The Gift of Art: For Jewelry Designers, Finding the Right Retail Store Is Crucial
Duggins, Kamilah C., Black Enterprise
HUBBARD FACES TOUGH CHALLENGES IN HER SEARCH FOR A BUYER.
When Wanda Hubbard decided to leave San Francisco and re-route her life in 2001, she was ready for a complete career makeover. After a 20-year career working in various capacities for nonprofit organizations, Hubbard returned to Massachusetts and briefly considered the idea of finding a "real" job. Instead, she began taking jewelry design classes to explore an artistic path that she had neglected for years. "My friends always told me I was creative and that I needed to tap into that energy," Hubbard explains, "I knew I needed to either do it now or never."
Within a year of reading books, taking classes, and experimenting with different materials, Hubbard, 58, wrote a business plan for her jewelry line, Sasse. By 2003, Hubbard had everything up and running. However, Sasse has boasted only modest success. In 2004, revenues totaled $9,000 and projected earnings for this year are $14,000.
After a few years working the festival and craft fair circuit, Hubbard realized that if she was to survive in this business, she would have to sell to retail stores. However, that has been more challenging than developing Sasse.
"There is no scientific method to it," says Helena Krodel, spokesperson for the Jewelry Information Center, a trade association for jewelry designers and manufacturers. Designers can hire a sales rep or they can pound the pavement themselves to get an appointment with buyers, but "it's hard to do because buyers are constantly inundated with designers trying to show them their work. …