A Second Look
Everything can use a little update every now and then, and I make it a point evaluate my signature handmade jewelry designs regularly. One of the most important parts of my job as a jewelry designer is listening to customer feedback to see where things might need attention. The approach will often depend on the product itself. In some cases it can mean discontinuing a product, and other times it means taking a second look and updating a design. The latter is the best approach to take when the jewelry in question is especially popular with customers, and is the path I’ve taken with my crochet cotton and prosperity bracelet design updates.
I wear a lot of my own handcrafted jewelry, and while I’m good at ironing out most of the kinks, I’ve come to discover that I don’t always have the same pattern of wear as customers. This is especially true of my best selling, signature jewelry designs, which is the backbone of my creative business. These are items that are always available due to their popularity with customers. Most people have more than one of these items in their fashion rotation, which means they need to meet pretty high standards. Because these are so important, I’m always looking to update my jewelry designs.
Original Idea Behind the Crocheted Cotton + Prosperity Bracelet Designs
A great example of this are my crocheted cotton bracelets and cotton prosperity bracelets. I first developed the line because I noticed that quite a few people like having a super casual, fun, and affordable jewelry that can be worn daily. Usually this kind of thing is pretty easy to find, but it can be difficult to get all those things while buying directly from the maker. It’s a meaningful connection for customers to have, and can provide a lot of value to both parties. I wanted to create pieces that can be worn alone, paired together or with other jewelry. I love the texture of crochet on this cord, so that was an easy choice. I wanted to pair it with something that had a positive vibe, and decided to go with a knot based on Chinese knotting techniques. I’ve always been inspired by the style, artistry, and symbolism of the craft. The knot featured in the prosperity bracelet shown is one of my favorites. Called the Double Coin Knot, it is said to symbolize good luck and prosperity, which resonated with me. In this day and age, the popularity of these kinds of talismans has seen a definite resurgence in fashion.
Making these bracelets is always fun. I do large batches so I have enough stock for a few months, and really get in the zone. It’s almost meditative for me, because my main intention behind them is one that I find meaning in. The positive attitude carries over to my customers. Clients routinely purchase these as gifts for anyone they know who is embarking on a new and exciting journey, getting a new job, or graduating. At $5 each, these are probably one of the most affordable things I make, but it’s definitely worth it because they appeal to such a wide range. I love these bracelets because they’re so approachable and resonate with a large audience. They became so popular that I decided to create a line of leather goods, including my popular Luxe Leather line of bracelets, as well as my line of Minimal Leather Chokers.
Design Updates Over Time
This original handmade jewelry design featured mostly the bright colors. Think pink, purple, and turquoise. After a while, I had people asking for more muted colors, so I added black, gray, brown and some neutrals. That ended up being a great move because it opened the door for men to become clients. Very recently, I discovered that customers were buying them and wearing them everyday – sometimes even for years! This unexpected discovery inspired me to take another look to see if anything could be done to improve durability and longevity. In my own collections, the first noticeable thing is usually the ends fraying, so with my most recent batch, I decided to wax the ends.
An Unexpected Surprise!
One of my favorite things about revisiting an existing design and making little adjustments is the unexpected surprises that can come about. It doesn’t always happen, but it definitely came about here! I used a handmade Orange + Ginger scented candle from Adorn right here in Chicago to finish the ends after making my most recent bracelet batch. Not only do these candles make my day brighter burning in the studio, but the essential oils in the wax carried over to the bracelets! I’ve been wearing a couple of these for the last few days, and I gotta say, it’s like a mini aromatherapy experience I can take anywhere I go! I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m totally loving it for now.
It will take some time to test this out and see how things go for people, but I’ll give an update in a few months! I don’t have these on the site right now, but I always have them with me at shows and you can grab them at my Galleria shop. Each style is $5 each, or any two for $7.50. This new batch will be heading in the Holiday Pop Up at Local Goods, and Randolph Street Market this weekend. If you can’t make it out, no worries! You can always contact me to order!