March 13, 2010

Creating a Jewelry Identity

I've been beading as a hobby for a few years now. It's been a great experience, and I've dabbled with a bunch of different jewelry techniques. Now that I'm trying to move from being a hobbyist to being a jewelry artist I'm thinking about what kind of identity I want to develop... or if I want to develop an identity at all.

Right now I like working with wire, stringing beads, and doing bead weaving... Sometimes I like to make simple and elegant jewelry. Other times, I'm driven to create funky and eclectic jewelry. I work with commercially made beads and create my own beads. I'm all over the place, and I'm not sure I want to change that. I like working on whatever I feel like. My only concern is trying to develop a following.

I have a feeling that customers will want to be able to return to my store and see more items similar to the items they liked before. Right now, I can't guarantee that. My inventory could be vastly different from day to day or from week to week depending on how I'm feeling. So, this is my struggle... do I stifle my work flow in order to create jewelry that conforms to an identity or do I go wherever inspiration takes me, but run the risk of disappointing return customers.

For those of you who have been in the business, what is your take on this? Do you notice return customers looking for similar items or do customers like seeing variety? Do you go wherever inspiration takes you or do you try to create and stick to an identity? Or, am I the only schizophrenic one who can't figure out who I am and what I do?


waterwaif said...

Haha, you're not the only schizophrenic one who can't figure out who you are! Your blog reads like my mind and this is all new to me, too, but man do I love it!

About my return customers, and I've had a couple: they like variety and the only similarity between their purchases is the type of jewelry they buy. One really only likes earrings but she buys all kinds of styles and colors.

I think the trick is to follow inspiration and passion. It will shine through in your work and speak to your buyers.

Beadativity said...

Thanks Waterwaif! Some of the shops I visit seem to have a real sense of who they are. I started questioning whether I had to do that too! I'm glad to know that schizophrenic works!

marsspyder said...

I spent a couple hours last night on this exact question. I have been trying to determine something (anything) that clearly speaks as "my style". After looking through my entire box of completed pieces, taking a few "what's your style" quizzes, and lots of thinking, I have no idea who I am as a beader...

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