Marketing makes me extremely uncomfortable. Ever since writing a paper on marketing and it’s insidious manipulation in shopping malls for some core program at the Evergreen State College in ’91 or so I have eschewed a materialistic lifestyle. Reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition in which the protagonist cuts the labels from all of her clothing to avoid associations with brands doubled down on my chosen personal values.
Enter the dilemma of owning my retail store, JayWalk, in the mid 2000’s. The push for people to ‘Shop Local’ was beginning, much to my delight, because that felt more about community than self-promotion to put my efforts into joint advertising instead of trying to holler to the masses by myself. I even got a business association up and running in the neighborhood along with some great friends and fellow entrepreneurs. Harnessing the power of a collective was empowering, and the ensuing support and recognition by the residents of and visitors to our neighborhood was encouraging.
Well, now I’ve really gone and done it by creating a line of jewelry that I have to sell. What the hell. I didn’t sit around a few years ago wondering how I could make money and then, in an ‘A-ha!’ moment think I’d make jewelry. I just got interested in jewelry making back in 2000 and kept taking class upon class. In fact, in 2016 when I turned my torch on for the first time in almost ten years, I was making my living as a nanny! I had just moved out of my now-ex-husband’s place and needed a reason to keep all the jewelry tools I’d been lugging around with me for years and years, so I gave myself an ultimatum: use them, or get rid of them.
Lighting that torch up was the spark of badassery I needed in those early months of separation. I was remembering that I had skills once upon a time, skills and knowledge that had taken me years to amass. Something that was all mine, not something that had to be shared or equally divided. Within a couple of months I came up with enough designs to approach a store- granted one owned by a friend of mine- to see if my jewelry might be sold there. My friend said yes. And the very next store? Well boy howdy it was the Seattle Art Museum Shop.
Thus began this quest to make a living doing something that I love to do which, unfortunately, involves learning to market my product. In this day and age that also mean’s marketing me because I’m the designer and the maker. Thus, I’m writing blog posts such as this hoping that you’ll get to know me, get to see that I’m not selling you a lifestyle. I want you to wear my jewelry while living YOUR life. You incredible, fascinating people who need no direction from me... even if I am your elder!
p.s. bring back italics. There’s far too much uppercase caps lock going on these days. Now that is a direction I don't mind meting out!