I haven’t been posting on the blog as frequently as I would like to be. It’s all for good reason though. I have been in the middle of the frustrating process of producing a kit for the store. Since its been taking up most of my time recently, I thought I would share my journey with you.
I created my Spring Dreams bracelet on a whim. No real plan for completion, just knowing that I wanted to make a loaded charm bracelet fit for the season. I was making it for our summer Bead and Button ad, so it needed to be colorful and flashy. Shipwreck’s marketing department asked me to do something “rainbow” but other than that, I was on my own. I knew I wanted to feature Swarovski Elements and TierraCast, the quality and selection is un-matched, and I set about to pull the product. The creative process is always a little more fun when you aren’t on a budget and have an unlimited amount of things to choose from.
It took me a few hours to come up with a design. I’ve never been much of a planner when it comes to creating. I prefer to just dive in head first and this time was no different. I had a general idea of what I wanted and it slowly came together. The bracelet has around 70 items, with only a few repeats. Some I picked up in-store and some of the items were from my stash. I started with a few select pieces, then added more and more until it was full and sparkly and just how I imagined. It was one of those rare projects where the finished product ended up looking just as it had in my head.
When I brought it back into the store the next day, my hands ached from all of the wrapped loops I had made. The bracelet was greeted with rave reviews. I tried to be modest and humble in my response, but who was I kidding, I loved the bracelet too and was very proud of my work.
The bracelet photographed beautifully. Our on-site photographer took great care to capture it from different angles and perspectives, trying to find just the right one for the ad. I had done a necklace for an ad previously, and it was the first time I had ever had any of my worked published. While that was a great accomplishment, I wasn’t nearly as excited about that necklace as I was about this bracelet.
The first time I saw it in print was on the back cover of Make Jewllery’s Top Jewllery Trends Spring/Summer 2013 mini booklet that came with their May issue. There it was, taking up the whole page, with my name in tiny black print. My bracelet for all the world to see. You better believe I was excited. In fact, I have the booklet sitting on the shelf of my desk and every time I look at it, it makes me smile. I’ve always been to scared to actually submit something to be published “for real” by a magazine. I feel very lucky to work for Shipwreck and to have the opportunities that I have.
Then the June/July edition of Bead & Button came out, with my bracelet on the inside front cover. Our sales department started to get calls about it, wanting to know the products used and if there were a kit. I put together a list of all the items used and retail cost would be over $125 to recreate!! Ouch! Not to mention, many of the items would need to be purchased in larger quantities because that’s how they are sold. We toyed with the idea of putting together a kit and finally decided it would be worth it to give it a shot.
Most of the items we still had on hand. There were a few though that were out of stock and had to be re-ordered. Some items came from my personal stash and had to be substituted. I got a little findings crazy when putting together the original bracelet. Two types of head pins and 8 different jump ring sizes was just a little too much. The selection was simplified and the kit slowly began to come together.
Then came the most complicated part… how to do the instructions. Writing a tutorial for print is quite different from writing one for the blog. With the blog, I’m working from the ground up, writing and taking pictures as I go. The kit tutorial however, took a lot of back tracking. It just wasn’t plausible to disassemble and re-build it from scratch. Slowly but surely, I decided how I wanted to put it all together and began to fumble my way through the process.
The pictures were taken and the first go around I started to edit them in Adobe Fireworks. All of the work I do on the blog is edited and put together with Fireworks. It a little more user-friendly than Photoshop and more suited for web design. Unfortunately though, after weeks of editing in my free time, I discovered that it just wasn’t going to work. The coloration of the pictures was off and when printed it looked terrible. I even had one of our “pros” on staff look at it and they informed me that it couldn’t be fixed. I would have to start over.
It was my mistake though, I should have shot the pictures in my light box with the fancy color-correcting lights to begin with. I re-shot all the pictures. This time, the white was crisp and the colors were sharp. And although I dread it, I am putting the tutorial together in Photoshop. I’m picking it up slowly. While it’s quite similar to Fireworks, its much more complicated. There are many more steps to do the same actions. In the end though, it will be worth it.
This whole process has been a labor of love from the start. I hope to have the tutorial completed by tomorrow and if all goes as planned it will finally be for sale by the end of next week. My fingers and my toes are crossed! We’ve never had the response on one of our ads like this one and we had no idea what to expect when it was published. It also helps that now I have been working on the blog and writing tutorials for several months now. And with this first kit under my belt, the ones I will (hopefully) create in the future will come together with more ease.
Thanks for listening to my little story. If you couldn’t tell, I am quite excited about the whole deal and all of the opportunities it could bring. As I mentioned, the kits will hopefully be soon. There will be a very limited amount of kits for sale when they are ready, but if they do well we will be able to get some more ready for sale in no time. I will be sure to post here when they are ready!