“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.”
~ Bill Hicks
I’ve never heard of Bill Hicks, but I believe his statement is true. At least that’s what I’ve found in my life so far.
Last week I shared an overview of my entrepreneurial journey. This week, I want to show you a bit of the evolution of Fabled Treasures.
How did I get from where I started to where I am now?
“A more interesting life is usually a more crooked, winding path of missteps, luck and vigorous work. It is almost always a clumsy balance between the things you try to make happen and the things that happen to you.”
~ Tom Freston
Looking from the outside, it often seems that another’s path is quick and straight to their desired goal. When you get to see behind the scenes, you find that’s rarely true. More often than not, the “straight and quick” path is but a short segment of a much longer, winding journey.
If you haven’t followed Fabled Treasures from the beginning, you may think that what you see now is what has always been. It isn’t. Not by a long shot.
Fabled Treasures initially only offered arm knitted scarves.
I discovered arm knitting in February of 2015. Shortly thereafter, a lady stopped me in a grocery store parking lot to ask where I got my scarf. When I told her I’d made it, she wanted to buy one from me.
That interaction gave me the shove I needed to officially begin a new business.
Starting a new business takes time. Starting a new handmade business takes a long time. When I’d finalized the three types of scarves I’d offer, a month and a half had passed. Mid-March to early April is not the ideal time to launch a winter accessories business.
What to do?
It was time for the first stage of evolution.
I decided knitted jewelry might be cool and bought some small double pointed needles so I could experiment with i-cord.
(Fun fact: I-cord stands for “idiot cord” which is what the inventor called it because she said it was so easy any idiot could do it.)
I-cord made a interesting “chain” for necklaces and bracelets. Combining multiple fibers and knitting thicker or thinner cord created variations which were suited to different styles of jewelry. For example, the bracelet pictured is knitted from a combination of hemp and embroidery floss. That combination creates a nautical vibe perfectly suited for embellishing with anchors, boats, sea creatures, and the like.
- Unique? Check.
- Easy? Yep.
- Fast? Nope.
And that was a problem.
If a typical handcrafted business is going to be profitable, product creation can’t take forever.
I saw two options: knit faster or create a different product.
I searched for and found techniques to improve my knitting speed, but they didn’t make enough of a difference. I was a complete knitting beginner. More speed would come with practice over time, which was something I didn’t have.
That meant I needed to find a different product to create.
I really can’t remember why I decided to try making beaded jewelry. I do know why I chose nylon thread instead of a traditional chain. I had bought several cones of nylon thread for making knitted jewelry.
Use what you have, right? That’s my philosophy, anyway. And I didn’t have much money for new supplies. 🙂
Once again, I found the chutzpah to create without any experience on which to draw.
I’d never done any beading, but I knew I didn’t want to make the standard beaded necklace style where the beads completely circle the neck. My preference leans toward simple necklaces with focal beads and accents. So I figured out how to create that kind of design in my pieces, and May found me creating beaded jewelry to sell at craft fairs and other events.
Feedback was good, and I could create these pieces much faster than I could the knitted jewelry. I could also easily make sets with a necklace, bracelet, and earrings.
A few custom orders came in, and I used profits to buy more beads and charms. A favorite design was the rose set pictured. The rose is actually a fancy button, but it makes a beautiful focal piece.
With positive feedback and custom orders, you’d think I’d found my niche. But that’s just not me.
I’m always trying new things and exploring fresh ideas. It’s part of my DNA, I think.
Although I enjoyed making sparkling pretties, I continued to experiment. My next evolution happened in July – I discovered that I have a knack for shaping wire. It is, in fact, easier for me to create recognizable shapes from wire than it is for me to draw them. That discovery led to the creation of wire wrapped pendants and charms, like the horse necklace on the right.
From there, one thing led to another.
- August, 2015: I purchased a hand stamping set and progressed to personalized metal jewelry and accessories.
- November, 2015: I discovered sheet metal and improved the quality and durability of my pieces.
- December, 2015: At my request, my husband gave me an electric engraver for Christmas, enabling me to add engraving to my skill set. My first engraved pieces are part of the Sweetheart Collection.
- December, 2015: I purchased a jeweler’s saw so I could create my own charm designs.
- January, 2016: I bought titanium drill bits that allow me to drill holes in my pieces anywhere I need, enabling me to make my own charms and pendants.
- January, 2016: I heard about alcohol inks and experimented with adding color to metal.
- February, 2016: I found I could use my engraving bits to finish metal so that it sparkled. The Fairy Tale Collection featured several pieces with this finish.
- February, 2016: I got soldering equipment, which enabled me to create mixed metal pieces and more complex jewelry.
- June, 2016: I finally found the courage to try soldering and created the Storybook Tales Collection from sterling silver, copper, and brass.
- January, 2017: I learned how to flush set stones and created the Close in Heart Collection launching any day now (or, as some friends would say, #soon).
This journey isn’t anywhere near over.
In fact, I’m just getting started. I plan to learn several new skills this year, including bezel setting and tube setting stones. I’m a bit scared of trying those, but the thought of soldering intimidated me at first, too. So did using a jeweler’s saw, drilling and even flush setting. Now I love working sawing, soldering, and flush setting. I’m sure I’ll become comfortable with the new skills, too.
Future plans include adding gold, other precious metals, and jewels. It may take me a while, but I plan to one day make my own mokume gane, with which I fell in love.
Since I will continue to experiment, there’s no telling what Fabled Treasures will look like in another year. But wherever this journey takes me, I know it’s going to be fun. I hope you’ll join me as I creatively evolve.
What has been your journey over time?
Life is all about change. I’d love to hear about progress you’ve made, whether it’s creative or personal. Share a bit of your journey in the comments, or feel free to contact me to share privately.