2013 SNAG Conference Feed

Free Mentoring Opportunity

R2Slogo250SNAG is finally ready to embark on its mentoring program titled "The Road 2 Success" and the program is free for all SNAG members.

Enrollment is first-come, first-served

Sign up begins September 16th at NOON.

The list of mentors covers a broad spectrum. To be sure, it will be interesting to see how this mentoring program develops. 

There are no guarantees, no predictable outcome, but everyone who signed up is ready to take an adventure together. This reminds me of one of  my favorite quotes:


"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.

You can see only as far as your headlights,

but you can make the whole trip that way."

                                        - E.L. Doctorow

Teachers from an academic program are always so articulate it amazes me. They are accustomed to verbalizing the issues for their students.

Writers and workshop teachers spell out the problems and solutions in step by step process.

Production makers have a lot of experience in the turbulent ebb and flow of selling in the marketplace. The kind of experience you only get on the road of hard knocks.

One of a kind makers have a different focus all together.Their design decisions are based on finding and uniquely expressing an artistic voice.

If you aren't a SNAG member already, make sure your membership is updated in the next five days or you may miss out on a great opportunity to work with this list of Mentors:

Kristin Anderson
Alison B. Antelman; metalsmith, teacher
Boris Bally; self-employed Metalsmith, entrepreneur-at-large
Gillian E. Batcher; Owner at Jewel Envy and PASH Jewellery Design
Harriete Estel Berman; artist, author, organizer
Wing-Ki Chan; Professor and Program Coordinator of Jewellery Studies, George Brown College, Toronto, Canada
Shannon Conrad; President of Etsy Metal
Donna D’Aquino
Don Friedlich; studio jeweler, former SNAG President
Geoffrey Giles
Lora Hart
Victoria Lansford; artist, author, educator
Micke Lippe; maker, volunteer, teacher
Tim McCreight; Senior Editor, Brynmorgen Press
Etienne Perret; designer, goldsmith, gemologist
Kevin Potter
Billie Jean Theide; Professor of Art at the University of Illinois


Retail Display Should NOT Include Packaging.

One broad observation about the American Craft Council Show applies universally to any retail display aesthetic, even all the way to my local Farmer's Market and on to fabulous trunk shows or ACC .

Do not include packaging in your display.

By packaging, I mean cards that hold a pair of earrings or the boxes that you will provide to the customers with their purchase. No matter who you are, or how great your work, or fabulous the box, it just plain looks bad -- more like discount retailing at Big Lots than artist made jewelry.

Tiffany-blue-box%255B2%255DLearn from the masters of selling jewelry - Tiffanys. Despite the heavy branding investment that Tiffany's has in the Tiffany Blue Box and the  trademark color, you never see a Tiffany box or bag as part of the display in the case.They know that the packaging is the treasure box, not the display. The packaging is the "take home" part of the purchase experience.

What brought this to my attention was this display at a booth at the ACC show.

Yong Joo Kim ACCShow2013 042AH
The exquisite earrings by Yong Joo Kim at the American Craft Council were rather lost in her boxes on the table. The boxes, the shredded paper filler, along with the large tags all look like clutter competing for the shopper's attention.  Even in this photo (above) you can hardly find her elegant earrings.

Yong-Joo-Kim-ACCShow2013 041
In contrast, these necklaces by Kim really grab your attention with the silver foam core background. This simple method was effectively eye-catching despite the rented pipe and drape (which is usually unsatisfactory).

Yong-Joo-Kim ACCShow2013 040
The flat surface of the foam core accentuated the texture of the necklace and with a little lighting created a beautiful shadow. It would have been much better to let her earrings rest on foam core on the table as well.

no more earrings on cards, please.
no more gigantic tags, please.

Let the jewelry speak for itself.

Previous posts in this ACC series:

Observations at ACC San Francisco 2013

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 1

American Craft Council Show Comparison To Renegade Craft Faire in San Francisco- Part 2

Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display

ACC Booth Partnerships Reconfigure Display

10 Tips for Catching & Keeping an Editor's Attention -- by Michelle Bilodeau

This is the last presentation from the 2013 SNAG Professional Development Seminar.

Purple-Cow-ALL-6-presentations-verticalAs part of our purple cow series, we recognized that photography of jewelry, clothing, accessories and wearable work were all increasingly using models.

The isolated object with the graduated background is not the only option. In addition, the type of model and the styling of the photos are morphing with purple options and purple brick roads.

As organizers of the Professional Development Seminar, Brigitte Martin, Andy Cooperman, and I felt very fortunate to find Toronto based fashion editor and stylist Michelle Bilodeau.

An experienced speaker and spokesperson from the fashion and design world, Bilodeau (left in photo below) deftly organized her lecture into
"10 Tips for Catching & Keeping an Editor's Attention."

Michelle Bilodeau Viktor & Rolf
Without a doubt, you will find nuggets of information
that you can adapt for generating purple cow visibility for your work. My favorite tip for finding free to low cost professional quality models came out in the Q & A with the audience, so listen to the entire presentation all the way to the very end. I promise. It is worth listening.

Another suggestion from Michelle Bilodeau is to anticipate trends especially if your work aligns with fashion. An example is shown below in this two page spread from Elle June 2013.


In this ad, Tiffany riffs off the Gatsby movie with jewelry and styling inspired by the 1920's. The pearls, long necklace, hair diadem, and bracelet hand ring accessory all pick up on this summer blockbuster.

Another point is how the diadem worn by this model picks up on the fascinator trend from last winter. Everything old, can be new again. Consider new ways your jewelry or clothing can pick up on fashionable trends.

Tiffany's obviously had to be planing months in advance to have the jewelry, photo shoot and ad appear simultaneously with the movie, but you can do this too.

Michelle Bilodeau points out the blogs have a shorter lead time than magazines, but they still need to hear your pitch and see your images a month or so in advance of the next trend.  

You are welcome to share this lecture on Facebook, or Pin it to Pinterest. The embed code for your blog or website is also available. The easiest option is to share the link to this blog.
Find all 21 presentations from the past SNAG Professional Development Seminars on the SNAG web site and my own website. The information is offered for free to build a stronger craft community. Share the information. Information is power.

Customizing the Cow: New Trends in Cross Platform Web Optimization by Justin Hartzman and Jeremy Poriah from All You Can Eat Website

SprintphoneThere is no web-access platform more in flux right now than mobile. From tablets to smart phones, personal to professional, we are all trying to figure out the next best step. My own family keeps discussing whether we should get new phones and how big they should be. Then we move on to who gets to use the iPad. Every conversation involves looking something up on line. Purchases to restaurant choices are all inspired, reviewed, and determined online. Business to leisure, the internet has changed our lives.

So what impact does this have your own business development? How can each of us be part of  the future in internet commerce.

During  the SNAG 2013 Professional Development Seminar,
I said, "emarketing is such a part of our lives and yet we forget the fact that it is still in its INFANCY!" 

Risky Is the New Safe"In his book Risky is the New Safe Randy Gage writes:

“The statistics you read about online commerce may seem mind-blowing, and the numbers grow substantially every season, but you have to keep in mind that we are still at the very, very earliest stages of online purchasing right now. Those huge sales figures you see reported today are miniscule in comparison to what they will be in 5 to 10 years.”   

I highly recommend the book "Risky is the New Safe" for its insight into current marketing trends.

Another resource to bring us up to speed for cross platform web optimization comes from the experts, All You Can Eat Website. They have a great looking website, but beyond the appearance, they are into performance. I'm hoping that they will be able to optimize my website for mobile with a few lines of code. What about you?

In this presentation below from the PDS they offered lots of information and answered lots of questions and gave some information that will to help us with long range planning...so listen in for free, courtesy of SNAG and MJSA

Customizing the Cow: New Trends in Cross Platform Web Optimization by Justin Hartzman and Jeremy Poriah from All You Can Eat Website

ASK Harriete also offers lots of information about Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people.  There are a number blog posts with tips, tricks, and skills for your website that are easy to implement....so let me help (i.e. Ask Harriete) if you have any questions after listening to this presentation.

Here is my question for you?
What information would you like to see covered as a topic in 2014. Any ideas? Please leave your suggestion in the comments or contact me privately through my website.
I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Bringing the Purple Cow to the Market: Tapping Into the Experience Economy by Lara Bazant

Mootivational Cow
Artist: Joanne P. Cassaro

Sponsor: Waypoint Bank
From the Cow Parade in Harrisburg, PA

In this lecture from the 2013 SNAG Professional Development Seminar Sacred Cow,
Purple Cow,
Cash Cow
speaker Lara Bazant offers articulate explanations for how her "experience" workshops have provided visibility, increased retail purchases, and augmented revenue.

Her lecture presentation offers a new perspective on the experience economy. Within only 15 minutes plus the Q & A with the audience she was able to answer all our questions and offer a solid approach to finding a new audience.

Below are some the questions we asked her to address:

  • Can you tell us how your experience workshops came to be?
  • What led you in this direction--was there an “aha” moment?
  • Do your experience workshop increase purchase of your jewelry or compete with retail purchase?
  • How do you promote your experience workshops?
  • Do you charge the same price for every event?
  • Do you charge per person?
  • How many people can take an experience workshop at one time?   
  • Do you charge a material fee?
As you listen to this lecture, THINK about how you can participate in the experience economy. 

P.S. The 2013 Professional Development Seminar was organized by Brigitte Martin, Andy Cooperman and myself Harriete Estel Berman to provide nuts and bolts entrepreneurial information. It is sponsored by SNAG and MJSA.  

Here is my question for you?
What information would you like to see covered as a topic in 2014. Any ideas? This is your opportunity to be a force for good. Please leave your suggestion in the comments or contact me privately through my website.
I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Cash Cow, Sacred Cow, Purple Cow - Intro

Purple cow in your faceEach Monday for the next five weeks the original PowerPoint presentations with recorded audio from the 2013 SNAG Professional Development Seminar will be posted on line. The program organized by Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin and myself, Harriete Estel Berman, was a great success with insightful and provocative observations.

Here is what Rebecca Rose had  say about the Professional Development Seminar:
"The conference segment that I heard the most pre-game talk and anticipation from attendees was for "Purple Cow, Sacred Cow, Cash Cow.  I imagine from the stage it may have looked like people were playing with their cell phones, but really it was a sea of people sitting to the left, right, and in front of me that were fervently typing notes into their iPhone's "Notes" app. It was easy to notice because I was doing the same."

"The true testimonial was the line of people I saw waiting for their turn at the mic to ask questions. Questions about SEO and responsive design for websites, how and where to find affordable emerging models for photos shoots, I realized, wow, not only were they paying attention, but they want to learn more. And for good reason, because the information presented is the type of info that gives us a running start ahead of the pack. Especially in terms of learning about magazine editors and how to pass through gatekeepers to get your work noticed. Great topics, great presenters, and great real-world info." Rebecca Rose

There will be five presentations with ideas for how everyone can reach new markets for their work. Topics covered will include "Pop-up shops", using video & photography, the "experience economy", optimizing for cell phones and mobile platforms, and reaching fashion editors with images of your work.

The goal when organizing this PDS was to tap into the Toronto scene seeking out innovators in jewelry, design, and the web. We were aiming to find the unique talent that Toronto had to offer with “purple cows” who consistently create truly unique experiences for their customers. We did! Stay tuned each Monday.


White Tents or Remarkable Purple Cows

"Make Like the Masters" Manufacturing Insight

There has been a lot of discussion these days about using modern manufacturing methods to create production jewelry or design objects.  Laser cutting, CAD/CAM, water jet and 3-D printing all come to mind.

AND they are wonderful, dazzling, and enabling technologies.  Throughout history, jewelry fabrication (whether high end Tiffany's and Cartier or costume jewelry) has used the latest available manufacturing methods with impressive results in both new capabilities and improved productivity. Jewelers, going back much further than we may realize, have constantly been exploiting the latest technologies to make their work both novel and affordable.  It is  fascinating that the same financial issues and "handmade debate" are not new struggles.

Peter-DiCristofaro-SNAG-2013This lecture (below) by Peter DiCristofaro from the Providence Jewelry Museum reveals some background and offers insight into these ongoing issues about manufacturing methods for jewelry and metalwork.

No matter what your medium, it is worthwhile to consider the potential that advancing manufacturing methods offer the designer/maker to create or improve productivity.

Think about how you could use modern manufacturing to reduce your labor, lower your price point, increase your market, and become more profitable -- or to avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Photo courtesy of Angela Grace

tely, what we miss with this online presentation is the impressive samples that Peter DiCristofaro laid out on the stage during the 2013 SNAG Conference. The audience buzz was electric! Next time I am near Providence, the Providence Jewelry Museum will be on my destination list.


PeterDiCristofaro-Elsa- Peretti-sterling-mesh-scarf
Photo Courtesy of Angela Grace

This photo (left) shows conference attendees touching the Elsa Peretti chain mail scarf mentioned during the Peter DiCristofaro lecture.  







Watch this video (below) of one of the Janvier - C&W Steel Stamp machines mentioned in the DiCristofaro's SlideShare PowerPoint.

PS. This SlideShare presentation "Make Like the Masters" was originally given during the 2013 SNAG Conference in Toronto. It is posted with permission from the speaker Peter DiCristofaro from the Providence Jewelry Museum and SNAG.

You are welcome to share the link to this lecture "Make Like the Masters" . It is also posted on the SNAG website,

Your comments are welcome.