There are many advantages to having your own business, particularly one where you are your own boss. Jewellery is one of them. You design, you source, you sell, all on your own merits. And that's just great, however, sometimes you just feel a bit lonely. What should you charge? is this any good? where can I find blastically pelmuts?
And this is where the internet is just the most wonderful thing. You can find your sources, you can get ideas but best of all you can find yourself some cyber friends.
If you belong to Etsy, then do go have a look for a team, they 'can' be amazing. For example the lovely team I belong to (in fact I belong to many but to be honest only really keep up with this one) 'metalclayheads', is just a joy to belong to.
Over the time I have belonged, tips have been shared from kiln firing times, making rings, how to use different types of clay, how to set stones etc. The best suppliers for the different elements needed have been shared - imagine how much time that saves. When something really interesting happens in the clay area, someone there is on it and posting the link. For example when silver prices sky rocketed last year, it was from the team that most of the information came. They share stories, and advice, what you need, how to go about doing a show, or doing a jewellery party at home.
There are charity events, at the moment everyone is on the case of making a charm for a charm bracelet to be auctioned in aid of amnesty international. Imagine - people from all over the world, all with different skills levels and different backgrounds and interests, all sending an item of value to one person who will sort the whole thing out.
They have a blog, and many of the members have taken roles and write articles for specific areas - imagine the advantages of that? You have your own blog and some followers, great, but you belong to a large blog and then you have a much larger audience, the possible knock on effect is brilliant, and all it takes is a little time out of your working week.
I live in the UK, we are way behind on many of the techniques / supplies that emerge in the clay world. Something has just been discovered to be a really useful thing to use, but we can't get it over here, so what happens? a whole pile of the lovely team members offer to send some over to the UK.
So, as you can see, although it can seem very lonely, you can find people to connect with, it is maybe not likely you have people in the same road as you, and often not even in the same town, but get on the internet and hey presto you can find many who will fit the profile you are looking for at your fingertips. The amazing thing about the internet is that they could well be thousands and thousands of miles away but they will be with you in your living room whenever you choose to invite them in, you just have to connect.
If you are on etsy, it is easy enough to find a 'team'. Personally I don't bother with juried teams, I find them a little bit... well let’s just say I don’t bother with them. But just do a search for whatever it is you make in the teams section. If you aren’t on etsy I have found loads of forums that seem very active and everyone seems to know each other. So the next time you are sitting at your computer wondering why you bother and wishing you had someone who understood to talk to, do take the plunge if you haven’t already, I really don’t know what I would have done without the lovely ladies (and Lego) who belong to the team I am proud to belong to.