Online Class: Starting a Handmade Jewelry Business Q and A with Danielle Wickes Jewelry | Michaels
hi everyone and welcome to today's question and answer session on starting a handmade jewelry business and i'm thankful for everyone who's here today to chat with me, and this is going to be fun because. You know, usually, when we're doing the classes, or we get right to the project and we don't really get to share just a lot of. You know, questions about everything handmade jewelry, so this is a fun for me and i'm thankful for you guys, for being here. And so, this class is recorded, there will be a replay available it'll be on michaels comm slash classes, she takes about a couple days before it's posted but we'll share link to it when it comes up. And so um I guess i'm gonna get started, I have some outline notes here just to get me started talking but. This is for questions so feel free to jump in the chat and ask questions and Karma will ask them and i'll do my best to answer if I know and i'll share a little bit about my journey.
And so. Fatou Gueye: I hope not. Oh go ahead.
Sorry, I thought I heard a question okay um so. Something I wrote in my notes and the very first thing I thought about was that what is, why do we want to sell jewelry, why do we want to you know start our own business and it's. That entrepreneurial spirit that we all share and it comes from, I don't know I feel like it starts really young and some of my earliest memories of. me on my grandparents coming to visit and instead of you know, presenting them with this beautiful art and created for them, I welcome them to come to my store and shop for some postcards that I.
And so it's you know it's little things like that that that lead through life, you know you realize, you know i'm a seller i'm a person who is an entrepreneur, I want to start a business and. we're into our in you know your journey right now and that's probably at the core of it, so how to get started. And so, part of that question that came into my mind when I read you know starting business, I never thought about it, but I think. Knowing when you're ready to start selling can be a little bit helpful. And so, some of the signs, so you started making jewelry and you love it and you've made a lot of jewelry like okay well i'd like to start. Seeing if there's a market for it, and when we get to test the waters and maybe see if you're ready to do that is to just take a look at what's happening, when you wear your jewelry and.
So, of course, where your own work, if you made something, and you like it where it carry your business cards with you, so when people ask you. hey I like earrings hey like your bracelet like Oh, I made it and I do, can I sell them so here's my card so that's just one place to give get a start. Getting your friends and family to wear your jewelry and making sure they have your cards on them so that they can to advertise for you and that'll be a good indicator if you start seeing a lot of you know a lot of positive feedback there you can know if it's time to scale up. you're going to start getting requests, so people family, friends co workers they're going to start asking you hey can you make this for me, can you make it with this color.
Or you know they'll bring you pictures from magazines and say I love this can you make something like this, so you'll start getting that and people will start asking hey where can I find your shop your jewelry. So those are the things that started happening. In my early jewelry making times and so those were signs to me that I needed to start selling and at that time it was a while ago so. Online platforms for you know artisans were there weren't any yet and so selling a personal is really the only option, I had selling online wasn't really a thing, yet. That came out a little bit later, but um. Well, so another thing I wrote down here to talk about was when you do start selling in whatever capacity, you choose in person online both.
something to think about ahead of time with your search capacity, because you will find that. you'll need to be able to produce a consistent result and handle upticks at holiday times and events like you'll get asked hey I have this event coming in. I want these type of jewelry and I need like 50 pieces that's an opportunity, can you can you produce 50 pieces in four weeks, can you do that so things like that start thinking about. What kind of business, am I looking forward to, I just want to do one of the kind sales don't want to make what I feel like making that day and put into my shop and see if it sells and so just questions of style, where do you going for would interest you. And then, of course, you know built up inventory that helps because then that helps you candle a surge if you've got a box of stuff sitting right that you can draw from.
And then getting into like more of your identity as a seller in this part was really challenging for me because. I dabbled in everything I liked wire I liked metal smithing I liked beating crochet I was posting everything, and so I have my work and didn't really have a theme. And I didn't have a brand image and what's weird is that kind of became my brand image, just like well. What am I doing today well i'm doing this today and here's a photo, and so the way I developed consistency and an image and identity was I used.
My backdrops and I used some of the same material themes so um and I tend to go for like risk town woodsy things are in some of my earlier work you see a lot of that, but so thinking about hey what is my theme and what's the personality of my business, what does that look like. And then, one of the most important things I wrote down here, and this is one of them I didn't think about early but luckily, for me, I like to draw. And i'm a doodler and so often I keep a sketchbook of ideas and also use this book to keep track of something that I made so that I can remember how I made it because here's what happens when you start growing.
And so, for example, you begin selling a lot people discovery and they scroll down your feed. Like oh look at this look at that and they'll ask you can you make me this piece and they'll send you a screenshot and you made it a year ago. You don't remember how you made it what color used so it's very helpful and this is a really messy book, but if you guys can see it but i've just got scribble after scribble it just you know Bead counts colors db numbers. you name it and then just and then just ideas and some of these ideas i've made some of them are waiting for a day when i'll make them. So that's another another great thing is to and I haven't miniature one that goes with me and sits next to me because I wake up with ideas and have to sketch it down so definitely make friends with a notebook get some colored pencils and draw your dreams. Alright Danielle.
I have quite a few questions from the side for you. Some of them are the same, but you know what I think i'd like to start with the one that makes sense is what was the first thing you decided to sell and where did you sell it. Oh Okay, so I thought about that one um. And so I guess the first time I was actually asked to sell something was I was making these crochet colors with a little crystals on. And I made friends with a local beat store manager and she was selling her jewelry in the store on consignment and she had all these shelves. empty shells and she's like well why don't you put your colors here, and some of your scarves that you've been making and we'll see and so.
So, to my surprise, these things were selling and I couldn't figure out why, and that brings me into another part of my talk, which is product placement and setting. For example, things also in person. But you put online it doesn't go anywhere but in person in the right setting you see it moving like a lot, and so, in case of these colors just as an example. I was living on an island that was rainy and cold and touristy so it was just across from Seattle, a little island called bainbridge. And people would like to come over there and have coffee on a Saturday morning watch the ships go to the pub there was a bookstore right next to the shop.
There, my friend worked and so she put my colors in the window she puts a little scarves in there and people would walk from the bookstore to the coffee shop. and pay $50 for a scarf that you know online that wouldn't pay 10 bucks for so it was just it's environment settings are people there to shop where people they're having a good time, are they in a hurry. So yeah, the first thing I sold occur, I think I have a picture of what they looked like. If I can. share the crush it colors I figured that will come up, so I was ready. what's an example.
that's really tiny wow. Danielle i'm glad you're doing this Q amp a because even I haven't seen these so. This is way back in time here I go a long way.
You actually had somebody on the sidebar he does do crochet jewelry so. i'm sure i'll really be shaped your comments tonight. awesome the other question you're getting a lot of tonight is how do you price, how do you determine your pricing. it's a really good question and.
i'm better at it now than I used to be. So tell tell us tell us where you went wrong in the beginning and and how you price now. So in the beginning, I did not take into account my time because to me it was still I started as a hobbyist seller.
So, to me, I was entertaining myself, and I was subsidizing my hobby so my time was zero and I never I never factored that in and that carried forward into later later stages of my selling. Where I didn't know how to value my own time, I was pretty good at pricing stuff based on what i'd spent. And I was spending too much, by the way, but you know he got there and I would I would pretty much just put in a big zero from my time. And I think that was the biggest problem, but now I really do keep track and that's what this note that comes in again when I make something sometimes i'll write down how long it took me or an estimate of how long it might take me to make it again. And I keep track of I spent a lot better than I used to.
that's great and question too about platforms, where are the places that you have been successful selling jewelry in person you've mentioned but have you done shows you have a website at see what's your favorite place to go. Well, so when I first started selling, and it was about 2007. And it was brand new. And I put my work up and there are some things that didn't sell I mean we're talking about some small numbers but really without doing any advertising, it would move. However, fast forward a decade is that market is saturated and I posted and I waited and waited and not so much, but what I found was.
The best place to sell for for me at that time, and probably even you know once once we're allowed to go to stores again in person. and selling in person generates online sales, so you show up at a show you have your cards out and people see stuff they like what they see, they want to see. Perhaps they buy a piece, and then they go home and they check out, you know a little bit more about the maker or someone asked them about it, so they want to get a gift. And so you're you're in person sales are going to drive your online sales, but as far as just being organically found online that is very, very hard to do without. A really heavy social media presence it's a different market than it was when I started, but I think some of the things that might still be true that worked for me at the time.
was of course I mentioned selling on consignment two really great things about selling on consignment one is you don't have to be a license business license reseller permit. All of the worksheet you can sell small and you can sell without having to do a lot of work, you just you bring your your pieces to the shop to handle the sales tax they take a cut but you're going to spend that shipping and managing a business. That those costs are things that they're taking on so I felt like the get the consignment cut was completely worth it. And then of course there's other things like I wrote down galleries that feature handmade artists, there were a lot of those in a little tourist town where I was living at the time. So these were galleries that were like hey local artists makes the site on that item and had. Class blown work and they had paintings and watercolor beautiful stuff that people have made wood carvings and they put some of my rings in one of those and they did really well there too.
But I feel like people don't person and they're seeing it it's just so much easier it's hard to portray the beauty of a piece online and selling online is also challenging because you think about. Our perception of color and scale are dependent on what language we're speaking our monitor settings. There are so many different things like I remember, I was working with a customer on custom order she wanted all a set for her for her bridesmaids. And so, this is a big word for me, I was putting my heart in it and I laid out all these beautiful colors and she said, well, I, like the purple one. There was no purple on that tray there was a cornflower blue and the cobalt blue, but there was no purple, and so do I do do I go back and say hey. she's like I love it I want the purple one and I have a happy customer don't know which one was was the winner, so I instead of saying hey they're blue I said oh you mean this one.
And I sent another picture back with just that one in the photo I guess the cornflour I guess right but So you see selling online is hard. is really challenging and it's challenging for people who've been doing it forever it's challenging for new people i'm not saying don't do it, but it's. I feel like in person is a great way to start that's that if I had to do over again I probably would have focus more on the in person selling less on on the online aspect and. That leads into a question you're getting a lot of but there's a lot of comments on is how did you manage to get a following for yourself on etsy and other locations.
That wasn't just your family and local friends, what do you think what made you stand out on etsy. um I think I don't know I think even to this day I wouldn't say I stand out on etsy per se, I think what's driving some of the sales, there are the relationships through. Through blogging so I joined a beaded life in 2018 and I began to write about handmade jewelry for them.
And I think that really grew my social media, because people wanted to know. about how do you do a photograph What about lighting all these questions and so on, that in some tutorials and I would post for that. And then I joined a ton of Facebook groups that had other people with like interests and started making friends online, and so, then we don't follow each other. And so I think it was it wasn't overnight it.
It was like a four or five year thing before I felt like I had somewhere where I could advertise meaning meaningfully post something have someone to see it and asked me to buy it before that I don't feel like I had that it took a long time. So when when you talk about in person selling, you mentioned the stores and that, but how about shows and and whether it's a church basement or a craft sale. Oh yeah, and this is like there's so many opportunities out there, that you can you can do so, I wrote down. Things like yoga studios your local hairdresser, these are all places where. I think that i've seen either seen other people sell jewelry or have sold my on my local hairdresser used to carry some of my work and she put my cards out, and so I would get some business their. craft fairs holiday was ours my local high school has a holiday bazaar so I set up a table there once a year.
And that's a big night because people are prepared to spend money they show up it's for a good cause, you do have to pay for the table, and you have to make a donation for the raffle which is usually just one of your pieces. But it's worth it, because when you sell a lot there and everyone's there to shop there with the goal of mine something, and so, those are the places to be. Farmers markets and any festivals, that you can join.
there's a local one here in Seattle called full life and the jewelry sales a full glass are really great and. People are just excited about moving along like summer fairy necklaces so many necklaces sell at that event and across the country there's a lot of events, just like that so just like. When when you do a show like that people want to know how much inventory, do you build up. Oh yeah so um I have a lot of a lot of really lessons learned on that so i'm going back to having a theme when I first set up to, so I brought everything I had and I had trays of stuff I carry around these like kind of baskets in my basket over. But.
baskets of stuff. With all kinds of examples of finished pieces on them priced out ready. But what I found was that I didn't better selling person, if my table had a theme it had clean lines and it had things grouped by like type of jewelry versus if I just threw it out on the table, and so what I mean by that and. So here's a border. And just as an example which one of these makes your I feel calmer and which one of these kind of stresses you out. notice this side.
Has a theme. And it draws me to it, because now, I can express myself personally, by choosing the color I want versus here i've got all of the artists expression. So this is all about the artist and maybe that's what you're looking for you want to see the artists healing what they've put together but. it's cluttered there's charms on everything, and what I found was that the work that was pretty nondescript. sold more than the stuff I put my heart into and just went crazy, with all the doodles right I don't know why that's the case, but I think it's because people want to make it their own and if it's got all of your personalization like my hummingbird charms and things on it. It doesn't have the ability for somebody to adopt and say I relate to this and I chose that color righteous that color because that that speaks to me and there's also something about the you know there's just it's a it's easier to shop this way, then that way.
It makes sense yeah. i'm shopping right now and will be calling you after our class today Danielle people are really curious to how you decided your packaging. How, how do you present the pieces and a booth are they always in a package, or do you have them out of the package. A little of both and I discovered early that people want to touch and try and feel and try one. And so what I would do is I would have things out that they're like there are other type you know cuff bracelets and i'd have three different sizes on the bar for people to try on and then i'd go to my bracelet bucket and pull one out that matched so.
If someone said to me, I really like this do you have it in another color and i've got the bucket. And everything in here sized so and I do keep these in their packaging because, like say this one six interest right. sizing is was was very hard for me to Gary and you know, honestly, I still struggle with it it's it's really hard, so the way I got around that and we are doing a class on. Designing bracelets it's coming up in May and i'm going to talk about how to design jewelry for somebody that you don't know their resize and how to basically how to sell online that way it's really hard to sell online. For bracelets especially and maybe this is a good time to talk a little bit about that, but, like, for example, if you tell a customer measure your wrist and tell me what your sizes.
they're going to take a tape measure and they're going to do that as tight as they can on the wrist and they're going to tell you, oh six and you're going to sell them a bracelet that's six inches and they're not going to be able to put it on. It happened to me so many times and I got so many returns and I finally figured out that what I really need to do is standardized my sizing so the way I the way I did that. Was I decided i'm going to sell six and a half, seven seven and a half six and make some adjustable for people who don't know or if they're buying a gift, so I always have the sizes and i'll make to every kind in each size or the alternatives to make your divine adjustable. And one way to do that is to put. You know chain, or some extra leather.
On your bracelet that means more than one person can wear it. yeah those are great tips a couple people have noticed, though you're the packaging or. Is that packaging being made for you are you cutting the packaging yourself. i've done a little of both the ones that I have here and the ones that I use the most. were made by a friend of mine, with her cricket.
And so i'm not a cricket expert myself, but this is another way to you know kind of joined forces with another maker. And you know that is a great way also to increase your sales, because what happens is people ask me where did you get those cards I point them to her. And people ask her hey where'd you get that Bruce lipton she wants them to me so it's just partnerships like that, but she she makes these. This was something I could see on pinterest and I asked her can we do something like that, for me, and I, provided the dimensions and she has it, you know she kept some for me and she did that font for me with my name and I have to have to earring card sizes so. Small.
And then, a big hearing size which can also be you know nice for a necklace. Long earrings. For the testers. yeah for those testers and you'll notice all this stuff's in plastic. And so jewelry findings, particularly they're going to tarnish and they're going to launch really quickly, especially if you live somewhere that's human or you know, like a on a rainy climate like where I live, is kind of monsoon climate. The all metals are going to do that, and so, if you store them in packaging like this you're going to increase their life.
Because you know you want it to look in you, if somebody's shopping and that goes back to my bar and my box I let people try it on here, and then I sold them the brand new one that's that's in my packaging here to pick up. great idea. yeah and so you know and often i'll sell out one size and that will be my indicator hey make more so I seven inch and make less size six.
Know like that, and so just keeping track of that info back to the notebook every time I notice hey I just sold out of only sevens again just make more sevens. Danielle, you said that you started out as a hobbyist at what point did you get serious about it, and then, did you get a business license or how, how are you set up as a maker. Surprisingly, recently actually um so what happened is, I wanted to join an event that required a business license and some events are totally cool with you, showing up they collect the sales tax and remit it for you, others. They want you to do that yourself, and so you have to display that you're legit business, so you they want to see a permit and you have to be registered with your local here in Washington state or him at the Department of revenue and so without you know, like a tax ID to pay your taxes. It kind of limits your venues, and so there was that there was that event, I really want to do that event so.
I decided there's there's my first nudge the second one was I had built up such an a massive amount of inventory that. I had boxes in here I boxes and stuff because I used to you know I used to be able to. You know, go to more events and sell things but it's just I needed to go somewhere where there's going to be more customers right, and so there was that, and then I was spending more because I wasn't buying wholesale and the weird thing about buying wholesale.
You don't want to do that too early, because then you'll end up with a bunch of stuff you're not going to use, you have to have been doing the soil. And figure out what am I buying over and over and over again, where it makes it worth it to me that huge minimum that a wholesale because it's the pricing is great for wholesale, but you have to meet these men's and you need to buy a lot of one thing. And so you buy you get on these wholesale website you just get so excited you like I love I love I love you start filling your garden like whoa. I just built the biggest part of my life well The thing is, is you don't need to buy everything wholesale you can still buy some stuff retail. And of course there's anywhere, you have a chance to buy in bulk I am a clearance magnet if I see a clearance sale I go there because. Even as a wholesale buyer clearance is pretty close to wholesale pricing it's basically a big seller That said, look.
I have sunk cost here that i'd like to realize so they're throwing that in the bucket saying you know, maybe a few cents above what they pay for it really and grab that stuff if it's something you think you might use definitely and then of course the. The places where you shop regularly that you keep buying that same thing over and over if you see a sale go ahead and buy a bunch of that at that time, if you know you've used it in the past, but again it's just keeping that data. And that's what I think.
that's important because I mean i'm a wholesale company, so I know what you were just talking about you could you would not qualify, to be a customer unless you had a business. Tax license and that you are properly set up so that might have been a good incentive for you to do all the paperwork, but of course people are curious now do you need an accountant to do your you know filings for your taxes or how are you doing it yourself. um so i'm doing it myself currently regrettably.
I need to i'm at a stage now where I need to think about what do I want to do, because it got bigger than me last year year before that it was fine. I did it myself, it took me like six hours or whatever, but now it's too much, and I also I can't keep up with my own selling. And so, at the moment i'm just a sole proprietor which means I can't hire anyone to help me, I would have to go and update my license to become an llc.
And when you become self employed, even as a sole proprietor there are new costs that I didn't have a hobbyist so one of the biggest ones as as in the US is you'll have to pay social security tax. As someone who self employed, you know, usually you go to work your employer takes care of that well I didn't realize that was an additional cost in my you know federal income tax every year, and you need to start paying quarterly you can't just pay once a year anymore so. What I would recommend is not doing it, the way I did it actually hire someone to help you at the early stages and walk you through it and say hey, this is what you need. And it'll cost a little bit of money, and it will seem like you're wasting your money at the time but it's not because unless you're an accountant or CPA or you have a CPA in the family. it's something that you're going to spend more time working on that, then enjoying making your your product. Exactly.
So uh Danielle i'm going to switch you from talking about the business and people would love to hear some real comments with from you how do you handle a disappointed customer. So definitely. The best way is to avoid their disappointment by predicting what's going to disappoint them in fixing it first, but of course that's not always happy happy, you know, possible to do. Especially when you start to grow because see there's these early stages, where you can focus, really, really in depth on one person. And you can get it right for that person, and you know exactly what to do, but then suddenly that person is 50 people and now, how do we do that in a big scale that's very, very hard to do alone, without help without keeping really good notes. But, so how to handle it when i've made a mistake, first of all own it just own IT and be like sorry i'm so sorry my bad I did this.
And i'm going to fix it and yeah We live in a world where retailers eat that cost, even if you're not in the wrong, even if the customer gave you information that was incorrect about what they wanted and you worked up something, and you shipped it and they got it and it wasn't they wanted. We live in a world now where you can return things without questions and that's just the business climate we're in and that cost is it needs to be worked into the price of your pieces so. Something i've started doing recently and kind of going back to pricing is a lot of big companies will call that their DNA.
Like it's just a number that they tack on to everything and it it covers a lot of stuff. Well, I have a number in there to cover the cost of when I make a mistake when I have to ship something again because you know you, not only do you pay to ship it you're going to pay to ship another one. And all the material costs that's associated with that and I was very surprised at the end of year last year, when I calculated that number, and I saw.
wow That was a lot more money than I thought it was because it adds up over time and you ship something that's at a minimum it's going to cost you about $4 to ship in the States and that can be as high as $9 if you commit a mistake because you're gonna ship priority on right. So yeah but um yeah person try really hard pay attention when you're packing those orders, make sure you put the right thing and read books. But i've done that too i've shipped gotten all of the end printed my labels got the packing slips put them in the wrong envelopes what two different customers and.
I had to refund both of them because, in one case, it was a custom and you know this was during the pandemic, so we weren't doing returns at that time and so yeah I just made a brand new and shipped it. or both. yeah it is what it is right. Danielle, I just wanted to tell you like on the sidebar we are getting a lot of questions about.
licensing and taxes and i'm just going to let everyone know we can't answer all of them, because obviously. I know it's it's different throughout the US and Canada so i'm going to let those questions go and and just remind people that you know it's so easy to just Google. That question locally and get an answer to it and i'm going to have you keep answering questions about making jewelry so one of the earlier questions we got is. You know, we live in a world where there are dollar stores and lots of really inexpensive cheap and cheerful jewelry, how do you handle the your pricing is so much higher type comment. yeah I mean it's it's hard because we can't compete with something that was factory made, and so, for example, it's it's possible to mass produce jewelry that looks really nice and it's available for really low prices.
But at the end of the day, there's there's still some niche areas where we can meet a demand that isn't being met by those companies. And one of those areas is in customization and, of course, in just the charm and the character of it being handmade in general and so i'm working on that and then studying the market to see. Where is handmade jewelry popular and what kind of customers want to buy handmade jewelry versus just getting it at the local place where they buy clothing right. I mean it's just it's it's changing all the time that's one of the catches, that I found is that it is changing quite a lot.
But people do browse instagram they'll browse hashtag beaded jewelry and you'll just scroll and if it's for sale and it's easy to buy know you'll get sales from that. Exactly and Danielle. One of your other forte's is photography so you're getting quite a few questions on how do you photograph your jewelry or how are you making your jewelry look good, especially if anyone's been to your instagram page it all looks beautiful. Oh, thank you.
So photography has actually been my nemesis for a long time, and some of my earlier opportunities to do some work for some companies preferred a background that was just white. And to this day, I cannot get white background photography I mean i'm still challenged by it, because it changes the way. color is displayed on the camera and i'm not an expert at photography, so I am using my iPhone I did try a bunch of other cameras I borrowed a really nice. camera from a brand and also my father in law's a photographer and I had him give a try taking some pictures with a really nice camera.
iPhone pictures still better I don't know why, but only on certain backgrounds, so that flat nat surface you don't want to use something that shiny in the bathroom or lacquered. So, for example, you know those like places where you can paint pottery and you give you they give you that matte finished thing before you paint it. I grabbed a bunch of those and those solves some of my white background photography problems because it absorbed the white that was creating all the really harsh shadowing. So matt surface would is beautiful unfinished would in a dark color is really great for iPhone photography and then for your lighting.
You want the brightest lights possible that simulate sunlight, but not direct you don't want to take a direct light and just put it right on your piece, and just start shooting. And i've tried, a lot of different things, and this is kind of sounds really crazy but honest to goodness, what I do I have these really bright like 6500 kelvin lights that are on this just regular. kind of blowing up and they're special bulbs that got them on Amazon, I put them behind me so i've got the tree here.
The lights are behind me and i'm using my body is the diffuser like pushing the light around me and just taking the better that way there's no shadowing and you can try different angles, if you're next to a window pick up one of like. If you have like one of those plastic bins that they sell at michael's you know, like those four things that's actually what he was like pick up my little photo carrier. said it to the side, where the window is some of that light is still coming through. But it's scattering it so you don't get that harsh glare against your your pieces and and then also I have noticed that you're using phone. Closer pictures are more impressive than those far away flat leaves the faraway flat leaves professional photographers and you need them for that, but a close up at an angle. The iPhone is great and pictures like that you'll if you start now now when you go and you look at the fields of other designers you need to go yeah they've got that at an angle right to where they're photographing and it's close.
And you're doing all your own photography. I am doing all my own, except for the ones for some of our classes were photographed by. Leo. Zhang be. No, but.
Professional photographer. But we always say your pictures, are they stand alone so they're fine too, but you're also self taught making videos now. yeah and so there's been a long learning curve, for me, because i'm at you know things evolve, so I started selling my work my finished pieces. And one of the first things that started to happen was i've been asked what beat is that what finding is that what threaded us.
And next thing you know, I was teaching and it happened without me even deciding to teach it just one day I woke up and I was answering questions more questions about how then how much. And so that evolved into doing some work on Facebook for some small be chops and for them, I started trying to improve how I explain what i'm doing. And I video was the most recent thing, the first thing I tried to do is learn how to make my own beating diagrams because you know as a seed beater Have you ever tried to read CBD instructions just in words.
Like going through the next speed go back through that being go to the next. You lose people in the first sentence, so you need a picture and it needs to be a picture that makes sense, and so I taught myself illustrator. About a year and a half ago I started learning and it was a steep learning curve, for me, but I do not regret doing it it's opened a lot of doors. And then video so video is the final frontier and video okay i'm using the iPhone still crazy i've tried, a lot of cameras yeah i've got the iPhone on and out. holds over the map, I do in that same lighting trick I moved the light behind the behind my head pointed down.
And then, sometimes if it's bright through the window i'll bring that plastic box up and spit next just play with your space test it out see what works for you and then after I film the video. I taken immediately on the phones still move those brightness settings all the way up get it brighter bring it into either a movie or premier rush or premiere pro. or any other software that you like I think there's a new one out on the MAC I haven't tried it i'm still using i'm movie and rush but.
bring those into those programs, and you can edit your clips you can take the sound away, you can add new sound, you can add text. You can montage stuff i'm starting to play with that, but now all of a sudden you're not a jewelry designer anymore you're. you're all these other things right your tax accountant and you're a photographer and you're a videographer. And then you're a packaging expert and your supply chain expert and you're you're all these things right so small business owners, is the best way to work harder than you've ever worked.
Danielle yeah there are quite a few people agreeing with you, because obviously. You know, selling jewelry during a pandemic hasn't been easy, because of all the live events have been canceled how has your year Ben for selling jewelry this past year. Well, this past year has been so unusual. But what at the beginning of the year, this all kind of started last February 2020 I got back from tucson and I had a bunch of stuff I was ready to launch.
And when I launched it I didn't sell and I couldn't figure out why and but people aren't buying jewelry because i'm not going out they're not going anywhere. that's all going to change soon With any luck well you know, hopefully at some point, people are going to be just let out and they're going to want to glam up and they're going to come to us and by jory. I know that's coming and we're going to be ready, but last year was hard last year was rough because I couldn't sell a person and I had just staged.
Like my business to do that because I got the licenses I got I was about to buy a table in a tent and I was ready and then it all just dried up and none of the events took place, and it was depressing was disheartening and I didn't really know like. Say am I going to still be doing this year I wasn't sure, but it worked out, and I think definitely you know don't give up that's one of the things I wrote down here. And it was an important thing, it was important thing for me it's like recognizing that it's a process, the first couple of years you're not going to look. Even profitable right it's possible because, even if you make a lot of money you're going to reinvest it because you want to grow right.
And so the key point on that is just a focus on your successes, what did I do well, and how do I do that more and what did I not like what made me unhappy. which I struggle with and look to avoid those things in the future don't put yourself through that just decide, you know what I really don't like making that anymore so i'm not going to make those anymore. that's totally Okay, because at the end of the day, we're we are bosses and that's part of the benefit being a small business owner is you call the shots right if something is not making you happy try something different.
Danielle a couple people have have been asking tonight, where do you get your inspiration for jewelry. Lots of places on. A favorite designer or a style or artists. um it's it's all of those things, I think I have lots of people that inspire me out there for sure, but i'm drawn to certain components and colors. And then there's also I think there's just this engineer in my head, that has to try it. And then i'll come up with something and i'll be like oh I love that that that thread path and i'll get fascinated with that, and then I have to see all the ways I can modify it.
And curse I have to document it and then I have to make all the colors and so yeah that a lot of my inspiration comes from the not necessarily from. What i've seen you know out there and, like the fashion industry like a lot of people will look at fashion magazines and all of this and that and that. I get that but I have a hard time duplicating what I see I try to make something I see on like on a gorgeous designers page and.
I just I don't like my result, but then I when I do my own thing i'm like a little happier, and I have the added benefit of now, I can help someone else make that. And That to me is really it's a surprisingly fulfilling thing I didn't see that coming but I actually really love designing for sharing with other people. Which is awesome because, quite a few of your students are here tonight, and they do not want you to give up teaching i'm i'm just wondering if maybe this past year, being more visible as a teacher whether that's probably contributed to you, being more tapping possibly more sales. Oh absolutely um and it's definitely driven sales of things like my kids because I started designing kits for people to create with and.
Again, for those things like where if i've inspired someone it's still. It just feels so good, knowing I did that that. I don't know if I do like like so I didn't see that coming but it's it's more fulfilling and seeing someone wearing my jewelry that used to be like the thing. I would see somebody's wedding photo and all the bridesmaids had something I made on their wrist and that would just light me up like I made. And now i'm like oh look all these people have posted this thing that I, you know.
When I was making it on the map, I wasn't sure if this was something that was going to be scrapped or not, but it worked and now everyone's liking it and that feels so good it's like wow people like that design and so definitely gonna keep teaching don't really. Like it too much. which has beneficial for everybody, because you're you're one of the few teachers that. you're you're truly giving away your designs you've left them open to people to use and mass produce if they want to, which is very generous and unusual. And we're grateful for it, so I think there's a lot of students here who think that way, but having said that, is there anything you make that you would not teach is there anything you keep for yourself. i'm not really the only things I avoid teaching things I think I can't teach in an hour speaking for our current environment like Where would you get if it's something I can't help hands on with.
And I think it will frustrate people and they might not like it, then I won't teach it but. there's nothing that like you know, I think, is my design because truth out there guys, everyone can copy what you're doing. it's just it's going to happen, people are going to copy you, but you can see that as a huge compliment and another thing to notice is when people try to copy. And it just doesn't have your spirit so you're still unique right there versions always going to be different, and even if it's the same design sort of. it's still it has your your spin right and you'll start to see that as you develop your voice as a designer you'll see that oh I don't have to worry about people copying me because. Number one they're actually helping you because they're.
they're telling you what people like they're giving you feedback they're providing you with data that you can you can use when you're making your decision about what to make more of and what to expand on so. So yeah when you're onto something people are going to copy you so keep doing it yeah. Danielle. we're just getting to know you a little bit better tonight because normally you're teaching the entire time a technique. there's a few people want to know where did you come from this, this is not your, this is not where you started in your 20s What did you go to school for and how. You ended up here.
Oh man, I have done a lot of stuff so I was a. I came from well my most recent that I have two bachelor's degrees my most recent wasn't it, so I was a computer. I was in supply chain procurement, which was a lot of database work and so yeah I bought in thrill of. But it was a desk job that was hard work and there was a lot of travel, but I learned a little bit about. You know just doing business in general, especially pricing because part of my job was to examine what something costs from the bottom up.
And so that helped me with this a lot, I would say, and then of course the it background has very, very helpful and in tooling myself for these new endeavors. and you're also mom I know you're a mo. That and that's why my career changed because I probably you know what have you know life has this inertia to it and making big transitions is scary and hard and doesn't really suit my personality so having.
Having you know not had my boys, I may not have actually made this change, I think I would still be doing what I was doing before, but I reached a point with my boys were going back to what I was doing wasn't really feasible for me. And they had the older they're the cutest little guys, they need a lot of extra care and. So I needed to be home, but at the same time, you know here's i'm just professional and I worked hard, you know, to become you know somewhat academic I guess or. What whatever the word is for it and now all of a sudden, I had this gap, like I couldn't do anything all day and then actually have anyone to talk to you and.
The kids are screaming at me and i'm just like I needed something right I needed to do something and so it's been amazing to to turn my free time into something that I can share with other people and can make a little bit of money on the side and it feels good. And how, how do you carve your time out to get your work done. So, in the early days, it was just I had everything on the dining room table and i've worked on it. Well, life was going on around me and I had it was always something I could drop right and go and work on something else, this most this past year has been a little tougher, because now we've we've had to homeschool both of our kids for the entire year and. That I had no idea how hard work, it has to be a teacher. Teachers please take my children luck.
It was Oh, my goodness, this whole thing with the homeschooling that the real my entire plan all the plans, I had for kids so I wanted to make and tutorials I wanted to write. But on any given day I may only get like an hour to actually work on those things so it's it's been tough um I think that, overall, though being home to do, working from home is still easier than having to drive in somewhere so. So it's definitely still still a plus right but pandemic aside.
So, from a time management standpoint yeah and you do work for john Bead so I know how much work you're doing. that's definitely a lot on the go, you are working nights and weekends you're you're working around the clock. And a really.
Good schedule. Well, those are those are like the prime times right because during the regular workday when I should be working. I am in kindergarten literally I mean can occur during this time, so it's it's a when you see my emails at like 11 at night that's when I get to be right yeah so i'm happy to do it, and I also I just I guess I don't know in my early 20s I didn't have. The what's it called the the ability to look at the bigger picture that I feel like maybe I have a little bit more UNO, for I started to realize what a huge opportunity, it is to get to work hard on something. Because I would be very bored if I didn't have these challenges to take on, and that gives me the bravery to try stuff that scares me to death, like do Q amp a as about my business if I didn't have that. feeling that you know this is going to inspire other people and also it's going to it's going to inspire me to.
agree, because I think we have we have a lot of new people tonight, and I just want to remind them that you've already taught almost almost 40 classes for michaels. yeah and if they haven't seen them or they're just meeting you, for the first time michaels keeps everything all the classes are on the YouTube channel, and if you go to the. To see any of danielle's classes click in the description and you'll have access to the amazing project pdfs that she's created because again. One of the great things you do in terms of teaching is to provide a written document with some illustrations and I just also wanted to point out, for anyone who noticed is michaels is having a huge sale, right now, so. You know stocking up. You know it's great.
to know when there are sales and when to stock up because Danielle people want to know behind you where did you get your beautiful wall of beads. keep track of your supplies. um let's it's kind of organization is. Because of I guess just because the way my mind is structured on combed by organizing stuff I enjoy doing it that's really weird, but I do keep things organized by feed size. The color and then of course now, I have to keep track of what's my inventory, like, for my store and what's my inventory for my teaching and my work without without stuff so i've got that stuff kind of separated.
And then you know this display if you guys want to know about the pegboard that's really cool. it's really handy unless you have a cat my cat is going to be less than me, but I would recommend something like that, so you can see, see your beads. If you're looking to get a creative inspiration from your materials, putting them in boxes, where you can't see them isn't going to going to help with that I find that I don't have the current environment where you can have everything out. But what I do is I have these like boxes of discovery right, so I put stuff away when i'm not using it in mormonism is sitting on that desk for like. Three weeks I haven't touched it it goes away for a while categorize it backwards bring out a new box of treasures open it up just throw it out there and let it sit.
you'll find what's on your desk you'll pick it up your work with it and so it's one way to inspire yourself and just from what you've got your you know, in your materials inventory. Danielle I want to ask you we're five minutes out and there's just a couple of really practical questions, people would love to know you have a website and you have an etsy store and do you need do you need a website, if you have an etsy store in your opinion. On the website to really new thing for me, I did not need it to sell my initiative jory. instagram was my advertising place and FC was where I sold as he was really just the transaction right people turned up there to pay and it helped me with shipping cheaper.
And the website I needed that and I had a friend who helped me with that Thank you renee. But the website, I wanted that to share tutorials I had nowhere to share a file it's very you can't send a file and messenger and instagram. You know, I was literally like in instagrams profile, I was putting a link tree with Google drive links to my documents, so people could find. And not everybody has Facebook anymore so used to be like I put it in the file section on Facebook, but can do that either, so the website for me, mainly a gallery showcase and a place that I can share files. And that perfectly yeah. I think I think that explains it and there were there was a quick question is Facebook versus instagram or do you do both both.
But if automated it so that instagram will share the Facebook, if I post and vice versa. Okay, and i'm gonna it's it's not my favorite question but it's a really great practical one is, would you recommend a good system for people to accept. Payments are you using anything special. outside of etsy.
So in in a online i'm only using that same just because it's easier for me and they take care of the sales tax so right now sales tax it's really complicated. it's I don't want to worry about it, it takes care of it for you, but in person, using the square. And what this is. it's.
Full chip reader and now people can also tap to pay on so that makes it really easy, having said that you do still need to bring cash to make change because people still use cash. I don't know people, people will walk up and hand you a 20 and if you don't have change which happened to me but yeah the most of my transactions were going to the square in person. Perfect Danielle there's only about two minutes, so I want to ask you.
Getting back to a you've been selling for a long time, could you give us some something positive to end with maybe what was the best thing that you managed to sell online or have the biggest surprise. Oh gosh um I really love selling everything so um. I think the.
The biggest surprise more for me is just how it, how it evolved into getting to be here today, getting to talk to you guys and share all of this, I would not have believed you if you told me, you know about 757 years ago, this is what you'll be doing I would. I would have been like really that's awesome but I wouldn't have guessed it, I mean my first started making jewelry. It might my goals were completely different I did it because I wanted to make friends and I was in a new city and I didn't know anyone and I walked into a feed store to make friends and start a new hobby. And somehow it turned into this business in this career path, and I would have never guessed so.
The positive spin there is just you know trust that trust yourself to do it you're enjoying doing and keep trying and see where it goes. that's perfect again you're getting lots of thank yous we only did have an hour so for anyone here who's new. Definitely check out Danielle on instagram Danielle Wicks jewelry is easy to find if you're one of her students, please take her and make it with michaels for all her projects and again every Friday night at 5pm central time we're teaching amazing classes, so please join us. yep absolutely join us next Friday for we're making a pendant necklace really great to see you guys then.
Lots of thank yous Danielle. Well, thank you Thank you everyone for for being here tonight and have a great rest of your Sunday.