmithing, precious metal clay, glass techniques, wax carving, bead making, enamel, chasing, forming, inlay, or another technique that interests you. When your knowledge expands, so does your artistic expression.
• Clasps and components. Are you using a pre-manufactured clasp? Are your components, like jump rings, chains, ear wires, bezels, and spacers, mass produced? Why not create your own unique clasp that you use on all your necklaces? This can then be a signature of your work or even be spun off into its own business. Handmade products add value.
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