by Rena Klingenberg.
I’ve done it, and you probably have too.
I’ve looked at what another jewelry artist was creating or selling – and measured myself against them.
I asked myself (anxiously) – am I “better” or “worse” than they are?
If I decided I was better, I felt a sense of relief and maybe even achievement.
If I felt that I was worse, I wound up with sense of discouragement and not being “good enough”.
But how accurately can we measure ourselves against another jewelry artist?
Each of us has an exquisitely unique set of gifts, talents, and experiences.
Really, no two people in the universe have ever been identical enough to be compared accurately against each other.
A jewelry artist who was
everything I wasn’t
When I first started selling my jewelry, I often wound up participating in the same art shows as a particular jewelry artist who was much more experienced than I was.
Not only had this jewelry artist been making and selling his work for a long time, but he also had an established following and had worked in sales for many years before becoming a jeweler.
He had a natural charisma and was friendly, outgoing and talked easily with customers.
I couldn’t help comparing myself to him – in many ways I was his complete opposite, and I felt I could never measure up to him.
I saw my differences
Unlike this other jewelry artist, I was new to making and selling jewelry, and I was extremely shy.
I’m not a talkative person under any circumstances, and at art shows it was very hard for me to start a conversation with people I didn’t know.
And I had absolutely no previous experience with selling anything.
At one gallery show where this particular jewelry artist and I were both participating, one of the ladies who owned the gallery stopped by my table and asked me how things were going.
I told her I’d made several nice sales – but that I felt so awkward compared to the naturally charismatic jeweler who was chatting merrily with people in the next room.
The gallery owner
told me kindly but firmly,
“Rena, there is no comparison. There are just as many customers who prefer your quieter way, as there are customers who prefer his more outgoing way.”
She was absolutely right.
Different customers gravitate to jewelry artists who have different qualities.
is one of your strongest advantages.
So I’d been right about never being able to measure up to this other jeweler.
No one could, because we’re all unique.
I decided to stop measuring myself against other jewelry artists, and focus instead on making the most of my own skills, talents, and ways of relating to people.
When you’re being your authentic self,
nobody can compare to you.
And that’s what attracts customers, friends, and great opportunities to you.
Mary Foyes says:
Thank you, thank you! I would also be the quiet one and have always felt that it’s okay, but always wondered what could happen if I was more outgoing (loud) like my sister. I thank you for confirming that it’s okay to be myself. I also adore the necklace piece with the large flower. Now that’s makes a statement without any words.
Paulah May says:
If you were just like your sister… The world would only need one of you! I’d sure hate to think what my life would be like without even one of the people I’ve known, ir even those whom I will never meet but whose talent has reached me through their art or music or words and influenced who I AM….
EVERYONE IS GOOD FOR SOMETHING – even if only to serve as a bad example!! Hahahaha! Embrace your good fortune at having arrived alive and know that whatever you have to offer, no matter how meager it may seem to you, someone else out there- no matter how strong they are in their strengths, is weak in what you excel at. Whatever you bring forth, someone else wants, needs, or lacks it and will be so grateful for what you have to give!!
If you were somebody else, we wouldn’t need YOU! 🙂
Joan Williams says:
Rena, your post really resonated with me! Since the bulk of my selling is done on Etsy, I’m constantly comparing myself to the many, many other jewelry designers there, and I do get discouraged when I see other shops that have had 2 or 3 times as many sales as I’ve had and haven’t even been open as long as I have.
I’m learning though, to keep following my own creative path and even though I may never be a super seller at Etsy I’m doing what I feel I was made to do!
I’ve been getting your newsletters for several years and still remember the thrill the first time I posted a piece in the jewelry gallery that you featured in a newsletter! The encouragement and knowledge you provide along with support from others who contribute and make comments has been very helpful to me, and I’m sure it is to many others too.
This article couldn’t have come at a better time. I am busy preparing for Fall and Winter shows. As I see the list of other jewelry artists participating in the same shows I start to feel full of doubt. After 3 years in business I would have thought this would not be the case but for some reason it still is a thought that pops into my head. I have been trying to focus on staying true to my creative path and not let my mind wander into comparing my jewelry to others. Your article is a perfect reminder that I just need to be myself.
Rena Klingenberg says:
Mary, I’m still quiet, and I’ve learned to see it as a strength instead of as a fault. I appreciate that trait about myself now, and long ago stopped wishing hopelessly that I could change it. Quietness has a certain restfulness and “space” that makes many people feel comfortable and easy in your presence. The people who gravitate to that quality deeply appreciate it in you.
Joan, your work is always so wonderfully different – from your faucet handle brooch, to your Art Nouveau lovelies, to your archaeological-inspired pieces! – I can’t imagine that anyone else’s work could compare to yours in any way. I think you do a fantastic job of putting your unique skills and talents to work in your creations.
And thank you so much for your lovely feedback on my sites and newsletter! I love having the opportunity to provide a platform and some exposure for jewelry artists, and I’m always thrilled to see what wonderful new things people are posting in the gallery.
Andrea, maybe your sense of doubt comes from recognizing that the other jewelers have a different set of natural traits, experiences, and talents than you have. But instead of seeing it that way, remind yourself that you have your own beautiful array of strengths and talents that the others don’t have.
Several years ago I read about the concept of setting up every aspect of your business to focus on your particular talents and strengths. And instead of trying to overcome your weaknesses, you simply ignore them and put your energy into concentrating on building your business into a unique and powerful expression of you.
It’s a matter of focusing on (and appreciating) what you are, and letting go of what you are not.
That really resonated with me, and it’s become my approach to everything I do.
So I did a lot of self-discovery tests and exploration (such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, of which I’m an INFP) to really uncover my unique strengths and skills, and to learn how I work best and my natural way of communicating with people.
For example, now instead of feeling hopelessly inadequate for not having the extroverted skills or natural outgoing manner that other jewelers have, I focus on ways of selling my jewelry that use my own natural strengths of listening carefully and concentrating deeply and empathetically on one person at a time.
And by basing every aspect of my business on what I naturally am, I’ve attracted a following of clients who appreciate a jewelry artist who has those traits.
It’s another facet of being a specialist – you’re specializing in being you. Not everyone will gravitate to you, but your authenticity will definitely attract the folks who appreciate your unique qualities.
But I think that first you have to see and appreciate those qualities in yourself.
And when you do, you’ll realize that there’s no comparison! 🙂
Aloha, mahalo for such a great article. Thank you for reminding me, for I truly needed to hear those words. I feel that as an artist, we are just darn critical of what we do, that at times we loose the magic of what’s really going on when we allow ourselves to let go and just be free. It’s been a hard transition to not be so judgmental of my work, and realize that the real me, is not the one coming forward, but the one I think needs to come forward to please people. It’s your words read today, that really hit home. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my thinking and that healing of thoughts, letting go and allowing joy to take over the creative process is what I’ve been craving all along.
I love this point of view, and it’s so true. I started checking in with other sellers to compare how I was tracking. It was so silly, I was comparing oranges & apples. IE They’d been around a lot longer than I had, and they’re style was often different to mine. I’ve learnt to rethink my approach, if I’m jealous it means they’re doing something I wish I was better at. As an example, maybe they’re great at social media, or take awesome photos. Then I know where I need to focus my energy more to improve. I turned the tables, so those who I once envied had become my teacher. I’ve improved a lot since taking this point of view. Jealousy lets you know where your passions is (when used for good & not evil) =)
Great article AND excellent advice. I’m one of those quiet types too. (get me on the stage and that’s different, LOL). It’s wonderful to go to other vendors that are doing something different and actually chat to them. I had an interesting lady next to me at a recent market and her original ceramic pieces were fabulous. I loved her table display and I was a little envious of it all. After ignoring each other for a few hours I finally got brave to talk to her. It was her first table at the market! I had sales that she didn’t. Because she was doing something quite different than me I felt comfortable giving HER advise and a suggestion of getting in touch with a coming up art exhibition. I suggested carrying samples of her work everywhere she went, which she does, but we talked about how to carry our work around too. (I’ve just finished sewing a folding up carrying bag and looking forward to carrying it with me more often). It turned out to be an inspiring conversation for both of us.
I’m not a particularly shy person, but I do have an awkward moment when customers approach my booth. It’s not so much about comparison to other jewelry artists, as much as not knowing how much to approach the customer. I’m always afraid of scaring them off – either by being too yakky, or on the other side of the coin, seeming too aloof. Sometimes people just like to browse without contact with ever vendor, but you also want to appear friendly! I now usually wait for them to make eye contact, and then smile and greet them, then ask them to just let me know if I can help with anything.
I don’t worry about the other jewelers so much – there are SO many of us out there, at all skill/experience levels – that if I let that be a worry, I’d probably never leave my house! 😀
Michelle Buettner says:
Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring article! You never cease to amaze and always have great bits of advice that are ‘spot on’ with what so many of us need to hear at exactly the moment you write them!
I have been comparing myself to so many people for several years, and I finally kicked myself in the buns here recently and said “no more” and started to focus on what I used to love about designing jewelry – the whole process of putting things together and creating something fun to wear!
Thanks so much Rena; your websites, articles, inspiration and advice are greatly appreciated and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way!
the bead stylist says:
WoW … what timing that I decided to visit my Google reader feed and catch up on some of the blogs that I subscribe to.
I’ve been selling beads for years and in the past few years started dabbling in making jewelry, earrings to be specific. I so admired what bead artists were doing with seed beads and although bead stringing is easier in a way, I was intrigued by the bead weavers works of bead art; so I started teaching myself some very basic techniques and simply fell in love with this form of beading.
Even though I got many compliments on even my early beaded earrings I was just not satisfied, I was just following a pattern and I desperately wanted to have my own style but really wasn’t much of a designer; however, this past year something changed and I started liking what I created and got many compliments and although the style isn’t for everyone I was thrilled to finally find my niche.
But, I still have a fear of selling them which is why I am glad to come across this article because now I realize that I am really comparing myself to so many other talented and much more experienced bead art jewelry designer’s and of course also fear that none of my items will sell – well I won’t know that until I list them and that is what I am going to do thanks to the encouragement of this article.
That is an excellent article! I still catch myself thinking that way from time to time. When it come right down to it, I have to make what I want to make and, if it sells, it sells! If it doesn’t, it might end up in my own jewellery box. I also have the awkward situation of friends, trying to be helpful, suggesting things that I could make that would be good sellers. I’m sorry, I don’t do belly bars and I don’t make hair slides. I don’t make plain stud earrings either. Where is the design element in that to spark my creative juices? If I don’t enjoy making jewellery because I’m on a production line and making stuff that is boring to me, then I may as well give up.
Tina, I had to smile to myself at your comment. I’ve had friends tell me that what ‘sells’ (to them) is a simple cord with a focal bead pendant. I’m like *yawn* hahaha However, if they would like to put in an order I’ll make it for a fee!
This is just what I needed. Note to self stop comparing my skills to this top notch designer in my area that has celebrity clients. There is place for me in the jewelry market place. Thanks for a great post.
Rena, you are very artistic and very gorgeous. Your skills really helps me a lot to do also something. I admire your creativity. You gave me courage to do on my own and develop the skills I have.
thank you thank you!! This post brought me great healing..just to accept ourselves as we are, each unique and different, which makes life beautiful
Bev Vickers says:
I will second and third all these comments.
We should do what we love. After all if I love a certain piece of jewelry and someone hates it — so what! There are plenty of people who will love it as much as I do.
I love reading about what others have experienced. Many of us have come to realize we have experienced the same things! That helps us to move on. Thank You Rena for all the great things you do! I love your informative newsletters!!!
I think that this post is amazing! Don’t compare your self to other people! Of course, competition can be great to make you try harder but don’t take it too far!
Ann Nolen says:
Thanks again for another great article that makes us stop and rethink what we have been doing. Like you, I did some self discovery by taking the Briggs-Meyer test and understanding my personality type and how it effects our preferred sales method. I am your opposite, very outgoing and talkative. The best advise I got from this was not to try to sell, to just be myself and that enthusiasm for my work would do the job. It had really helped me. It also has helped me switch my thinking from comparing to other artists to admiring what they do, and looking for something I can learn from them.
Competition is motivating!
Thank you !! Just the pick-me-up I needed. I was starting to feel a little, dare I say jaded & then read this great article.
BIG thanks from Australia !
Jewelry by Jeanna says:
Thank you so much for sharing this! I am not s shy person at all normally. However, I do find that I am pretty shy when it comes to “selling” my work at a booth. I usually wait until someone starts looking and then I just let them know to ask if they have any questions and I leave them alone. I believe if someone really likes my work, they will not need or want a sales pitch. If my work is not their style, I don`t think a sales pitch would change that either. Instead of labeling myself as shy when it comes to my business, I prefer to think that I am low pressure! Jewelry making and jewelry wearing is supposed to be fun, I try to keep it that way.
Bev Vickers says:
Tina said “I don’t make plain stud earrings either. Where is the design element in that to spark my creative juices?”
I had an experience with my sister –she had plain stud earrings and she didn’t wear them because one ear lobe has a larger hole and they slip out. I suggested that she not only wear the disks behind the ear, but she had a pair of pretty “incomplete” earrings in that they were just like the bottom part of a post earring a design made of seed beads. I suggested she add a jump ring and put those on the post behind the ball part of the stud so it sits in front of the ear. She loved the idea!
Tanya Renae Rner says:
Rena…you are an angel! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about one of the challenges you have tackled as a jewelry artist AND for giving me the inspiration to stop dreaming about being successful and START living it! At this moment in my life, I needed to read and feel your words “When you’re being your authentic self, nobody can compare to you”.
Coretta Silvers says:
Rena….I am so happy I found your website. I use to make jewelry and four years ago I stopped because I kept comparing myself to others that made jewelry. You are a god sent! Since reading this I have decided to get all the tools and beads out. You are so right we are a “unique”, and there is enough customers for everybody. Thanks a bunch you have encouraged me immensely.
Designs by LadyC
“When you’re being your authentic self, nobody can compare to you.”
Love it!! 🙂
Nina Leto says:
Great piece Rena. We’re all victims of comparing ourselves to others, hair styles, clothing, weight, beauty and of course, our jewelry prowess. It’s hard to cut away those feelings and the most important thing is to keep creating, researching, reading, looking at jewelry to clear the fog of what ifs away. Be aware of trends and be more aware of your instincts. Trust your gut, your instincts, your reality. This is so much more important than comparison!! Easy to say, not impossible to do!!
Paula Countryman says:
If I hadn’t been looking up how to use flat nose jewelry pliers on google, I’d not have found such a wonderful site! Thank you for this!
Mary Kay Smith says:
Wow, its good to know I’m not alone! People have known that I have a background in art, and because of that, I have always been harder on myself and expect my jewelry to be the ‘best’. In the past I have needed the boost of confidence from others, but what I really need to do is look inward and be confident in my work. Thank you for helping me see that through your piece!
Deb H says:
As a newbie, having not set up a company yet and doing a test run craft fair this November, I get a bit overwhelmed when I see all the talent out there.
The internet has obviously made us all more aware of the competition and it is really hard when you are still trying to find your niche.
Guess I’ll just keep making whatever strikes my fancy until I find an area that really moves me, and then just not worry about the competition … unless I get $0 sales. Then … well … I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Anil Valecha says:
I’m highly impressed with your article. I’ve been in the jewelry business for about 20 years now. My dad began as a goldsmith and he had natural talent to create tools that made unique handmade bangles. I however stepped into the business after his demise in 1991.
Eversince, i have been looking for people who have taken the jewelry business to a new level. I’m glad that i happened to read your post. Kindly put me on your mailing list.
irina dalah says:
Great post indeed!
I’m not that long in the business (only about 3 or 3.5 years), but I’ve been to a few fairs already. I also knew right from the start that I’ll be one of those extrovert, easily conversing sellers.
So, from the other side of the coin, I can tell you, it looks just the same: I look at the quieter sellers, and all the clients they get, and think to myself… “hmmm, maybe I should stop being so pushy” 🙂
I’ve got friends who are more experienced than me, and go to fairs for many years (one of them for over 15!!) and she told me the same thing: she looks at me, and the buyers that come to my booth and she thinks to herself: “maybe I’m complacent, maybe my designs are too old, maybe I’m doing something wrong…”
It just go to show: everybody envies someone.
Lorriah Waite says:
Thank you for the help. I keep being told to put my jewelry on Artfire or Etsy. I haven’t yet because honestly I’m scared of the competition. There are so many jewelry artists out there. I’ve talk to a few and they’ve told me this is a hard business to get into. I create my own work, I love being different. I love learning new techniques and want to try new mediums. I don’t have the best self esteem so I tend to make my jewelry and give it away. I really don’t know what to even charge people and I feel bad in this economy. I feel even for simple jewelry people charge a lot for hand made jewelry. These sites are good for me to hear other artists talk about their experiences. Thank You
i like your article , and i want to add the differences between us in talent or in gifts about ideas to make every one creative in different way .and it is like a create a world of Art for all who like the beauty ..thank you Rena
Rena Klingenberg says:
Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and experiences with this issue!
Thank you so much for being honest and sharing this post. I’ve been making jewelry for almost 4 years now and pretty much a shy person also. I’m getting better at not worrying about other artists work and if people think they’re better than me but it comes back every once in awhile. It’s true though. In the end, if you stay true to yourself and your work.. you and everyone else will see it!
What a great article and good posts. Tina makes what she loves, same with Pauline. Zoraida, I have watched develop and improve over the years I have been subscribed to this site, her copper wire work is lovely. Joan has great comments about etsy. Jewelry by Jeanna finds it hard to sell her own work.
All of these and others resonate with me as does the article; I am guilty of thinking others are so much better, more fashionable and innovative than myself.
Now I can relax and just get on with it and not be too shy to price my work, take the money and thank the customer nicely. I think I have become more outgoing as I get older:-)
Yuko Sakata says:
I was just looking for good information about jewelry making and suddenly ended up here, when i finished reading i came to understand what you mean and realized that many times i felt discouraged before and it was because of the same reason, comparison, and i never really took the next step. I’m glad i can see it in a different way now. Thank you very much.
Rena, I’m an INFP too! Almost always intimidated by more out-going people (though I’m trying not to be…accept yourself…accept yourself!). I struggle too on another level. I don’t make chunky, Avant Garde jewelry. My creations could maybe best be described as classic elegance. I really feel like I’m “supposed” to be very modern. But I’m 61, just ventured into this about 2 years ago, and lean heavily on using pearls, Swarovski crystals, gem stones, and sterling silver in my jewelry. It’s what appeals to me. I’m also just getting started on trying to make sales. Even if I never sold a thing I’d still make jewelry because I love doing it! And when I wear my own pieces others seem to like it. Do I have to be “modern” in order to sell?
Thank you for this post. when I compare myself, i can’t create, i stopped everything. Thank you
Thank you for the article. Losing confidence is an easy thing to do. I would like to know how you and others approach customers when they stop at your table to look at your jewelry. I notice some customers run away as soon as you say something while others engage you. Any suggestions?
Thank you for this profitable information…I will be sharing this with my daughter in law and daughter and it will help in a family business idea I’ve had for a very long time! We will keep you posted!!!!
Patricia Hole says:
Wow, today is my “grand opening” and I read this article, I was touched beyond words, because everything I am experiencing right now, is voiced out loud above. It takes the power away from the fear, when your fears are confronted or read, so I thank each and everyone of you, you made an impact and will probably have no idea how much. So I gratefully, and humbly say “thank you” Patricia Hole
It has been very informative to read all of the above comments. It would appear that all of us share problems that can create difficulty when it comes to selling our work. When I first started selling my jewelry it felt like I was selling my children! That probably sounds like a strange statement but in many respects they are our children. We create them, we design them, we fabricate them, we put so much of our selves in to them and hope they are successful. They are pieces of our souls and how do you sell pieces of yourself?
The first home party I did I had an extreme case of stage fright! One of my thoughts was what if no one comes? Another was what if they don’t like my work? Then how do I talk to them? What if they reject “my children?”
I ‘m a veteran of 40 + years of teaching. I’d done parent /teacher conferences. I had done public speaking. I had taught adult drawing and painting class. But this was something new. The reason I mentioned it is doubts and stage fright are common even for those of us with many years of experience in dealing with people.
Gradually I became more comfortable with selling my jewelry and talking with prospective buyers. But it didn’t happen over night.
One day I came to the realization that it wasn’t terribly important what people thought of my work. It’s a part of me and all I need to do is accept myself and what I can do. Some will like it and some will not. Ultimately it is just a matter of different tastes.
Thanks, thanks a lot to everybody for your comments!! Just in this moment I needed it. I make jewellery a long time ago but only for me and for my friends, I’m just starting my new brand!
Hi there everyone,
Throughout my entire life it has been proven to me over and over that “comparison is the source of all discontent. ” Whether it has to do with comparing to kids at school, our lives compared to the “Jones”, or the success of our career, business, our spouse, our figure or our hair. One never knows the background of another person’s life, where they came from or where they are now; you have nothing to compare to. Create your own plan, set your own goals, and focus on that. What you think about is what you will achieve; so think about your goals and not what others are doing. I see it over and over again. And even I need to be reminded to stick to this belief now and then!!!!
Of course no-one is the same! Why should you compare your work to other artists’ work?? I love tiger’s eye and find it warm and mysterious. Being a Leo, they say my stones are peridot, carnelian and gold stone (sand stone) but I love them all – the more large and colourful – the better. But that is me. I don’t love diamonds – they are never forever – as the only one I ever received I had to give back! Can’t wait to finish my writing to start creating jewellery. I don’t care about selling – I think I will give my creations away as presents and keep a copy for myself so I must get a bigger house!! Come on all you artists out there – you are all unique so create and astound me. Marthese.
Standing behind a chair doing ladies hair for 20 years gives you a whole lot of insight into the workings of women’s minds, lol! And we ALL have the same insecurities and fears, one way or another and that’s okay. It’s when the fear keeps you from doing what you love or loving what you do that it becomes a problem. When I feel intimidated or lose confidence I try to remind myself that I am in good company and that ” this too shall pass.” There is a wealth of learning information out there from the very people you get intimidated by and most are willing to share it. Stay true to you creative self, be forever learning and exploring, ask questions of fellow Artisans you admire, and realize you are not alone. We are a Sisterhood against the little creative doubt demons, lol!
I have to also thank you for sharing your insights. I have only been creating jewelry for about a month, transitioning from being a cake artist for many years. I spend so much time admiring other artists work and sometimes feel that I might not have what it takes. But I just keep going people keep buying so I guess I am doing something right. But this really lifted my spirits and renewed my excitement for this new journey. So thank you thank you.
Beautifully said. My art (jewelry or other) is an outlet & a source: of joy to me. Sometimes it becomes a gift to others, but mostly it’s an expression of my joy in life. Thanks for this great reminder to “be me.”
Thanks for all the helpful information you are sharing, you hit it right on the nail with this article. I’m a social worker and some years ago, I turned my passion into a business. As a new Jewelry Designer, I find myself comparing my pieces to others. I continue to talk myself through any insecure or negative thoughts. I believe there is room in this business for us all! I look forward to your news letters, video and blogs. Be well
I just stumbled upon your website, and so glad I did! This post really resonated with me. I am just starting out, and while I love what I make and my friends love what I make, I always compare myself to more experienced designer/artists. I have no idea how to market and sell what I make, so I am happily reading everything on your site!
Rena, thank You for this article, it supports my deepest thoughts about my “artist identity”. 🙂 Although I’m not selling my works ( I make them fom myself and for gifts), it helped me.
Anne Wallace says:
Thank you for this. As an amateur jewellery maker, I always compare myself to others in a negative way. And yet, so many people have been so complementary about the pieces that I make. I must try to remember, as you say, everyone’s taste is different and there are people out there who are drawn to my work.
I am also new to jewelry making. I started making beaded jewelry, a year ago and stop. I recently started to pick it back up again basically making it for my daughter and her friends, but mainly for my daughter because she loves when I make jewelry for her( She spend less money in the jewelry store). She recently started telling me about all the compliments that they have been getting about the jewelry that I made for her and her friend. It started me thinking of going into my own business selling jewelry. So I give myself a one year plan, to fine tune my skills, and collect the necessary tools that I need to start my business a year from now. As much as I have one year to get ready, I have one year to get discourage. With every compliment I get, I look at other jewelry artist and realize that I may not be able to make it. I came across your blog and it has so much of encouraging words that I know I can make it. I am not truly there yet with my confidence, but I know with you blog, it would help me along the way. Thanks
Same thing happen to me. I went once to craft fair and happen that someone with better pieces and another with great displays made me nervous. But I am just like you, I am not a talker at all. That day I decided to change and start doing what I do best, I started thinking about my previous jobs experiences as Customer Service and because in the phone I am really good with people but in person I am not that confident. But that day I learned and because I implemented the same strategy I was able to sell some and met really nice people. Thanks for this post 🙂
Jane Petersen says:
This article was very uplifting for me. I compare myself to others all the time and wonder why I can’t be more like them–smarter, thinner, more creative. My biggest fear is that a piece of jewelry someone buys from me will break or fall apart, and I’m very hard on myself to be as perfect as possible. But I have so much fun making jewelry and talking to customers, some of whom have worn my jewelry for years without a problem! And as I progress, I learn better ways and become more skilled. I’m about to participate in my 1st-ever craft fair, and excited and nervous just for the reasons you stated. So I won’t compare myself to other sellers and try to have a super fun weekend! Thanks!
like some ladies, i stumbled upon your website last night looking for jewelry display ideas. I’m very new to jewelry making. In fact i still take classes with 3-4 ladies at my teachers studio. I like it, sometimes we do potluck or just do tea:)
I’m not sure what to call myself just yet. I have created a few items. But items that i learned from my teacher & things i learned from you tube. So right now i don’t know what is my style nor do i have one? all i know is that i enjoy it very much & could sit for hours just trying different things. I also plan to hopefully sell my creations later. I know there’s a lot to learn. When i come across your website i thought its perfect for me to learn it all. Looks like I’m in good hand:) I read everyone’s post & look forward to share mine in the future.
Khurshid Khoree says:
Thank you so very much. This post came to me at the right time. I am a quiet type and not very good at marketing the beaded jewellery I make. I am preparing for an exhibition shortly here in Bangalore India, but have many doubts about the pieces I am making. The question keeps nagging me whether my work will be appreciated, whether it is good enough for people to buy, who will buy it and have I priced it correctly, etc. etc., and keep comparing myself with other designers whose work I see online.
Though my friends and family who have seen my work all appreciate it and like what I am creating. But the doubt remains.
Now I know after reading your post, My creativity is mine alone. I am good with what I do.
Kirsten Lew says:
I have a cycle I go through where I am paralyzed into inaction because I’ve all of a sudden ‘realized’ that “who am I kidding? I can’t compare with so-and-so – look how perfect their jewelry is, etc., etc.” This article is just the reminder I needed to see and I’m going to print it out and put it up where I can see it. Of course, I’ve been like this since high school, through all the various mediums and styles of art I’ve done, so this is 20+ years of ingrained thinking that I’m dealing with 😉
Rena Klingenberg says:
And the irony is that the artists we’re comparing ourselves against … are probably also looking at other artists and thinking “Who am I kidding – I can’t measure up to him / her!” LOL! 🙂
Nathan Grenell says:
Wow, what a wonderful article! I really needed that! I’ve always suffered from a lack of confidence and self- esteem? As of now I will no longer compare myself to others and be who I am!
Such a wonderful and encouraging article! I read some of the comments and it seems you touched on a very important subject that so many of us are dealing with no matter the complements from friends and family and from customers as well! Thank you for writing and sharing it with all of us! I also love your E-book on how to sell jewelry at shows that I purchased last year, and the many tips you offer are so helpful! Looking forward to getting your E newsletter in my mail box soon! Thanks again! Rivka
Wow, wish I had this advise years ago. Having switch from a success career as radiologist/CT technologist into jewelry as a way to relax as I get closer to that big 65th year! I may never retire because I enjoy what I am doing! I can recall one of my earlier craft fair when 4 wire wrappers vendor dealers from Oregon (whom travel together) came to the fair I was at. One actually told me I needed to wrap like them. Really, all their work look the same and the bails had each of their own trademark but all done the same for each dealer. Lucky, the two vendors next to me told me they love my artistic flair and so did a lot of customers. I let the stone tell me what it wants. I am an avid rock hounder and I have always felt even as a child each stone has it’s own vibe so to speak. Glad I did not let those 4 vendors ruin my career. And my work is tailor for individuality not assemble line. Each of us sees the pieces of world differently. Neither is right or wrong but their own way. I am looking forward to this Jewelry Making Journal since I live in rural parts of the desert and contact with other jewelers is distance. Love the advise and all the comments!
This is Beautiful Pam says:
Thank you for having me here! Sorry to say, but I’m another of those
“Hey C’mere LOOK at THIS” kind of people. I did recently have a snit over the fact that there’s a Facebook page that has over 280 likes to my less than 60, and that page had only 3 different items on it, and rings that looked like they were made of cereal! And this person who calls herself a jewelry Artist, has kicked my arse in likes! And I still can’t figure out what I am doing WRONG! In person, I rarely go without sales and at market I had a following. But the Fibro and arthritis in the spine means I now have to set up a brick and mortar, but it’s in a tiny town, on the main road, but I will NEED those online sales! So far I am tickled to be here! Now as to whether I can make a go of selling from my FB page is still to be seen. Etsy was a total failure for me I don’t fit in there at all for whatever reason. So advice I’m gathering, depression I’m fighting, and away we go!
Teresa Thomas says:
Rena, thank you for this post. I have just started making jewelry and I’m really down on myself thinking I’m not as good as everyone else. It has kept me from getting started. My love is wire making but I’m so daunted by everyone else’s work I know mine will never look as good. I don’t have a support system. I joined a jewelry class and I’m a slower learner and one of the teacher’s will take the work from me and do it herself. So some of it I’m getting and some of it I’m not. It has helped me to read this. You have given me the courage to try to do my best and like my own work. Wish me luck! 🙂
Rena Klingenberg says:
Teresa, you absolutely can do it! We all start at the beginning, learning to use the techniques, tools, and materials. My beginning efforts weren’t very good – but I focused on enjoying the process and developing my skills. And gradually my finished pieces started getting better and better. I still make the occasional piece of jewelry that just doesn’t work out, but often after putting those aside for awhile I see ways to fix them or remake them.
I’m sorry to hear about your jewelry teacher taking your work away from you and doing it herself. She’s sending her students the message that they’ll never be able to do it, which is totally false.
You have the right attitude – do your best and like your own work. I know you can do it, Teresa! It just takes practice. Hugs to you! 🙂
Dave Hall (Out of Creation Jewelry) says:
I’m new to your site. I read your first article (most recent one, that is), and I and I’m pleased that you addressed this all to common subject of comparison. I’ve done it and still to- sometimes beneficially, sometimes to my demise. When we JUDGE, negatively judge our work against another artist’s, ouch! However, I don’t have a problem with “good” comparisons, meaning to appreciate the experience level in such a way as to not “deride” one’s own work or look condescendingly on another’s. I love your article though because I can identify with it and it reminds me of when I “fall back” into that unhealthy way of thinking.
Rena Klingenberg says:
Thanks so much for your insights, Dave, and your mention of comparison vs. judging. I agree, it’s so easy to negatively judge our work against others’. And comparison in a positive way can be a good, enlightening experience.
sue michalek says:
I’ve just joined and have been making jewelry my entire life.
You’re thoughts are inspirational. Thanks.
Lin Taylor says:
Rena, this post really got me. I’ve been making jewelry for years, but only started selling it around the holidays last year. I was in a local arts & crafts sale with one of my bosses from work. She was selling wreaths and everyone just flocked to her booth having seen her the year before. I was overshadowed by her ability to draw people in and talk to them. Seemed like everyone else was more outgoing than I was. I was in uncharted territory and I get real shy around new people. I sold most of what I brought, but still left there feeling bad about myself. Go figure, right? I vowed that the next time I’d be more outgoing and I’ve been practicing whenever I go to the store or something, but it’s not really in my nature. This post has really inspired me to be my unique self next time. Takes the pressure off. Thank you for the encouragement.
Love love love this article. I’m new to jewelry design and this is a great article, it definitely confirmed what I always felt,NEVER compare yourself to others only to yourself. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
Thank you, I really appreciate this post. I find myself doing the same thing and then I lose my drive. We are all unique and have our own designs and creative gene.
Sharon langston says:
Well, I am more like the man who wants to be at the party!!! Lol. Been doing this for years as a hobby. My daughter opened a boutique, and now.. It is good time. Need a name, how to present, and stop being fearful. Out going people sometimes are hiding their fear of failure by laughing, playing, and acting like it’s no big deal if my piece does not sell! Be thinking of me in Georgia!!
rena klingenberg says:
Welcome, Sharon! You can do it! And when you do, you’ll find that it’s another fun, creative activity surrounding your love of jewelry.
Wishing you all the best with your new jewelry business – and let us know how it goes for you! 🙂
Hi Rena I’m joining here several years after your post was written but it is still current and wonderful advice. I started making metal clay jewellery a few years ago and gave up after feeling the market was inundated with artists and I would have no niche and lacked the talent to compete. I then went on to concentrate on glass and porcelain jewellery but have found those mediums are now limiting my creativity but have given me the skills to be able to start using metal clay again. Who cares if there are a million and one metal clay artists, my work is unique and informed by a whole set of separate experiences and skills so I’m going to go,for it now. It’s not a competition either. Thank you for validating my feelings and helping so many other with this issue, only wish I’d found you 5 years ago!
Teresa Ann Munnerlyn says:
Thank you, Rena and everyone for your comments.
Rena, I just started subscribing to your newsletter. This article: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Jewelry Artists, is just what I needed!
I used to be painfully shy, I didn’t believe in myself or that I had anything to offer. I was a doormat and a verbal punching bag for whoever I came in contact with.
About 15 years ago I attended a 3 day conference with friends and during the breaks I visit several Vendors booths who were selling their handcrafted jewelry. I decided then that I could create jewelry too. I came home after the conference and immediately started taking jewelry beading classes. I got a lot of complements on my work, family and friends have been very encouraging and supportive. I’ve always given my jewelry as Christmas and Birthday gifts, I have taught several free classes and over the years I’ve sold my pieces at the local Cultural Arts Center gallery and gift shop, had a few home jewelry parties and sold at a number of craft fairs. And, have done quite well. A year and a half ago, my daughter helped me prepare for a show and realized she has a talent for making jewelry; she now works with me in my business. After that, we both took a number of workshops at the local Women’s Business Center where we’ve learned a lot about running a business. And this past month, she and I along with a cousin (who also creates lovely jewelry) started taking a jewelry and metal working class and I am taking a lapidary class.
I’m loving every moment of my journey. Over the past 7 years, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I have more confidence in myself and my skills and abilities. I realize I have a voice and that I have something to offer. Now, I smile a lot and can’t stop talking. I knew that I wanted to create beautiful jewelry.
I’ve discovered and experienced that WITH GOD THE THINGS I WANT TO DO AND PUT EFFORT INTO ARE POSSIBLE when I get quite daily, when I love myself by taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually daily, when I really listen to what people have to say daily, when I take action daily by: thinking positive, putting in the hard work of physically working at my craft, goal setting, planning, organizing, following through, staying connected with like-minded creative people. I’m beginning to understand that real joy and happiness is finding what you love to do, work hard at it and share it with others. And, be open to learn new things.
Judy Showers says:
I started making Button jewelry in 1985 & am still doing it. The name of my business is Showers of Buttons and I make earrings, brooches, rings, necklaces, barrettes, bookmarks, bracelets. etc. I sold televisions in my father’s store for 22 years and went to business college. 35 years is a long time to be in business but you learn & profit from it. If something I was doing didn’t work, I made changes. I made friends with crafters & we shared information on good shows. I never gave up. Hope has helped. Judy
Thank you Rena!!! I always do that. I shouldn’t but I cant’t help it. I’ll try to remember.
Scott Kelley says:
Thank you for the article and the advice. I do find myself surfing and seeing what others do and charge. Your advice to focus on oneself and what brought one to this point. I know that creation is key and making your own path is what is important.
What started me into this biz is what I started creating was getting worn and going all over the world. It has caught my attention, as a biz but your article makes me remember to get back to what makes me happy.
Now how to get out of student mode and back to creating and practicing what I have learned.
The universe truly responds to needs and wishes. Reading “How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Jewelry Artists” was just what my spirit needed to hear. Thank you Rena! I have the wind beneath my wings to keep reaching for the stars.
What a wonderful welcome after subscribing to your free newsletter. I can so relate to this article. Positive thoughts and be who you are! Very pleased I came across your site tonight, in the midst of a business plan and needing to take the leap of courage. Thank you I love this site. Happy Kiwi NZ 🙂