kit and caboodle

CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY NETWORK

Kit and Caboodle is not a e-commerce site, yet selling jewellery is what sustains us, so lets talk about it.

Every day I walk out of my house and see streets full of people adorned in ugly jewellery and malls crowded with gold shops. Where is the beautiful jewellery that we all make - hidden away in quiet white spaces.

So as a jewellery student, I often wonder whether it was a financially wise decision to invest so much time in learning the difficult skills of jewellery making, not to mention the personal emotions that I have had to tap into to create jewellery.

I have spent a bit of time this year looking at the options immediately available to make an income. What are they, and how viable are they? Are the same approaches possible for one-off pieces or do I need a production line? Should I manufacture myself, here in Australia, or send it offshore? None of this I am sure about, and perhaps a little more study, a little discussion would help clarify it for me and other jewellers, especially those recently graduated. It is the information about the choices that I wish to share firstly, and most of this I have found over the past few months and put in the links section of my starting blog - www.kitandcaboodle.com.au

I know that I am still experimenting with jewellery, not sure exactly where that will end, but would like to make an income and move those experiments on, I am not really ready for a definitive label or style, or ready for gallery representation.

So I have found that there are quite a few options to set up a online shop within a safe framework - Etsy, Handmademarket, HauteCouture - sign up, set up a shop, load up items and go from there. Lots of emerging designers have started here, especially Etsy and there is a nice local community thing happening there too.

That leads into the designer markets - Made on the Left, Finders Keepers, pyd, Young Blood, Rose St Markets. Summer time is market time!

There are some fabulous online shops looking for designers - Oye Modern, modamuse, Definite Style, moose. I love them all.

Anyhow, I am a little tired, and its been a busy week, just wondering...............
.
Cathy S

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Thanks Dave
Thats interesting isnt it.
Here i have that chart from your link. Now I know exactly how much a jeweller makes! Not sure if I am happy about that. I guess that is commercial and contemporary jewellers.

I work in a retail store in a business district in Sydney (selling expensive paper to 'crafty' business types) and I always scan the customer for their jewellery (as all us jewellers are prone to do) and notice that fashion jewellery, neckpieces mostly, are all the rage. These people are not afraid to wear statement jewellery, but it is also clear to see they don't spend as much money on their jewellery as they do on the 'products' they buy from me or in fact their clothes.

I truly believe that we can make a living off what we do - but it is the outside community that we need to educate and broaden their ideas about how they adorn themselves and express themselves through what they wear.

material perception is also of key importance, I am constantly complemented on my Mark Vaarwerk brooch - red and white plastic bags set/melted around a silver core - and when I inform them of its material, they give the old 'wow isn't that clever' look, I try to explain to them there is a whole world of clever out there they just need to look.

So the 'readers digest version' of what I'm trying to say is - I believe we can make a living off what we love to do and hopefully by not compromising on the clever but by constant education of the masses about all the amazing things we do.

thats all.
- Zoe
Zoe
I agree wholeheartedly, its just a matter of there not being enough of a public profile for the fabulous jewellery we make, I have no doubt at all there is a huge customer base out there, who really want to express themselves through jewellery.

hmmm
wouldnt it be nice if we had something like this:

Brilliantly Birmingham 2008 -
Website

and check out the aussie geust speaker!!!!!!!!!!

I know we have the conference every 2 years and thats sort of like this, but to have a event every year, in
Sydney and Melbourne or Auckland (it has to be where the interested buyers are after all) or all of them, and maybe to coordinate with the fashion festivals, that would be exciting, or an annual christmas dazzle type sale, perhaps coordinated across a whole pile of cities. That would be fun.

Cath
hi,
I just attended a conference and the main message we were given is
- YES, you can definitely make a living out of it
- You may need a production line in addition to the arty one, designed by You, made by others
- at the end of the day, it is a business and you need to make a living

Very interesting and knowledgeable speakers: David Marshall, Stephen Webster, Liz Olver, Jane Adam, Amada Mansell...
interestingly, an established gallery just closedm, while others are opening new shops....

I agree that we need to educate teh wider public. Any journalist/writer around?

Catherine
(in London)

Catherine Marche said:
hi,
I just attended a conference and the main message we were given is
- YES, you can definitely make a living out of it
- You may need a production line in addition to the arty one, designed by You, made by others
- at the end of the day, it is a business and you need to make a living

Very interesting and knowledgeable speakers: David Marshall, Stephen Webster, Liz Olver, Jane Adam, Amada Mansell...
interestingly, an established gallery just closedm, while others are opening new shops....

I agree that we need to educate teh wider public. Any journalist/writer around?

Catherine
Why is it that the majority of women, and men, will spend more on a pair of shoes than on a one-off hand-made piece of jewellery? They know those shoes will wear out in a year or three. Shoes are disposable. Even the most fashionable 'designer' BRANDS are mass produced for a fraction of the retail price yet they still put shoes as a priority over jewellery. Why is this so? Fashion. Who doesn't want to look 'now'? Fashion is cool. Millions of dollars are invested in magazines, photographers, models, marketing, fashion shows, fashion TV cable - fashion sells. It props up our self-esteem. It's sexy. It conjures envy and desirability. It hides or showcases our worst or best physical attributes. It's theatre. It's how we exhibit our status, our personality, our cult/culture, it identifies the 'tribe' we belong to ... or aspire to.

Jewellery struggles to find it's 'worth' (place) in the mass market. Buyers are confused. Precious jewellery is perceived as an investment surely worth it cost due to its 'content' of precious metals and stones. And the choice comes down to 'pretty' (traditional), or 'sleek' (modern) - masculine, feminine. Little regard is paid to the 'creativity' of the piece. Thank you DeBeers!

The expectation of the mass consumer is that due to the high cost of perceived 'good' jewellery it's only purchased for special occasions ... declaration of love and/or friendship, keep-sakes of graduations, coming of age, achievements, milestones. It's not sexy it's sentimental and certainly NOT fashionable.

So how does one tap into the lust for fashion where squillions of dollars churn by the day? Accessories. Hmmmm. Another brick wall. Doesn't everyone know that 'accessories', beautiful, gorgeous accessories are disposable so CHEAP is what they hunt? And they (majority) buy it by the bucket load, every Westfield shopping centre has at least one 'fast, ready to go, take-away junk jewellery store'. Ever stood outside one and watched the cash register ching, ching, chinging away? I have.

Now before you run a hot bath and get out the razor blades ... suck it in because times-they-are-a-changing!

Thanks to websites, fashion journalist seeking a different point of view, alternative media that showcases the value of the 'designer' ... a ground-swell of tertiary and higher education background professionals are on the hunt for something out of the box and are comfortable with the asking price an artists requires TO SURVIVE! This beautiful shift in acceptance and desirability of what jewellery designers, makers and artists create began in architecture, home decor from appliances to curtains, ipods and cool technology packaging ... and it's spreading to creative jewellery - even in Australia.

To prove my point take a look at one of the BEST marketing concepts catering to BUYERS who consciously seek out that which can be found nowhere else. Isy Galey is a gift from the gods (all the deceased artists who obviously sit around in the heavens discussing our plight here on earth and send out telepathic messages to we earthly misfits). InCube8r. This concept is the solution designed to ease our pain.

I have never met Isy Galey, never communicated with her but if she is offering franchise opportunities then team up with a peer, collaborator, group and spread this concept across the globe because this is how to sell one-off, or limited edition short run, unique, wearable art.

Hope this inspires and helps answer your plea "how to .....?"
Attachments:
lorraine,
you've kinda made me blush!!!
thank you :)
in.cube8r was born out of years of thinking, "there has to b a better way!!".

i've looked into expanding and also franchising.
however, this little space is essentially me and my passion for the handmade.
...and it's not about being big, it's about representing well.

than you for spreading the word and come in and say hi!!

we have a bit of a write up in this month's mixtape as well as the new 'hide and seek, melboune guide".
and a new blog... http://www.incube8r.blogspot.com/

again, thanks for the love!!
oh, all the new designers have just been updated:
http://incube8r.com/
Attachments:
Well hello Ms Isy, fabulous to meet you, even if it is on cyberspace. Totally understand the integrity of "representing well" vs growing like an octopus. Your years of thinking may just spawn a new paradigm in marketing, in a retail environment, the produce of a vast creative garden that tends to grow, against the odds, in the cracks of the walls of the corporate giants. May you always be recognised as the founding queen of this simply superb concept because there will be others that follow in your footprints. Going off now to check your new blog.
thanks. but... i can't lay claim to the concept being my brain child. i adapted what already existed.
it's a microscopic bazaar/market style idea which is also very much like the coles myer retail concept of renting a large space, sub dividing and re leasing.
:)
I found this post on the snag website about selling on etsy. Here it is minus the pics, probably more interesting if you click on the link and look at the original. Might see if I can find Parts 2 and 3 now.


Shop Makeover Series: Gallery Go-getter (Part 1)

Story by DonFriedlich
Published on January 16, 2009 in How-To

During our focus on art this week, we welcome three professional development specialists who will be discussing the role of the gallery as a venue for artists. First up we have Don Friedlich, who will be hosting the Professional Development Seminar (PDS) at the SNAG conference this year. Etsy is sponsoring the event and support its mission to help artists and crafters make a living from what they make.

Since receiving his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1982, Donald Friedlich has been a full time studio jeweler showing in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad. His jewelry is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and others. He served a term as President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Don poses the fundamental question: Are galleries right for you?

When times are tough economically, as they are right now, they are often especially hard for artists. That said, hard times could also be viewed as opportunities to explore new ways to market your work. Supplementing your efforts on Etsy by also showing your work in a brick and mortar gallery is one area to consider.

A relationship with a gallery is not right for everyone. The culture of the gallery is very different from that of Etsy. The gallery environment can be very critical and much less supportive. That said, a gallery focuses on just one or two art form, rather than including all categories of handmade objects. Some go even further, specializing in a specific aesthetic style or point of view, such as narrative work or outsider art.

Most galleries expect that the work they show will speak with a clear and unique voice, one that is not seen in the work of any other artist; this we might call your artist's vision. While many galleries show both one of a kind and production work, one of a kind work is usually dominant. Most work in this category retails over $1000.

If you do wish to expand your market to galleries (or anywhere else) you need to first do your research and answer some critical questions. Will this move advance your career goals? Will this venue help push you to grow as an artist? Is this the right market for your work? Who are the gallery’s ideal customers and how does the gallery market to them? Can you meet the gallery’s expectations?

There are many ways of acquiring this information. One way is to network with fellow artists. Some of this can be done online through blogs and social networking sites. That said, in-person networking still has great value. Attending craft and gallery shows offers many opportunities to talk to your peers. So does attending a conference of your media specific organization, such as the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) or Glass Art Society (GAS). SNAG is an international educational organization based in the U.S. They publish Metalsmith magazine, a newsletter, and host an annual conference. The next conference is May 20-23, 2009, in Philadelphia. You can learn more at SNAGmetalsmith.org. Many medium-specific organizations provide similar support.

At the next SNAG conference, for instance, Harriete Estel Berman, Andy Cooperman and I will be presenting a four-hour program: the Professional Development Seminar (PDS), on the afternoon of May 20, 2009 (sponsored this year by Etsy). There is a modest fee for the PDS, but you don’t need to attend the full conference to go to the PDS. While the PDS is a SNAG event focusing on metalsmithing, it is always our goal that the program’s content apply well to all sorts of art. 2009 PDS topics include “Improving Website Performance and Design,” “Using Social Networking and Virtual Communities to Drive Business,” and “The Evolving Role of the Gallery in a Virtual World of Commerce.” For more information check out http://snagmetalsmith.org/Events/Professional_Development_Seminar/ Other conferences often include resources and talks such as these, as they're in high demand from artists.

The craft magazines like Metalsmith, American Craft, and Ornament offer a wealth of information about galleries. I learn more about the market by looking at the advertisements than the articles: which artists are represented by specific galleries; how those galleries market their artists; and something about the aesthetic of the gallery. I can also find their websites, which offer a whole host of additional information.

While an ad generally focuses on the work of only one or two of the gallery’s artists, reviewing gallery websites really shows the full range of work they are showing, the background of their artists, how many artists they represent, and the price range (if they list prices) of the work. Note that I said showing, not selling. Most galleries work on consignment. Most have much more work in drawers than they do out on display. Hopefully, they rotate work into the showcases but from long distance, without a visit to the gallery, it is impossible to know. For this and other reasons, in-person visits to galleries are also valuable. You can get a feel for the temperament of the staff and owner, the quality of display, and the effectiveness of the location.

Of course, visiting galleries may not always be possible, as the galleries are spread out all over the world. Many of the best galleries from all over the world show at the three Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) exhibitions in Chicago, Illinois, New York City, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I see more great jewelry in my three days at SOFA Chicago (the largest of the three) than I do the rest of the year combined. By attending SOFA, you can find answers to many of your questions in one place.
Yep found them
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
all interesting reading.

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