May 7, 2010
A Home-Based Career to Fit Your Style
IconA Home-Based Career to Fit Your Style Bijouterie Jewelry (a funky little divisions of Joe Mama Productions) by Ann Diaz A new pair of designer eyeglasses, and nothing fashionable to keep me from losing them... what's a girl to do? I remember seeing a bead store downtown, and decided to stop in that very day. The owner of 4th Street Bead in Loveland, CO, Debbie Dzuris was very helpful. I told her what I was looking for and that I had absolutely no experience with creating jewelry. From there I learned about different beads, tools, and techniques, right there in the store. I've always had a love for art. I love to go to art shows, collect art, wear art, and surround myself with artistic things. But I've never really been able to draw or paint or create many artistic things. Learning about different beads provided me with the outlet that I needed. Beads themselves, you see, are works of art. The type that appeal to me are called "trade beads" which have been traded among different cultures for a century or more. By finding a style of beads that excited me, I was able to create my own works of art and create a business that I love. My "studio" is part of our family room, so I can design jewelry with my husband and son close at hand. I received many compliments on that first eyeglass chain. With my entrepreneurial spirit, I could not just say "thank you" and be on my merry way. I had to make more and sell them. I started by sharing a table with a friend at a book fair - book readers tend to wear glasses and often like to wear them around their necks. Then, I brought some in to optical centers and sold them wholesale. Next, I checked into an artist's co-op store. I learned that they jury artists in - i.e., their board votes on your work and decides if you can become a participating artist. I was told they liked my work, and wanted to see more than just eyeglass chains. From there, I ventured into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. My advice to budding artists/craftsperson entrepreneurs is to first find something that excites you. You might stumble upon interesting things in a variety of ways: craft stores, magazines, art fairs,... One great idea is to pick up catalogs that list classes at local colleges and recreation centers. By looking through the class offerings, you might find something that intrigues you (ie, faux painting, calligraphy...). And, not only will you have your idea, but you will also have a way to learn it! Don't expect to learn everything about the craft AND the business overnight. Take classes, subscribe to craft magazines, talk to lots of people. Once you have found a niche (and a product that objective people - ie, not your friends and relatives) show genuine interest in, you will need to make decisions about how you want to sell you wares. Examine trade shows, selling on consignment, selling wholesale, and creating your own customer base and direct marketing to them. You'll soon find that when you get more people involved, the more it will cost you for that "middleman" service. At this point, if you haven't done so already, you will want to apply for your resale license. This will give you the ability to buy your supplies wholesale, saving you money on your hard costs. It will also keep you right with Uncle Sam, as you'll need to collect and pay taxes on what you sell. I always recommend a visit with your local Small Business Development Center, if there is one in your area (call the Chamber and ask). They will give you FREE advice and connect you with the right people to get your business going. They are government-funded, and their purpose is to make sure small business people have the resources they need to be successful. Make a list of questions you have about things like: legal, taxes, accounting, marketing, etc. This will help you avoid costly mistakes. With thanks to Debbie Dzuris and others like her that gave of their time and talents to help me along, I would like to "pay it forward" with mentoring to aspiring work-at-home parents. You can reach me at . If I can answer your questions, I'll be happy to do so! Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 1:43 AM