Category Archives: Business

Highlights from ZDJ’s Launch

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Visitors Catching Up at the Launch

Cannot believe it has been a whole month since the launch of Zoe Davidson Jewellery! And what a month it has been. Since the launch, I have been busy creating beautiful jewellery for my lovely new customers and thankful for all the wonderful supportive comments so far.

In this post I would like to highlight a few key moments at Zoe Davidson Jewellery‘s launch, held on the 1st of May 2016.

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Samples of Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Fold Form

Demonstrations
Every wondered how jewellery is made? This is exactly what I wanted to show my visitors on the launch day and enjoyed doing it! It is a great way to socialise and create a connection with your audience.

Before working in jewellery, I’d always want to watch a professional at work, no matter the craft. Almost proof that they are who they say they are. At the majority of exhibitions and fairs, you meet the makers behind their stands of emaculate work but think, how did it get from a sheet of metal to a piece of jewellery?

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Hoy Sound Collection on Display

I take great pleasure in showing individuals how small a jeweller’s saw blade is and how to measure their ring size. The most common question I had was:

 “In what form do you get the silver in?”

The surprise they got when I said “in sheet or wire”, like many jewellers. Demonstrating and explaining the fold form technique was my favourite part: using some fire, banging the metal and showing that something so rigid can be shaped with just a bit of heat. It’s always memorable if you can surprise someone.

Drinks and Nibbles
I believe if you want to make an impression at a launch party, keep visitors drinks topped up, give out delicious food and have a consistent theme throughout.

Hoy Sound, my first jewellery collection, is a fast flowing channel of water situated to the South of Stromness. Thus, I thought because my work is sea-related, why not provide fresh local seafood? It also helps that I work at my local fish shop part-time!

Orkney Fish, my local fish shop, were kind enough to sponsor me with providing delicious seafood for the launch. On the menu: smoked salmon pate, crab pate, flaked hot smoked salmon and some scrumptious veggie options. This is an opportunity to thank Orkney Fish and OFS Ltd greatly for the amazing support and providing a fresh taste of the sea to compliment oceanic jewellery launch. Thank you.

But this goes for anyone starting a business: don’t be scared to ask for help. You will be surprised at how generous companies are as they have been there themselves.

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Our Hoy Sound Collection shot by Art Mosomi Photography

Images and Film
In the gallery space beautiful images by Art Mosomi Photography had been printed and hung up for show. Images of some Hoy Sound pieces worn on the gorgeous Johan, the face of this collection. Photography sets a pleasant atmosphere and allows individuals to get a clearer understanding of what the work is about. I suggest you get images printed professionally and make sure they are actually good photographs. It shows you are serious in what you are doing. In Orkney, iDesign have been invaluable in creating some amazing work for me, from posters to signs to leaflets. Their customer service is friendly, prompt and more importantly, local.

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Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story] Screen Shot

Finally, adding a bit of movement and sound in the gallery creates drama to the whole launch. On display, a film telling the story of Zoe Davidson Jewellery, made by Videographer, Gustavo Castro Elgueta and Orkney Musician, James Watson. Artistic to watch and easy on the ear, this film made a great back drop to the event. Having final items to sell is one thing, but giving them a personal story is another. The full video is on my website if interested: Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story]

Finally some tips if you are planning a launch:
– Plan a good launch date ahead of time.
Make sure it is not clashing with any other events that may be on in your area.

Ask yourself: what would I want to see at a business launch? Because it is probably what other people are wanting to see too. For me, is seeing how the work is made and tools uses.

Ask for help. I could not have launched on my own without the help of friends and family. Make sure you have someone on hand to pass out drinks and nibbles as you need to be connecting with your customers.

– Lastly, relax and enjoy the event, as your business only starts once.

To finish this post, I would like to say a huge thanks to:
– Art Mosomi Photography for the launch photographs and many other services you have provided.
iDesign for sponsoring our launch and delivering excellent service.
Orkney Fish who provided us with some amazing local seafood.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, for supporting us consistently and lending their film projector.
The Royal Hotel, Stromness who kindly lent us their wine glasses as we would never have that many in the house!
– Finally, my friends and family. For being at the launch, for helping and being so positive. I cannot thank you enough.

To view my website and products please go to www.zoedavidsonjewellery.co.uk

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Cheers!

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My Top 5 Favourite Jewellery Tools

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the absence been very busy! But here I am finally settled into my new jewellery workshop. I’m going to give you a wee tour of the top 5 of my favourite tools – new and old! – which I use everyday in creating my jewels.

zoe-davidson-jewellery-workshop-orkneyI’m always fascinated by new tools on the market, always eager to find those which save time or make a job a little easier. Since accumulating tools over the years, I’ve noticed that there are some tools which I can’t let go of. Some which I use everyday and am so glad that I paid the money for. So I’m going to share some of these tools with you and maybe you’d like to share some of yours?

  1. The Fold-Forming Hammer

foldform-hammer-zoe-davidson-jewellery.jpgThis was the first tool which has stayed with me from the beginning of my jewellery journey. At first I was a bit skeptic and was unsure if this was going to be worth the money – thinking maybe I’d change my style of work. But no! Nearly every piece I create, this hammer is helping me. It stretches the metal to create my folded-forms and has a comfortable ergonomic handle. So this definitely has to be at the top of my list.

2. The Slip-Joint and Accessories

slipjoint-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyIf you have the traditional pendant drill/flex-shaft, you all know how much of a faff it is to change the drill accessories. You have to get the wee spanner, unscrew the cap nut and change the accessory – but I spend most of my precious time looking for this tiny spanner! Now things have changed for the best. I decided to invest in a ‘Slip-Joint’ which attaches to the end of the pendant drill. I have to say – this is one of the best things I have purchased. Just a simple press of the lever and you can pull your accessory out of the collet – no spanner – no faff. Saves a lot of time. Yes it was quite a big investment but it was definitely worth it in the long run. Would recommend it to anyone.

3. The Sand-Paper Rolls

sand-papers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySimple and easy to use these little things are. They are used in your pendant drill and come in various grades. I used to have a split-pin mandrel, wrap sandpaper around it then fix it with binding wire. Again, a lot of precious time wasted. Whereas these little paper-rolls are next-to-nothing and do the job perfectly well. I say – another amazing buy!

4. The Pliers

pliers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyI love my pliers. Have all types – nylon, parallel, cutters, round and so on. The nylon pliers (front right of picture) are quite a new purchase and are the most useful. Mostly, I use these for making ring shanks because they don’t mark the metal! Even better, the nylon pads are replaceable so you can go on using the same frame for ages. The parallel ones (front left) are handy too in straightening wire. I also bought a pair of Tronex Flush Cutters (left of picture), they are the sharpest wee things and the term ‘flush’ means it cuts at a right angle so leaving you minimal sanding to make the cut straight.

5. The Face Visor

visor-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySanding and polishing can be a messy job. Bits of compound and particles spitting onto your face is never a nice look, especially if you’ve got customers coming through your door everyday! So here, we’ve got the face visor. So good. Forget about those safety specs – why not just save your whole face!? Make sure you look for ones with decent padding around the headband – just makes things a little more comfortable. They’re great too because you can simply lift up the visor up over your head when not in need! The visor plastic sheild is also replaceable so can be used for a long time.

Hope you enjoyed my favourite tools in the workshop and please don’t hesitate to share yours in the comments!

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The Million Pound Necklace: Inside Boodles – review by Zoe Davidson.

 

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Just watched ‘The Million Pound Necklace: Inside Boodles’, a documentary showcasing the company’s process in craftsmanship and eye for detail for their most expensive, yet, high-fashion emerald necklace… And WOW the diamonds, emeralds and sapphires are unbelievable.

c940713bc0c31e455ef328501ddd6f54Seems that customer service is of top priority for their company, such as serving champagne and one on one attention whilst in their Boodles boutiques. From customer’s experience, they feel like they’re not being pressured to buy and like they are part of a “club”, a friendly charming service. The jewellery is indeed pricey, thus it is important to focus their marketing towards extra-special customers, such as celebrities like Classical Singer, Katherine Jenkins (seen left) and millionaires, to keep them in business. Marketing strategies include advertising only in a few luxury jewellery magazines, “word of mouth”, and hosting special events such as the latest, Boodle Boxing Ball, in Monaco seen in the documentary.

Katherine Jenkins looking stunning                                                                                                                           wearing Boodles Vintage Lace pieces.

Whilst all looking real good in this industry, there is a lot of risk and investment involved. The amount of effort in finding the right customers and attention to every last detail is paramount. After 2 months of making, the final emerald necklace was revealed, called “Green Fire”. The whole suite costs £2,500,000, whilst the statement necklace costs 1 million pounds, which they are still, yet, to seek a buyer.

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“Green Fire” emerald necklace worth 1 million pounds — Will you be the next buyer?

Have a watch of this video ‘The Making of a Masterpiece’ which allows the viewers inside Boodles creative process of making the intricate Vintage Lace necklace.

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Help Set My Creative Imagination Freeeeee!

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Hello there, I’m a young enthusiastic creative prosthetics jewellery designer and maker and am struggling greatly to buy the materials I  require to help me create an amazing Degree Show. So if you like my work, why not help by sponsoring me! I’ve got the skills, I’ve got the passion and the drive to make this happen, if only I had the materials to actually create my show-stoppers. For every pledge you will receive a reward and a huge thank you and all my social networking sites. Please follow the link to pledge: https://sponsorcraft.com/p/zoecreativeprostheticsjewellery/

Thank you! xxxIMG_1718 65110_237236146406399_13443744_n _MG_1674 IMG_5279

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Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Christmas Market

I attended a Christmas Market on the 1st of December at the DCA, along with the rest of my final year jewellery class. Was a great learning curve! Organisation was definitely key for this. Thought about pricing, packaging, display and how to organise the money.

Here are some photos of us at work:

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My pieces set up

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Skin Prosthetics – The Future Fashion?

I am writing a proposal investigating whether skin prosthetics will become the new fashion.

Norman Cherry’s Skin Engineering

In the near future, I wish to engineer skin tissue so I can actually create real skin prosthetics. Professor Norman Cherry has already been able to do this and medics are beginning to see its potential. It may replace Teflon and silicone  implants and is safer (due to the speculation of silicone implants being poisonous!).

We have seen Lady Gaga with her facial prosthetics and Katy Perry in her E.T music video. So If anybody is reading this post could you please comment and tell me your views?

Would you wear skin prosthetics? If so, where would you like to wear them?

– Would this be likely aimed towards Body Modification fans? Or catwalk?

– Any suggestions to how I could get this out on the market? Conventions?

– How could I make prosthetics attractive towards more people? As the form of rings and forms of jewellery?

Any comments would be beneficial and much appreciated to use as part of my proposal.

Facial Prosthetics I created
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The Great Thing About Making Bad Decisions

Such an inspiring book. ‘Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite’ is written by Paul Arden and made me feel great about the way I work. The book lets you in on how making bad decisions can lead to surprising achievements and rewards.

It explains that your bad decisions can actually influence others, for example, in the day, high jumpers used to jump over the bar front first – almost like a forward roll. This was called the Western Roll.

However in the 1968 Mexico Olympics a guy called Dick Fosbury approached the bar but turned his back on it, flipping his legs up from behind him – beating all the other athletes by miles. This is called a Fosbury Flop and is now used by everyone.

Just shows that making a daring decision can have great impact.

“The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else”

Another really funny story is explained of an Oxford professor bathing naked in a river. He was getting out when a boat of undergraduates floated by. In sheer panic he went for his towel and wrapped it around his head. The bottom line is he would rather conceal his identity than being humiliated!

Arden points out that showing people your work is a good way in getting constructive criticism. However, do not ask them what they think about it, as they will probably say everything positive – not wanting to offend. The only way to get great constructive criticism is to ask them what is wrong with the work and give them permission to give truthful comments – accept the comments and do not fight back! This is key in developing work, amending the problems and most importantly gaining strength in what you do.

“Be your own worst critic. When things go wrong, it’s tempting to shift the blame. Don’t. Accept responsibility. People will appreciate it, and you will find out what you’re capable of.”

  

Arden illustrates that having too many ideas is not always good. You tend to become flustered and do not finish things to their utmost potential because you have something ‘better’. Maybe having fewer ideas are better so you become more focused and work harder on each of them – making the most of the ideas you have.

This book is really motivating as when I work I usually take risks, however, I’m also thinking it might be better just to go down the safer route. But a little of me thinks – “that does not get people talking about your work, it’s not exciting to be safe”. It is the same when you go into a gallery and see something full of sexual content and quite disturbing. You end up talking about it throughout the whole gallery saying how obscene it is. Even when you exit the building you tell your friends about it. TELLING THEM ABOUT IT. This is the way it has effected you. The image has remained stuck in your brain. Memorable. This is what taking risks is all about. Taking things over the edge. So yes risk-taking creatively is something I truly believe in.

Leaving on one of my favourite inspirational quotes, he concludes:

“The world is what you think of it. So think of it different and your life will change”

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Design & The Market: Me Choosing My Path

Oh dear. So yes – putting life in my hands. Today in our Design Market group we looked at choosing the path we would take into achieving our potential business. What you need to think about to make it a sustainable and successful one. Scary stuff.

To begin with, we had a look at our ‘would-be’ customers and wrote down a list of the customer groups they would be. For example: Students; Fashion Runway Buyers; Hospital Buyers; etc. For each one we had to outline what their needs would be, what we would be offering them, how many there are, and so forth. Through this method of analysing our future customers it helps to see if your business has potential and whether it is actually needed. For my business, I found a number of different customer groups which I think is good because it brings range and excitement of varying customers. However, I think I would need a rather large team to back me up on the amount of work I would need to do!

Next, we headed into the Blueprinting Modelling sector. This, I found, was the most difficult. Just couldn’t get my head round where to put things! Blueprinting is a detailed flow diagram of your business’s stages in carrying out, for example, a commission piece. It just shows how your business will function when it’s actually doing business. For me, I looked at where I would go to create contacts then try get some of my work out to the public somehow, find people to work with me and so on. Sounds do-able. This allowed me to view the process of my hopeful business at hand. How it might work. How I can change it tomake it work.

Lastly, we looked at the importance of building relationships in business. Not lovey-dovey ones, professional team-work ones. It is important because it makes all stages in the process work. Imagine doing it all yourself? We focused on the four areas of activity in business. The Generator, the Realiser, the Distributor and the Customer. We had to find people we would need for each of the areas. I placed myself in the Realiser zone, as well as other collaborators, because I feel that is where my strengths lie. However, I would over-see other areas frequently. This exercise allows me to see who I would need to build relationships with and it’s importance. Building relationships improves and makes your business stronger. More sustainable. You just need to make sure there is plenty of trust and that they love the business as much as you do.

These exercises were helpful in outlining how my business would operate, create contacts/clients and who I would need to make it happen. Building relationships crops up again and again. It seems now that who you know can help greatly in business – like the old saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

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