Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Beads, Glorious Beads!

 So . . .  I've been bead shopping . . . 

And I kind of got more than I bargained for!

For the last week or two I've been sorting, bagging, and organizing what must be several thousand individual beads that arrived via US Post in what were called "mixed bags." Initially I thought I had ordered, oh, a few little envelopes of assorted colors. You know, some focal beads, a variety of purples, some blues, some greens. Little things. When I went to the post office to pick up my parcel, I was shocked--the box must have weighed close to twenty pounds. I was staggered--both figuratively and literally; I could barely carry it back to the car.

For the first few hours after opening the box, I just sat at my art table looking at all this bounty in utter shock. A few hours more and I had to make a decision: either I had to pack the whole lot up and store it on a very high shelf where it would remain for the next ten years, or I had to get moving. If I didn't act now, it was never. These beads weren't going to sort themselves into a zillion different categories and somebody had to take control. And thus my plan was hatched: it's time to go into business, kids!

The idea of starting a jewelry business isn't entirely new; I'm sure I've mentioned wanting to do something along these lines more than once on this very blog, but getting up the courage and determination to follow through certainly is. No more playing around with colors and bead shapes and sizes and arrangements "just to see what they look like." Instead, I'm setting up special weekend hours to work steadily on both learning my craft and creating new designs to sell. Yes, sell. It sounds so scary!

The goal is to have by next summer a full inventory of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets priced at affordable levels with enough items to keep some back so that I can replace items as they are sold. In other words--a lot of stuff! 

To make the process and adventure even more interesting, I bought my first packets of silver clay to make my own pendants and charms. I haven't opened any of them yet as I'm not quite ready to begin (our New Mexico climate is so dry that once the package is open, the pieces must be made immediately), but in the meantime I'm studying the steps involved via books and

One unexpected benefit to all this abundance of shiny glass baubles is I am seeing color in an entirely new way, noticing how shades interact with each other whether I'm admiring autumn leaves or a friend's new jacket. It's a nice complement to my painting and drawing, and I'm sure it's going to spill over into my writing, too. As they say, one thing always just leads to another . . .

Tip of the Day: I don't think I'm alone in saying sales and marketing have always been terrifying concepts to me. But it's something I have to conquer and to that end, part of my "bead education" has to involve studying what's needed to become a selling artist. Thank goodness for artist and teacher Mary Gilkerson! Lately I've been taking the time to watch her excellent videos on art marketing and creativity at The videos are fun, informative, and applicable to more than just art--how about book marketing too? Two thumbs up from me!

1 comment:

Charlotte Fairchild said...

Hey Valerie!

I bought a tackle box for a container of beads and jewelry from broken necklaces from GoodWill. I am still doing mosaic work with the things I bought years ago. I also get quite a bit of information from Pinterest and inspiration, too.

A friend of mine in Taiwan puts make up on, and wears jewelry she makes and is modeling. It has inspired her to lose weight and exercise as well as dress better. She is an elementary school principal! So I am encouraging you to go for it!

Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly! -- For all the perfectionists out there and sitting here! Oh, and I have 2 business cards I hand out now. One of my books is out of print and it is selling for between $800 and $1000 on Amazon, so someone values it!