August 28, 2012


Works in progress.
Recently I've been trying to get a custom finding made for my jewelry. It's really a simple piece, but I'm having a very hard time finding someone who will make it for me. Cue the frustration.

In my many google searches for a manufacturer, I stumbled upon a company that will hand make your jewelry designs for you. They specialize in helping you keep your designs handmade in the U.S. when you are overwhelmed and can't keep up with orders.

And I thought to myself "How cool! They get to make jewelry for people - that is awesome!"....

Um, wait.  That's what I do. 

How ridiculous is it that I had gotten so bogged down in all of the little details of my business like paperwork, ordering supplies, answering emails, etc etc etc, that I had forgotten such a simple idea about what I do - that it's fun and I think it's pretty cool (even subconsciously!).  I get paid to make jewelry. I employ two lovely ladies to help me make jewelry. What I do is pretty cool and fun. I'm providing work for cool people, too.  Why do I forget that so easily?

Hammering away in my kitchen before I moved to a studio out of the house.
I guess the answer is just as simple - I do a lot of hard things, too.  I make Excel spreadsheets to figure out cost and pricing. I have to calculate how long it takes me to make jewelry so that I can properly schedule weeks of production in advance.  I have to budget properly to pay for my supplies (especially difficult as I get into bigger and bigger orders), and make sure I have the supplies on hand needed to make each order when it's time. I have to write paychecks and pay payroll taxes, business taxes, and sales taxes in multiple states. I have to answer emails daily asking me to make business decisions - big and small.

"Hire our PR Agency to market you!" $1400 a month!?!? is it worth it??
"Do our fabulous show!" will I make a profit??
"Let us redesign your website!" I'd love to, but it's expensive!
"Donate to our auction!" this one is hard because I get asked so often, I try to limit it to only Tennessee auctions but there are so many worthwhile causes...
"Participate in our Flash Sale Site!" not sure that is a beneficial business model for me.
"Do you drop ship?" no but should I?

That's just a small sampling of daily decision making. It makes my brain hurt. When I get home from my studio, I'm totally exhausted. And then I have to give a two year old a bath and coerce her into bed. I'm tired just thinking about it.

But I did get paid to make some jewelry that day, dammit.  I need to start focusing on the fun a little bit more, and take deep breaths and walk away when I am getting overwhelmed with the paperwork stuff. I need to remind myself that hey, I'm going to Renegade Chicago for the 6th year in a row! Kick ass!  I'm in the Uncommon Goods catalog - rock on! I have an awesome employee who helps me - thank God! I sold to Anthropologie last year - nice! I have a studio I can decorate any way I want - sweet! I sell to lots and lots of customers and fabulous boutiques who like my jewelry and reorder it, too - how amazing is that?

How lucky am I that I get to make pretty things all day?

Yep, that's gotta be my new mantra. Starting now.

August 24, 2012

Three Months Later

Well, I did it. I have a baby boy who is three months old now, and I've been back at work for over two of those months.

This is me, right before heading to the hospital. I was ready to lighten my load!
Am I the crying, miserable mess I predicted I would be? Am I taking care of my baby out of obligation rather than love like I felt with my first?

The answer is a resounding NO! How wrong I was! (thank goodness!)

My little munchkin is sweet and adorable and so easy and I am in love with him! Is it his personality? Is it the fact that this isn't my first time around the newborn block? Maybe a little bit of both... this boy never cries unless he's hungry or tired - easy enough. He smiles all the time. Even my daughter hasn't been too annoyed with him, which is amazing because I hear that two year olds and newborn siblings don't usually get along.

3am feeding and I'm cool with that.
My insane timetable of getting back to work in 3 weeks actually wasn't too bad.  It was only hard because oddly enough, I wanted to be home with my little family of four instead of work work work like crazy which is my usual preference. Another drawback was that my body was a little beat up from delivering a 9 pound 3 ounce baby. You read that right. Ouch. In the delivery room when he came out, the nurse proclaimed "You had a 6 month old!"

What a difference between these two children of mine! Even though my first was such a bumpy ride, I'm so glad I had the experience of both types of babies. Now I can commiserate with those who have the difficult baby and high five the parents with the easy baby. I understand cry it out and I understand some babies just go to sleep without crying and without fuss. Every baby is different. I get it.

In the middle of all this becoming-a-mother-of-two business, Uncommon Goods sent out a catalog featuring my very own Love necklace - designed when I was pregnant with my first! How apropos. :) I also designed an exclusive bracelet and earrings for them - perfect to give to that tired new mommy in your life. Go check it out!