Posts filed under ‘Promoting Yourself’

Designs on You

The  Style section of the Washington Post had an article called, “Designs on You: Local Fashion Pros Talk about Making It Big Right Here at Home.” Here are designers’ stories from that article I thought you might be interested in.

Mojee Shokri, 28, McLean:

What: Mojee Designs turns out fancy (but not fussy) necklaces, bracelets and earrings fashioned from bold 18-karat gold and semi-precious stones.

Inspiration: Each piece is one of a kind, and many of them are designed for a particular client, which means Shokri has a different muse for each. “I try to feel the style and fashion inside my client, and make something just for her.”

How She Did It: The native of Iran hit on jewelry design more than seven years ago through a designer friend. It combined her artistic streak with a desire to run her own business. She goes on buying trips to Iran every few months for stones and gold, and does most of the fabrication in her basement studio.

Advice: A designer just starting out has to knock on doors – literally, Shokri says. When she began, she honed in on a gallery in Georgetown, known for it’s collection of high-end but unstuffy jewelry, as a perfect venue for her pieces. “I loved the store, so one day I just showed up with my things,” she says. Now, the gallery regularly sells out of her work.

Signature Style: Shokri’s statement-y tassel necklace features moonstones, faceted citrines and mixed-metal accents. $1,980.

Look at her designs at:

Danielle Insetta, 31, Bethesda:

What: Sixties fashion icon Penelope Tree would look perfectly at home in the candy-colored necklace, bracelets and earrings Insetta crafts for her label, Circasixtythree.

Inspiration: The colors and shapes of vintage Lucite dictate her designs, says Insetta, who will become smitten with a particular specimen from her trove of nearly 1,000 pounds of beads, then tinker around with combinations to highlight it. “I like sticking to the aesthetic of the era,” she says of her 1960s materials. “And I really like crazy color combinations.”

How She Did It: When Insetta came across a box of vintage plastic beads at a Parisian flea market, she decided to trade a career in finance for one in design. She took a few jewelry design classes and launched her label. Now she’s turning out about 50 pieces a week and selling to local boutiques as well as French and Japanese department stores.

Advice: Insetta relies on networking through the Internet and through friends to team up with other creative types: She met the graphic artist who designed her sales materials on MySpace and recruited the barista at her neighborhood coffee shop to model her work. “Working with people who are just starting out, too, is great,” she says. “They’re often less expensive, and they’re really ambitious.”

Signature Style: A navel-grazing necklace of vintage Lucite hoops and brassy gold plate typifies Insetta’s aesthetic: vibrant hues, chunky lines and a mod sensibility. $98.



September 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

What is CERF?

CERF stands for Craft Emergency Relief Fund. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization which is dedicated to providing immediate support to professional craftspeople facing career-threatening emergencies such as fire, theft, illness and natural disaster. CERF was created in 1985 and is the only organization of its kind in the United States.

CERF’s programs include: Interest free loans with flexible pay back dates; booth fee waivers at craft shows; discounts on materials and equipment from craft suppliers; assistance with marketing and promotion; special loan funds available for certain guilds, state-wide craft and media-based organizations; and special loan funds for craftspeople facing particular emergencies such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, homelessness, natural disasters and heart ailments.

CERF is a small fund. Loans are modest and range from $200 to $2,000. Additional funds are available to those who are members of various organizations such as The Glass Art Society, The Society of American Silversmiths, etc. Funds to support CERF come from craftspeople, craft show producers, craft organizations, store and gallery owners, suppliers, collectors, foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

You can make your donations to CERF by writing to: Craft Emergency Relief Fund, P.O. Box 838, Montepelier, VT 05601-0838. Voice mail 802-229-2306, fax 802-223-6484, or going to their website at


January 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

Beading for Charitable Causes

I have been thinking about ways people use beads to promote charitable causes – I often see advertised in magazines bracelets for breast cancer, for instance. A friend who is a mammographer makes pink beaded breast cancer support pins to give to her patients, and also gives a portion of her profits from the breast cancer support jewelry she makes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Here are a few stories about creating jewelry for non-profit organizations and other worthwhile causes.

A while ago, I was approached by a women’s organization. One of their members had recently been diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease.) Some of the members had seen a bracelet made with Swarovski crystal cubes and diamond-shaped beads, sterling silver balls and bali beads, with a sterling silver heart shaped clasp and dangling charm. They wanted to make something similar as a fund-raiser. Together we designed a bracelet using Chinese crystal AB cubes and bicones, silver-plated round beads, pewter Bali-like flower spacers, a pewter heart-shaped clasp and pewter charm. We used Beadsmith Cyclone crimps so that they would not need special tools, and the bracelets were strung on .019 SoftFlex. The materials came in at under $8 for each bracelet, and they sold over 600 for $25 each. Although we used lower priced materials, the bracelet was quite beautiful and well worth $25. Additionally, the group had fun meetings where the members assembled the bracelets – you could buy them either ready made, or come to a party and make your own. I thought this was an original twist.

You may know that almost every charitable organization (especially those pertaining to a particular disease) has its own signature color or symbol; pink for breast cancer, for instance or the puzzle piece for Autism. One of my customers does a whole line of different bracelets using the colors and symbols from different charitable organizations and also representing different branches of the military. She earmarks part of her profits for the corresponding group.

Recently a woman came into my store looking for help with her son’s project. Kyle Spivak was preparing for his Bar Mitzvah by doing a project which was designed to support charitable organizations. Kyle’s project is called “Pookas for Peace,” ( Kyle made shell necklaces which include the colors of both the Israeli and the Lebanese flag, as symbol of peace for the region. All profits are being split equally between Lebanese and Israeli charities.

Using beads for fundraising and awareness is a good way to promote the causes you feel close to, and to promote yourself. Even if you don’t care to do a whole line of jewelry devoted to a charity, donating your work for the PTA silent auction, or other worthy cause is a good way to get your work seen and to do some good in this world!pooka.jpg

January 24, 2008 at 1:17 am Leave a comment

Proposition 65 and Swarovski Crystal

Those of you using Swarovski crystal in your work may find this very interesting. Thanks to Mary Lou Spang of Spangles for telling me about this.

In November 1986, California voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative to address growing concerns about exposures to toxic chemicals. That initiative became The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name, Proposition 65. Believe it or not, California’s Prop 65, as it is known, may affect you.

As you know, Swarovski crystal is lead crystal, and as lead is a known hazardous chemical, retailers of Swarovski crystal jewelry in California must comply with Prop 65 by prominently placing signs which read as follows:

“Attention California residents. Proposition 65 WARNING: Consuming foods or beverages that have been kept or served in leaded crystal products or handling products made of leaded crystal will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

If you are outside of California but sell your jewelry via website, eBay auction or mail order, any Swarovski crystal jewelry sent to California residents must include this information, along with a note that the item may be returned for a full refund within 30 days. This information must be provided on paper no smaller than a business card.


January 23, 2008 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

Fred Flare – the Ultimate Vendor!

Here is a short article from a recent Washington Post. I am reprinting it in its entirety, as I think this could be an exciting venue for many of you! Should you submit your goods to and be accepted, be sure to let me know! By the way, the picture that accompanied this article was a pair of earrings with what looked like Kate Fowle Meleny lampworked cupcakes dangling from them.


“You handknit pastel cell phone cozies and publish a zine about breakdancing. You know tons of people would go gaga for these good if they knew about ‘em – but how to get the word out? Try For six years, the Brooklyn-based e-emporium has hawked kitschy wares, including iHotto’s ice-cream-cone-shaped earrings and Jack & Lulu scratch ‘n’ sniff stationery. Now they’re calling on enterprising artists, designers and craftspeople to submit great homemade creations – bowl ‘em over, and the site’ll sell your stock for you. (The best will score an online mini-boutique.) Submission is simple; just e-mail a photo of your vendibles or a link to your website, and add a blurb on why they deserve to be Fred finds.” (Story by Greg Zinman.)


January 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment


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