One time when I was working downtown at my dad's law office, Mrs. Ebendorf did what I know now is a jewelry party. I bought a beautiful blue necklace and earrings. Some years later, I lost the focal point of the necklace, and honestly, I'm not sure where it ended up after college. Chances are good I still have it somewhere packed up in one of those duffle bags I loved so much as a kid that I've toted from apartment to apartment, and city to city before settling here.
Fast foward: Mrs. Ebendorf has a very nice little jewelry business going. She does between 20 and 40 craft shows a year, and usually one bead show for buying. (THE beading show). She also supplies a number of boutiques and galleries.
What we saw:
Mrs. Ebendorf has a two room setup. Upstairs is the stringing and design room where she keeps beads. They're loosely graded by color. She has bead shelves covering two walls and a bank of windows behind her. She explains that this setup provides the natural light she needs to work, but it also creates problems with materials like copper and silver which are inclined to turn. She stores them farther from the window and in opaque containers to combat that problem.
Downstairs is the metal press and cutters where her assistants assemble her designs and all the metal is shaped and textured. She started adding metal to her designs to combat the stringing snobbery which says that strung beads are for dabblers, but metalwork requires actual skill and elevates the pieces to art. She needed to incoporate metal to get into the higher-end shows. She showed us how she took a very basic design and integrated metal into it in such a way that the integrity of the design remained and was highlighted by the metal, rather than overshadowed by it.
They use the metal press to add texture to the metals they use. By pressing gauze, or other thin material into the metal, it imprints the gauze pattern which gives the metal more depth and provides a unique look for each piece.
What we learned:
Monitor closely the cost of materials and where you got it from in case you want it again and always make sure that the cost of the piece will pay for the materials used to make it.
Initially galleries might want to do consignment pieces, where they sell what you make and give you the money after it sells, instead of buying the pieces outright. Find out what their theft policy is and make sure you have some recourse if your pieces walk out unescourted. Mrs. Ebendorf had a problem with one gallery where they had a lot of seasonal and temporary help and she lost about 500$ of inventory. The gallery owner only reimbursed her about $180 of that and the rest she was out.
Another type of consignment is where you buy space, like a shelf, in the store, and you keep it stocked. There were no horror stories about that.
That's all I remember right now.
I was going to write a story, here, and I may yet, but let me just provide this two word description of my right rear tire: "shredded and smoking." Not good.
Long story short, after 4 hours (2 friday and 2 saturday night) at the tire place, my little princess has a new tire.