Do you mail samples as a jewelry designer? A personal and professional lesson

Let me share a little bit of the wholesale world and especially when as a designer you are asked to make samples.

Jewelry designers many times are asked to do prototypes or San diego ZOOsamples, right? And then as a designer you will decide how you like to work with the company requesting them and in what terms. Depending on the work that will be done I decide how much to charge. With big and established shops that I have worked with like Gatorland in Orlando or the SAN Diego Zoo I would say I will mail you samples complimentary if you like them you pay for them if not they should be returned.

But there will be a day, when your friend launches her own jewelry company and you said you can help her making her own label mark stamped charms. I had a weird feeling about my “friend” and our relationship, although I wanted to help her, so I mailed her samples; then we were back and forth with questions, they wanted the stamped of their name to look deeper of on the metal but it was such a tiny piece that it was the best we could do. Then they kept finding little details and excuses as if they wouldn’t even know how handmade pieces are made.

My work is not machine made is hand made. I suggested them to ask a different supplier so they could make the best decision for their company. Weeks passed and didn’t hear back from them until finally one day “my friend” s assistant responded they went to a different supplier which is understandable. So I said I would appreciate if you mail me my samples back. To what they said one of our interns throw them away. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

After what had just happened and just to make sure, I called a couple buyers from one of the most established museums and organizations in the DC metro area and whom have been in business for many years to ask questions, get feedback or some mentoring time as to how to proceed when as a designer you mailed samples.

They both agree that samples MUST return to the artist or they have to be paid for.

The buyer of Gatorland once said to me: I love your red seeds although all I sell are with alligators; if you send me samples with alligators I ll be ordering and that was my personal story with Gatorland in Orlando. After a few weeks, I sent them my samples they decided which pieces they wanted to carry and placed their order including the number of samples I made, few weeks later I invoice them and they paid for the order.

IMG_8704-0.JPGIn another ocasion I was at an art show and the buyer from the Washington Heritage Museums was there. She fall in love with my line and this time she asked me for huayruro red seeds but with hum
mingbirds and it was done. She placed and order during the show then I mailed my samples and she paid for them.




Then there is the case of small shops or start up companies like the one “my friend” launched that request samples or simply take 80% of your time without living any profit. So be careful, do contracts and everything in writing. I follow my God instict when I decided to help my “friend” with her logos for her start up company and also she wanted me to sell my designs through her website which until this day I don’t undertand the purpose of her jewelry online business. Then the rest is where we are right now, no friendship, no contract, no samples back.

I prefer to avoid this kind of people. I prefer to lose money than having a headache. And this time we lose money and had a headache.

So my point here is, no matter who you work with have everything in writing. Don’t let anyone push you on regards to your delivery time, your time and effort put into work is valuable, don’t let anyone disrespect your work in anyway. Or let anyone overwork you. And if something goes wrong, remember that God has a plan for each of us. And I am pretty sure something bigger and better will come for you.
Just be true to yourself and with the people around you.

Trust me I wish “my friend” good luck on her business although I still have my doubts about it.

Money can BUY IT ALL but it can’t your piece of mind.

Hope this helps

Evelyn Brooks



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