Today’s guest post comes from none other than Tracy Matthews! She’s the amazingly successful jewelry designer launching her first e-course, the Flourish and Thrive Academy, to help jewelry designers learn how to follow in her footsteps and run a very profitable business. Enrollment for the course starts today so make sure you get on the list! Plus, there’s a free video series Tracy created where she shares some great tips.
Have you ever followed a designer for a while when suddenly you see something new that they have done and think to yourself: “What are they doing? I just don’t get it!”
Yep, it happens. As designers, it can be easy to lapse into moments of Creativity Tourettes. Creative people are bombarded with an ever present flow of ideas running through their heads. With a lack of focus, it is incredibly easy to veer off course and go in a direction that will not serve you or your brand.
Let’s face it; this phenomenon is not exclusive to a single type of designer, whether it is jewelry, clothing or furniture. You have probably seen designers on shows like Project Runway or Fashion Star. Sometimes they take a huge risk and it pays off. Other times, their risk gets them booted off the show.
So when are creative risks a viable option, and how can you know if you are going to far? Well, if you want to actually make money and have longevity in your business, you must learn to create an overall “Look” for your brand and design “Cohesive” Collections.
Why? Because anyone can be a one hit wonder. But remember the tortoise and the hare story from childhood—slow , steady AND consistent wins the race. I am not trying to simply that you can’t evolve over time. Evolution is a good thing (even necessary) when it is done with strategy and thoughtfulness.
If you take a look at the really excellent brands out there, you will notice that even after all the years, they maintain a consistent look. Some fantastic examples in the jewelry industry include Melissa Joy Manning, Cathy Waterman and Dogeared. They have maintained consistent core concepts and enjoyed great success even as their collections have evolved.
Each of the designers mentioned above has a very different look and a completely different price point. The only common thread at first glance is that they have developed a very successful BRAND. So let us take a closer look at these three designers and ask ourselves: “What do they all have in common?”
Element # 1: Consistency
One of my favorite jewelry designers is Cathy Waterman. I have been following her work for years. As I have watched her collection evolve, she has maintained a signature look throughout the years. Her jewelry changes every season, however, the pieces you may have purchased her first season will still merchandise well with pieces that she designed in her very first collection. The result? Her collection is Timeless, and she has developed a Signature style that her fans can easily recognize.
Element # 2: Cohesiveness
Another important element for designing collections that sell is cohesiveness. You might be asking, isn’t cohesiveness the same as consistency? It is related, however I attribute cohesiveness to all of the categories you are developing. Let’s use Melissa Joy Manning as an example.
Melissa’s designs are unquestionably cohesive. If you mix all the categories into a big box, her earrings tie back to the necklaces, the cuffs match the studs and the statement pieces can be worn with her add on pieces like stack rings or hoops. Almost every piece in her collection can be worn with another, but they all look very different.
Cohesiveness leads to the fundamental core of a collection that sells.
Element #3 Authenticity
Finally, consumers like to buy products from designers who are authentic to their brand vision. Authenticity can be anything that connects you to your overall WHY, your story and your collection.
In the case of Dogeared, they were one of the first companies to infuse pieces with meaning and inspiration into their collection. Over the years they have stayed authentic to their brand vision, which is reflective of their casual California lifestyle.
Their brand statement is deeply connected to their why and authentic to who they are as a brand:
Our jewels have the power to connect, inspire and become part of people’s lives.
Take action NOW:
So grab a piece of paper and start writing! List the words Consistent, Cohesive and Authentic. Set the timer and write for 30 minutes.
Brainstorm: When have you strayed from your signature style design-wise, where are the holes in your collection, and what stories about yourself and your path can you infuse into your brand vision. List the places that you are doing this well and where you can use a little help.
Where are you being consistent, cohesive and authentic in your designs? Please share your inspiration in the comments below.
Jewelry Designers, do you want collections that sell? Check out https://createhype.com/loves/flourishthriveacademy/ via @flourish_thrive
This article has been truly inspiring!
I have been working on a fundraiser for three years and have feel I have strayed from the overall cohesiveness of my other work.
I agree artist are bombarded with incoming inspirations. It’s sometimes hard to pick and choose.
Time to regroup!
Wonderful article, I truly appreciate it!