Dreaming of Jewelry
Cailey Passer is an accidental small business owner who moved west to learn about Native American silversmithing techniques to make her stunning jewelry
My business started on accident! I was making jewelry for myself and for friends because I could never find what I was looking for in shops. I was really interested in Crystals and found objects from antique malls and tiny junk shops in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. For the first couple of years I was completely doing it for fun along side working long hours at restaurant jobs. Things took off rather quickly though and I was struggling to find enough hours to fill my orders after long days and late nights at work.
If you asked me five years ago, I would have never guessed I would be doing this, but I'm so happy I am! I take a lot of risks most of the time and thats how I Iearn valuable lessons.
Evolutoion of Style
My style has done a complete 180 from the time that I started. At first I only had one style of necklace that incorporated crystals and bullet casings. From there I learned how to silversmith and thought I only wanted to make fine jewelry with gold, diamonds and stone setting. I think sometimes it's hard to take the lessons you are taught and apply them using your own artistic voice instead of the literal way you were taught for fear of doing it wrong. I developed the style I have today by a lot of trial and error and trusting the process along the way.
One of my absolute favorite pieces I've made was in the very beginning of my silversmithing journey. I really wanted to own a Native American vintage squash blossom but they generally run well over $1000-$2000. I decided I was going to really push myself and just see if I could make one. After two weeks of working solely on that piece- I had my very own squash blossom. (...For about a week until it sold !)
Words to the Wise
There are new obstacles that pop up along the way as you grow. One of the things that are the biggest obstacle right now is creating systems and organization within your brand to help business run smooth and efficiently. There's no instruction manual or rule book on that- it's up to you to create them - so I'd say that's definitely new for me.
I think you just need to trust in the process and commit yourself fully and see where it takes you. You also need to be stronger than your fears and also have a very strong work ethic. Consistency with your clients is also key. You also need the understanding and willingness to learn the MANY aspects of running a business if it does begin to take off. 20% of my time is doing what I want to do and 80% is doing what I have to do.