Here is the straight scoop, details only, SHORT STORY:
1. Class starts Jan. 8, 2020 and lasts for approx. 3 months.
2. Not held in real time, so you can come when convenient.
3. Taught by modules as well as class participation. There will be some videos.
4. You need to be on Facebook, as the class is held in a private group on Facebook.
5. You will learn to build a line of jewelry, of 5 pieces or more. You can build multiple lines if you want, but only one line of 5 pieces is required. All who sign on as participants need to do the class project. You will need to choose a theme for your project (read the long version below, for ideas) and give it to me when you sign up.
6. All participating students will be given a little coupon code to help them buy things for their projects from our website. The code is live as soon as you pay for the class, it expires when class is over.
7. The classroom is a kind and nurturing environment, perfect for beginners as well as those who have made jewelry for some time.
8. Class fee is 95.00 for first time students (basically that means a dollar a day!) 75.00 for alumni, and 60.00 for those who audit. More info on auditing in the long version, below. You will contact me directly to make your payment. Do that by emailing email@example.com or by calling me at 1-800-868-4393 during business hours, 9-5, we are in Ohio, EST time.
9. Questions? Read the long version and/or get in touch with me, I will be glad to explain! My contact info is toward the end of the long version, below.
Here's the LONG VERSION, including the WHOLE STORY, including more about WHAT WILL BE DISCUSSED IN CLASS:
There are many reasons why people buy artisan jewelry.
They appreciate handcraft as well as getting to know the person who made the piece--as the artisan's very DNA is on it.They admire the skill and the use of excellent components, whether handmade or prefabricated.They may be drawn to the colors used in the design. Often, they are buying it for a gift, so perhaps there's something about it that makes them think of someone special. Or, it could be all or most of the above, combined with a price that's not terribly hard on the wallet. Sometimes making things that can be bought in for lower prices is very hard for artisans to get their heads around. Some have the attitude that everything should have a big ticket on it, as they have no intention of giving the work of their hands away. True, that---but you've got to be practical. If people can't afford your work then all it is, is show and tell!
Taking all these things into account contributes to real success as a jewelry designer. But more than anything, it begins with getting organized to be successful, and learning to build a line of pieces that go together. People like to look at things that match and are organized, and it's easier to buy them, too. All the big designers of note, whether artisan or fashion, contemporary or vintage, have that down pat. Often you hear it called their "collection." AHA! Yes, they create collections, or bodies of work.
You need to learn to do that, too. And you need to learn how to build your brand---but what's that? You also need to learn to cost out your pieces and engineer them (different from pricing.) That's something every one wants to know, as well as how to manage your 'manufacturing inventory'. You need to learn and completely understand that pyramid of sales. You need to understand the difference between OOAK pieces and pieces you can do in 'batches.' And yes, who IS your customer---who do you think she is? What does she buy and what does she spend for it? It's also good to learn about vintage design, as everything that's marketed now was done before in some way. But how in the world do you learn all of that? Where can you go?
A long time ago, I had a very large line of gift jewelry that I sold to over 500 accounts, nationwide. I started very simply---on a kitchen table. I went step by step, networking with other makers in my area, trying to figure it out by trial and error I kept at it until I made it work, and it worked quite nicely for nearly a decade. But I stayed small, while still taking advantage of all the selling lessons I learned along the way.
When I decided to go into the supply business, I met so many people who were just like me. They had the dream of being a successful jewelry designer just as I had, but there were really few books or classes to combine the nuances of craft with the business of it. I often asked about them and what they were doing. Everyone loves to talk about their latest project! So they'd tell me about their aspirations to sell enough of their jewelry so they'd have money to live on--and I'd tell them I'd already done it, would they like some advice? And so it went.....
Fast forward to the burgeoning days of social media.In January 2015, I held the first Build a Line Challenge Class on Facebook. It was not another random conversation in a discussion group. The artisan jewelers had QUESTIONS, and they needed guidance step by step.So I wrote modules, or lessons, to go with the class---stuff they could print out and review when the class was over. Many told me that helped a lot.
In March 2015, I made the acquaintance of an important, unforgettable mentor who boosted my journey not a by notch, but by a leap.That's when I began to work with The 1928 Jewelry Company, a company known for over 50 years as a leader in the fashion jewelry industry. They make Victorian-style reproduction pieces that are simple and fun to wear, and they sold their jewelry in every major department store world-wide.Interestingly, their jewelry is mostly handmade, but production-style. When I got to know 1928, so much came full-circle and I learned more about how to design for profit, how to streamline the work, how to hone my skills at working by genre. I thought I already knew how! And, to be sure, I did---but let's just say I know a lot more now!
I've had the singular privilege of meeting and becoming friends with someone who'd started EXACTLY like I did, but grew to be a leader in the industry--he managed to take his business to the moon and back. Why not share what Mel Bernie, the CEO of the company, taught me during the course of daily emails and many trips to his factory in Burbank, California? Bit by bit those things crept into the Build-a-Line class.
So how does this class work, anyway?
First, it's held online in a private Facebook group, so you will have to be on Facebook.
The class focuses on the learning modules which one by one, spark our class discussions, or threads. It's not held in real time, so you don't have to worry about work schedules, getting kids to school, events in your personal life. You can come to class when you're able to. If you miss a day or two here and there, you can always catch up. At least ONCE during class we will have a LIVE session video; for that, you will need to attend at the specified time. If you can't make it, not to worry, because I do them at You Tube and the video will be archived. Not only can you see it later but you can see it again and again! (The videos will be private; only group members will be able to view them.)
There is a class project to help you put the things you are learning to use.You'll choose a theme for your project, a collection you will build of 5 pieces or more. What type of jewelry will you create? Beachy themes? Boho? Vintage Shabby Chic? Old Czech style? Streamlined or minimalist? Steampunk or Industrial? Art nouveau or art deco? Victoriana? Gothic, Medieval, historic, Downton Abbey style? Will your theme build around a character in history that you admire? Will it be teacher jewelry, about cats or dogs....or horses...or sea life? Mermaid jewelry? Fairies? Color palettes like black and white, shimmering metallics, mixed metals, Pantone color of the year? You will choose, I can't do that for you---but the sky's the limit. Why not start writing down ideas?
Just remember: when you choose, you're not choosing your course as a designer; it's just a class project. Creating around a theme is part of learning to build a cohesive line--in other words, stuff that belongs together and isn't all over the place. So don't think you're locking yourself into something. You're just using the theme to try a new skill.
The class lasts a little over three months. This is so that students who are busy with their personal lives have plenty of time to read, reflect, learn and do the class project which is presented at the end of the class. And at first, we don't tell each other what our themes are; we reveal that part way through the class. Near the end of the class, we reveal our completed lines by posting them at the group as well as pinning them to a special class Pinterest board.
Around the end of January my book, Making it 1928:The Story of the 1928 Jewelry Company is to be published and released to the public. I'll be offering the first copies to members OF THE CLASS, first. They may want to use the book along with the modules to help them learn. My book is the story of the company---Mel's story, as it's his life's work--but it's Build a Line on steroids, showing by practical example how you do this on a huge scale....as well as a small scale. In my book, I've chronicled step-by-step the company's progress and all the things they did from the FIRST DAY they decided to sell jewelry, to "Make it 1928."
Everyone who's paid their class fee will receive a special discount code they can use at www.bsueboutiques.com from the time they sign up for class, until the class is over and the classroom is closed.(Once the classroom is closed the discount will expire.) This code is to help them to obtain materials they might need in class at a nice discount, because I do ask that at least *in part*, students use items available at B'sue Boutiques. Those things can be mixed in with things from their own stashes; and the parts used don't have to be newly purchased from our site, either. If you have a good stash of them--enough to build a line---then you can use those, too.
To get the best from the class it's good to take it as a participating student, determined to do the class project and create a line. But there is also the option to audit the class, which means you can be a fly on the wall and hear as well as see everything, but you don't have to do the class project. You also can't speak in class or ask questions if you choose auditor status, though.
Cost? 95.00 for new students who haven't taken the class before (that breaks out over three months' time to about a dollar a day!!).....75.00 for alumni who want to repeat (sometimes a chunk of the class are those who like to repeat the class as a refresher---and it's nice for the new ones, as they have experience and share it.) Auditors pay 60.00.
To sign up you'll want to contact me, Brenda Sue Lansdowne, either by calling me at 1-330-886-0052 during 9-5 business hours (we are in Ohio) or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook messenger directly to me, not my Facebook business page..
I'll begin to accept sign up payments on Friday, December 6, 2019. All the paid students will be put into the virtual classroom by January 8, and we'll get started right away. I can take an indefinite number of students for the class, since we don't have to fit into a literal room. In years past I've had anywhere from 28 to over 60 students. The more the better the class!
Got questions? I'm sure you do. Just get in touch with me and fire away! I do hope you'll join us this year....it's a great experience, and you'll have no regrets that you took time for it!
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