When I first started to make jewelry I kept my beads in the bags they came in. Of course, I had large bags, small bags, thin bags and Ziploc bags. I did start an inventory tracking system right away using Access but the physical organization was not very user friendly. In addition to using bags, I didn’t group the beads at all and it took time to find particular beads. Behind the scenes were a little chaotic.
Experience and developing a line
As I made more jewelry, I realized my disorganization was costing me a lot of time as well as creativity freedom. I did graduate to using bead boxes with the dividers but I put beads in the next available bead box rather than using some type of grouping. And because of this bead mix within the jewelry boxes, sometimes I would use beads that were close at hand rather than getting the best bead by looking through the growing number of bead boxes.
I thrive and have always thrived on making one of a kind items and I tried various designs and styles. Looking at sales, it was clear that some were more popular than others. In particular a line that featured black, gray, and hints of red became one of my best selling lines. I was finding it increasingly more difficult to design earrings, bracelets, and necklaces all around these colors and the design element of asymmetry when beads were scattered over various jewelry boxes. So I decided to combine all black and gray beads in the same bead boxes and gather all the boxes when I sat down to design more jewelry for that line. It worked so I did the same for blue, purple, green, red, brown, yellow and white. That was one of the best decisions I made for my jewelry making business.
Behind the scenes now
My jewelry business has grown quite a bit and I have focused on making collections and lines. I’ve also noticed that although I need my beads grouped, some color groupings can contain multiple colors. For example:
- black and gray
- red and pink
- white and yellow
- green, blue and purple,
I’ve heard quite a few jewelry designers say they organize at even more detail: by color or material. I have thought about that and realized that because my designs focus on texture, primarily though bead variations and asymmetry, it made more sense to keep my beads randomly within the color group. You will see large ceramic beads, medium sized irregular gemstone beads, and small faceted glass beads all in the same tray side by side.
Do you make jewelry or any other craft? If so, how do you organize your materials? Please share in comments below.