Archive for September 28, 2010

Get a Grip on Your Inventory: Group Your Products By Color

My gifted cousin is an artist (and sometimes she’s a bit of a pain in the butt when she’s being a perfectionist and not particularly patient or constructive in her criticism of those who don’t measure up to her standards). On occasion, however, she comes up with a brilliant idea that she communicates thoughtfully and with grace. One such example is her recent suggestion that I group my jewelry inventory by color so that I could better see themes in my designs.

Laying out collections by color not only enables me to see the number of similar items created, but also helps me to see which colors I have either too much or too little of. I’m also able to clearly see my color biases, i.e., those colors and styles that I lean toward — which may or may not necessarily be what the market wants. In any case, laying my collections out like this takes the guess work out of where I have gaps or where I might have too much certain product.

Equally as important as taking stock of inventory is the assistance that this color line up provides for display purposes. My cousin suggested that my displays at events would have more impact if I chose jewelry (appropriate to a given market, of course) from each tray and grouped them according to the colors of the respective trays. In this way, the displays will appear to have a theme — a collection of sorts. Take the following photo of my cousin (her name is Precious) with a stack of my bracelets. I admit that grouped together they make a more powerful statement than if worn separately.
My cousin wearing a stack of African recycled glass bracelets.
I plan to try this approach at my upcoming show this Sunday at the Takoma Park Street Festival. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I’d be interested in any tips you might want to share regarding how you display your jewelry at events: by color, by category, by style, etc.

Sale on Etsy Items

It’s fall. At least it’s beginning to feel like it. Just like we’re changing out our summer clothes and making way for the cooler weather, I’m changing out my jewelry. So….Now through September 23, 2010, everything on my Etsy site will be 10% off PLUS free shipping. I’m trying to move this stock so I can make room for the new and (hopefully) exciting inventory that I’m in the process of finishing. To take advantage of the sale, just visit RAM Jewels on Etsy and use the code RAMBlog upon checkout.

Pages from My Niger Log

The women in my family have learned to juggle from an early age; we wear many hats, as most women do. On my recent trip to West Africa for my “day” job, I stopped by the artisan center at the National Museum in Niamey, Niger. Of particular interest were the metal workers, ranging from traditional Toureg silversmiths to master craftsmen dealing in bronze and other metals.

This craftman’s work caught my eye and I was curious to see what he was making.

Metal artisan

A master at work

Turns out he was handcasting brass in the shape of cowrie shells. Take a look:

Nigerien Craftsman

Metal worker at the National Museum in Niger

I ordered several with the intention of incorporating them into a necklace, maybe earrings. He made these for me in a couple of days.

brass cowrie shells

Cast brass cowrie shells

I’m observing his technique and checking out the goods before placing an order to spec.

RAM with Nigerien Metalsmith

Checking out the goods

Okay, I’m convinced. I’ll take about a dozen. Let’s seal this deal.

Sealing the Deal

Sealing the deal with a smile

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