Your Brilliance Factor…
You’ve Got Mad Skillz Behind the Bench
When you see the blueprint you can build the masterpiece.
I’m Tracy Matthews!
Before we go any further, introductions are in order. I’m a visionary, jewelry designer, podcaster and mentor to designers.
I live my life for delicious food and wine, karaoke and a little world travel ...oh yeah and my 19 nieces and nephews (no joke)!
I’ve been a jewelry designer (and a creative force of nature) for over 25 years. I’m grateful to have sold millions of dollars worth of my own jewelry designs throughout my career.
It makes me happy to see others enjoying their natural talents.
I believe that success requires 3 things: the right mindset, confidence and taking little actions every day that make a big splash!
Here’s what other people with “mad skillz” have done to grow and scale their jewelry business:
I want to tell you the story of a jeweler - her name is Benji.
Benji has always loved working with her hands. Her grandfather was a master jeweler and he taught her some of the basics of fabricating pieces by hand before he passed away.
Benji always remembered the time with her grandfather and decided to improve her skills as a teen and young adult.
She took classes at all the best schools including a master stone setting course at GIA and graduate bench jeweler at Revere Academy.
Her natural talent was really solving problems and even though she originally wasn’t planning on becoming a master behind the bench for life, she got an offer she couldn’t refuse: a summer internship with Van Cleef and Arpels.
The insider knowledge she learned at this internship set her up for 3 things: industry clout, serious problem solving, and experience working in high design.
When she decided to start her own shop, she wowed her customers with her “mad skillz” and her experience.
She easily attracted clients like Todd Reed and Jennifer Dawes.*
She trusted her creativity to help guide the way when she had to make tough decisions or figure something out.
Because she was technical and creative she inherently became her biggest asset in business.
At times, it was hard to pull away and build a business or even focus on her ambitions of designing a collection.
Eventually, she trained a slew of jewelers and model makers to work in her shop with her.
This allowed her the freedom to work with top tier clients and take on customers of her own.
Be like Benji: own your mad skillz and build a team to support your growth.
*this is a hypothetical story.
It’s not like you can just think up ideas and wishful thinking makes them happen. While affirmations and vision boards are highly encouraged, its daily simple steps that build your company over the long term.
Next level for mad skillz is about setting up a business that can grow without you.
Be “New Skool” (instead of “Old Skool”):
One of the unique challenges of people with mad skillz is that sometimes you’ve been brought up in a family business. Tech and customer service aren’t always your forte.
One of the best ways to be a reliable source in the industry is to set up some of the business basics. If you manufacture, set up a website that’s easy to navigate where customers can contact you (please nothing from 2001)!
Website platforms like Squarespace for a simple portfolio site or Shopify for E-Commerce are easy to set up. They look luxurious and have minimal set up costs if you DIY.
Have an online and social media presence. In this day and age, you need it! Make it easy for people to find you!
Set timelines and stick to them:
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than a late project. Whether you’re working with designers, brands or large companies, set a deadline for completion and stick to it. This alone will keep you top of mind.
Set up bench systems to move quickly:
You’ve got skillz, you know what to do. Set up bench and model making hacks that help you move more quickly on the bench. If you’re designing a production line for a client? Document the process so you can easily repeat the steps and give them a blueprint to repeat the design.
Set up back end systems for admin:
Be professional and deliver professional invoices to your customers. Use an accounting software, accept credit cards and bill on time. Organize your paperwork and keep it in a digital format. Be too legit to quit and your customers will always come to you first.
Take time for your own creativity:
Even if coming up with ideas for your own unique designs is challenging, make sure you’re spending enough time in the creative zone. Working your creative muscles will help you attract more direct customers and also make more money down the road.
Stick behind your work:
Create trust with your customers, especially designers. Have integrity with their original designs. Sign a contract or NDA if needed. Mistakes happen sometimes –take ownership if you mess up. Fully document your policies and fix pieces that aren’t made correctly.
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