Karissma Yve, CEO / Founder, Gildform
Creating Jewelry in 2020 With a Modernized Jewelry Production Workflow
New Workflow, Who 'dis?!
Ever since Etsy popped we've seen blog after blog, social post after social post, email after email pushing the artistically inclined hobbyists to start a jewelry business. The problem with those blogs and social posts is that they don't tell the whole story. They don't prepare solo designers for the lack of transparent pricing, which makes it tough to stay on top of profit margins. They ignore the long lead times and how difficult it is to get clear communication from traditional manufacturers. They fail to mention the sky-high start-up costs that come with paying separate invoices for design, casting, polishing, and assembly. And the most important thing they forgot is this: all this doom and gloom can be avoided by using advanced tools to modernize your workflow. This post picks up where the rest left off, and by the end, you’ll have all the tools & tips you need to build a winning workflow - ready for the new year. Bringing in the next decade with a modern way to power your jewelry ideas from concept to creation with one simple solution.
With the structure of a defined plan, the creative mind can flourish. Without it, one-of-a-kind jewelry designs or full jewelry collections rarely reach the finish line. A jewelry designers workflow is their roadmap, the path you take to reach your destination. Your goal is that destination, the 'X' that marks the spot. So what do you want? What does jewelry manufacturing success look like for you and your brand? It could look like a restock of your best-selling 70's-inspired signet ring in multiple materials and sizes. Or maybe your brand is known for its' gold affirmation bracelets, and now you want to expand the collection with gold affirmation pendants. No matter your jewelry production goal, putting it on paper makes creating a workflow easier. Once you've got that goal solidified, you can use the '#gildformgoals Worksheet' to keep track of it. There are plenty of project planning templates you can download, but I made this specifically for jewelry designers, brand owners and entrepreneurs (a.k.a You 😁)
Sketching Your Design
Now that you have a vision of the finished product, it’s time to define the design. There are plenty of ways you can complete this step in your workflow, and the best option is the one that allows you to represent what’s in your head in a tangible way. If you’re handy with a pencil and ruler, a detailed sketch may be your answer. If the pencil isn’t your friend, experimenting with the raw materials may be the way to go. For some designers, the simplest way to create a sketch using a collage of different found images to put together the products vision. Honestly, we're not expecting you to be the Leonardo Da Vinci-type. I've been a designer for several years and my sketching ability is not one that I'd say is my most shining skill set. Whatever your case, Da Vinci or not, we can do a lot with a paper-napkin sketch and dimensions. We'll use your sketch to create your design in 3D using CAD (computer-aided design) to create a 3d model of your design. If you’ve got technical design skills and the right software, you can use CAD to create a 3d model of your design.
If you have a cell phone and a WiFi password you can tap in with Gildform’s 3D designers. Send some details on your idea and they’ll turn your jewelry vision into a 3D model while you sleep (or meditate, or whatever it is that you do in your “free” time). No tech skills required.
Printing Your Model
You’ve solidified your design, now the hard work is done. Well, unless you’re planning to do everything by hand. In that case, you’ll be recreating your prototype over and over until you have a full inventory. Not the most efficient or precise option, but hey, “may the odds be ever in your favor.” If you wanna move like a modern jewelry solopreneur (and meet the deadline you set in your production plan), harness the speed and power of 3D printing. Once your CAD jewelry design is complete, it can be exported and used to 3D print 100's of wax models in mere hours. In the past, this would’ve required phone calls and emails and headaches and coordination between you, your CAD designer and your 3d printer. As the founder/CEO of Gildform, I went through that and created Gildform so you wouldn’t have to. It’s the modern jewelry-making tool that puts your entire workflow under one roof. Your 3D designer is your 3D printer and your jewelry manufacturing team. Imagine that.
Lost-Wax Casting, Polishing & Assembly
If you've chosen the traditional jewelry manufacturing process, It'll likely involve lost-wax casting. This means you or your manufacturing partner will need to carve your design into wax, put that wax into a mold that will be burned out, then pour your metals into a cavity in the model to produce your piece. Most consumers like their jewelry with a luxurious shine, so the piece will need to be polished and finished before it's sold.
This method will save you some physical labor compared to the hand-crafting option, but it won't save you much time or anything else really. Even if you're not the one doing it, someone has to carve your design into wax, down to the most minor detail, by hand. This requires patience and a steady hand. If it's done wrong, you'll likely end up with unwearable jewelry. Can you imagine taking a chance on a new manufacturing partner, only for them to spend weeks just trying to get your model right? Or worse, they rush the process and send you products you'd be embarrassed to sell?
Luckily that’s a nightmare you’ll never have to experience. Because of 3D printing, and modern jewelry manufacturing platforms like Gildform, jewelry designers can combine timeless techniques like lost-wax casting (married with high-tech machinery) with advanced tools like CAD and 3D printing. The result is a product that’s exact to your dimensions and specs; minus most of the manual labor, high-costs and long lead times. On top of that, you’ll have a 3D jewelry design that can easily be modified whenever you want to make changes, and recreated whenever you need to restock your digital shelves. Savvy brands like Yu | Mono capitalized on this advantage all 2019. By adding Gildform to their workflow, they were able to reproduce their best-sellers quick and meet the demand of a customer base that had grown by 550%.
Set Your Goals, Choose Your Workflow
Once you’ve nailed down your jewelry production goals and made them Gildform worksheet official, you’ve got a decision to make.
Path number one: hand-crafting every single piece. Uber satisfying for the hobbyist or purist, but borderline impossible to sustain while scaling your business and keeping your sanity. Trust me - I built an entire jewelry brands doing this, stocking my digital shelves and the shelves of brick-and-mortars in 5 different countries and new collections for sale each and every Paris Fashion Week.
Path number two: traditional lost-wax casting, with a low-tech workflow. Much easier on your hands and eyes, about the same when it comes to stress and time - but more complicated when it comes to costs.
Path number three: traditional lost-wax casting with a modern digital workflow (a.k.a. “The Gildform Way”). Control of your workflow, and your supply chain. A CAD designer, 3D printer, caster, polisher and finisher in one easy to use platform. The choice is yours, but if you want productivity, quality, and repeatable success, the choice is clear.
Don't get left behind in the brand boneyard of 2019. I see a bigger, brighter future for you. It's modern, it's sustainable, it's ancient but hella-tech forward. It's a modern digital workflow made for brands who want to scale their current product offering or add a completely new jewelry category to their product line. 2020 has your name, written all over it! We're excited to see what you create next - but first, let's define your goals!
Fill out the form below for the
free #gildformgoals Worksheet
I'd love to review your #gildformgoals sheet with you during a Complimentary Consultation and get you going with a solid action plan for all of 2020. Schedule your Complimentary Consultation Today! Once you schedule it, feel free to send me your #gildformgoals sheet to firstname.lastname@example.org -