One of my reasons for wanting to make the move to this career is my desire to see the world. I love to travel. The anticipation of new adventures, the chance to meet people outside my circle, the cultural differences that help me expand myself and the knowledge and inspiration I gather on each trip are all strong motivators for me.
So I was thrilled to head up to the gorgeous Whitefish, Montana this week and tackle quite a few items on that list. My main reason for going involved stopping in at some wonderful little boutiques downtown and showing them my new collection. I have always had a strong customer base in Montana, and really wanted to find the right stores to carry my items. But, in addition, I had a list of rocks shops, mines and miners I wanted to touch base with and see what stones I might be able to source for my next designs. The added bonus is the beautiful scenery and big skies that are plentiful up there.
Big thank you to my good friend Kelly, who hit the road with me, driving all over to find just the perfect stones. It was great to catch up on our lives and projects (she is launching her own business as well in a completely different field) as we covered the miles. One of the things about a good friend like that is having creative feedback from someone who truly has your best interests at heart. I hope each and every one of you has someone like that in your life!
It was also great having a friend along for an extra set of hands sifting through the bulk of stones we came across. I think the two of us sorted through in record time, pulling so many amazing pieces for hairsticks, pendants and rings. We even found a few stones whose projects are not set, but will serve as inspiration for my next set of designs. Crystals in hand, it was time to get up the nerve to show off my current collection, and so we headed back into town.
As proud as I am of my designs, and as much confidence as I try and portray, it is still nerve wracking to ask someone to look at my art and decide if it is good enough to be sold in their store. Luckily for me, both buyers I met with were encouraging, supportive and excited to see the pieces. I left the stores feeling on top of the world. Any chance for me to send my goods out into the world is invigorating and getting to meet and chat in person, see the beautiful environments where my designs will soon be living makes all the anxiety of putting myself out there seem unnecessary.
So my trip up north was a success in so many ways; building relationships, building confidence and building sales. Can't really ask for more than that. I packed up my suitcase and said farewell to such a magnificent place with a bit of a heavy heart. But, I am happy to be back home to my husband and my little studio (and I have a trip up back up planned for November), and thrilled to have new inspiration and materials to see what may come.
***I want to dedicate this post to my Uncle Luck, who passed away far too young this past week. Nothing in life is guaranteed, we only have today to make our dreams a reality and to say and do what is in our hearts. He went watching a baseball game, a passion we shared. His passing is a strong motivation for me to make every minute count.***
By now, I have launched my new Fall collection which focuses heavily on copper and leather. I love the juxtaposition of the delicate crystals with the tough leather. At first I was nervous about creating a cohesive set of jewels, so far I have been making when inspiration hits and not thinking about full lines. But this design just flowed from me, I felt I could see the end result and was so thrilled with being able to put it together. It was amazing how easy it was creatively.
But then I faced a new challenge. One I am thrilled to have been offered, but way outside my comfort zone. I was offered a chance to have my designs sold in Nashville, at The Label. Knowing how much I want to expand into that market, I jumped at the chance! For those of you who aren't familiar with The Label, it is a men's (and some woman's) boutique owned by Gary Allen. This means I would be adapting my fall styles for men.
I knew I wanted to keep the leather and copper vibe; it is so strong a statement for me at this time. So I started to feel out how to make my looks a little more dark, weighty, masculine and strong, all the while staying true to my vision. I searched out stones like Smokey Quartz, Kyanite and Jasper. I sourced chains and clasps with a less delicate feel and dug in.
At first, I was frustrated. My fall collection for women had been so seamless. Sure, there were some learning curves as I tried out new techniques, but I never felt like I couldn't see where it was going. But the two stones above changed my luck, as they were electroformed, oxidized, polished and sealed, things started to come together.
Once I had confidence, the collection started to roll. I think the bracelets above might be my favorites; they have the same edgy vibe that my women's wraps do, but with some different hardware and chains they just seemed to be made for men. I say these are my favorites, but I invite you to take a look at the whole collection below. The guitar pic dipped in copper has such a fun vibe, the Kyanite fan is just so dramatic, and I will always be partial to the arrowheads.
Overall, as I sit and package this order up to send off, I am so happy I stuck with it. I had a lot of designs that didn't work. So what? I have a lot that did. I choose to focus on that win and remind myself that I will only grow as an artist and a person if I keep trying new things and keep making mistakes. As I learn, those mistakes will hopefully not happen twice (although I'm sure I'll make some new ones). I am filled with questions; will men wear these pieces? will women? Is this new venture going to work out? You know, I won't know unless I try... so try I will!
This is a new venture for me, my own business, my own website, my own blog. I am overwhelmed by the crazy decision I made to leave a steady career I have loved for over 15 years and venture off into design. I don't know what will come, but I am excited to find out. I invite you on my journey with me as I navigate the changeable waters of fashion, jewelry design, marketing, production and all the joys that come from being in a small business.
Owner/Designer for Desert Daisy Jewelry. Crystal Enthusiast, Wanderer, Gypsy Soul.