Saturday, 28 June 2014

Custom Order Process

Although I do a lot of my jewellery design off my own bat, I also do a lot of commission work and working to briefs - whether that is for submitting to magazines, working to a brief or for individual customers. It's something I enjoy but it can be challenging, and not a little nerve-wracking, especially with I am working with an individual client rather than a magazine or organisation. However, there is nothing more gratifying or rewarding than when a customer gets the perfect piece through this process, made just for them - a real one-of-a-kind. I thought I'd take you through the process by showing you how I went through the design process with a recent client of mine.

First of all, I was sent a brief by the client. She had bought from me previously at a craft fair, and so had seen my jewellery in person. It's always a huge honour when someone trusts you to create jewellery for them or a friend, and I think having seen a designer's work in the flesh helps clients take that leap of faith - whether that's through having been an online customer, or having come across a designer at a craft fair. Here's the message I received from my craft fair customer:

"I wonder if you could help me design/create a birthday present for my friend. I'm going to visit her for her 50th birthday. Her favourite colours tend to be sort of a cool palette (greens, blues, violets, shades in between). I think something incorporating birds, flowers, and/or an ocean theme might be ideas to begin with. Help!"

Even though the request is just a short paragraph, it actually contains a lot of important and useful information - colours, imagery and the age of the recipient. Definitely a lot of inspiration there to get the wheels in my mind turning...

My next step was to go away and come back with a couple of ideas for the client. Sometimes, with something like a bracelet or earrings, or if the client has something very specific in mind, I will just make up one idea for them and I will adjust as necessary, but for this 'brief', I decided to mock up two ideas - one more elaborate and one a little simpler. 

Here's the pictures that I sent my client:


 Ingredients...


Potential layout...


Ingredients...


Potential layout...


The client picked the first pair of images that I sent.....

...and here's what the finished necklace looks like! 


I love how this turned out, if I do say so myself! I just hope that my client's friend is too. I am pretty pleased with my alternate idea as well, so have plans to make that necklace up too. I love being given that initial idea - the spark for a design. I always feel that without that spark - whether it comes from a person, a magazine, or something I stumble across by myself - the spark is what it's all about.

If you would like to work with me to create a special design for you or a friend, then do contact me at songbead {at} me {dot} com. I'd love to create for you!

3 comments:

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Thanks for sharing your process, Rebecca :) I find this one of the most challenging tasks (designing for a specific individual through the interpretation of a third party). Your necklace is lovely and your customers will certainly be well pleased.

I am noticing many designers resurrecting Nancy Schindler focals which have been on hand for some time. I am pleased to see I am not the only one who likes to "age" a stash before use... just like a great wine :) No, I am not a hoarder... honestly!

Ann Schroeder said...

It was so interesting to read about this process. I love both selections and was interested to see which one was chosen. The finished piece is beautiful.

Shaiha said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process. I haven't had any commissions yet but I love seeing how it is done.

I liked the idea of the second necklace also. Will you please share it also when you are done.

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