Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Quietly reading....and some thoughts.

I've been quietly reading in the background and I've talked offline to a couple people that have been hesitant to join in on the Build a Line Challenge. It seems some are over thinking this challenge and it's becoming scary and intimidating.  

The line Brenda has/had is great for mass production, so to speak, because they're relatively simple finished pieces all using similar items all in a particular style where she could create a few per hour. You look at her sheet that she's shared (copy below) and they all look close to the same but not quite, they aren't all exact. They are all similar enough that you'd recognize it as her line tho. 

If you go to any jewelry store, you see they have similar pieces but not all exact. They offer color choices.  Size choices. Slight variations but they look relatively the same.  It's that cohesive look. 

Don't let the challenge scare you, break the challenge down into baby steps. Gather your pieces for what you have in mind (whether physically or on paper), keep it simple if you're a beginner. Take that piece, make another that uses the same pieces but add variation. Change the colors, change the sizes.  Offer  "options" whether it's all necklaces or all bracelets that are similar but slightly not. Or offer a set of a necklace, bracelet, earring, ring using the same group of pieces and color scheme so they flow together scaled down to a size that works.  

Here's an example of a simple "line" I did and I can expand on them.  As you can see, each grouping I used the same piece over and over.  I used the same colors over and over.  I used the same spectra beads over and over.  I mixed them up, mixed and matched, I'm giving the customers options.  You don't like pink?  Well here, I have red.  Oh you don't like warm colors, well look over here, I have cool colors.  Oh, not a fan of brass chain, well guess what, I have silver steel chain.  I'm doing whatever it takes to reel a customer in, grab their interest, make that sale. Options is key.  Retail stores do it, you can see how Brenda does it, you can see how I've been doing it.

These last few months I worked at creating these super simple lines of my own as "testers". They take time but they're fairly easy to do. The necklaces were a large and a small maple leaf and then the other 2" leaf.  Variety of colors, beads, and chain. I targeted impulse buyers and figured there was bound to be at least 1 item that would catch a shoppers eye.  And it worked.  I sold several at the craft shows last year. I still have a few of the bracelets but most of the necklaces are sold.  I intend to make many more and bring with me to future craft shows because if a shopper admires my work but can't afford the more expensive pieces, well these pieces they just might be able to purchase since I've been keeping them under $30 for now.

So, not only do you want to offer options, but you want to create your signature style.  Something where someone can look at a piece and right away think, yep...that's so and so's creation.  When I made my simple flower necklaces last spring (pics below) someone suggested looking at Wendy baker (BendyWho - you can find her on Facebook).  Seeing her line and how it all worked together made me realize how a cohesive line looks and works for someone.  She uses all the same bright vibrant colors, similar pieces, similar design elements.  Anytime I come across her work I know right away it's her design or someone who may have been influenced by her designs. 

In a way, I had already been on that right track before I knew who Wendy Baker was.  As you can see, these 3 tester pieces all look similar and I could continue on this path and create more and build a line out of it. And I actually might in the future...  All 3 of these sold before Brenda could even get her newsletter out.  :-)

So this is a great challenge and learning experience to get us thinking about cohesive lines.  I love one of a kinds, but I have found that my cohesive affordable line brought the customers in and they stayed as they contemplated and then decided on purchasing.  

If you're finding its getting overwhelming, take a look at other members lines of work. I've noticed a couple who seem to have lines going for them already and I'm really looking forward to seeing what design concept they create.  But look at what group members are doing, break it down into what they're doing to achieve their line.  Is it the color choices that tie it all together or is it the similar products they use in a variety of ways that tie it all together. If there is another member who's work stands out for you, what is it that makes it stand out and pulls multiple pieces together?  Break it down into something that is simple and less overwhelming and then join in on the challenge.  You have from Jan 8 - 12 to email Brenda, but email early on because 60 participants is the max.  

I hope no one lets fear keep them from participating!  See you there.  :-)


  1. Great blog. A lot of food for thought. Nice how you break down the big picture so it is easier to see. I planned to join from the first time I read about it but for someone on the fence they should definitely read this.

  2. Great blog post, Leila! Your last statement about fear holding someone back, mirrors what another member, Mary Reckmeyer, blogged about in the post she made today. I hope people who are feeling fear, intimidation, or are on the fence for a different reason, read both of your blogs...then decide to jump on board for the ride of a lifetime...just like the rest of us. <3

  3. Thank you, Leila. Wonderful post!

  4. Wonderful post Leila. Very inspiring. You're a great teacher! :-)

    I hope that many will do this challenge because it will really be a great learning experience for us all.

  5. Great post, Leila! I hope it inspires others to jump in, and not overthink the challenge too much. :)

  6. Leila, thank you for the encouragement. I do think that I let fear hold me back from moving forward with this challenge as well as over thinking. I wish now that I had at least preparded for the challenge in case I changed my mind. I did however set up my blog which I am still having some trouble understanding how to add stuff to it. But I will figure it out. Great blog and thanks for sharing.

    1. Great blog post Leila. I can see this helping out many who are still on the fence.

  7. Leila, this is a great post. I've bookmarked it so I can come back for inspiration.

  8. Great blog and a lot of helpful hints. Thank you for posting this

  9. Thank you everyone! I hope it helped others that weren't sure about joining. :-)


Thank you so much for your comment!

*** Be sure to check back as I do reply to comments. :-) ***

Pin It

You May Also Like:

Related Posts with Thumbnails