Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Getting Ready For Tradeshow Season

This season for tradeshows is almost here. In fact, we’re just under one month out from the biggest show I do every year (yikes!). As I’m preparing to show my newest collection at NY Now (formerly New York International Gift Show) – I thought I’d share some tips for preparing for a show.

Exhibitiing at a wholesale or retail show for the first time is super intimidating. Just remember that most people looking at your stuff haven’t seen it before! Even if you’ve seen a piece 1,000 times – it’s brand new to someone else.

trade show

Display

Make sure your work is displayed clean and clear. Your display should reflect the mood of your work, but certainly not overshadow it. I often see the most incredible displays, but have no idea whats they’re selling. My work is very rough and organic so I use slabs of wood, shells and other found objects to display my work on a handmade table that helps set the mood. I like to make my display feel like a store that I (and my customers) would want to shop in.

Pricing

Make sure that your prices are clearly marked on your pieces. You can use jewelry tags, small stickers or have a price list out. I once saw work displayed on a piece of black slate with pricing written in chalk. It was a great contrast for her hand forged, high polished silver jewelry.

Know your stuff! Make sure you (and any assistant you have helping) knows the pricing, materials, and other important information about your work. This is your work – don’t be shy and let people know what makes it special. Buyers want to know why their customers will want to purchase your treasures.

Snacks!

Bring snacks, seriously. Usually at a show I’m too busy to slip away and take lunch. I always pack granola bars, apples and peanut butter, and other snacks that are easy to eat and filling. Bring a reusable water bottle (I also always bring my own coffee in the morning) so you can refill. Snacks and drinks are either super expensive at tradeshows or not readily available. Dont’ forget to stay hydrated if you’re under flourescent lights all day. No one wants to buy jewelry from you if you’re hungry, thirsty and grumpy – trust me.

Lighting

You can have the most incredible work displayed really beautifully, but if it’s not illuminated correctly no one will see it. Most convention centers have high ceilings with flourescent lights. Make sure to read your contract really well so you know their policy with bringing your own lights. Most of the time you can, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to ask questions. I buy a strip of track lighting from the Hardware store and hang it to the cross bar of the booth with zip ties. You can also purchase extra lights to add to the track and point directly at your jewelry.

Reading Material

Make sure to have a postcard with an awesome picture, some info about your work and how to get in touch with you. You have tons of people looking at your work, so make sure they remember you!

Interested in learning more? Check out our Jewelry Production class where we’ll cover creating jewelry efficiently for large and small production, pricing, and how to get your work out!

Are you looking to take the leap and exhibit at a trade show? Here are some local ones in New York City:

NY Now | D&A | JA Show | COEUR | Capsule

#BenchTipTuesday – resize a ring

Join us every Tuesday for bench tips + tricks

benchtiptuesdy 1 copy

How to resize a ring is probably one of the most frequent questions that I get. Resizing the original piece can be a lot easier than creating it again from scratch.

A general rule is each ring size is 2mm. To size a ring down, cut out a portion of the material from the back of the ring. If the ring is a size 8 and being sized down to a 6, cut out 4mm.File both ends parallel and use a half round plier to join them back together. There should be no gap between the two ends. Use a jeweler’s saw frame with a metal blade to saw through the seam to get all of the nooks and crannies out. Keep sawing through the seam until there are no gaps and it looks perfect. Solder the seam back together and finish.

You can achieve the same thing while working in wax.

To size a ring up, you can anneal your ring and quench in water. Using a metal ring mandrel and plastic mallet, hammer the ring further down the ring mandrel. Flip the ring and hammer the other side. If hammering the ring to the correct size won’t work, saw through the ring and add a portion of the material to create the size larger. There should be no gap between the ends. Use a jeweler’s saw frame and blade to saw through the seams to get all of the nooks and crannies out. Keep sawing through the seams until there are no gaps and it looks perfect. Solder the seam back together and finish. You can achieve the same thing while working in wax.

Tips for Marketing your Jewelry

Content-marketing-drawing-board

We all love to make pretty things, but how to we get the world to see them? Here are our tips for getting your work out there:

“Social Media is free and is a great way show your brand to the world! Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr / Blog – all of these are free, fun and easy and you can do everything from your smartphone. Show your fans behind-the-scenes shots of how your work is created, where your inspiration comes from, and the finished product! Don’t forget to tell them where to purchase.”

“stay in touch with your clients by using free platforms such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact – these services allow you to send email updates to your various networks.”

-Emilie, Program Director 

“A super easy way to get your designs out into the world is to loan some jewelry to your friends. Make sure you give them business cards to pass out as well. It also helps to go to stores and see what other jewelry is out there, or whats trendy at the moment. For example, I was talking to a local clothing store owner and she said people are really into ear cuffs right now, so I’m experimenting with different types of ear jewelry.”

-Kate, Program Assistant

“Know your audience and how to appeal to them.”

-Jillian, Director of Communications

If you’re interested in more tips, I came across an article on Launch Grow Joy, a blog dedicated to entrepreneurs, that lists more than 50 tips from jewelry designers all over the country. Below are some tips that grabbed my attention, as well as a link to the full article.

“Every person you meet is a potential customer. Wear a piece of your jewelry every day, every where you go.  Be friendly, positive and smile to everyone you see. When people compliment you on your jewelry, say thank you, hand them your business card, and say, since you like these earrings or this ring, bracelet, necklace or whatever it may be, please visit my website to look at my other jewelry. The person will happily take your business card and you now have a new potential customer.”  – Diane Batoff from Micassileo Jewelry

“Participate fully in shows and events. By this I mean taking the time to set up a professional booth with a consistent look. And, put down your cell phone…people want to shop with an artist who is present in the moment.” – Sherry Trammel-Schauls from Balsamroot Ranch Jewelry

“Create a look, word or color that is distinctively yours. When people see your work and marketing material, your name should pop in their head.” – Lauren Sigman from Lauren Sigman Jewelry

“When you post on Facebook or Pinterest, it needs to be VISUAL and done CONSISTENTLY.  I take some time at the beginning of the week to gather some photos, quotes, product shots, and get them ready to go for use that week. I also find material to share from other sources that fit with my brand (blogs, products I like, photos that inspire, quotes).  Then each day I get up before my kids and schedule the Facebook posts.  I often do several days at a time, but it’s important to stay engaged and make sure you’re responding to posts.  Of course you can hire someone to do this for you, but I enjoy connecting to my customers in such a personal medium as Facebook.  This doesn’t mean you have to be online constantly.  Just schedule your posts in bulk and it’s really pretty easy.” – Sarah Jane Nelson from Life is Rosey: Jewelry that Speaks

Have any tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments section!

Tips for Photographing your Jewelry

Creating jewelry is such an incredible journey, although capturing the finished piece in a photograph can sometimes be difficult. Most jewelry is hard to photograph because trying to capture details on small objects is difficult, and light tends to bounce off the metal to create glare. In the spirit of education, I asked everyone around Liloveve, as well as some professional photographers for tips about taking great photos of  your jewelry.

“Use natural light. You can also try smartphone apps like VSOcam or pho-to-lab.”

-Jillian, Director of Communication, Liloveve

“Take a ton of pictures. You’re bound to end up with one good one!”

-Caroline, Principal Designer & Instructor, Liloveve

“Always use a tripod. For taking product shots measure the distance of your camera to the piece so you can get the same distance every time.”

-Emilie, Program Director & Instructor, Liloveve

Some tips from the pros:

“Have a nice consistent source of natural light, and style the pieces with other neutral elements. I’m always a fan of using crystals or stones!”

-Diggy Lloyd, Photographer

“Lighting is everything. A good lens, bright lights, a model with good skin. I’d also say that the key, especially with gemstones or crystals, is to catch the shine with the light.”

-Laura Cartagena, Photographer, Founder of Create / Collect

“Three tips: 1. if your piece is shiny try not to get your reflection in the shot. 2. make sure your lights aren’t creating hot spots on the item. 3. using a light box helps get full light coverage over the entire object.”

-Frank Bowles, Photographer

“Lighting is key honestly. I’ve also found that photographing the pieces on people is helpful. If not possible, make a light box using a white matte board or poster board. Position two lights coming in the sides (45 degrees-ish) to completely light the piece. The right camera lens is also important as you want to be close enough to really show the details. 50 mm lenses work the best because of their depth of field.”

-Sarah MK Moody, Photographer, Co-Founder of  Create / Collect

If you’re looking to up your Instagram game or refresh the pictures on your Etsy page, check out these lenses that you can clip on your phone to increase your image quality. It’s a good investment if you don’t want to spend $1000 on a high quality camera right away.

-The Ollo Clip (iPhone 5/5s/5c and 4/4s only) will run you about $59.99-129.99. All of their lenses can take wide angle, fish eye, and macro shots, and their four in one lens allows you to take 10x as well as 15x macro shots. The Ollo Clip is designed to complement the iPhone 5s’s 8 megapixel camera, but the image quality works for the 4 as well – see example below.

This is the new Four in One Lense from Ollo Clip. It will run you $69.99

This is the new Four in One Lens from Ollo Clip. It will run you $69.99.

Customer photo shot on iPhone 4S using Ollo Clip

Actual Ollo Clip customer photo shot on iPhone 4S

-The Sony QX10 and QX100 lenses are compatible with iPhone and Android devices. These lenses will run you about $250 for the QX10 (18 megapixels) and $500 for the QX100 (20.2 megapixels and a Carl Zeiss lens, a leader in the optical industry). They snap onto your smartphone and can connect with your phone over wifi or you can use a memory chip. Customer reviews note that these lenses are best used for close up shots, not action shots.

Sony QX10 and QX100

From left to right: Sony QX10 and QX100

Actual customer photo shot using the QX10

Actual QX10 customer photo

There are less expensive options that work on pretty much any type of smartphone available on Amazon and Ebay that will run you about $18-39, but you may sacrifice quality.

We hope these tips were helpful, and wish you luck with your photography adventures moving forward!

Designing the Perfect Wedding Band

LILOVEVE is a merging of the words live + love, channeling passion beyond design to a way of life. 

Owner and Designer Caroline Glemann shares how she came up with her perfect wedding band.

How long have you been designing rings?

I have been making handmade wedding and engagement bands for 12 years now, and jewelry for some time before that.

It has always been both inspiring and humbling that my work comes into people’s lives at such an important and uniquely special juncture – namely when they fall in love, and propose, and get married. Such a special time!

What is the most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of and what made it so special?

My own! The exchange of rings commemorates the exchange of vows, symbolizes a promise, and is part of creating a lasting memory. Being a jewelry designer, I felt some pressure on deciding how my own ring should be. My husband’s band was made and he knew just what he wanted – a heavy, wide, slightly domed platinum band with a rough natural finish. (And yes, I made him come into the studio and hammer!)

Mine, I was not so clear – did I want gems? a pattern? something antique? I put it aside to think. And got busy – busy with life, busy with work, then busy preparing for the wedding. At last, the night before our wedding day arrived and we had planned to celebrate by slipping away from arriving guests and family with a quiet hotel room and a glass of champagne. Where is your ring? my husband asked. Oh no! I forgot! How could I?

 So it was a rush to the studio, and I had no time to think – to plan. I had to just let it all go and trust in my hands and my intuition. I turned the volume up on the music and lit the torch and began – two hours to turn a lump of yellow gold into my lifetime band. I can always change it later I thought as a consolation. But I never did. It came out beautiful, just the way it was meant to be.hand-carved-wedding-bands

Your best advice to a couple in the midst of wedding planning is:

Enjoy! Remember that it should be delicious…that it is not just about promising to love another person, it is also about being open and allowing someone to love you.

—-

Join Liloveve this Sunday, April 13th from 12-5pm for Toasted Brooklynthe place for couples seeking inspiration for one-of-a-kind nuptials. You’ll find independent artisans, alternative and offbeat wedding ideas, and handcrafted and eco-friendly goods. Hosted at the beautiful BK Night Bazaar Space at 165 Banker Street in Greenpoint, Liloveve is one of over 80 featured vendors, including some of the area’s best planners, stylists, DJ’s and more. Browse our exclusive selection of wedding, engagement and bespoke jewelry as well as great gift ideas for bridal parties, groomsmen, and your one true love. Complimentary cocktails, wine, ales and food from over a dozen caterers are included in the ticket price,as well as amazing giveaways. We hope to see you there – purchase your tickets today!

Tips for Holiday Market Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and perhaps be selling your handmade wares at local Holiday Markets. Here are a few tips help you through the season!emilie shapiro gift show

Display

  • Always setup your display before you get to the market. It’s really important to have a plan of what you’re going to do – especially if you need something last minute or end up running late.
  • I recommend a table that’s eye level so people don’t have to bend down. Try working with different levels. You can raise neck forms using risers on the back of your table.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative and use non-traditional items in your display. Your setup should evoke the feeling of your jewelry, but not overpower it. You don’t want your display to look nicer than your work.
  • Make sure all of your work has a price tag.
  • Here’s what’s in my emergency market kit: extra price tags, calculator, pens, band aids, breath mints, round nose / chain nose pliers, zip ties (they’re handy for everything), ring sizer, mini stapler
  • Don’t forget a mirror!

Show Survival

  • Bring atleast $20 in singles worth of change
  • Bring snacks! You might not be able to sneak out for lunch, so make sure to pack lots of snacks and water.
  • Don’t forget business cards / postcards. There are lots of imexpensive options if you don’t have them printed. You can print them out yourself with the template cards from an office supply store. You can also stamp your own paper.
  • Put out a mailing list – it’s a great way to collect names for future shows and announcements.
  • Have fun!