Friday, March 23, 2007

Rosaries and Jewelry by Laura

Laura Sheppard-Andersen, designer and owner behind Rosaries and Jewelries by Laura, creates, what else? Beautiful rosaries and jewelries in distinctive stles and designs. Meet Laura as she shares her thoughts on starting and maintaining her business:

Turning a Hobby to a Full-Fledged Business
“ I learned how to make rosaries 27 years ago from a booklet that I sent away for. I was looking for something to do with my hands while I was recovering from surgery. It ended up being a love affair with beads and wire that spilled over into jewelry. I still just did it for my friends until my husband died in 2004, and then I needed to do something that would help pay the bills. It just seemed natural to turn my “hobby” into a business and start selling both my rosaries and jewelry.”

Products That Transcend Generation
“I get requests for rosaries for babies and requests for jewelry from grandmothers and everyone in between. I think that’s what I like about it the most. I always am surprised at what people want me to design for them.”

Inspired by Color and Shapes
“My late husband was an artist in oils and I learned a lot about color, form and design from him. I’ve been able to apply that to my business, especially in jewelry design … Watching my husband paint and seeing how he used color and form are always on my mind. Whether it’s matching particular colors for a stunning rosary, or different shapes and colors for a piece of jewelry, the process of putting things together and watching a design fall into shape never ceases to amaze me!”

Perfect Barter
“I am my only employee, but my roommate does help out at shows. I make jewelry for her or her family for her help. It works out for both of us.”

In the Business of Creating… and Selling
“The hardest part of this business has been and probably always will be for me the selling part. I love to create and design, I don’t so much love to have to sell it.”

“I try to find stores that my items would fit into. One of the ones I sell at is a Catholic Book store so my rosaries work well there, another one sells more of my jewelry because they are more of a gift store.”

Adapting to Fashion and Religion
“The fashion industry gives me somewhat of an idea, but I like to make my designs timeless so people can wear them for many years to come. Also, the liturgical year dictates what types or colors of rosaries I make at certain times of the year. I also make a couple of prototypes of jewelry and run them by some of my friends for input.”

“One of my greatest mentors has been Debbie of, a rosary supply online store. She has been there the whole way with me since I started selling and helping me learn the next step of the business as I go along. She’s helped me to stay sane many, many times!”

Motivated to Create
“I truly love what I do. I get a lot of satisfaction making beautiful rosaries that I know will enrich the lives of those who use them. I get a different kind of satisfaction of seeing a special design of a piece of jewelry finally become a concrete item when I’m finished with it. I enjoy the whole process from beginning to end.”

Words of Advice

“Use the best materials you can afford, make your product the best it can be, charge enough to cover your expenses and give it time! I’m still waiting for the “overnight success” and while I know it’s slowly building, the best advice I got when I was starting out is to not expect things to take off right away. A good rule of thumb I think, is that it’ll probably take three years to get steady traffic and sales from your web site. And that’s if you work at it.”

Laura Sheppard-Andersen
Rosaries and Jewelry by Laura

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