Runaway Costs for Custom Made
by Mary Wong.
(San Gabriel, California USA)
It started off with a simple request from a friend for a pair of Halloween earrings (not my unusual type of work). She also had a tiny pair of spider stud earrings that I thought I could incorporate into a design; so I thought, “OK, maybe something simple with a pumpkin and some cobweb and the spider.” Since I had no supplies for this vague design in my head, I went online to order some lampwork pumpkin beads. And this was the beginning of my runaway cost saga.
The lampwork beads arrived. They didn’t look nearly as cute as the image on the web and they were heavy and had a large hole. I tried to make it work by buying bead caps to top the bead and to narrow the hole for the head pin; they didn’t help. I decided I hated the look of the pumpkin but it wasn’t worth the hassle of sending the item back.
Now, I’m out of pocket and out of ideas. I went on the web and googled “Halloween” for some inspiration and liked the idea of a candelabra charm as the foundation. I found some on Etsy and hoped the size would work. They turned out to be a workable size. Then I went to a local bead shop and bought some silver Italian mesh ribbon to make the cob web.
I wire wrapped the ribbon to the candelabra; after some waste I was able to get the effect I wanted. Then I took my friend’s stud earrings and looped the ear post and added the spider to the candelabra. But the earring needed a backdrop to show off the charm and web.
I already had some 1″ aluminum discs but decided that I needed a 1 1/4″ disc. I scoured my various suppliers and settled for a silver plated pewter disc that wasn’t exactly what I wanted but were close enough. I ordered those and of course I had to order enough to make the minimum to avoid shipping. They arrived but were so darn heavy. I sent them back.
I thought for sure that the bead show coming up would have something that I could use. I scoured it but couldn’t find anything. One jewelry vendor suggested that I try the tool and supplies vendor. That vendor had metal sheets and were willing to sell me a sheet and would die cut as many 1 1/4″ discs for me at some nominal fee per cut.
When I got home and tried the discs out with my candelabra/web, I realized that the discs were too big. I gave up on those and tried my 1″ aluminum discs again and decided that they worked fine.
I could in no way charge my friend for all the extras that went into the making of the earring. But I like the design so much that I found some similar spider stud earrings online and made some for my shop on Etsy and hopefully I can recoup some of the expenses. I call this design www.Candelabra.
I don’t know what lessons I would take away from this. Since I am still fairly new to jewelry making, every mistake makes me a bit smarter — about the costs, about my time, about materials, about ordering online, about my suppliers, about accepting custom work.
Has anyone else gone through something similar?
Simply Brilliant at Etsy