About a month ago, my dad and his wife organized a Holiday fair at their house for me to show my latest collection of jewelry to their friends. My mom had one at her house a few days later. Preparing for private shows is always a challenge. I need to cook up enough designs for at least 50 people and then some so that my display doesn’t look picked through once some pieces have been sold. I also need to know what kinds of styles are in. If you can see, you are usually sub-consciously taking these things in simply by noticing the people around you and what their wearing, or perhaps by seeing the latest fashions being sported by your favorite characters on TV shows. You might even browse through a magazine while passing the time in the waiting room before a doctor’s appointment, and notice an article on what trends are being led by the designers these days. My point in mentioning all this is that all these venues of research are closed to me. So I have to ask questions of my family and friends. This isn’t always the best method of collecting information because people can’t always put into words what they’re seeing, and the way their eyes behold things is so subjective. So I walk around Macy’s touching wool coats, long sweaters, flowing tops that gently flatter the figure, and mannequins with knit leggings and long t-shirt dresses. I make the clerk at the jewelry counter take out necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and belts. No, I don’t steal designs. I wouldn’t think of them as my own if I created mere copies of things. I just need to know if people are wearing pearls in clusters, if they’re wearing long, flowing necklaces to compliment the loose fitting dresses, if they’re wearing shoulder duster earrings, and if they seem to prefer intricate bead work, or more of an edgie chain look. Then, I go to town with these relatively flexible canvases. So I discovered that long chain necklaces that you can wrap around once or twice are in, and that long chandelier earrings are in.
Having done Holiday fairs before as well as selling to boutiques, I’ve found that I have the most success selling pieces when they’re relatively simple, necklaces that one could envision wearing with multiple outfits, things with mostly neutral colors. This is hard for me as I love working with multiple colors and textures, and I can’t resist striking centerpieces with unusual shapes or funky chains. For this year’s series of Holiday fairs, I decided on a compromise. I used more delicate chain, but still incorporated some chunky stones for striking accents. I even found some awesome chain whose links were little coils, giving the necklace I made with it a subtle, but sassy flare. i still incorporated my favorite combination of organic, naturally shaped stones with sparkly, refined swarovski crystal. I made necklaces long enough to move in graceful syncrony with a long flowing top or dress, and I made shoulder dusters. Wanna know why these earrings have been given that loving nickname? Because when you wear them, they brush the top of your shoulder. Those babies are dynamite with long hair. I know people want one, maybe two colors in a necklace, and sometimes, I couldn’t bring myself to just use one or two. However, I did stick to one color as a theme, and snuck in my contrasting colors in here and there. So the long, double stranded coil chain with rose quartz and hematite will go with almost everything, even with the tiny little olive green crystals I couldn’t resist. Hey, it even makes the piece more versatile, fit for dressing up or leaving casual with a pair of jeans.
The result: Though I had half as many customers attend the fairs this year, what with Holiday obligations and some people being out of town, and yet I sold twice as many pieces as I did last year. I realize that fashion is an art, but I have to think of the whole picture. The whole person is the work of art, not just the individual piece of jewelry.