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Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Holiday Gift Guide 2020

This year has been unlike any other, and this holiday season may be the make or break time for many small retail businesses. I encourage you to shop handmade, local, and independent artists this season.  When you buy directly from a small business, not only does your dollar have a strong economic impact, the small business owner does a little happy dance. 

That said, here are my picks for 2020, including a featured product that is not made by me, but is from one of my retailers who carries my work:

Gifts for Mountain Lover by Jen Lesea Designs

Starting at $35, my Rocky Mountain-inspired jewelry made in either oxidized silver and 18K gold, copper and sterling silver, or bronze fits any style and budget.  NEW this year is my "winter" mountain series (top right), featuring snow-capped peaks.  One of my newest retailer partners, Harperrose Studios, carries a lot of mountain-inspired handmade art.  One of my favorite artists is Brinkley Messick, whose art can be found on patches, stickers, and hats, making for perfect stocking stuffers.  Call Ann at the gallery to check stock; she is more than happy to ship to you.  Tell her I referred you!

Gifts for Rock Hound by Jen Lesea Designs

Starting at $50, my genuine birthstone necklaces make great gifts for the hard-to-buy-for girl.  If you are looking for a true one-of-a-kind gift, I have plenty of statement pieces for her, or silver and stone bolos for him.  Canova Home, which carries gemstone and onyx lamps (such as this smokey quartz lamp), is much more than a lighting store. Located on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder,  not only do they carry my mountain, radiance, and birthstone jewelry, they have tons of rough and polished gemstones, which make fun gifts for kids (or adults, if you are a stone collector like me!).  If you are not local to Boulder, you can shop online on their website.

Gifts for the sunshine gal by Jen Lesea Designs

Whether she loves the sun and the surf or if she exudes positive energy (or both), my new Radiance Collection is a reminder for her to shine her light to the world.  One thing of many things I love about the national online catalog  Uncommon Goods, is that they celebrate the artist (including me!).  I just love the design of this handmade ceramic mug, which can be found here

Gifts for the art enthusiast by Jen Lesea Designs

My art-deco and geometric-inspired jewelry fits a variety of styles, from tiny stud earrings to bold pendants to rings for women and men.  This collection is crafted from sterling silver, or oxidized sterling silver with 18K gold.  This year I found a store to carry my work in my hometown of Lafayette, Colorado!  If you are in Boulder County, visiting Timbalier Dry Goods is a must: they have one of the best card selections as well as unique, high quality, and reasonably-priced gifts. You will also receive amazing service.  Please tell them I sent you can check out my geometric, mountain, and radiance jewelry assortment in their store.

I hope this gift guide has got your wheels turning.  With holiday art shows being cancelled this year, I hope you shop online or in person at one of my retailers nationwide.  I have a full list of my retail partners on my website.  

Be well and if you have any questions about any of the products I listed, please email me or call me!  

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Buying Jewelry Online: 5 Things You Need to Know

Buying Jewelry Online: 5 Things You Need to Know

More than ever before, online shopping is faster, easier, and (mostly) secure.  With holiday craft shows cancelled and retail stores having limited capacity, you can shop for jewelry and other holiday gifts from the comfort of your home.  Here are five things to help you feel more confident when buying jewelry online:

  1. Set a Budget.  Make a list of who you want to buy for and the budget for each gift.  Be sure to leave a little room for sales tax and shipping charges, as these are often additional.
  2. Do Your Homework.  Perhaps you want to gift your daughter-in-law a jewelry, but aren't sure of her style.  A little research on photos posted on social media will give clues to her style (dainty vs. statement) or preferred metal type (silver vs. gold).  If social media isn't your thing, a quick call to a relative or friend will help with clues so that you gift the perfect piece of jewelry for her (or him).
  3. Do More Homework.  Now that you have an idea on what you want to spend and the style of jewelry, start to research websites.  Make sure they have a secure website (https:// vs. http://) and order processing times.  Also, see if they have special offers (i.e. free shipping) and a written exchange/return policy.
  4. Be Selective.  To take the last suggestion a step further, shop with businesses that align with your core values.  Is shopping local important?  What about women-owned or BIPOC-owned businesses?  Is a business that is eco-friendly or that gives back important to you?  Businesses will have their values on their About page or Core Values page.
  5. Know Your Shipping Deadlines:  Whether the jewelry is shipping USPSFedEx, or UPS, it's critical to know that you (or the recipient) will receive your purchases on time.  Be sure to consider order processing times as additional time to shipping.  

If you have any questions about how to shop for jewelry online, be sure to drop us a note or give us a call!  We answer all messages within 1 business day. 

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2020 Metal Markets and the Impact on the Jewelry Industry

2020 Metal Markets and the Impact on the Jewelry Industry

This year has been a wild ride, and the metal markets are no exception.  We started the year with silver being around $18/oz, and gold being just over $1500/oz.  As you can see from the graph below, there was a sharp dip when we learned about COVID-19, and since then, the prices have increased, spiking in July.  This summer, at its highest, we saw approximately a 60% increase in the cost of silver, and 30% increase in gold.


Silver price historyGold price history

A lot of factors determine the daily prices in silver and gold, and are mainly driven by supply and demand.  Political situations, economic conditions, and time of year also play a role.  Right now metal markets seem to be relatively stable; it will be interesting to see what happens in early November (election time) through the holiday season.

So, what does this mean for small business jewelers such as myself?  We tend to watch the markets and try to time when to buy our materials at a lower cost, but sometimes we are forced to "buy high" when supply is short.  I can only speak from my experience, but the increasing metal markets and have greatly affected my profit margins, which is another hit on top of the cancellation of 26 out of 30 of my art shows.  

I am trying to ride this out the best I can and keep my pricing the same until the end of the year, as a price adjustment will be necessary for 2021 and I don't want to increase my prices twice within a span of a few months.  Currently my 2020 prices were set with silver at about $20/oz and gold at $1600/oz.  I am hoping that the current prices stay relatively consistent (silver: $24/oz and gold $1900/oz) through the end of the year. 

I share this information with you because it's important to know, as a consumer, the value in precious metal jewelry and the factors of my online promotions.  Unfortunately, sterling silver and gold are no longer "cheap", but the investment in jewelry with these quality materials will withstand the test of time and when properly taken care of, will last generations.  

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Will The Show Go On? The Future of Art Shows

Will The Show Go On? The Future of Art Shows

2020 was supposed to be my breakout year; I had HUGE plans in regards to expanding my business with art shows and wholesale.  I, like thousands of artists who rely on art shows for most of their income, got the proverbial rug pulled out from under me on March 13, 2020 as our country cancelled thousands of public events to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  I had 29 art shows scheduled for 2020:  3 of which I did before March and currently I have 4 that are set to go in August and September.  As of now that will be 7 shows for 2020, a 76% decrease.

I have done a pretty good job hanging on; Jen Lesea Designs is my livelihood and the only source of income for my family and me, so shutting down the business never crossed my mind, because its what I've done for the past decade.  I quickly pivoted to increasing online sales, and now wholesale is slowly coming back. As far art shows...I love doing art shows; it's where I have met most of my customers!  

So the question is: what is the future of art shows?  How will the show go on?

Breckenridge Main Street Art Festival, held outdoors August 6-8 in Breckenridge, CO, is scheduled to happen.  It will be my first art show in 5 months.  This juried fine art show will be one of the first to occur in Colorado.  Here are the modifications and safety measures that are set by the show director:

  • Booths will be spread out 10 feet apart reducing number of booths to about 35 at each Main Street Station and The Village. 
  • We request that artists adjust booth layout to allow for people to easily pass through. For example, open a wall and utilize outside walls when possible
  • Face masks are required to be worn by participants and patrons
    • This is a requirement for all businesses in town as well 
  • Limit the number of patrons in booth at a time when possible
  • Traffic flow to be directed one way when possible
  • No live music to prevent groups from gathering
  • Kid area canceled
  • Each booth will have a sign displayed with social distancing requirements: 
    • Encourage only 1 person in booth at a time 
    • Mark 6 feet in front of booths 
    • Wear masks while in booth
    • Wear gloves/use sanitizer if handling art- glass, ceramics, etc 
    • Prefer credit card- discourage cash handling 
  • Signs throughout event encouraging face masks, social distancing, wash hands often, and stay home if feeling ill
  • Stations throughout event with hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks for the public
  • Volunteers throughout event encouraging social distancing and wearing masks
  • Each booth will have hand sanitizer
  • Paper programs will not be provided this year. We will utilize QR codes on signs and advertising for layout maps and show information for patrons

Here are the additional measures I will do:

  • Have a UV sanitizer to sanitize all jewelry after handling
  • Install a sneeze guard in the middle section of my booth
  • Most jewelry will be behind glass
  • For payment, have customer put credit card into chip reader on a tray, no signature required.  Sanitize chip reader and tray after each use

I know this is a lot of information, but I want you to know what's being done to have art shows continue and that you feel safe attending.  Art shows are good for the city, good for the patrons, and good for the artists!  If you have ever been to a juried art show, you can just feel the good vibes.  This is one of the reasons why I love to do them!  

You can view my show schedule and see where I will be in the late summer.  I hope to see you soon and give you an "air hug"!  

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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Its the beginning of June, and I was scheduled to write about my Father's Day Gift Guide but I can't...I can't go about my business as usual because these are not usual times.

I have been sitting quiet since the murder of George Floyd, trying to process my emotions and trying to find the words to express myself.  I am afraid whatever I say may come off as trite or stupid.  As a highly sensitive person and empath, the flood of images on social media and the news weighs beyond heavy on my heart and soul.  

It feels awkward writing on my business platform about something other than jewelry, but its important to me that you know where I stand. While I may not understand, I stand with blacks, and all people of color, against racism.  I am taking time to listen, to learn, to read, and to donate.

This morning I asked myself, "what is the one thing I can do to every day to listen, to learn, to support, to be the change I want to see in this world?"  I will begin with resources, reading, listening to my black friends and colleagues, donating to various organizations, and giving social media shout-outs in my Instagram stories and Facebook page to black artists.  I will continue with small steps of daily action of positive impact against racism.  

If we each take action, even if its small, consistent baby steps, we will change the world for the better.

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Mother's Day Gift Guide 2020

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2020

Mother's Day is less than a month away and most of us are going to be shopping online for gifts for the special moms in our lives.  It is my hope that my Mother's Day gift guide gives you some direction.  If you decide to purchase Jen Lesea Designs Jewelry for Mother's Day, please know that I am here to answer and questions you may have.  I am just a phone call or email away and will respond within 24 hours.  

Here are my top picks for 2020!

For the Outdoorsy Mom: So she can keep the mountains close to her, wherever she may be, consider this oxidized sterling silver mountain necklace with an 18K gold moon:

Mountain Necklace

For the Corporate Mom:  Whether is she is attending a meeting in person or virtually through Zoom, its important she makes a statement without distraction.  Check out any of these sterling silver pieces from our geometric collection:

Circle Necklaces Circle Earrings Sterling Silver

For the Minimalist Mom: If the special mom in your life is too busy to worry about accessorizing yet appreciates dainty jewelry that can be worn everyday, consider a birthstone necklace or stud earrings:

Birthstone Necklace

For the Artsy Mom:  If you have a special mom in your life that wears jewelry like no other and loves finely crafted art, then you can't go wrong with these Tahitian pearl pieces or these feather-light 14K gold and sterling silver Blue Topaz Earrings.

Gemstone jewelry Pearl necklace Pearl Ring

I am also available for custom orders! I have literally hundreds of stones waiting to made into something unique!  If you are interested in working with me to create something awesome for mom, please contact me by May 1!  Here's to celebrating mom! 

 

 

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Virtual Meeting Fashion Part 1: Earrings

Virtual Meeting Fashion Part 1: Earrings

During this pandemic of COVID-19, most of us are staying at home and relying on video conferencing for work meeting, happy hours, exercise instruction, and dance parties.  Below is a list of suggested earrings for each video conference appointment:

Stud earrings Jen Lesea designs

Or, if you prefer dangle earrings that make a statement, stick with something shorter with a unique design, such as these silver hoop drop earrings:

Hoop Drop Earrings Silver Jen Lesea Designs

  • Virtual fitness classes: Since we can't be exercising outdoors to the extent we want to be (i.e. National Parks and U.S. Forest Recreational areas are closed), feel connected to the beauty of the mountains with these mountain stud earrings or copper mountain dangle earrings during a zoom yoga or strength class: 
Mountain Stud Earrings Jen Lesea Designs

Copper Mountain earrings Jen Lesea Designs
  • Virtual Happy Hour and other Social Gatherings:  HERE is where anything goes! What the heck, wear earrings that make a statement and spark conversation, or ones that make you feel confident and happy.  My personal favorites are the Blue Topaz and 14K Gold earrings (great sparkle) and the Silver Hoop Earrings (great movement):
blue Topaz and gold earrings Jen Lesea Designs

Silver Hoop earrings Jen Lesea Designs
Stay tuned for Part 2: "Bling and Video Conferencing: What your Necklaces Say About You" in a few weeks! Stay well, be safe, and remember jewelry is meant to be worn, even if that means we are at home!  

 

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The Color of 2020: Classic Blue

The Color of 2020: Classic Blue

Last month, the Pantone Color Institute named Classic Blue as the color of the year.  This shade of blue is akin to the sky at dusk, just before evening falls.  Pantone selects the color of the year based not only on trends in fashion but also what is happening globally. 

According to the Pantone Color Institute, "it recognized similar feelings [as in 1999] of instability gripping the world today, from the United States to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Syria and across the globe. It settled on a shade that offers the reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu."

Personally, this is my favorite color; I even had my first car, a 1973 Toyota Celica, custom painted this shade of blue!  It is also a great excuse for me to create more one-of-a-kind pieces with blue sapphires, London blue topaz, and lapis.  Here are a couple classic blue-inspired sapphire necklaces that are currently in stock:

Sapphire PendantSapphire birthstone necklaces

Stay tuned for more Jen Lesea Designs Classic Blue-inspired jewelry!  It is my intention that seeing this color instills a feeling of calm for you.  

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Hello 2020!

Hello 2020!

I am so excited for a new year and, a new decade!  At the beginning of 2010, I was working 7 (yes, 7) part-time jobs to make ends meet.  I closed 2019 with my best year to date for Jen Lesea Designs.  A lot can happen in a decade; a lot of living and working was done which included, but not limited to, retiring from my fitness career, focusing on my jewelry business full-time, receiving a shocking diagnosis of hip dysplasia, undergoing 2 major hip surgeries which included 6 pelvic fractures, 6 screws in my hips, 6 months on crutches, and learning how to walk again, creating my own studio so I have a private place to work, acquiring new friends, pursuing new travels, and getting new fur-babies. Whew!  Thank you for being part of my journey: in my business and/or personal life.  I am grateful.

So, with that blast of a recap on the past decade, I am happy to share what I have planned for 2020 and beyond:

  • Release my new "Radiant" collection in summer 2020.
  • Expand my wholesale business so my jewelry can be sold in more stores and galleries nationwide
  • Expand my on-line offerings 
  • Decrease the number of live events, yet sticking with my tried-and-true shows 
  • Expand my public relations outreach

I am dedicated to continuing the following: 

One of my favorite things about being a jewelry artist is the people I connect with, and I hope to see or hear from you in 2020!  As always, I am just an email or phone call away so if you have any questions or jewelry needs, please contact me!

Wishing you health, joy, and peace in 2020!

 

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Traveling with Jewelry: Care and Tips

Traveling with Jewelry: Care and Tips

I don't think I know a single woman who has packed jewelry for a trip, only to find  necklaces a tangled mess.  Or have you found yourself wondering, "Where is the match to my favorite earring?" Only to find it in your shoe, or hooked on a bra...(yes, I'm guilty).

I know a lot of you will be traveling this month for the holidays, so here are my top 3 tips for jewelry care on the road.  For more tips, you can download and print my full Jewelry Travel Care Guide for free!  

1. Take a photo of what you will be bringing.  This digital inventory will remind you what you brought so when you pack for your return trip, you will not leave anything behind!

2. Store rings and earrings in a 7-day pill box to keep them organized.  The trick is to remember to put them back after wearing!

storing rings and earrings

3.  Prevent necklace tangling by storing necklaces in a small zip baggie with ends hanging out.  Storing silver jewelry this way will help prevent tarnishing.

storing necklace chains

Or, use a paper straw (not plastic!) for thin-chain necklaces:

storing necklaces

Last but not least, if you take care of your jewelry, it will last!  Never swim in jewelry (chlorine, sulfur, and seawater can react with metals), avoid sleeping, showering, or exercising while wearing jewelry, and clean as needed.  For more tips and specifics on care, download my jewelry travel care guide today!

Happy trails and wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

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