As you probably know, I launched my online shop in September last year, and since then I’ve been hard at work scrutinizing, changing, and building my one-person eponymous jewelry business, Olivia Shih. It’s been a bit of an identity struggle, especially since I went to art school with the intention of becoming a jewelry designer and graduated from art school as a bright-eyed jewelry artist, invested in thorny subjects like gender issues and alternative jewelry materials such as reclaimed plastic.
After graduation, I found myself struggling to reconcile the gap between “real life” and “making a living off of my art.” Like any sensible, aspiring artist, I hunkered down and found two-part time jobs.
With two part-time jobs and my own jewelry business, I was too busy to stop and consider exactly who I was becoming. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I could see myself as a creative entrepreneur—someone who handles all aspects of her creative business, from designing to making to marketing to accounting. The truth is, the well-trodden career paths for artists and jewelers simply don't cut it anymore; as essayist William Dereseriwicz puts it: the birth of the creative entrepreneur has been the death of the solitary, genius artist. And so cultivating the skills to run my jewelry and art business has become incredibly important to me.
Left: Vinyl banner for craft and art shows.
Right: The beginnings of my wholesale catalogue.
So here's my challenge to myself: I want to invest time everyday into learning about how to run a business and into building eficient business processes the first time around. If you're also amid the chaos of starting a small jewelry business, I would love to get coffee with you and brainstorm!