Have you seen the 1000 Londoners project? Produced by Chocolate Films, they are 3-minute mini-documentaries that ‘aim to create a digital portrait of a city through 1000 of the people who identify themselves with it’.
Tag Archives: jewellery designer
Launching a strong brand is easier said than done and requires a little bit of planning, soul searching and research. Jeweller, Karen Young, outlines the four key elements you need to consider when developing your jewellery brand.
A good way of approaching the development of your brand is to come from the point of view that everything is connected, and you need to work on the entire brand experience if you want to build a brand that grows your business.
Your branding is a visual indicator of what your company offers as a whole, and goes beyond just your jewellery. It is just as much about your design process and materials used, customer service, perceived value, visual identity, and market differentiation as it is about the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that you sell.
Your branding can be broken down into 4 areas that you can work on to develop your jewellery branding ‘package’:
- Your Story
- Your Visual Identity
- Customer Perception, and
- Your Market Differentiation.
The four key elements to build a powerful jewellery brand
1. Your Story
Your story is almost as important as the jewellery itself in terms of creating a connection with customers. In the handmade marketplace, you and your story is what encourages customers to buy. By making that connection, they’ll be more likely to remember your work and return.
Your customers and potential customers are interested in how you craft your pieces and how you transform raw materials into something creative and unique. They want to know about you, your skills, the tools you use, the reason you started on your creative journey and ultimately why you do what you do. There is an emotional connection and when they buy a piece of your jewellery they purchase a little bit of the ‘magic’ that is you and your creations.
A great way of starting to build the customer connection is by writing an artist statement. Your artist statement will summarise your story, what your values are, what drives you, and why you make jewellery. You can then weave the essence your of artist statement into your branding including your tag line, your website and your about page, your business cards and other printed marketing materials, social media and your face to face sales pitch.
2. Your Visual Identity
A strong visual identity goes far beyond a snazzy logo (which is a great start by the way!). You need to really understand your customers and what their motivations and needs are in order to start building a powerful visual identify. It demonstrates that you are able to relate to your customers lives and their style on a personal level. You will do this through many elements such as colour, fonts, vectors, your tag line, and by keeping these consistent across every touchpoint with your customer. Each of these things should ‘speak’ to your target customer and create an emotional connection over time.
Your photography is another critical aspect of your visual identity – you want to really show off the detail of your beautifully handcrafted pieces. If you don’t have clear photos that make your customer believe they are seeing the piece in person, then no amount of social media, Facebook ads or email promotion will sell your jewellery.
Also think about the style of photography that best represents your brand. Do you want to create a vintage feel to your photographs or does a simple, modern and sharp photographic style represent your brand best? You will want to keep your signature photography ‘style’ consistent across your website, social media and printed materials.
An example of a lifestyle photograph incorporating jewellery
A key area where your visual identity really comes together is through your printed materials such as tags, jewellery boxes, business cards, other inserts for your packages and even your jewellery displays at craft fairs and events. Your branding should be consistent across every touchpoint with the customer both virtually and in person.
By creating a strong visual identify you effectively create a visual language that you use to present and promote your jewellery brand to the world that will create a connection and will be remembered.
3. Customer Perception
What do you want your customers to think of you, feel about you and remember about you?
Remember no one needs jewellery! And so perception of you and how your brand makes them feel is essential in motivating people to buy. Those thoughts and feelings are directly influenced by the way you communicate your business message, and how you treat prospects and customers.
You can create a beautiful logo and sophisticated marketing materials, but if your customer service is inconsistent and below parr, your brand will not have the best reputation it could do, and will put people off buying.
If customers perceive your jewellery to indicate a certain lifestyle, emotion or ideal, then they will be willing to pay for a little piece of it. A diamond for example is essentially a lump of carbon! But through clever marketing people see them as a luxury item that will last forever and will pay a lot of money for it. So it is worth spending a little bit of time brainstorming how you want your customers to ‘feel’ about you and your jewellery as this will underpin all of your branding decisions including your photography and product descriptions.
4. Your Market Differentiation
Why should people buy from you and not another designer?
What makes you and your brand different from the competition? Is your finish better? Do you make particular use of a technique or material? Do you package your jewellery more beautifully that the competition? Do you offer an extra personal touch with your customer service? It is these small details that create differentiation between you and the next designer so really try and drill down into quite a low level about these little details so that you can succinctly articulate the end-to-end customer experience to your customers and how you will meet their needs better than anyone else. Buying jewellery is a considered purchase for most people and an experience, so it is your job to make sure it is a good one, as this is what encourages people not only to buy but to come back again and again.
Building a strong and memorable brand does take time and patience, but by considering these four elements of your brand from the outset you can start creating emotional connections with your customers that mean you will be seen and remembered in a busy marketplace.
What are your top tips when it comes to branding your business – tell us in the comments below!
Special Business Week offers
Our founder, Jessica Rose is hosting a FREE webinar masterclass on 26th January at 6.30pm on Boosting your Online Sales. Grab your spot on the webinar here.
And don’t forget our special offers on business courses for this week only we are offering 25% off business day classes held here at the School using the code 23011701. This code can only be used over the phone so please call on 020 3176 0546 to book your place. This discount is only available on bookings made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 January 2016 inclusive.
And our New 8-week Online Jewellery Business Bootcamp will be starting on 27th January so if you would like more help with your jewellery business we would love you to join us!
Author: Karen Young
This is a practical and intensive course designed to help you quickly build your skills with a focus on traditional silversmithing techniques and skills.
Suitable for complete beginners or those who have some silversmithing experience; week by week you will build your skills so that by the end of the course you are a confident and professional silversmith able to work independently on your own jewellery designs.
Week 2 – Soldering Masterclass
Week 3 – Intermediate Silver Jewellery
Week 4 – Stone Setting (week 1) – Bezel, Tube and Flush
Week 5 – Stone Setting (week 2) – Bezel, Tube and Flush
Week 6 – Stacked Silver Rings and Bangles
Week 7 – Water Casting
Week 8 – Intermediate Stone Setting (week 1) – Irregular, Collet & Channel setting
Week 9 – Intermediate Stone Setting (week 1) – Irregular, Collet & Channel setting
Week 10 – Make your own Silver Findings
The first cohort of the 10-week Comprehensive Course starts on 29th April! We can’t wait to see lots of accomplished silversmiths blossom before our eyes!
You can find out more including dates, prices and payments plans on our website here.
My inspiration came from the recycled materials I use in my work, as well as many found objects – in this piece it was from a small sapling, relating the piece into gardening enhanced by the literal interpretation of having green fingers.
How and when did your jewellery making journey start?
My interest in jewellery started at a very young age, I have grown up with my mum collecting, making and selling jewellery and always bringing home weird and wonderful items. I also grew up with the stories of my grandad making glass animals in Brighton and was always interested in following in this by creating my own jewellery/wearable art.
Have you had any formal training?
I studied jewellery design at Hereford College of Arts and graduated with a 2:1 upper second class in 2013.
Where do you typically find inspiration for what to make next?
I have always been a magpie for collecting items on my travels at home and overseas, I have a huge collection of items that I draw inspiration from and use within my work, such as rocks, glass, plastics, bubble wands and much more. I also spent most of my childhood growing up by the beach and I love beachcombing, this has inspired my most recent collection of jewellery called ‘I can hear the sea’.
What are your favourite techniques or medium?
With my recent collection, I am using a lot of silver granulation, I love this technique as it is simple and can achieve excellent quick results, I also love to use lots of found objects within my work as I love the idea of recycling, repurposing and the history in a piece.
What are your favourite tools?
I am a bit unconventional when it comes to some of the tools I use, although my torch, piercing saw and pliers and like extra limbs for me I also like using less conventional tools such as spoons to help stone setting and nails as centre punches, whatever is comfortable to achieve the desired finish.
What is your favourite thing(s) that you have made to date?
As previously mentioned I am working on a new collection ‘I can hear the sea’ and since moving away to the countryside in 2015 my love for the sea is very important. I love all the pieces I make and get attached to a lot of my work once its completed which makes it very hard to part with but I am especially fond of some of the early pieces I made from my plastic doll series of work as I feel these reflect the beginning of my journey into becoming a mixed media jeweller.
What is next?
I hope to build up my collection of work and eventually practice fulltime as I currently only make part time whilst working full time, I also aim to participate in more craft shows and build up my online presence.
Where can we see more of your work?
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We just love your work and can’t wait to see your new collection and what happens next for you!
You may have seen that we have metal clay classes at the London Jewellery School but what exactly is metal clay and how can you use it? Metal clay artist and tutor Anna Campbell updates you on the latest developments
Metal clay has been around since the 1990s but many people have never heard of it so I thought I would give a general overview and a rundown of the latest products available on the market. This year there have been a lot of exciting advances and new brands/products entering the market so the metal clay market is growing.
Just to note, I am focussing here on the brands that are easy to purchase in the UK without import costs. There are other brands available but at the time of writing these are not as easily accessible as those featured here.
What is metal clay?
All metal clays have the same basic structure – metal particles, a binder to bind the metal particles together and some water to form the clay. This can be moulded, shaped and textured before drying and firing – either with a jewellers torch or in a kiln to form metal.
All metal clays can be hallmarked by the assay office.
The two main manufacturers of silver clay are Aida (Art Clay Silver Clay) and Mitsubishi (PMC3). We use Art Clay Silver Clay in our classes at the London Jewellery School but if you have used one you can use the other in exactly the same way. Fine silver clay is also known as 999 meaning that for every 1000 particles, 999 are silver and 1 is copper.
Silver clay is available in different forms which lend themselves to different ways of designing. These are clay, syringe, paste and paper.
The syringe allows you to do finer silver work e.g. filigree. It is also useful for filling in any cracks or gaps in your work. Both Art Clay and PMC have syringe clay available.
Paste is a watered down version of clay that acts like a glue, perfect for sticking two pieces of clay together. Artists like Terry Kovalcik also use paste for painting amazing designs on their pieces.
Silver clay paper is a flat, dry sheet of clay that can be cut, woven and folded. I have recently written a blog post on origami with silver.
PMC flex is a type of fine silver clay that is flexible and has a longer drying time. Perfect if you find you need a little more time to create your pieces, it can be torch or kiln fired.
Art Clay Silver 950 – sterling silver clay
Sterling silver clay
Sterling silver is also known as 925. This means that there are 925 particles of silver to 75 particles of copper. Sterling silver is widely recognised in the UK and is stronger that fine silver so is perfect for making rings, bangles or other pieces that need more strength. You can also roll it out a little thinner as it maintains its strength and is a little stronger in the greenware stage (when dry but before firing) although still take care when you’re filing! It carves and engraves well. However, it does have to be kiln fired, torch firing is not sufficient.
Previous incarnations of the sterling silver clay needed a two firing system using carbon but this year both Art Clay (Art Clay 950 Sterling silver clay) and PMC (PMC sterling onefire) have released one fire clays. For more information you can have a look at a previous blog post I wrote about trying out Art Clay 950.
For those that are selling their metal clay pieces sterling silver clay is an attractive option as customers know what it is and are confident buying hallmarked sterling silver however the need for a kiln can put people off.
At the time of writing 3g of Art Clay gold is £259.95! Youch! It may not surprise you to know that I have not tried using it! However, there are other ways of adding gold to metal clay. I have had success with accent gold for silver which is 24 carat gold that you can paint onto fired on unfired silver clay. It is still costly, £92.95 for 1 gram, but a little does go a long way as you are only painting a layer onto the surface of the clay.
You can also use keum boo, a gold foil that is adhered to fired silver clay. You can learn how to do this on our one day intermediate metal clay class.
Base metal clays
Base metal means non-precious metals e.g. bronze, copper, iron and steel.
Copper clay is available from a number of manufacturers, for a full list see here. Art Clay Copper (at the time of writing) is the simplest of the clays to fire as it can be torch or kiln fired. Copper clay is an affordable option although not everyone likes to wear copper jewellery. However, it could be a good option for making larger pieces like bracelets.
I have enjoyed experimenting recently with bronze clay. I have been using Goldie Bronze. It is also very affordable and comes in many different colours. It arrives in powder form and is easy to make up into clay with ordinary tap water (I have a two minute video on how to do that here). This allows you to mix up the amount you need when you need it. Hard is great for making bangles and rings whereas soft is easier to carve and texture so a mix of both has, in my opinion, given me the best of both worlds. Firing Goldie Bronze does also have to be done in a two part schedule in the kiln in activated coconut carbon and, if you do it right, it works! In the UK you can purchase Goldie Bronze from Metal Clay Ltd. Metal Clay have also recently started stocking the Aussie Metal Clay brand and I’m looking forward to having a play with it. There are other brands of bronze clay on the UK market including Metal Adventures and Prometheus.
Other base metals
The original fine silver clay is still the most reliable to fire. However, it is among the more expensive of the metal clays to work with so doing some experimenting with other metal clays could prove worthwhile, particularly if you have a design for a larger piece in mind. I really wanted to make a chunky bracelet in metal clay and am currently doing so in Goldie Bronze. The cost of the same amount of clay in silver would have been prohibitive.
You do need to fire the majority of metal clays in a kiln (with the exception of art clay copper) but you may be able to find a kiln firing service in your area if you don’t have one yourself.
The final thing to note is that you do need separate tools for working with the different metals. Contamination from one type of clay to another can result in the piece not firing correctly and all your work is wasted. My main set of tools is for silver clay (as I started working in it I have more tools for silver!). I have a box of tools, texture sheets, clay roller etc that have just been used for bronze clay. Make sure you mark your tools clearly. In practice it hasn’t meant buying too many duplicate tools and I think the opportunity to try other metals has made the added investment worthwhile.
For a more in depth run down of the different brands of clay on the market see this excellent article from Metal Clay Academy
If you’ve been inspired to try a silver clay class why not join us for a day? The following classes are in silver clay:
Intermediate metal clay class – in this class you get the chance to add gold to your silver clay in one of the projects.
Would you like to try working with paper clay? Enrol on our silver paper clay class.
Author: Anna Campbell
I have been a silversmith for almost 7 years now, and have learned my trade exclusively through short courses including many of the London Jewellery School’s courses. I love the fact that there is always a new skill or technique to learn in jewellery making as it is such a vast subject, and try and get into the classroom a couple of times a year to expand my skill set and try something new. I always find that some time in the classroom rejuvenates my enthusiasm for this wonderful (but sometimes frustrating craft), and always pushes forward my designs and inspiration.
I largely hand-forge my jewellery and love the process of taking sheet metal and wire and transforming it into something that people will treasure forever. However recently I have struggled to realise some of my design ideas using traditional silversmithing methods and began to wonder if carving my designs in wax might be the answer. I decided to sign up for the 5-week wax carving evening class at the London Jewellery School, so sorted my childcare out on Tuesday evenings in October and November and started to look forward to the class!
I thought it might be interesting for you to see how I get on! So over the next 5 weeks I will be sharing my wax carving diary with you!
Last Tuesday was week 1 of class! The class is full and there are 7 of us so will be nice to get to know everybody over the course of the 5 weeks. Interestingly there are only a couple of us with jewellery making experience – the vast majority are complete beginners so it will be nice to see their jewellery making journeys and watch them catch the jewellery making bug!
The evening class I am taking is taught by our silver and wax carving tutor, Sophie Arnott who has her own UK jewellery brand Anvil and Ivy and is also the founder of Carved Workshops which runs short wax carving course near her home in Essex. A trained silversmith, Sophie now almost exclusively carves her jewellery designs out of wax. I have known Sophie for a couple of years now after meeting her on a stone setting evening class at LJS, and know how passionate she is about wax carving so was very excited to be taking this class with her.
So, after making our introductions Sophie spent some time taking us through the different types of materials and tools we would be using over the next 5 weeks. The great thing about wax carving is that the tools required are actually quite minimal compared to the likes of silversmithing, so my husband will be relieved that the scope for new tools is limited!
We also started to talk about the type of projects we could work on and what it is possible to achieve in the 5 weeks. Sophie worked with each of us to establish what we wanted to work on during the course and helped us tweak designs to make sure they were realistic.
The first task was to learn how to load the special spiral wax saw blades into a saw frame and then Sophie spend some time teaching us how to choose our wax ‘profile’, mark out and cut our ring slice ready to start on our design next week. And then it was over to us! We spent a bit of time playing with wax offcuts to get used to sawing the wax (it is pretty different from cutting metal!) and filling the wax flat before moving on to cut out and prep our slice of wax that we would be using for our 1st project.
Before we knew it the 2.5 hours were up and we had to pack up – I think we all could have kept going as we were all having fun! I am just itching to start working on my design next week (and might do a bit of practicing at home this week). I can’t wait for week 2!
Author: Karen Young
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Vlad. Your work is just outstanding and we are so proud to have played a small part in your jewellery making journey. All of us here at LJS wish you the very best of success!
Our founder Jessica Rose teaches all of our jewellery business students that spending a little bit of your valuable time creating a plan for your business and reviewing progress regularly is fundamental to building a successful business and getting you to where you want to be. Doing at least one thing each day for your business can pay dividends, and just think that doing at least one thing each day (more is great of course if you can manage!) then after a year that is at least 365 things you have done to build your business!
But where do you start? What tools do you use to structure your ideas, thoughts and priorities? How can you make sense of the 100s of balls you have to juggle as a business owner? Running a creative business is hard work and there aren’t always enough hours in the day! Plus you have a creative mind – let’s face it, we didn’t really start our creative businesses to spend our time creating cash flow forecasts and tax returns!
That’s why we are so excited to share this fab new monthly planner aimed at aimed at creative product-based businesses such as jewellery businesses that recently launched its Kickstarter campaign! DREAM, PLAN, DO is the brainchild of our good friend Patricia Van Den Akker of The Design Trust.
Patricia is an extremely knowledgeable business coach, trainer and advisor with over 15 years experience and she has channelled all her knowledge into DREAM PLAN DO to help creatives run successful businesses doing what they love!
This monthly planner will help you plan strategically for your business, prioritise your time, and help you take practical actions each month to get you there in a simple yet structured way. Each month will have a theme that builds on the previous month meaning you are focusing on the right things at the right time of year making it easy for you to focus on what matters the most.
DREAM PLAN DO Monthly Planner – photographs by Yeshen Venema
Do check out the Kickstarter campaign here and learn more about how this monthly planner might be the tool that helps you lift your business to the next level in 2017!
We are proud to be an affiliate partner of Dream, Plan, Do which means that we get a small commission if you decide to support the Kickstarter Campaign. We only recommend products and courses that we think are practical and useful for our audience of jewellery designers and creatives, and having worked closely with Patricia over the years know how amazing this tool is going to be for you and your business!
A few weeks back we had a ‘studio warming’ event to welcome visitors to our new studios in Hatton Garden. Tutor Anna Campbell was there doing a jewellery making demonstration and gives her take on the evening.
I always love the open studio events and the christmas party (keep your eye on the blog and our facebook page for details of the Christmas Party – coming soon – shhhh mark Tuesday 13th in your diaries!). It’s fun to chat to previous students and have the chance to introduce new students to the studios and the classes.
This year we were welcoming students to our new home in Hatton Garden. It’s great to be back in London’s famous jewellery quarter and we know that students are loving our new central location.
At our studio warming this year we had a lot going on including a sample sale run by tutor Annie Mason in aid of MacMillan. Every time we run a class the tutor makes a demonstration piece. This has led to us having quite a lot of class samples over the last seven years so it is great that we can sell these for a good cause – we raised £230 in total! Thanks to all those who bought some jewellery on the night and supported our charity.
We also had a display of samples for our next live TV show on Create and Craft TV. I will be demonstrating stone setting in metal clay torch fired techniques and will have three metal clay kits for sale, including instruction videos. Keep an eye on our facebook page for details of the show times.
Water Casting samples
Helen Walls pouring the metal into the water
The main event was our three free jewellery making demonstrations. Tutor Helen Walls demonstrated water casting, which is where silver is melted and poured quickly into water to create interesting shapes. This is always an organic process, you never know quite what you’re going to get! But that’s the joy of it.
Tutors Anna Campbell and Michelle Leaver
Silver and enamelling tutor Michelle Leaver then demonstrated how to make stacked silver rings, a very popular and fun evening taster class.
I then did a demonstration of using the new sterling silver Art Clay 950. I talked through the benefits of the new clay and my experiences with it. I then showed how I made the ring pictured above.
Thank you to all who came. We were very pleased at the turn out, the demo room was always full!
Author: Anna Campbell
Earlier this year our founder and director Jessica Rose appeared for the first time on the shopping channel Create and Craft TV, showing a metal clay starter kit in action. It was very popular and Jess and the Create and Craft team decided to bring more London Jewellery School products and online courses to the channel. It was decided to continue the focus on metal clay. In January this year I had filmed the ‘torch fired stone setting in silver clay’ for Jewellery School Online so a stone setting kit was put together, along with the online course, to sell on the shows. Jess asked me if I would like to do the live TV demos and, of course, I said yes!
Screen tests and samples
There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing to go on live TV. Firstly, I needed to travel up to Peterborough, where Create and Craft film their shows, to do a screen test. This was a fifteen minute demo of what I can do to check that I would be OK on camera. There’s a whole list of things you can and can’t say, can’t wear (some patterns etc can look funny on camera!) and there was even a helpful video to watch of dos and don’ts!
I had my screen test with presenter Martyn Parker who had just been on air so must have been ready for a break! To be honest, in my view it didn’t go that well! My metal clay wasn’t behaving but I was able to keep talking and was passed to go on live TV! It was a great learning experience and made me really think very carefully about getting everything ready for the real thing.
I needed to have lots of samples of finished pieces that could be made with both the beginners kits and the stone setting kit to show. This really helps people get inspiration about the finished products that can be made with the tools and the online classes. I also needed some ‘here’s one I made earlier’ pieces so there was no waiting around on the show. Luckily, Jess had the finished samples that she had used previously for the beginners kits so I could focus on the stones. I went to LJS to pick up some samples from the stone setting silver clay class and put them on chains and cords. I also made some more pieces myself to take for display and to show as work in progress.
On the day
My shows were at 4pm and 7pm on 7th October. I was glad that they were later in the day as I could travel up from home and back in a day.
When I arrived I went into the green room to get ready. I got changed and did my makeup and hair (sadly there are no make up artists to do that for you!). Then I was able to go into the studio to set up the display of jewellery and the demonstration area. You have to be quiet in there as the live show is filming in the same studio so I tried not to drop anything!
The staff in the studio were so helpful, helping me set up the jewellery, unravelling chains and generally remembering the stuff that I might have forgotten! There was a bit of concern about the torch firing demonstration. It is something we do safely every day in our own studios at LJS but I understand that they don’t regularly use butane torches and so were a bit wary!
First live show
I was so lucky to have Natasha McCarty to work with as my first presenter on live TV. She had previously done a show with Jess and was excited about the silver clay. She really helped keep me at my ease and I so appreciated that as I was nervous. I did find that the time flew by and I quickly just got on with talking about the clay and doing the demonstration and forgot the five cameras that were pointing at me!
Feedback and making new samples
After the first show I went back to the green room for tea and custard creams! The producer came down to talk to me and asked if we could change the second show slightly to get to the polishing of a piece earlier. I could understand why, it’s important for people who hadn’t seen it before to be able to see how the clay turns into silver and the firing and polishing is the magical part.
This did mean, however, that I had to quickly made some new samples for the later show. I did this and dried them on the top of the kettle!
My final show of the day was with Andy Love. He had been on air during the previous hour so I didn’t get much time to talk to him before the show started but he was also great to work with. I did two torch firing demonstrations in this hour (I’m sure they loved that!), one demonstrating the basic kit and one showing the glass setting.
Then it was time to pack everything back up to get the train home.
It was a long, tiring day but I really enjoyed the experience and hopefully I will get a chance to do it again!