THREADING THE BUSINESS NEEDLE:
Management Strategies
For Integrating Business and Design

Threading The Business Needle

Guiding Questions:
1. How can a jewelry designer survive successfully as a business?

2. To what extent should business considerations influence artistic choices?

3. What business fundamentals should be brought to the fore?

4. How does the creative person develop and maintain a passion for business?

5. What similar traits do successful jewelry businesses share?

Abstract:

It is very feasible to start and run a successful business selling handmade products. This is not something to be left up to chance. You need a road-map. You have to understand how the creative marketplace works. You have to understand, as well, what business fundamentals need to be brought to the fore. Business involves (1) Putting your jewelry designs on a sound cost/revenue footing, (2) Developing market-driven strategies (as opposed to product-driven ones), (3) Pricing your pieces for sale, (4) Implementing various selling strategies, and (5) Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business. It is important to understand why artists fail at business so as not to repeat their mistakes. It is important to develop a management mindset where you are balancing the tensions between creativity and business.

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

Between Commerce and Art

Many people learn beadwork and jewelry-making in order to sell the pieces they make. In today’s world, people who sell their pieces must become savvy in both regular retail, as well as internet retail. This can seem too complex. Too overwhelming. Too impossible. Too boring. There are a lot of tensions here between commerce and art. Production and creativity. They parallel the tensions between the creative act and having to introduce your jewelry publicly.

How can you better understand and relate to the creative marketplace, and eventually earn money from your jewelry designs? You need to start your business. you need to manage, evolve and expand your business. At the core, you want a good accounting system and what is called a general ledger. You want to get a handle on things like inventory management, pricing formulas, marketing and branding strategies. Also important is the protection of your designs — your intellectual property. You need to do some research on key concepts like risk, legitimacy, effectiveness, efficiency, consumption, coherence and contagion.

You need to develop a business mind-set. How does someone get started selling their pieces? What business fundamentals need to be brought to the fore? How do you measure risk and return on investment? How does the creative person develop and maintain a passion for business? To what extent should business decisions affect artistic choices? What similar traits to successful jewelry designers do those in business share? How do you protect your intellectual property?

These major concerns related to marrying business with creating handmade products include,

1. Integrating Business With Design

2. Getting Started

3. Financial Management

4. Product Development, Creating Your Line, and Pricing

5. Marketing, Promotion, Branding

6. Selling

7. Professional Responsibilities and Strategic Planning

8. Professional Responsibilities and Gallery / Boutique Representation

9. Professional Responsibilities and Creating Your Necessary Written Documents

Let Business Concerns Influence Your Artistic Choices

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

If you want to be in business, then I’d say, “A Lot!” But this isn’t what a lot of designers like to hear.

Jewelry making is not a passive art. You make jewelry for others to wear, and have to anticipate how they will assess your work and recognize your artistry. It is not the same as painting a painting or sculpting a sculpture in the sense that with paintings or sculptures, the artist does not need to communicate interactively with the viewer in order to create the product and be deemed successful. Jewelry making, instead, is more an interactive art. It is like architecture, where success can only be created through some kind of dialectic 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 sometimes forces upon you some more limits and refinements. 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 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 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 that 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,” because producing too much variety in sizes, shapes, colors and sizes could overwhelm you financially.

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

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Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

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

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

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

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

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

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

My ARTIST STATEMENT

My TEACHING STATEMENT.

My DESIGN PHILOSOPHY.

My PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.

My PORTFOLIO.

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Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

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

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

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

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

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Beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures, from custom work, production work, and teaching. *Design is about the ability to make smart choices.

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Warren Feld

Warren Feld

Beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures, from custom work, production work, and teaching. *Design is about the ability to make smart choices.

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