Jewelry design

Custom jewelry design niche allows you to express yourself and make your customers happy too


How can I express myself in the custom design and make the customers happy too?

Customers will have preferences regarding gemstones and type of metal, but beyond that there is room for artistic freedom and design direction, says T Lee, lead at T Lee Custom Designer. Jewelry from Minneapolis. It’s also important to understand who your customers are and what they are likely to want. Susan Gray of WyoBranded Gems & Jewlery in Douglas, WY, cultivates a Western vibe in her store. “A lot of our clients are hunters,” she says. “We have a huge demand for custom elk ivory jewelry, and with our western theme, our customers feel comfortable asking for this type of jewelry design.” On the other hand, Douglas Elliott of Marisa Perry Designs creates engagement rings for New Yorkers, who are looking for thin rings and delicate styles.

How can I make the personalized process an experience?

When Steve Frisch built a new Drenon Jewelry store in Independence, MO, he focused on the store’s slogan, Artists Crafting Dreams. Before the store was built, he had spent years analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the business. “We realized that one of our greatest strengths was our ability to create jewelry from scratch and involve our customers in the experience,” he says. This is how the idea for the glass-fronted design studio from 1945 was born. Now, customers can look at anything jewelers do, and once the item is ready to be cast, customers are invited to watch the making of their piece.

How do I know if the personalized customers are serious?

Becky Bettencourt of Blue River Diamonds in Peabody, MA always tells customers that custom requires some entry-level price commitment. “If that doesn’t scare them off, then I’m happy to keep having a conversation with them, but the thing you don’t want to do is waste your time designing and CAD-CAM a project, to find a client has. an unrealistic budget for that, ”she said. “Custom takes so long, and time is really money, so it must be worth it.” Bettencourt also suggests getting a deposit for a resin or wax sample and having clients sign contracts along the way, approving all design choices and detailing project costs. It helps explain what goes on in the personalization process and the value associated with it.


What does custom mean?

Custom design can mean anything to buyers from choosing a separate diamond and setting to sitting with a bench jeweler with pad and paper or CAD software and having a real hand in the design of their ring. Most custom jobs fall somewhere in between. Buyers want to be able to modify their rings with a different color gold, a different shaped diamond, or a slight twist in the setting style. About 85 percent of Blue River Diamonds business is personalized in one way or another, and about 40 percent is personalized from scratch. “I think it’s important to have styles that can be easily changed,” says Bettencourt, who advocates for prototype sales systems like Stuller’s Ever & Ever. “Most clients need to have something to visualize, so having a variety of different styles that clients can try out is very helpful in refining the process and making it easier to design. “

Is it really okay to use the word custom for a simple adjustment?

“” “” I see no reason NOT to use the word when I say ‘match a diamond to a semi-mount to create a custom piece’. I think I would pay more for a ‘custom’ piece. Than for a standard part, but my belief is that I get something special just for myself with my preferences built in. A truly custom designed and created part is a different item, obviously, but I have no problem. to apply the word more liberally.

How can I do custom work if I am not a jeweler myself?

“If you are a designer but not a jeweler (like me), having a very good master jeweler is crucial,” says Bettencourt. “Some custom jobs are straightforward and others require a little ingenuity. It is therefore imperative to have a master jeweler with whom you can communicate effectively and who can offer creative solutions. If you’re not equipped for in-house customization, partner with a responsive vendor who can modify the designs for you.

At Drenon Jewelry in Independence, MO, customers can watch the entire in-house personalization process.

How can I protect my work?

Any original work of artistic expression is protected by copyright. If a jewelry designer creates bumblebee earrings, for example, the designer can’t stop someone else from creating their own interpretation of bumblebee earrings. But a copyright can protect the specific design. Copyright is automatically guaranteed when the work is created and fixed on a tangible medium. Copyright notice is not required in the United States, but filing a registration with the copyright office will help prove that you had the design by a certain date. JVC has published a guide called “I have an idea! JVC Guide to Intellectual Property Law.

What’s the best way to communicate with a personalized customer?

“Expect them to be fairly well educated, but be prepared to add to their knowledge base,” says James Doggett, owner of Doggett Jewelry in Kingston, NH. It is better to answer their questions than to let them make incorrect assumptions. And ask them lots of questions in return to reduce misunderstandings in the future. “The best thing about personalized customers is that if they’re happy, they’ll come back again and again,” says Doggett. Christine Lupo, a private jeweler in Washington, DC, likes to ask clients the following questions to get things done: “What’s on your mind? How do you plan to wear your new piece? Do you have any style or design preferences? “

What’s a simple way to increase value?

“If you are a silversmith and a silversmith, add a little gold to your silver creations,” says Bob Moon, owner of Once in a Blue Moon in Barrington, IL. “The perception of value increases more than the cost of gold.”

How do I market my personalized specialty?

Cathy Miller of Caleesi Designs Jewelers in Austin promotes custom design work primarily through social media and the website. Its website not only includes items that can be purchased, but also has plenty of photos of custom designs. “But our reviews are what really sets us apart,” Miller says. “People will be researching and looking online for personalized jewelers, and happy customers who pass on their happy experience are gold! “


How can I use social media to promote redesigns?

Kelley Jewelers of Weatherford, OK, owned by Kim Ingram, coined the hashtag #TransformationTuesday as a weekly feature on their social media platforms. Through this hashtag, they highlight how their team of custom design experts work their magic to bring clients’ unworn, broken or dated antique jewelry back to life and pieces they will treasure. The weekly before and after posts have increased awareness among existing customers and new subscribers of the endless possibilities they have when it comes to Kelley’s team of in-house design specialists.

Is it possible to conceive virtually?

Kristen Baird of Savannah uses the Loom Platform, a video screen recording software, to record information for her clients that they can use as a reference. She’ll talk about the different versions of a design she’s sketched out, and they can follow up with a call or email to discuss it. It also serves as documentation of what she proposed. “Several clients have told me that it makes the process so fun,” she says. “They can send the link to family members to contribute. It creates a positive experience.

How the hell do custom jewelers stay organized ?!

Here is an idea. Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, which typically juggles 70 to 90 custom projects at a time, created a color coding system for the custom process tied to a whiteboard of tasks in the workshop. It creates a visible workflow chart that all team members can read. Black is for pre-CAD; blue, CAD; green, wax / resin; yellow, casting; and red, finish. “We had a good system before, but we implemented the color coding of our work files on the whiteboard, which helps the whole team know what phase each custom job is in and where to find the file assigned to the client. if we’re getting any gems, or if the client comes in to look at their prototype, or even if there’s something planned for the casting, and what the estimated end date should be, ”she said.

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