Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Book review - How to create your own jewelry line by Emilie Shapiro

Author Emilie Shapiro sells her jewellery at boutiques, museums and several big-name retailers under her brand ‘Emilie Shapiro Contemporary Metals’ but she started out creating one-off pieces for friends and family as so many of us do! In teaching thousands of students over the years in jewellery production, Shapiro identified a lack of resources to help students to create their own jewellery line. She formulated a business course that provided guidance on everything from designing a coherent collection to marketing it to retailers. This book is an extension of this popular course.

As the cover suggests, the book covers everything you need to turn a home crafting business into a successful jewellery brand —design, production, finance, marketing and retail. Starting at the beginning, it discusses the various options available in setting up a company (probably more useful for US-based readers) as well as providing some really great tips on choosing the right business name and logo. Picking a name that is “versatile and simple, and that people will remember” might seem obvious but as Emilie points out it’s also important to choose a logo that will “look great printed on a large sign that is 2 feet wide, yet will still look clear printed on packaging that is 2 inches wide”. Deciding on light and dark versions will also give you ultimate flexibility later.

The book goes on to cover all aspects of designing with your brand and production in mind. As Shapiro points out, a different approach is required for many designers. In creating your own jewellery line, the focus is on efficiency over creativity, particularly in designing a collection. She suggests that you “aim to design ten pieces for your first collection. As time goes on, redesign pieces to make them more functional and saleable, edit out pieces  that do not sell and add pieces by expanding on what worked.” It all sounds a little cold and soulless for me but that’s the difference between creating on a small scale and creating for retail I guess!

If you can’t quite see yourself pairing back your designs for the retail market and aren’t sure whether you are ready to sacrifice your creativity for the sake of a successful jewellery business you might be thinking that this book is not for you. However, there are some wonderful tips and ideas from Shapiro that you could take advantage of, however you create and sell your jewellery. For example, creating artists’ cards and product line sheets are fantastic ideas and ones I will certainly be trying when I prepare my next collection of jewellery for a retail environment. There is also a whole section on pricing your jewellery —something most of us find tricky to say the least.

Further chapters cover marketing your jewellery line and how and where to sell your pieces. However, probably the most interesting chapter for anyone seriously considering growing their business to the level that Emilie has achieved, is the chapter entitled ‘Insider guidance from industry professionals’. I found lots of little titbits of information here that I will bear in mind when I next approach a gallery or shop with my work.

Overall, this book is a good read with lots of useful hints and information for any jewellery maker. I would say that creators of metal jewellery would find the chapter on producing a collection of particular interest as it covers everything from tools to detailed techniques but there is certainly food for thought for all of us.

We have a copy of ‘How to create your own jewelry line’ to give away to one lucky winner.Comment on this post to be entered into the draw. We will pick a winner at random on Friday 9th September after midday. Look out for our Facebook post for a second chance to enter and for the announcement of the winner.

‘How to create your own jewelry line’ by Emilie Shapiro, published by Lark (£19.99 available from www.gmcgroup.com)
ISBN 978-1-4547-0933-6


  1. Sounds very interesting

  2. I am recently retired and looking to expand my jewelry business. This book would be very helpful! maryredman144@gmail.com

  3. This sounds like a very interesting and informative book!

  4. Interesting and worthwhile, thanks for the review.

  5. This sounds exactly the book that I need. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  6. Sounds like there’s some great guidance in this book.

  7. The winner has been announced over on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/beadinglibrary


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