When I started taking in orders for made-to-order jewelries 6 years ago, it was pretty straight forward. As I worked with crystals and pearls a lot back then, I only needed to know how to string or connect the beads together and never gave much thought on making a creation unique.
|A typical example of my first few customized jewelries. Very simply made. And usually, these kind of designs should be readily available in some accessory stores.|
As I went along over the years, I became slightly more adventurous with my choice of beads. I get to go shopping for new beads and parts, at least every 2 -3 months. There's usually more than enough category of beads that I carry - fun, elegant and casual, to task most of my custom orders from home. If it doesn't meet a customer's need, that's where making polymer clay beads come in.
|Couple of years back, I experimented with chic looks on my necklaces with beads I purchased online all the way from the USA. This was the time I found out that this style is what I like to do best!|
The recent years, customizing a necklace has become an extremely different affair. Exciting for me when more often than not, to receive requests for pieces to go with a particular outfit or to fit an occasion. If it's a gift order, I would take time to find out the personality of the person and the way she dresses to recommend a suitable design. Even better, was when a friend attached photograph of the person she was ordering for, which made it easier for me to recommend a design. I seemed to have earned myself "an eye" for making such personalized jewelries to these individuals so far.
My first bridal customization for a friend. Specific requests for my handmade white clay roses arm band with matching earrings and a formal crystal cascading necklace for her luncheon dress - after a few meetings to get the perfect fit. Showing above : my first time drafting an electronic drawing of jewelries for easier visualization before I went to get the necessary high end materials.
Not all orders that come through are smooth sailing. I face challenges when some customers are unable to provide a specific theme or look that they want, which makes it difficult to gauge how I should start to pick out suitable beads in the first place. So a lot of time and mental energy is spent tweaking on each mock up until they are able to tell me what they like or don't to come out with that perfect piece for them. At times when I have no inspiration, it would take longer than usual for me to even come up with a design. Thus the need to inform my customers that I would only revert within 2-3 days with their mock ups, just in case my inspiration doesn't flow.
Thankfully, I also have a regular pool of customers who have complete faith in my ability to produce something that they will definitely like. These are the customers who shares my exact tastes and makes my job easy right from the start. They may not know it but it gives me a dose of confidence that spurs me on to come out with new creations.
A few of my memorable creations - catered for the different personalities.
On average, I take about slightly more than an hour to complete a confirmed design like the ones above - if I am able to sit through without any distractions. It is the discussion and coming up with designs that takes up the most time because it is usually done via email or messenger. Sometimes it can drag for a few days when a customer is unable to reply to my emails promptly or "disappears" on me after a few mock ups. Well, this is probably a little set back for online businesses. While there are non-genuine buyers out there, it is essential for us as sellers, to stay focus and believe in our craft. In any case, I usually will not let a mock up go to waste if its a design I feel my customers want to see. I would take the opportunity to complete the mock ups and post it up for sale in my shop instead so no effort is wasted.
I hope my sharing about customizing jewelries behind my closed doors helps you to appreciate my handmade craft a little more. I am very grateful for having happy customers who come back again for more, with the personal satisfaction of producing an end product is what keeps me and my little hobby business going.