Friday, January 22, 2010

Handmade vs. Manufactured Jewelry


Heres a question for ya... have you ever gone to a craft fair and said "THAT costs $25 Dollars?!"  or  "Theres a reseller the next aisle up that has about a dozen similar designs for much less..." ?  I have a confession to make... I used to do that all the time!  BUT because I create my own jewelry and I know how much time and love goes into every piece, I tend to be willing to pay more for a unique handmade item vs. a manufactured item that has dozens of the exact same thing on display.

It all comes down to who is doing the work, the amount of time put into each piece and the cost of supplies to get it done.

Who is doing the work:  I have been designing my own jewelry for the past 4 years.  In those 4 years I have learned techniques and tricks to create the designs I love... and that make me proud to create my jewelry.  I still have alot to learn, but I am constantly working to improve my skills.  Now that I have more time to dedicate to my craft, I plan on taking courses and moving into other unique aspects of jewelry design like Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and metal working.

Amount of time:  Let me tell you... its not as easy as it looks to be a one woman/man show!  I just spent 2 hours shooting new pictures of my designs.  That totalled over 436 pictures... for about 25-30 items... each in different angles that capture the jewelry just right.    I still have to crop and edit my images so that you as a customer will get the best representation of my product, list each item and describe it as accurately as possible, and then promote that item to my target market to sell.  And thats not even including the time it took to make each piece!  Keep in mind that all of my designs are unique and one of a kind, so I do this everytime I make something new.  And now that I am collecting and using sea shells fresh off the beach, there are days dedicated to the cleaning, buffing and varnishing of each one.


Supplies:  If you put me in a bead shop... STEP ASIDE!  Im like a kid in a candy store and can spend hours looking for the right wire, the right crystal, the right color turquoise.  And while I try to keep my cost down as a designer, when I fall in love with a strand of beads... I have to have it!  There are so many places to go to find quality supplies and so many choices available.  I am slowly moving more into sterling silver designs which cost a little more, but I still offer copper and gold & silver plated to have a wide range of prices and design choices.

When I go to a craft fair now, I am more likely to stop by to look at the handcarved wooden jewelry box than its cheaper pre-fabricated version becuase I know all of the things that I listed above.  This piece is unique, time and effort went into into making it a beautiful one of a kind creation that is quality made.

I hope that the next time you go shopping at a craft fair you remember this little blurb from my experience as a buyer and seller... and I hope it helps you find that one of a kind piece that was somehow made especially for you.

Me ke aloha pumehana ~*~ Keala

1 comment:

rupinder said...
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