by Rita Juhlin.
(Portland, Oregon USA)
I don’t know ladies; I think everyone can use a little pep talk now and then. I regularly read everything here and of late I see a spiral downward relating to “me, me, me”.
Get over yourself. Just do it, but only if you love it and enjoy it!
I have a job, more part-time now than I like, and I am a self indulgent wrapper, can’t keep my hands off the stuff!
Addiction? Passion? No flowery words here, I just love it.
Over the last 6 years I have used up miles, and I mean miles of wire. Some of it went in the dumpster; some of it was given away just before I threw it out.
I am far from a perfectionist, but it I’m going to do something I am going to do it right.
I get frustrated too but I don’t get into the pity party mode, can’t stand that. “I can’t”, not in my vocabulary.
I’ve been in my own little “art world” since I was a child. I’ve sold other people’s “stuff” most of my life as well as being self employed most of my life. There is no time to whine when you depend on your own efforts to eat and keep a roof over your head.
I propose that we all would love to have our studio door “open to the public” selling our wares to everyone all over the world.
The market is saturated with “one of a kind” jewelry that all looks alike.
It appears that the successful ones have either something different or they are selling the supplies that we buy or maybe a tutorial.
We all get compliments, we all think our pieces are wonderful, inspiring, perfect, etc. but if we can’t sell those pieces we feel like failures.
Wrong!!! I think revisiting “why am I doing this” should be taken more seriously.
You know what they say, “if you stand in a garage it doesn’t make you a car.”
If you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, impatient, guilty, unhappy then why the heck are you subjecting yourself to it?
Either get over it and enjoy your life or do something else. I am a matter of fact type person, I like to dream but I am realistic.
Ok, here is what happened to me; the short version.
I had to move and I needed to rid myself of useful stuff as well as the un-useful in my life because I lost my husband and I had no help, and there was only so much room in the U-haul truck.
I couldn’t believe how much jewelry I had made to that point, about 2 years worth.
I put it on the garage sale and nothing was under $40.00. Much to my surprise I sold most of it.
Wait, there’s more.
A lady approached me stating that she had a couple shops and a couple friends who had shops, and would like to purchase a number of my pendants. Could I meet them in a few days?
Well dah! I unloaded most everything else I had at wholesale and I was one happy woman.
After I moved, I had no wire, little money, no job, did I whine? NO, it took 6 weeks to find a job and then I rented a house, got laid off in one week, took another 5 weeks to find another job, and started my life all over again.
If I was going to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge I didn’t have time to pity party.
The first thing I did when I had two extra cents in my pocket was, buy wire.
I talked a stylish woman, who was a friend of a friend, into marketing my jewelry for me; it was easy because she went nuts over my work, “I was amazing” LOL.
This stylish woman took a few pieces to wear, dressed up a couple of her girl friends with my “creations” (lol) and went out to lunch and to a couple galleries.
Bottom line, within two weeks my work was in one small town gallery and a big city restaurant.
Lucky? I don’t think so.
My stylish friend was approached by the owners of the establishments and asked about the jewelry she and her friends were wearing. The owners asked if they could offer the jewelry in their stores.
Successful, well what do you think is successful?
I was delighted, even though I was paying 30% to the establishment per sale and 50% of my profit to the “stylish woman” and yes, I received well over my cost.
My jewelry was and is still selling. The prices people were paying was astronomical, I would have never asked those prices.
Can I support myself on what I sell yet? Only in my dreams.
If you want to create or design jewelry, then enjoy it – if you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it! Life is very very short.
So what really is the problem with those jewelry designers and jewelry artists who are overwhelmed, frustrated and unhappy about sales?
Do they believe in themselves?
Does the joy emit from their work?
Are they really “good” or “great” at what they do, or do they just “wish” they were that good or great and whine because they aren’t?
Sometimes I think people get into a “wanna-be” situation and just they drive themselves nuts.
Oh, one more thing, I don’t think it is a good idea to take yourself so seriously.
I regularly laugh at myself. I love to laugh.
My mother said, bless her, “I’m pushin’ 60, I better get going.”
I’m at that age now, so I know what she meant. Wasting time is not a good thing.
Good Luck to all and may you be blessed with many buyers with lotz-o- money!
Want to talk about it? Email from my blog:
Thank you, Rita!
Thank you so much for posting this wakeup call, and for sharing your story!
You’re that no-nonsense gal friend we all need, who comes over with a pot of coffee, puts everything in perspective, and says, “Honey, there’s no use crying about it – what are you going to DO about it?”
Many of the ladies I most admire are like you. Life’s handed them hard times that they’ve had to handle alone – and they rise to the occasion every time.
It’s made them strong, self-sufficient, not afraid of hard work, and able to always find a way to achieve anything.
Our family friend Aunt Dorothy is one of these ladies, too. She’s had many a hardscrabble time in her life, but she can make anything, do anything, and always stays self sufficient – though she’s now approaching 80.
It’s not always easy, but it makes you stronger in a good way – so that you can make things happen for yourself.
I’ve found the inner strength to do lots of things that my “inner wuss” thought were beyond me – because I had to in order to make a life for myself and my son.
Never give up and never surrender your dreams! Where there’s a will, there’s always at least one way to make your dreams come true.
Love you, Rita!
Forgot to say…
…your jewelry is gorgeous, Rita!
I peeked in on your blog, and your wirework is exquisite.
your jewelry is breathtaking
I read every word of your post and it really rung a bell in my heart too! even though i am half your age, i truly believe that life is a terrible thing to waste! so I salute your spirit and hope that i will still be thinking like you when i am your age. so, thanks for the inspiration!
also I saw your jewelry and it is some of the most breathtaking work i have ever seen! I have a very fickle attention span and so I have very high regard for labor intensive work…..so hats off to you! you deserve every success and happiness that you get from creating your art!
keep the blogs current so we can admire your work frequently 🙂
what is “your” mantra?
Older and Wiser?
Wow, what an ear full of good advice! Sometimes it takes a kick in the back to get you moving and sometimes you have to hear things without the flowers and chocolates.
It can be discouraging to work for a week making jewelry for an upcoming show. Only to spend 5 hours at a show and not sell a thing. However, everything should be viewed as a lesson or an opportunity. Some of my worst shows opened doors for another opportunity.
I simply love making jewelry more than I do selling it (lol). For those who are really trying to make it and keep running into brick walls, don’t give up. Find a mentor, team up with someone else, buy Rena’s book!
It’s going to be a good year in 2009, keep your heads up and keep making that jewelry.
Way to go Rita!
I couldn’t agree more.
I make jewelry because I can’t get enough of making jewelry. The process is a joy to me and the end result a source of great pride.
I sell jewelry because there has to be somewhere for it to go.
What started out as a couple of craft shows a year has turned into 5 good shows a year, a weekend store and an ETSY shop.
I can’t quit my day job but I have gone part time. It gives me more time to make jewelry.
Your work is both elegant and beautiful. I am glad that you found a way to make the joy you find in the work financially rewarding as well.
Thank you all for your kind words. I’ve been thinking about those who struggle, wanting to sell their wares so badly and getting frustrated. I want them to think about that saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a Day.
I think most of us who have been successful selling can say that no matter how many times one goes around the mountain, be it 4 years or 40 years, we need to stop, look at where we are at, focus on where we want to be, and head straight forward. Never Look Back and Never Give Up. It’s really not that difficult if you are doing what you love to do.
Within this website there are hundreds of ideas and suggestions; thank you Rena for your amazing commitment to this website; knowing that this website didn’t happen overnight either. There is something in here for everyone!
As we define ourselves, referring to our personal style, we also define what methods for marketing are suited to us; what will work for us and what does not work. I don’t do Esty because I need more instant gratification. For personal reasons and time I don’t do shows. I like my pieces displayed in a store or gallery. I like someone watching over them. I put more into the cost of the pieces because I need price points that will support 35 to 40 percent that will go to the store. Therefore, I sometimes put more effort in marketing the store than I do “selling” my pieces. I believe that if people see my work, touch it, see the workmanship, they will buy and they do; and that my friends makes me a happy woman!
Happy Days to Everyone!