Every year in business has been so vastly different than the last. 2014 was a year of exploration -- trying to figure out what the heck running a full-time business was all about. 2015 was the year of the scramble -- big orders piling in, and a lot running around trying to juggle 20 tasks at once, feeling mildly crazy all the time. 2016 has been nothing like either of these.
This year has been a tad slower, or maybe it just feels slower because I know how to better time manage. I've managed to figure out how to produce faster and more efficiently, working with suppliers and my husband to make tedious tasks easier on myself. (My husband recently designed and 3D printed two parts to help packaging look better and go faster - blog post on those coming soon!). I also decided early in the year to focus on what I love and how I want Crafts and Love to stand out from all the other handmade jewelry lines that use gemstones and brass. Because let's face it, everyone knows someone that makes jewelry and I am just one of the many girls my age who has a jewelry business. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming and competitive, but I force myself to remember I have my own voice and need to express that individuality. Cue this mantra I have hanging on my desk: Creativity takes courage. -Henri Matisse.
I deliberately decided not to release two big collections this year, instead I launched one at the beginning of the year and then strategically launched products throughout the year. I took the extra time to focus on the products I currently offer and ask myself how they can be improved. Less popular items were discontinued, and I have been making my way through all the other pieces to update and overhaul the ideas. Whether that means new photos, more gemstone offerings, or new brass triangle styles, I have been taking a hard look at every style I make to insure it is representative of Crafts and Love, and if it isn't, I ask myself why and figure out steps to move forward. This is all part of my hope that Crafts and Love has an individual voice.
This honing process has made me realize that a large reason I love creating jewelry is discovering and using gemstones. For me, designing new pieces starts with a gemstone. I like simplicity, so I try to center every new design on a unique cut of gemstone. My favorite choice this year has been dalmatian jasper -- the black and white spots are mesmerizing, and create such a striking look, while remaining neutral enough to be totally wearable. These pieces have been favorites among customers this year too, and that makes all the deliberation totally worth it!
Kimberly Murray Photography took these (and lots more) gorgeous styled photos for us this year too, and I love the way she captured the beauty of the jasper and gave them so much life.