When you sell your jewellery to customers who don’t know you, you not only have the responsibility of making stunning items, but also of sharing your personal history with them. In order to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for your clients, Lisa Lehmann offers some suggestions on how to connect with those clients.
What do you imagine yourself doing when you’re older and more mature? It is a question that has either been posed to us or that we pose to a younger person. Really not that malicious at all.
We are not truly requesting that they devote themselves to that vocation for the rest of their lives! As you get older, you come to the realisation that perhaps it is not so much about the actual profession as it is about the connections and relationships that you build along the road.
I’ve always said that when I grow up, I want to be a princess, a fire fighter, an astronaut, and the president (well, maybe we don’t get that one as often anymore haha). However, when one is a youngster, there are no limits to the possibilities, and everyone may dream.
As we become older, that dream starts to become more constrained. Where do we “shine” as a group? What is it that we cherish? When we reach a certain age, we start to wonder, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Do I even have a clue? It may be daunting.
I believe that there are periods when we mature into our careers. We develop without actually developing any kind of substantial strategy for our development. We develop. And every once in a while, we turn everything upside down, make a complete about-face, and start over.
All of this to imply that getting into our jobs may happen in a variety of ways. And other times, it appears to be quite different from what we had imagined it to be when we were younger.
And all of that is totally OK, you shouldn’t worry about it, and you are just where you should be. However, this does NOT imply that there won’t be any surprises in store for you along the way!
When I was a kid, I always knew that I wanted to have a career in the arts. This has been my standard response, with the exception of the rare “I want to become a veterinarian because ANIMALS!” But I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of creator since I had an entrepreneurial spirit.
What I didn’t plan, and something I didn’t really give much attention to, is what exactly it would entail.
If I died today, would I spend all my time painting in the hopes of being renowned someday? What type of artistic endeavour should I undertake? The question of how I could support myself with my work is one that has never entered my mind.
Art school…may God rest its soul…
did not in in way shape or form prepare me for what was to come. Yes, I was instructed on the basics as well as the proper execution. Yes I created a style and skills.
However, when I moved that tassel from one side of my cap to the other, I had NO IDEA what was going to happen after that. And to tell you the truth, I struggled.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and illustration. A more eloquent way of stating that I am capable of drawing and I know how to handle a camera (mind you, a real one that requires a dark room because yes, I am that ancient).
But how exactly did that develop into a successful professional path? I had no idea. This occurred long before the advent of social media. Beginning a career in any field of the arts was an incredibly challenging endeavour. Obtaining new customers? Insane.
I made the decision to educate myself in graphic design. A good utilisation of all of my abilities. I made the decision to educate myself on all I could about Apple computers because, at the time, they were still relatively new but were being marketed toward creative professionals.
Through the use of a dial-up connection. By using CD-roms. Reading the genuine instruction manuals. Have I managed to alienate anyone yet?I am really thankful to be able to say that for more than a decade, it was my life. It was effective. It was a fruitful endeavour. But? It retched my soul.
What WAS it that I envisioned myself doing when I grew up?
I initially began by producing jewellery. To make a long tale short It developed into a fully functional commercial enterprise. What did I learn about who I am inside and out? I am NOT a sales person.
It is not something that comes naturally, and to tell you the truth? I loathe it. I desired to be in the studio where I could build, create, and just “play.” Unfortunately? That won’t cover the rent or the groceries.
On the other hand, as the years went by, I learned something important about myself. I enjoy writing a much. And I really enjoy interacting with other individuals.
In the sense of actually bonding. I am interested in hearing about their pasts. I was hoping you could use mine. I was aware that I wanted my presence to be felt.
So I decided to start sharing. A portion of my own self. My narratives. My depression. My challenges. But furthermore? Taking care of my four little children at the time. Homeschooling. My enthusiasm for the world of fashion and apparel. Doing some shopping with teenagers My enthusiasm for the kitchen.
Instead of engaging in sales. I become a person. I am not merely another brand that can be found on the internet. I am a genuine person living a very real and very chaotic life. Please do not judge me. And I make sure everyone knows it.
What kind of an effect did it have? I made an effort to become acquainted with the locals. They would interrogate me, and I would always respond to their inquiries. We came to be… buddies.
Many of my clients have been with me for three decades or more. They are not only “people who buy my jewellery;” rather, I KNOW each and every one of them; granted, we have never met in person, but it frequently seems as though we have.
I am aware that the jewellery I manufacture is of high quality. But so do a lot of other people. Who on earth would want to wear my jewellery in the first place? Because of the link between them. Because we are pals with one another. And this is MY justification.
When I first started my jewellery design business, one of my goals was not to cultivate relationships with the people who visited my website. I had no idea. I did not plan it.
Despite this, it is the most enjoyable aspect of what I do. The contacts I have established, and those I will make in the future, are invaluable to me. They are the oxygen that keeps my job going every day.
It has been brought to my attention that not everyone is at ease with the idea of revealing personal information online.
That makes perfect sense to me. But what about sharing other aspects of your environment that other people are interested in seeing? Not only the goings-on at your studio — which, don’t get me wrong, are quite cool.
But what about the place where you currently reside? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What is it about what you do that gets your blood pumping?
My most important piece of guidance is? Be human. Those people have made a conscious decision to connect with you. Your efforts. Your art. They decided to shop with you out of all the other places they might have gone. You are quite valuable, and you have a lot of different things to contribute.
Therefore, be there for them. Communicate with them. Inquire queries of them. Make sure you have a platform where you can have more intimate interactions. Do not be hesitant to inquire of the people who are a part of your inner circle as to what it is that they could desire from you. Make contact with them!
You will need to find buyers for your work. This is not up for debate. However, the fact that you are not a large box business gives you a significant competitive edge. YOU are a stunning example of the human race. YOU have a lot of valuable things to contribute. YOU have a tale to tell.
Take a few steps back and pull back the curtain. First, make room for them, and then extend a hand. The individuals and the relationships that you will make along the journey will prove to be invaluable. Are you planning to sell your work? Most probable. Who doesn’t want to purchase from a friend?
My biggest word of caution and advice? Be authentic. People are savvy. They can sense a fake. Treat everyone who comes your way as a gift. Each relationship as a new buddy. Friendship requires work, does it not? As will this.
But there has been nothing more fulfilling in my 20 plus years of designing jewellery than getting to know the individuals who wear it. They have been the absolute centre of what I do and I love them deeply.
Make friends with your audience. Be genuine. Create wonderful stuff. And shine like the beautiful individual you are.
So. What do you truly want to be when you grow up?