One of the hazards of being a jewelry oriented metalsmith is a nearly fanatical attention to detail. The difference between a design that’s a flop and a design that grabs the dreams of everyone who sees it is attention to detail. Did that solder seam get soldered straight? Did the sixteen million proper steps of finish work get done in the proper order, and into every conceivable crevice? Are the prongs tightened down all the way, or is there a 1/132 of a gap somewhere? While this detail oriented-ness is fantastic for creating jewelry… it seems to extend insidious fingers into every other aspect of the studio, until there’s no “nearly” in the fanatic.
Take my quest for the perfect packaging, for example. I have lovely boxes. I’ve made lots of my customers happy with my various seasonal packaging designs. No problem… except…. there’s that darn attention to detail again. Which says that while good, the packaging could be even better. Especially with Christmas coming up. So I carefully studied all my options, and kept my boxes, but seriously upgraded my accents. Sumptuous satins, silk ombres, and 1000’s of yards of extremely fancy curling ribbon. Plus some fabulous new gift tags that will also allow me to put my studio name on the inside of the boxes… How’s that for attention to detail?
Then what should happen but I need to print new catalog-inserts for my latest work… which meant hours of milimetric adjustments to my files, not to mention the photos… and then updating the older photos… and then editing said photos… There’s a reason professional graphic designers are paid so much. Sheesh. I started seriously wishing I could just let it go. I mean, while I’ve always notice details, I’ve never really been this stubbornly passionate about them. My family was in despair, I promise you.
But I think it’s totally part and parcel of the kind of work that I do now that I’m all grown up. I am a handmade fine jewelry artist, and so my work in every detail should reflect that. I am not Tiffany & Co. I don’t have a fleet of designers to take care of my packaging, or my catalog, and I never will because that’s not the kind of studio that is Kaelin Design. But just because I am a small studio doesn’t mean that my jewelry is small, or that I should be any less professional in my presentation details.
I think this attention to detail is the curse of the small business owner… and I also think it’s part of the secret of our success. For every piece of jewelry I create, there are a thousand and one details that should be just so. From the time I pick up my hammer, to the last seal I place on the box when it makes it’s way out into the wide world, I will make it just as perfect in every way as I possibly can.
I only hope I don’t get lost in the details….