September 26, 2016

SOS # 1: How To Start A Jewelry Business

We often are asked for help from customers that want to turn their love of making jewelry into a way to make some extra money or move full time into having their own jewelry making business. We do our best to help support our customers whether they make jewelry to gift, wear or sell. With that said, we came up with SOS - our Shop Owners Series. This series of blogs is dedicated to helping our customers grow. Each SOS blog will address something we've been asked about or will share something helpful to those customers who have their own jewelry making businesses. We hope you enjoy this series and if ever you have a question - please email us and we will try to help:

Jewelry making requires skills and a creative mind. If you have an entrepreneurial streak and are looking for a way to supplement your income, consider starting a jewelry business. Jewelry remains popular for individuals who either want to update their look or give it away as gifts. It is also a must-have accessory for fashion designers. Plus, there is a virtually limitless number of combinations to choose from in terms of materials and styles.

Note, while jewelry making has plenty of potential, it is also a highly competitive industry. If you want to start a business in making jewelry, here are tips on how to start business that will allow you to do what you love:

1. Know Your Skills
Beyond just your design skills, you need to have enough technical abilities that will help you create designs that appeal to your target market and help you stay with or even ahead of your competition. Beyond that, your jewelry needs to be well built, strong, able to stand the test of time.

2. Know How to Source Your Materials
To make great jewelry, you need good quality materials and tools. Find out which suppliers can offer the best deals in terms of quality, selection, price and availability of materials.

3. Keep Track
Use a system of inventory to monitor use of materials and schedule purchases.

4. Know Your Business Goals
Know who your market is and how you intend to sell to them. Is your customer one who purchases your jewelry for every day wear or are your targeting those who will spend more for special occasions such as graduation gifts, birthday or anniversary gifts?

Consider what makes your jewelry designs unique and how you can sell to your target market. With that, create a marketing approach designed specifically for your business.

Be sure to set some milestone goals too such as completing your website, making sure you've completed your profiles for your social media accounts, meeting your weekly or monthly goals in both sales and creating new jewelry to sell, etc.

Taking the time to think this through and viewing these goals regularly can help you stay focused and meet them.

5. Set Your Prices
Your price should take into account the materials you used and the operating costs associated with your jewelry business. Keep in mind that your prices should not only reflect the type of market you want to sell to, they should also help you make a profit. They should also match your audience. You may be catering to an audience who is on a budget or one that expects to pay for something unique.

6. Decide How to Sell
Decide how you intend to get your products out there. You can choose from a number of options, such as selling from your own store, on consignment, at home parties or craft shows. Another great option is selling online. Ecommerce jewelry business models are booming and getting excellent exposure through blogs and social media. You could even learn how to sell on Etsy, a popular website for crafters and independent jewelry designers.

7. Get Professional Support
Professional support from an accountant or a business adviser, from the very beginning, is invaluable, especially if you are a beginner. They can help you set up the company, work the necessary documents for licenses, and assist you for tax issues and insurance coverage.

8. Create Your Brand
A distinctive business logo will help you become recognizable as a brand. Use this logo to create your brochures, pamphlets and other printed materials, as well as web pages on your online site.

Make sure you are consistent, your brand is how your customers will remember you, think of you and hopefully, refer to you. For professional-looking printed materials, try using Canva or hire a logo/graphic designer from Fiverr or DesignCrowd.

9. Market Online
Invest in a clean, easy to navigate website to promote your jewelry business. Potential customers want to be able to navigate your site easily so they can browse, choose, ask questions and buy from you. Get your website registered on online business sites and directories. If setting up a website is a bit too much for you, try selling on Etsy.

10. Learn Everything About Running a Business
Your business will fare better if you understand everything about managing a business. Learn what you can about your industry by reading books or taking lessons. You could also choose to hire an assistant or recruit a partner to help you. Your local Chamber of Commerce may have some great resources too. *

TIP from Beaducation owner Lisa Niven Kelly - If you end up hating the business end of things and it gets in the way of your creativity, go out and hire someone to help. Don't let your your taxes, managing your inventory or shipping kill your creative juices! 

I have seen so many jewelry businesses fail because the artist tried to be the business person and it just didn't work. Selling yourself can be hard. If you are hoping to introduce your line into stores, consider finding someone to rep you. They will take a percentage but it will be worth it and you can concentrate on makin' stuff!

11. Improve Your Skills
Take classes to learn more about new styles and techniques. Sign up for membership with sites, associations and groups that specialize in jewelry design and jewelry business. Read industry publications such as journals, magazines and online sites and blogs. This is how you will remain competitive not just as a designer but as a business owner.

12. Differentiate Yourself and Get to Know Your Competition
Research your competitors and make note of what sets them apart, what you like and things you may not like as much. Try to approach with the perspective of your customer. Once you have a good idea of what your competition is doing you will be even more ready to create your own list of what sets you apart giving you a better advantage of appealing to your customer.

What makes your business unique from the others? Do you purchase items Made in the USA, do you give back to a special cause, design with a specific style, etc? What sets you apart from your competition and why should customers shop with you over them? Making a list of all the great reasons your audience would want to shop with you is actually pretty fun and inspiring. Don't sell yourself short - be confident in what you have to offer.

We hope these tips will help you in starting your own jewelry business and wish you success in your new venture!

September 19, 2016

Metal Design Stamps: Unintended Uses

We love thinking out of the box. Creative people usually do, we see it all the time in our industry. So we thought it would be fun to share with you some jewelry making DIY's that included using product for their unintended purpose. It all started with moons....

This month you could say we are slightly obsessed with moons. Perhaps it's because Halloween is just around the corner we aren't really sure but love them we do. So much in fact that we are thrilled to share with you our NEW Moon Metal Stamping Blanks. They are SO much fun to work with!

Danelle, one of our super talented designers, has created a very cool look for her moon necklace, "La Luna". We love how she used our heart stamp for lips, our half sun for eyelashes and dressed up this moon.

How did she get here? With her "no rules" approach - let it flow people, let it flow.

Do you like to doodle? Sometimes stamping can be like a doodle. Call it a collage, mandala, or a doodle: all of these different techniques use multiple small shapes and designs in repetition. Rethink how you use a stamp! Layer them. Use half of them. Turn them upside down or sideways! THERE ARE NO RULES. Find everything you need to make this project here.

Speaking of no are some rule breaking ideas that step way outside the stamps intended purpose - let's call it Unintentional Stamping...

Any guesses on what was used here? Take a peek below for the answers:

Beaducation Kismet Uppercase Letter Stamp Set 1/8" (3.2mm)
 - We used the letter "O" for the border around the eyes.

Lacey Heart Design Stamp-Beaducation Original - we used this for the nose.

USA Made Block Uppercase Letter & Number Stamp Set 3/32" (2.4mm) - We used the letter "U" for the teeth.

USA Made Block Uppercase Letter & Number Stamp Set 1/16" (1.6mm) - We continued to use the letter "U" for smaller teeth.

Open Teardrop Design Stamp - We used this stamp for the lips.

Find everything you need to make this sugar skull project here.

Longitude and Latitude
Are you inspired by locations? Do you find direction and placement stir nostalgia within you? Why not make a lovely piece of jewelry that has the longitude and latitude of a special place that is personal to you? We love how this piece looks with the additional border stamping on the larger blank. The piece is kept together with rivets and hangs from two jump rings. 

Ornate Key Design Stamp - Beaducation Original - $10.50 - We used this stamp as the border stamp on the back blank.

Find everything you need to make this project here.

Are you looking for a handmade gift to welcome a new arrival? Our medium square design stamp makes a perfect building block! Add in some fun design stamps and a name, and you have created a favorite pendant or gift tag for a new mother!

A great way to use square stamps, Medium Square Design Stamp - $9.75. Find everything you need for this project here

Sunburst Necklace
Who's your sunshine? Let them know how they light up your life with this textured soldered pendant.

Beaducation Kismet Uppercase Letter Stamp Set 1/8" (3.2mm) - "V" for the pattern. Find everything you need to make this necklace here

Monogram Stamped Borders
Have you ever wanted an ornate border to frame your jewelry creations? With this DIY project, you can stamp your own lovely borders that work with any shape of blank you choose! We love how our beautiful monogram design stamps have just enough flourish that they look like lace, lattice work or curls when stamped together. Can you see where we used the following metal design stamps in the project below?

Monogram Letter "O" 6mmMonogram Letter "Q" 6mmMonogram Letter "V" 6mmMonogram Letter "X" 6mmMonogram Letter "Y" 6mm, and Monogram Letter "Z" 6mm. Find everything you need to make these here

Fun Fact: When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon. Another definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in any season (quarter of year) containing four total full moons. So when you say "once in a blue moon" you could be saying "four times a year". Be advised LOL! And mention our Fun Fact in your next order for a FREE GIFT!

Want to share your "unintendeds" with us? Tag us #Beaducation

Free Ring Making Tutorials: Ring Up Your Game

Let's make some rings! Learn to solder rings, learn to rivet rings, learn to metal stamp rings, learn to make chainmaile rings - we can show you how! And all with our free ring making classes.

Try our NEW class by Instructor, Aisha Formanski

Stackable Rings
Create your very own unique and beautiful stacked rings! Instructor Aisha Formanski teaches you how to size, cut, shape and solder rings that will fit perfectly. The class takes the technique to the next level by adding texture and small blanks to the rings to add variety when stacked. 

We just recently added these cuties to our inventory - check out our new solderables here. This is a beginning level class for the jewelry maker who has been waiting to start soldering. The wait is over, let's solder! 

Find everything you need to stack up these rings here.

Twisted, Knotted and Fused
Use Fine Silver wire to make rings! In this class, learn basic skills like texturing, stamping, twisting, knotting and proper ring sizing with Instructor Kriss Silva. The objective in class will be to make rings but these same skills can also be useful in modifying rings into components. 

Find everything you need to get twisted, knotted and fused up here

Make rings and set stones! You can do it and Kate Richbourg makes it easy in this online class. First, learn to size and fabricate a band ring. Next, make a bezel, solder it to the band and set a stone. You will want to make a ring for every finger!

Find everything you need to solder and bezel your heart out for these rings here.

Stamping on Rings
Simple ring bands are the perfect blank canvas for stamped designs. Personalized bands are really popular, make great gifts and are fun to stamp. In this FREE class with Kate Richbourg, you’ll learn how to set up your ring for stamping, along with tips and tricks for getting clear stamped impressions on the band.

Find everything you need to stamp your heart out here.
In this class, you’ll learn to cut, file, shape and rivet to make this stunning tabbed ring. This class is considered Intermediate because of the three techniques you’ll be using.

Before diving into this project brush up on your riveting, shaping and stamping. No need for heat in this project, it’s all cold connections! Aisha Formanski shares her tips for success while avoiding common pitfalls in sizing and finishing. Once you make one, you will want to make a million!

Find everything you need to rivet these cute rings here.

Adorn your fingers and dazzle your friends with riveted rings. In this lively class, instructor Tracy Stanley teaches how to make these show-stopping pieces. Make them simple and sleek or stack them sky high. The choice is yours.

This class is perfect for the beginner who has had some wire or metalworking experience. The more advanced student will also enjoy Tracy’s tips and tricks for making these beautiful rings. 

In class, you will learn how to shape and size a ring band, punch holes in metal, use eyelets and make your own wire rivets as well as Tracy’s special technique for making impressions on metal without the use of a rolling mill.

Find everything you need to rivet these ring designs here.

6-in-1 Chainmail Ring
Learn to make a lovely, slinky ring for your finger! Colin takes the traditional 6 in 1 chain weave and turns it into a real fashion statement. This class is for the Intermediate chain-maker. We recommend the FREE Introduction to Chainmaille or Byzantine Chain Class.

Find everything you need to make chain mail rings here.
Woven Rings
If you love working with chain and wire, you will love this class! This design created by Kriss Silva is truly unique and she is happy to share her weaving secrets that can be applied to making this awesome ring or maybe even a bracelet. Learn how to weave this solid ring, measure the right length for your ring, finishing the weave to form the band, and embellish it with a beautiful bead. 

Find everything you need to make these gorgeous rings with chain and wire here.

The Hug Ring
Using a torch, weaving wire and having it result in a beautiful ring; what could be better? In this class, wire expert Lisa Claxton, shares her unique design, The Hug Ring. This is the perfect class for the experienced wire worker who wants to jump into the world of fusing metal. Students will learn to combine these two techniques, plus tips and tricks on how to make stylish variations on this design. 

Find everything you need to torch, wire and create this ring here.

We hope you loved these rings as much as we do and that you even learned some new ring making techniques. As always, please share with us! #Beaducation

Check out Kate Richbourg's NEW book: Metalsmithing Made Easy!

September 15, 2016

Fall Jewelry Ideas: Leaves of Joy

We love Fall and all of the gorgeous colors that come with this beautifully rich season. Browns, greens, mustard colors, plum and more. I remember visiting Seattle, Washington in Fall and finding an insane amount of inspiration from the trees and their leaves.

So in honor of Seattle and their breathtaking trees in Fall - here are some ideas.

Leaf Cascade Earrings
These earrings are a great way to show off autumnal colors all year round! With our lovely leaf blank, these are easy to make and great to wear. You will love how they sway and move on your ears. Think about stamping various patterns on a leaf to make one or more of them really pop.

Find everything you need to make these Fall inspired earrings here.

Leaf Cascade Earrings

Cascading Leaf Necklace
These stamped golden leaves are really just our guitar pick blanks in disguise! With a variety of sizes (four total) to choose from, you can create a lovely cascading necklace that will look great with every outfit.

Find everything you need to create this beautiful cascading leaf necklace here.
Stamped and Layered Leaf Pendant
This necklace is a fun way to hone your stamping, riveting and sawing skills. We used three layers of sheet metal to create this piece. The top layer is brass sheet metal that has been cut out to create little "windows" to the next layer. 

The middle layer then has an assortment of design stamps, all stamped within the different sections. And the third layer is more copper sheet that has a quote stamped on it so both the front and the back are feature elements! The whole thing is then riveted together to create a statement piece.

Find all the items need to make this beautiful Stamped and Layered Leaf Pendant necklace here

Stamped and Layered Leaf Pendant

Let us know what you think in the comments and don't forget to share what you create with us #Beaducation.

September 13, 2016

Jewelry Making Ideas for Fall Inspired Jewelry

We enjoy the seasons and Fall is a favorite. So we took the liberty to collect a bunch of brown, green, plum and mustard fall color inspired jewelry making projects using metal stamping tools, metal stamping blanks and other jewelry making supplies to help you make spectacular jewelry.

Double Spiro Necklace
Have you fallen as deeply in love with our Spiro Pendant as we have? We thought the only thing that could be better than our classic Spiro Pendant would be a necklace that has TWO different sized Spiros. Watch our FREE: Spiro Pendant class, and then check out our collection of notched washers and beautiful Swarovski Rivolis. Then you will know what you need to start making a necklace of your very own.

Find everything you need to make this Double Spiro Necklace here.

Double Spiro Necklace

Bodacious Bangle
This class from instructor, Kim St. Jean, is a student favorite. Kim makes shaping heavy-gauge metal a breeze and shows how to size, texture and rivet a bodacious bangle bracelet.

This class is suitable for the metalworker who has some experience, but seasoned pros will also enjoy the great tips and tricks that Kim shares in this class.

Find everything you need and learn how to make this Bodacious Bangle here.
Bodacious Bangle
Woven Bezel Basket
This class combines Iris' matchstick concept and wire weaving techniques to assemble a bezel basket pendant. This setting is perfect for capturing traditional and irregularly shaped stones. Any shape of stone works in this informative and interesting class.

Find everything you need and learn how to make these Woven Bezel Baskets here.

Bezel Necklace

Bezel Basket Pendants

Bezel Baskets

September 11, 2016

Meet Colin Mahler, Receiving Coordinator for Beaducation

Colin Mahler, Receiving Coordinator
Joined Beaducation: 2006
Meet Colin Mahler, Receiving Coordinator
Colin is the fastest counter we know, which makes her very good at her job. She is also meticulous and a sucker for details! She catalogues all of our products as they arrive on our doorstep, updates current prices, re-packages items and puts everything in the correct spot.

But Colin is more than just a numbers whiz. She knows her way around a jeweler's bench with 26 years of experience, nine of which have specialized in chainmail. You may recognize her as the teacher in our chainmail classes! Jewelry is a big part of Colin's life at work and at home, but she still finds time to read, cook (and eat!), and spend time with family (including new baby!) and friends.

Colin's gorgeous chainmaille pieces can be found on her etsy store, Wolfstone Jewelry!

From Colin
I met Lisa while I was working at The Bead Shop in Palo Alto. She was one of the instructors there. After I lost my job, I ran into Lisa at a gem show and she said she was looking for some help. She ended up hiring me to paint the new office space she was moving into (where Beaducation was born!) and then kept me around to help fill orders and do other random things.

I have worked with Lisa since 2006 (I think, maybe 2005). I lived in Arkansas from the end of 2008 to early 2013, and continued to travel and work trade shows with Beaducation, shoot chainmaille classes and do any work that was available for me to do remotely. I came back to work here as inventory assistant in March of 2013.

My favorite thing about working with Beaducation is the people and the culture that Lisa has cultivated. We work hard and play hard, sometimes at the same time. Lisa truly cares about her employees and tries to provide as many benefits as she is able, as well as making this a fun place to work.

So many things have changed. Classes went from paid to free, the look of the site has changed at least twice, we stopped showing at trade shows, and we have an awesome new admin system that continues to be tweaked to meet our various needs. Not to mention our new and amazing staff members.

I hope in the next 5 years we carry on being awesome, maybe tighten up our timing on bringing in new products that are on trend, and hopefully widen our customer base. I hope to report back in 5 years that we are still amazing and helping people learn and grow.

Colin's laugh is super infectious - she often has the rest of us laughing with her. She recently had the most adorable little boy and brings her funny little dog Gamble to work daily. This tall and beautiful lady is super strong, kind and she makes the most intricate, gorgeous chainmaile and Byzantine jewelry pieces. She is an outstanding baker that literally gets stalked come holiday time because her baked goodies are all we think about starting in August. Ok July.

Colin & Lincoln
Gamble with his squinty eye look.

September 2, 2016

Work Hard, Play Hard: 5 Years Later

September is a special month for us. It marks nine years in business with steady growth. We've come a long way baby.

Five years ago, we moved into our new space. We shared our progress with you then and we are sharing once again. If you missed our blog on our new space five years ago, you can see it here. It's pretty cool looking back. 

But first, a bit of Beaducation office space history.

It all started in my studio at my house, just 110 square feet. It wasn't long before it was time to expand. Hiring staff and teaching in studio classes required a larger space. I remember panic setting in at our new 565 sq. foot space. I thought to myself, "can I sustain this big place and rent?"
Expanding our space to 2000 sq. feet!

One and a half years later we moved down the street into a 1000 sq. foot building. It took us two years to bust a door in the wall to take over the place next door. We were at 2000 sq. feet!!!

Almost two years after that we moved into this big, gorgeous, perfect space at 6000 square panic this time, I knew we were ready! We got a deal on this place cause it needed a lot of work. But we had an excellent vision and saw right through the cosmetic ruin.

With some hard work we made it a space we still very much love today.

The Main Office Before, 5 Years Ago

The Main Office After, 5 Years Ago

We have grown into our space quite nicely. This is where we work hard, play hard and sometimes even play the drums...

We kept our disco ball because, well, disco ball. 

Working space, work outs, music and disco ball yo!

Moving into this space brought big change for the company. With room to spread out, our employees got much more productive. 

Our dedicated sound proof "Shootio" allowed us to shoot a ton of product videos and classes.

Our "Shootio"

Our inventory has continued to expand as we bring in new products so the extra space has been helpful for sure! We went from bones...

Inventory & Shipping Before, 5 Years Ago a pretty space in which to ship you all kinds of metal design stamps, metal stamping blanks and jewelry making tools and jewelry making supplies to....

Inventory & Shipping After, 5 Years Ago

...a very full space with more and more inventory...

Inventory & Shipping Today we could do this!

Just another day shipping our wonderful customers all kinds of jewelry making goodies.

JP in Shipping (front) and Colin from Inventory (peeking in to say "hi")

We have a huge kitchen meeting space, a huge space for our creative team...AND most importantly, I have my own bathroom.

I think that means we are big time now :)

Claudia, General Manager (left), Danelle, Purchasing Coordinator (back) & Lisa, Founder & CEO (front)

What is space if you don't have great people to fill it? As we have grown in space, my team has also grown.

Fun Fact: Over 80% of my team has been with Beaducation for five years or more! 

But even after five years, some things remain the same. Like our gnome for example.

He is still with us, happy and wise as ever. 

Thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with us! Stay tuned as our 10 year anniversary is just around the corner!!

Join us here as we celebrate one of our team members every month and get to know the people of Beaducation!