Do you have what it takes to become a jewelry designer? HAUTEheadquarters is proud to carry some of the country's best fashion jewelry brands including Kenneth Jay Lane, Ben-Amun, Melinda Maria, Marcia Moran and more.
Many designers have years of formal training and have attended prestigious fashion and design colleges however, many do not. Perseverance, luck, and talent all play a role in the success of a designers career. If you want to become a jewelry designer there are many aspects you need to consider.
Can you draw? If not that's ok but you will need to take the necessary steps to create images. If you cannot sketch you will need to find someone who can translate your idea to paper. Next, you will need to create the image in a 3-D version. Most people employ CAD technologies for this. If you are not skilled in CAD, there are companies who can assist you in creating a 3-D image. Once you have the mold created, metals can then be cast and you will have a model of your design which you can work on perfecting. If you do not have the financial backing to work with a production team or manufacturer, try starting out small with a local bench jeweler.
Marcia Moran was not a designer to begin with. She began her career as a dentist in Brazil. After importing Brazilian jewelry to the States, she began creating her own designs. She re-located to Los Angeles and created the Marcia Moran line of jewelry, Although she did not start out as a jewelry designer she has become of the most well known druzy jewelry designers in the country. Recently she started a second fashion jewelry line called FemmeRox.
When deciding to start a jewelry line you must consider the business side as well as the creative aspects of your work. A business plan, marketing plan, and design plan will all be very important. If you feel like your talent is more on the creative side rather than the business side reach out to local colleges in your area. Many universities offer small business courses and mentorship for free. When working on your line it is imperative to take the buyer into consideration. You need to know who your buyer is and who you think you can sell your jewelry to on a retail level. It is very important to factor in the amount of money you will need to produce your pieces, what your markup will be, profit margin, and how you will finance production. If you plan on using fine metal you will need to factor in the price fluctuations of metals on the market. It would also be wise to strategize how you will approach retailers. Will you try to meet buyers of small boutiques on your own, or will you spend money on a trade show booth? Many small stores may enter into a consignment agreement to carry your items, however you will not be paid until the item sells.
The largest fashion jewelry and accessories show is ENK, and for fine jewelry it is JCK. These shows are held throughout the year and you can find dates, booth requirements, show locations, and more information on their websites. Working for a bench jeweler or interning at an existing jewelry brand are both great ways to learn the business and gain industry knowledge. Designer Kenneth Jay Lane did just that!
Kenneth Jay Lane attended the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, however before he began creating his own line he designer footwear and jewels for footwear at Delman. He later trained under Roger Vivier. He took his experiences and created a multi-million dollar jewelry empire. Today he is known as the "King of Costume Jewelry".
When creating a collection try to keep the designs cohesive. It may seem grand to create 1960's vintage inspired pieces, delicate pieces, and more but try to maintain a consistent theme or look. Starting out with inspiration boards can be useful in the design process. Consider a color palette, and if you are working with gemstones investigate the availability of the stones and quantities you will need to complete your designs and future orders. If you want to work with fine diamonds and gemstones, consider getting a GIA education as a gemologist. This extensive training will teach you everything you need to know about gemology.
HAUTEheadquarters designer Melinda Maria is completely self taught. Although she did not attend GIA she has an amazing eye for stones and detail in her work. She had a passion for jewelry and accessories since early childhood. After a career as a stylist, and make-up artist she decided to solely focus on jewelry design. Today she runs her celebrity jewelry line Melinda Maria, and is opening free standing stores across Europe!
If you find yourself still searching for answers reach out to local jewelers and organizations. There are tons of sites online for jewelry designers, jewelry merchants, and jewelry associations that can lead you to the right answers. Remember to always follow your dreams and shine like a DIAMOND!