When I first started out making jewellery, it was very definitely a hobby for me. It was a means of getting away from the hustle and bustle of work – a means to relax and to express myself at the same time. I was learning all sorts of techniques at the time from magazines such as Bead and Button and websites like jewelrylessons.com (sadly no longer in existence). For every new project I worked on, I’d get a a little better and learned a little more. Eventually, I got good enough that I started to come up with my own designs and felt comfortable enough with the quality that I opened an Etsy shop in late 2011 as a place where I could sell my finished works.
I’ve had lots of happy customers since then and a lot of compliments on the things I make but there has always been one thing that niggled me: what is my style? In other words, what defines my work – my brand if you want to get all business-like? Even when I’ve moved on to my own designs, they have very little in common with one another. I’ll make a beaded bracelet one day and a glass pendant the next. Should this lack of consistent styling worry me? Well, yes and no.
Allow me to explain. As an artist, it’s good to be known for a particular look or style. Maybe you’re the person who hand stamps vintage cutlery with personalized messages. Or perhaps you’ve devised a unique style using pearls and old scrabble board letters. Having a unique look to your products allows you to be a leader in that very particular niche and certainly helps get you noticed. BUT… I’m not going to worry about my own branding and style for the simple reason that I make what I enjoy making and always will do. If I made products to adhere to a particular style then I’d be taking a lot of the joy away from what I do and it would be a forced decision which exactly contradicts the reason I started making jewellery in the first place. I firmly believe that I will find my style but it has to evolve organically without feeling forced. For now, I’m overjoyed if a customer finds something they love among my eclectic mix of items and I’m sure they won’t mind if they don’t all match or conform.
Do what you love. Be happy. Be free.