About two years ago, my friend gave me the idea to make my own jewelry and sell it under a similar model of the social enterprise we both worked for. She needed funding for her movie and I wanted to craft things with my own hands. She had the beads and I had the designs. It was a perfect match. Since then, I’ve traveled all over with my craft bag o’ goodies and tools in search of materials to use and inspiration for the next design.
There’s been a lot of lessons in jewelry design and selling. I’ve studied how to market my product (the right way and the wrong way; online and off) and feel like I’ve barely grasped the market for handmade crafts. I’ve sold my designs at two local markets and mastered the presentation but not the storytelling or sales aspect of my goods (prices are a tough thing to perfect). I’m always building on the skill by trying new things and learning from other artists. It’s been lots of fun and I’m only getting started.
Selling online has been more difficult while living overseas but it’s been worth exposing an international audience to my goods. Although I started out with a social enterprise model, I can’t say I’ve stayed true to it. It’s not something I’m proud of and I hope to be more consistent in that area in the future. I’d also like to make people more aware of why and how I make things. It all started out of the passion to make things with natural materials and a love for design. I’m most interested in beads from all over the world and putting them together to tell a “story on a string”. I like repurposing items and turning them into something new and beautiful. I like knowing where things come from and being able to share that story with others. And in the end, if that story gets passed on, I will have succeeded. I’ve learned that people are interested, you just have to be prepared with a story to share.
If you have made things on your own, sold them to others, and/or have suggestions, please share.