The Jeweler's Voices series is an offering from successful jewelers to aspiring jewelers, in which they impart their hard-earned advice and insight.
"Here are some of the tips that are rattling around in my head; things I think it's important for future jewelers to know.
First, there is no shortcut to the 10,000 hour rule in developing your skills and signature voice as a designer. The world needs and wants your unique point of view — not another copycat. So dig in, learn, and enjoy the journey.
Second, living a creative life requires skills in collaboration. You may be on your way to becoming the world's most amazing designer, but you cannot build your career alone. Your circle of collaborators will extend beyond those who help you produce your designs. Your photographer, professional memberships, trade show organizers, retail accounts, marketing, legal and accounting service providers, and even your financial institution (hey, they're helping fund all this, right?) are all part of your collaborative team. Choose these individuals and organizations wisely, for they will exert great influence on your career.
Finally, failure and fear are part of the game. There is no way to predict with any level of certainty what will resonate with the marketplace. You might knock one out of the park with one collection, and totally strike out with the next. Always produce work that you are most proud of, and take smart risks that are in alignment with your passion and values.
Those are my thoughts for now! Good luck,
Michelle Pajak-Reynolds is an independent jewelry designer. She has been recognized with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award from Sales & Marketing Executives International, an Arts Business Challenge Award from the Council of Smaller Enterprises and she is the winner of the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America Old Becomes New Design Challenge.