Studio Saturday – a big production

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Connie is this week’s winner of one of Lynn Davis’ beautiful hearts! I realised we forgot to pick a winner for the week before, so the winner of my set of disk beads is Shaiha. Please email your addresses and we’ll ship those beads right out to you!
Welcome back to the Humblebeads Studio. I’m always glad to have you stop in! This week has been filled with jewelry designs and bead production. I have been enjoying working on new designs and while I have been working away I have been considering my business and where it has gone over the last 15 years.

I started out making jewelry. After I graduated from college, as a young mom, I would work part-time making jewelry and selling at markets, craft shows and art fairs. There were a few years that we did a small show 2-3 times a week from May until the end of November. About 7 years ago I started selling beads and soon that took over. I would do only a few shows a year and had a gallery that I worked with to sell my one-of-a-kind pieces. Now, I spend my jewelry designing time creating for publications and making beads is my full-time job. (I know, life is sweet!)

But lately I’ve been thinking of creating a line of jewelry for the wholesale market. It’s a few months before I can give it any serious thought, but for some reason that has been on mind this week while I have been working away. I’m thinking simple pieces with art beads as the focus. Lots of chain and a few bead accents. I think I could find a nice little niche with my urchins in resort areas. And these pendants would work well in a variety of shops, couldn’t you see them in a little botanical center gift shop? Lots to think about it. So my question for you this week, are you strictly a one-of-kind design girl or does wholesale and production work sound like an exciting road to travel? Let me know your thoughts, the prize this week is one of my floral beads, it will be a surprise!

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23 Comment

  1. MaryB
    January 17, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I jump around from too many different techniques, but would love to find my niche in the jewelry world and go wholesale.
    Best of luck to you! I think your beads would do wonderful in a variety of boutiques, shops, shows, etc..

  2. Beth
    January 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I do both. Just doing production work gets a bit too monotonous and then I jump into an abstract cane. I find I need a bit of diversity. And, that little bit is all that is needed for me.

  3. cindy
    January 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    I do one of a kind jewelry pieces and do not like to duplicate. But as it has happened already, sometimes I make a piece and someone else wants one, I will alter the design so that the second person still gets an original piece. For now this works for me.

  4. SueBeads
    January 18, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I too like one of a kind; I spend most of my time making beads, but enjoy the occasional jewelry design episode!

  5. gail w
    January 18, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Before I read the whole article,I jumped over to see Heathers’shop.I was amazed at the diversity of your jewelry.I am to unsure of my skills to do anything to change my luck.(if i had any)But I think you can do it.They would do good at many places I can think of.Does this mean that you will no longer sell on the internet?Also,what was the name of the book on photographing jewelry?

  6. Valerie C.
    January 18, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Right now I am doing a little Wholesaleing. I have 3 shops that buy my jewelry and sell it. They all are very different medias. It keeps me on my toes doing different types of jewelry for each store. The only production work I do is ear rings. Lots and lots of ear rings of all kinds and shapes. From seed beads to sterling silver wrap.

    Lately I have had to take a break and get back to what I like to do for a while instead of what everyone else wants me to do. But I do have a large inventory made up so I can do what makes me feel good for a change. I have been using a lot of greens lately. I go in sputs I guess. Last week it was reds, next week, well I guess I will have to see about next week. But for now I plan on spending a little more of my time on loom work. That is where my heart lays.

  7. Debra G.
    January 18, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I make one of a-kind pieces I don’t like production line it has no pizzazz, no body ,charm . Hand made jewlery like yours and so many of the other ladies thats what woman want something different that nobody else has! Please never stop doing what you are doing I believe when you go commerical you lose a little of yourself, I love your work you have always been a fav of mine. Good luck !

  8. Scarlett Lanson
    January 18, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I think you could do really well with the resort market. I sell one-of-kinds only, but whenever I approach new resorts or spas they always have several lines of jewelry where it is pretty much the same simple but beautiful thing repeated. I wouldn’t find it satisfying myself, but sometimes I wish it was that easy… that I had a surefire product that I didn’t need to think about so much. There is no harm in trying though, I think it’s something that will have different results for everybody. I am a strong believer in the feeling that you put into something will be the feeling that you get back. So if you decide “hey I’m going to give this my all for a little while” I think the Universe will tell you right back “force be with you” or show you another door.

  9. Gaela
    January 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

    First, I want to say that I’ve always loved your sea urchins and feel that you would do quite well in nice shops in resort areas along the coast. I have been a strictly “one of a kynd” jewelry designer for such a long time now. As far as becoming more progressive though, I believe it would be good for me to sell some pieces that are my own signature designs, and I’ve been inching in that direction for quite some time now. Perhaps now is the time to take that big leap…scary…

  10. Christina
    January 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I prefer one of a kind for right now.

  11. peacockfairy
    January 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve done a bit of both. I’ve created many of one piece for art fairs and shops, but usually it’s one of a kind. I am happy to do either, it’s all about what the customers want.

  12. Kiwiken
    January 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I kind of agree with Scarlett Lanson, that it would be nice to have a “surefire product”, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot… but, really, I don’t think I’d enjoy it too much. I have to force myself to redo similar jewelry pieces if someone asks for them, and even to remake the best of my polymer clay beads again and again.

  13. Christine Damm
    January 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I never like doing the same thing twice but I don’t have the financial luxury of doing that exclusively–to do it right is very time-consuming. But my artistic philosophy is also to inspire others to creative expressions so I make beads too. Right now I’m working on finding designers and shops that are interested in carrying my beads. I’m seeing that except for a few artists, sites and magazines seem to prefer lampwork and ceramic beads over polymer clay, anyone have any thoughts on that?

  14. Jan
    January 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Your beads are awesome and it sounds like you have done just about everything with them ~ If this is a new challenge for you, I say go for it ~ I just hope you will still sell on the internet.

  15. Connie
    January 18, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I am a one of a kind artist. not that i don’t make multiples,i often do. but i lose the joy of my art and it becomes “work” when i have to make to many. my bigger pieces are all one of a kind as they are thought of as i am making them.
    …but this has nothing to do with business. i think an artist needs their art pieces, which take much more time and thought and sell for more, and then you need your bread and butter multiple little pieces, so everyone can own a piece of your art!

  16. PeaPodPeony
    January 19, 2009 at 5:01 am

    WOW! What an opportunity. Last year I visited a friend in Phoenix and we spent a day traveling north to Sedona. I can definitely see a specialized piece in one of their beautiful shops. Although I don't remember the shop names, two come to mind. An upscale leather shop that sells the softest handle I've ever felt [jackets & handbags] or this funky gallery that has both unique wall art, copper art and yard art. There's so many places like that throughout the US and you'd have a ball traveling too…

  17. marym
    January 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Most of my work is one-of-a-kind and commissions. A limited amount is production work, usually earrings or beads on leather cord style necklaces. I am a fortunate to be a member of an artist’s co-operative with a retail shop, and also have my jewellery at a local spa.

  18. Hannah B
    January 19, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    So far, I’m a one-of-a-kind design person, but the future is still wide open. After all, I have made plenty of similar pieces in my time creating jewelry.

  19. Pamela
    January 20, 2009 at 3:01 am

    I am still finding my way and trying a variety of things. I have been beading for three years and sell my creations at a few shows but most of my audience comes from the school district where I teach. I would like to dive into beadmaking and more wirewrapping techniques. While trying new avenues, I would like to find at least one thing that people would automatically associate with my name. I’m just not there yet, but looking so forward to the journey!! I bought a copy of Bead Star and have learned so much through the ads and the winners websites. That is how I found this blog!! Thanks!

  20. Marcie Abney
    January 21, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Personally, I am a one-of-a-kind type of person, I get bored making the same thing over again, and it’s much more personal when someone receives something from me that no one else has.
    However, if making beads is something that supports your family and financially it is important to you, then I think that in your case, you will be extremely successful at it. I live in a coast city, and I’m sure that you could sell your designs here.

  21. Gaea
    January 24, 2009 at 4:22 am

    These are simple and lovely! I love a “less in more” project. Then again, sometimes “more is…”

  22. ingeniouslycreative
    January 31, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I have been wholesaling my art to galleries and boutiques for over 35 years and have found it to be profitable and rewarding…leading me to very interesting custom orders. Give it a try Heather, you might just love it and find it fills your coffers fast!

  23. Shaiha
    February 1, 2009 at 2:01 am

    I am very much a “one of a kind” kind of gal. I have tried to recreate pieces before when asked but they always turn out differently.

Comments are closed.