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What's New for 2021

What's New for 2021

Happy New Year! Now that I know that my business can survive a pandemic, I am so excited for start a new year with less stress.  I am in the midst of planning for 2021, which includes the possibility of live events happening again; I have missed seeing all my customers in person!  I know live events can be held outdoors in a safe manner, (I did 3 of them in late summer/fall) so hopefully soon my Events page will be back on my website with my upcoming events.

In addition to live events, here is what I have in store for this year:

  • Updated logo.  As my designs evolve, so does my branding.  My logo was in need of a refresh: I wanted a more modern, universal look which encompasses all of my collections.  Hence, my graphic was made smaller and now there is a larger focus on my name:

Jen Lesea Designs new logo

  • Updated packaging.  As much as I loved  the design of my fancy gift boxes, the foam inserts were not recyclable and this really bothered me. Now that I have used all my old boxes, I found a box manufacturer in Michigan (!) and will be getting boxes that are 100% made from recycled content that you can use for other gifting needs. The paper wrap which will slide over the box will have my logo and that can be recycled.  I am also looking into branded jewelry pouches so your Jen Lesea Designs jewelry can be stored safely for years to come! Here is picture of samples of what I want (photo by Michigan City Paper Company):

Gift boxes

  • New Collection.  This has been on my mind since last summer, and my recent time in Hawaii has inspired a new collection, which I hope to have released by summer.  Here is one of my favorite pictures sparking inspiration:

Hawaii

  • FAQ Page. Here is where I need your help: please message me any questions you may have about my jewelry (including care, etc.) and I will create this page which will be posted on my website.
  • More Video.  I really don't like recording myself, but I see it as the easiest way for me to connect with you, and with practice, I hope to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. With video, I better share my story, which includes my "why", my process, and my inspiration.  If you aren't following me on social media, you can do so on Facebook and Instagram (@jenleseadesigns) in order to catch my FB and IG live videos.
  • Raffles/Giveaways. If you follow me on social media and are part of my Insider's Club, you'll be able to win my jewelry at zero or very little cost (i.e. raffle ticket).  More details to follow; be sure you add my email address (jennifer@jenleseadesigns.com) to your safe contacts list so my emails don't go in your spam folder!

What else would you like to see: a studio tour?  My process?  More fur baby photos?  Let me know!  

Wishing you good health and happiness in 2021.  I hope to see you soon!  

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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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2019 Jen Lesea Designs Holiday Gift Guide

2019 Jen Lesea Designs Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season of cheer...and being bombarded with ads of what to buy for those most special to you.  Its my wish for you that this season you can shop stress-free, in the comfort of your own home, while still supporting independent artists and handmade.  In fact, I am going to go a step further to make holiday shopping easy and convenient:  I am offering a complimentary service of being your personal  holiday concierge. All you need to do is email me your list and budget for each person, and I will reply with suggestions from my jewelry line.  You can call me with any questions as well! Then you just add to cart, pay and they will ship in beautiful gift boxes, ready for gifting!  In the meantime, check out my top picks for holiday gifts!

GIFTS FOR HER: 

birthstone necklace Mountain jewelry  silver earrings

GIFTS FOR HIM:

Mountain pin Money clips  tie bar

GIFTS UNDER $50:

Personalized jewelry bronze mountain pendant  stacking rings

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK: 

(Mountain jewelry online sales has a portion of proceeds going to the National Park Foundation to help preserve out national parks)

Silver mountain jewelry mountain necklaces  Mountain jewelry for hikers

If you have any questions, PLEASE drop me an email or call me; I pride myself in awesome customer service!  Wishing you the best holiday season!

 

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Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art shows across the country enable artists to earn a living selling their art, and for patrons, to buy art that may not be readily available online or through retail stores and galleries.  After doing over 300 juried art shows the past 10 years, I thought it was time to provide a simple etiquette guide for attendees and artists to make art shows enjoyable for all!

Attendees: 

  • DO ask about the artist's story and process.  We all have a unique story, process, and inspiration behind our art.
  • DO ask if its ok to touch art and/or take pictures.  Many artists do not allow photography of art.
  • DO follow your favorite artists on social media (if you engage with social media).  It is a great way to keep track of what we are up to on a daily basis!
  • DON'T let your children touch art.  This can increase risk of damage and/or breakage of art and displays, which you may be held liable.
  • DON'T bring your dogs to an art show if the weather is above 80 degrees and the location is on concrete and/or sidewalks.  Dog's paws can burn and its very upsetting to witness this, and painful for your furry friend!
  • DON'T bargain our prices.  Art shows is a way many artists earn a full-time living.  Please honor the artists' pricing, as I believe many of us are offering our best price.  That said, some artists will do a quantity or a set discount, so if you are buying multiple pieces, it doesn't hurt to politely ask.

Artists:

  • DO smile and greet every person that comes into your booth.  You don't have to do a hard sell,  just let them know you are there to be of assistance.
  • DO have a sign up sheet so your fans can provide their email so you can let them know where you will be next, and any future promotions you may be offering (i.e. free shipping for holiday).
  • DO get to know your customer.  If you have a patron who is interested in a piece of art, ask them questions. In general, most people love friendly conversation. I can't tell you how many times people have bought from me over another artist because I was friendly and helpful.
  • DON'T have your head buried in your cell phone to the point where you aren't aware who is in your booth.  That gives the message you are disinterested and disconnected from the show. 
  • DON'T complain when you are in your booth; even if a show is slow, you never know who may be listening.  Negative talk spreads like a cancer, best not to engage.
  • DON'T have flimsy weights for your tent.  Cinder blocks, 1-gallon water jugs, and similar items are not only unprofessional, but pose a hazard to patrons and surrounding artists should inclement weather occur.  Standard is 40 pounds per leg, some art shows require minimum 50 pounds per leg, and a few require 100 pounds per leg. 

What is your favorite art show to attend or participate in?  Be sure to follow them on social media and thank the show director, staff, and volunteers!  Its unusual and fun (and sometimes really hard) way to make a living but I wouldn't have it any other way!  I hope to see you at one of my future events!  

 

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How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

One of the most common questions I get is how to clean sterling silver jewelry, particularly if there are stones.  Sterling silver jewelry can tarnish over time, which is due to the oxidation of the alloy in silver (usually that alloy is copper).  Since many stones may be damaged in commercial sterling silver cleaner solutions, I suggest these three alternative ways to clean your sterling silver jewelry:

  1. Simple silver polishing cloth:  If the piece of jewelry is smooth and the jewelry pieces has stones, you can take a simple silver polishing cloth and rub gently in a back and forth motion to remove tarnish.  Be sure to avoid using the polishing cloth over the stone. The downfall is that your hands may blacken and you will need to clean up!  Silver polishing cloths can be purchased through Amazon or Target.
  2. Baking soda: For textured silver, put a dab of baking soda on a soft bristle toothbrush, add a bit of water to make a paste and brush gently on the silver (avoiding brushing stones). Rinse under lukewarm water and dry with a soft, clean, lint-free cotton cloth.  Avoid paper towels or tissues as they can scratch the silver.
  3. Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and water:  For sterling silver chains and for heavy tarnished silver jewelry that do not have stones, you can use this environmentally-friendly cleaning solution:  in a bowl or baking dish, line with aluminum foil (shiny side up), place silver jewelry on foil, add boiling water until pieces are covered and then add 2 tbsp. baking soda and 2 tbsp. salt, stir until dissolved. Wait 5-10 minutes, and pull jewelry out with salad tongs and put in colander to rinse.  *Note: there will be a sulfur/rotten egg smell.  Rinse jewelry with lukewarm water, and then dry with a clean, soft, lint free cloth.   

To prevent your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing in the future, store each jewelry piece in ziplock plastic baggies.  The airtight seal will prevent the oxidation reaction from happening and will slow down tarnishing.

One last note:  Silver plated, silver-filled, fine silver, and other silver-like metals such as argentium may have different needs for care and cleaning.  Be sure to consult with a professional jeweler on proper care of these metals.

 

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