March is National Craft Month, a time to explore the arts we’re passionate about. At Stuller, it’s an ideal time to celebrate the craftsmen who built the jewelry industry over centuries, using only the most basic tools. These goldsmiths, lapidaries, engravers, designers, and other jewelry artisans developed techniques that are still practiced today.
Like most trades that involve skilled hand work, the jewelry industry is full of second- and third-generation jewelers — some with even longer legacies. Stuller is proud to have many such craftsmen in house helping to improve our business every day.
Here are some ways to take advantage of the buzz around National Craft Month for your own jewelry business.
Share the Craft
The Hobby Industry Association (now the Association for Creative Industries) started National Craft Month in 1994 to encourage creativity. More than 25 years later, it is still thriving and has become an opportunity for us to learn new crafts, return to ones we’ve enjoyed in the past, and share our skills with others. It’s an ideal time to start teaching a child or teen age-appropriate jewelry skills, to pass down those centuries of knowledge and start building the next generation of craftsmen. Along with marketable skills that could lead to a potential career and the joy of a fun pastime, sharing a craft means sharing the many health benefits attributed to crafting.
There’s a growing trend in marketing toward storytelling, especially when marketing to millennials, who are said to value pieces with a story. Sharing the techniques and background behind handcrafted pieces helps customers connect with them better. Take full advantage of National Craft Month by inviting bench jewelers, lapidaries, engravers, and other artisans you work with or who live in your area to demonstrate their skills at your store. Have contests, trunk shows, and other in-store events and promotions to build relationships with the community throughout March.
Tools of Our Trade
One trait that craftspeople share is a love of tools. While our hands are our most important tools, hammers, files, and other hand tools are essential to craftspeople, especially ones who still practice traditional techniques. Most bench jewelers combine the old and the new into an efficient operation, the best of both worlds. If your shop has gone primarily high-tech, why not explore some old-school tools and techniques this month? You might be surprised at how doing a familiar task in a new way can spark your creativity.
Practice Other Crafts with Stuller
Sure, we deal with laser welders and high-tech jewelry equipment. But we know there’s just as great a need for the other jewelry tools and supplies used by bench jewelers and other craftsmen. Where would pearl strands be without bead stringing and knotting tools? How could ring bands be cut and sized without saws and saw blades? Remember the humble beginnings of the jewelry industry this month and practice your craft!
What are the must-have items on your list for crafting? Let us know in the comments below!