Friday, October 26, 2007

Elements by Dawn

Dawn Brandt is the creative force behind Elements By Dawn, a jewelry company which officially began in June 2006. Dawn creates stylish jewelry, heavily textured with bold colors and daring lines, suggesting passion and excitement. Through pattern and texture, her pieces deliver movement, visual and tactile interest. Dawn uses color and form to invoke emotion and energy out of each design. Her designs are available at Etsy and CircleCircleDotDot online boutique.

“I’ve managed restaurants, worked the sales counter, and even worked as a customer service instructor in the airline industry. I guess you could say I know how customers want to be treated and what they generally expect from a business. I think this experience helps me everyday! I also recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with my Bachelors of Business Administration. I feel this aspect of my education will help my business as well. I think it is a real shame when a talented artist cannot continue because of poor business decisions.”

Business Challenges
“Like most new ventures, just knowing where to find reliable information can be difficult. In the beginning, simply gathering and filing all the proper paperwork was a little daunting. But the biggest challenge was finding space for my business. There was a time when the business literally took over the entire house! I quickly learned how inefficient it was to have supplies and equipment in practically every room of the house. One weekend my husband and I moved my workbench into its own space and dedicated a walk-in closet for all of my supplies, packaging materials, and photography equipment. Everything finally has its own space. Now I can focus more energy into creating than searching for my hammer!”

Pricing Items
“For some reason this always seems to be a difficult decision for many artists. It is difficult because separating yourself from the product is not an easy task. Unfortunately, many artists who may not be comfortable with their talents may undervalue their work; and on the flip-side, artists who are inexperienced may overvalue their work and find themselves not selling anything! I personally research a number of suppliers and purchase the highest quality materials at the lowest prices, thus being able to offer affordable prices to my customers. In a nutshell: I use a traditional mark-up formula.”

Marketing Products
“Marketing is a combination of 4 key elements: Product, Placement, Promotion, and Price. I have a product that is superior to most of the traditional sterling silver jewelry on the market today. I researched my materials, developed prototypes, and have tested the tarnish-resistant properties of the Argentium™ sterling silver in real world scenarios. I have also researched my pricing methods and they are also sound. The final two elements, promotion and placement, are still in the works. I am just beginning to promote my jewelry more intensely since finishing school, and I have added a few additional outlets (consignment) for my jewelry as well.”

Targeting Customer Needs
“I subscribe to various trade magazines which keeps me up-to-date on fashion trends. I also listen to my customers to get an overall idea of their wants and needs. It is because of my customers that I almost exclusively use Argentium™ tarnish resistant sterling silver in my jewelry designs. Many customers shy away from traditional sterling silver because it tarnishes easily and requires special care to keep it looking like new. The Argentium™ alloy virtually eliminates the need for polishing.”

Engaging in Low-Cost Advertising
“I blog and have started advertising on a few high-traffic websites who cater to the indie business and to consumers looking to replace or avoid big-box merchandise in favor of handmade products.”

“Many things motivate me. I want my children to grow-up having a mother for a role model. I want to inspire them to pursue their dreams, as I have. I want to know that I have done “the best that I can” when the day is finished. I want to support my family emotionally and financially, and crafting jewelry helps me accomplish this goal.”

Recommended Business Resources
“There are so many resources available! I would recommend starting at the library, Chamber of Commerce, or local college. You can find any number of books, videos and CDs at the library that not only cover the craft you are interested in, but can also assist in the business aspect of crafting. The chamber of commerce can give a list of programs for start-up businesses and offer support for established businesses too. Many colleges offer helpful programs for business owners as well.”

Design Inpired by…
"Objects from the Art Deco period. The bold lines and symmetry really speak to me."

Words of Advice-Research
"Never underestimate the power of research!"



Dawn Brandt
Elements by Dawn

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1 comment:

Monique said...

This is a great post about what goes on behind the scenes of building a jewellery brand, thanks!