Last week we posted news of the F.Hinds High Street by Design competition where professional and hobbyist jewellers have the opportunity to design for a high street jewellery brand. Then we heard that one of the London Jewellery School team is a finalist in a national design competition in her particular field (we’ll tell you more when the results are public next year).
All this got us thinking about how entering competitions can help get your jewellery noticed and create a buzz around what you do.
There are all sorts of competitions for different types of jewellery from fine jewellery at the high end to beading and costume jewellery – it is a matter of finding the right competition for you and then if you do make a final or win, using that as an opportunity to promote your work.
A great example of competition success in the fine jewellery sector is LJS tutor and designer Rosie Sanders who has been one of the IJL jewellers to watch and winner of ‘the 2014 British Jewellers Association ‘Cocktail Rings on the Catwalk’ competition.
But you don’t need to be a goldsmith to find a competition. Lots of the jewellery magazines and websites – such as Making Jewellery magazine and CooksonGold – run “make of the week” competitions where you can submit a picture of your work. This will lead to your work being shared on social media giving you some exposure.
Magazines and other organisations, such as the Guild of Jewellery Designers run design competitions around a particular theme – such as mixed media – and look out for bead suppliers such as i-Beads and Absolute Beads, and the Jewellery Maker TV channel running challenges to make jewellery with a particular selection of their wares.
It is worth keeping an eye out for all these different types of competition and entering anything that fits with your style. If you don’t enter you will never know if other people like your work and if you are successful then you should grab every opportunity to capitalise on your win.
If you win or reach a final and have your jewellery pictured somewhere, make sure you share that (especially the pictures) on social media such as as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you have a blog write about the competition and inspiration behind the design. And perhaps include the news on your website.If you have a stall or sell through a pop-up shop or similar, get high quality print outs of magazine or online coverage of the competition and create a display with the winning design and other similar pieces. You want to show off that experts like your work – it will give customers confidence in the quality of your work and make you stand out from other jewellery makers.
And finally make sure you use the contacts you make through winning a competition. You will have contact with a magazine, an organisation, a retailer or a supplier – or a mix of those. So ask if they would like you to create other designs or a how to project with them or if you can get involved with events they run. Just like if you don’t enter, you can’t win – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know if there are other opportunities to get yourself even more attention or coverage.
So be brave, trust in your work and enter some competitions in 2015 – you never know what it might bring.