Post Christmas Sale Thoughts

Every year, the Silversmithing and Jewellery department hosts a Christmas sale. We’d have a week in November called Workshop Week, and that’s the week all tutorials, projects and help from our tutors and workshop technicians get suspended, and everyone buckles down to make their sale pieces. I dread the 2 weeks leading up to this week because I always have trouble thinking of what to make.

This year, each of us had to make £300 worth of jewellery. And to decide to make x number of the same design is slightly terrifying. What if it doesn’t sell well? What if no one buys any at all? What would I do with the remaining stock? How much is too much to charge? How would my design ever be able to compete with the 50 other designs on sale? So. Many. Questions.

Maybe it’s also a once bitten, twice shy kind of thing. I didn’t do very well the first year I did it, and I completely missed the sale the second year I was meant to do it (thank you, Bezalel for accepting me as an exchange student). So I went into this knowing full well it may completely backfire, and none would be sold. And I told a friend, ‘I just want to sell enough to cover the costs, and then I’m good. Not expecting anything more.’

But of course, deep down, I wanted to sell more than just that. I wanted to have majority of the pieces sold. If possible, I wanted to sell everything! But it was a secret desire, and for some reason, I was embarrassed for desiring that. So much so I probably only prayed it in the privacy of my shower.

Jesus is good, and He really did come through for me. Here are a couple of stories that happened for real.

C is my driving instructor, and we talk about random things in the car as I’m driving. He suddenly said during one of our lessons, ‘how much did you say your necklaces are again? I’d like to get one for my wife this christmas.’

‘Don’t you want to see the necklace before you even decide buy it?’

’Nah, it’s fine, I trust your taste.’

He did eventually buy the necklace, and even then, I had to ask him to open the box to check it before taking the money. Still don’t know what to think about the whole exchange, but he liked what he saw, and I hope his wife does too!

Ps. (updating 2 weeks after passing it to him) He told me he saw his wife wearing it a couple of times. The first time she did, she went up to him asking if he noticed she was wearing anything new! So so thankful it’s being worn! And relieved, because my taste has been validated in some ways.

Early on in the sale, a pal, messaged me asking if there were any necklaces left. He wanted to buy one for his gran. It was so sweet that he said ‘it might sound odd that it’s for my gran but I think she will, out of all the people in my family, appreciate it the most.’

I find that gifts are often given out of habit, that we give because, we’re meant to give. And while we sometimes think about whether or not the recipient will like it, we often forget to think about the longevity of a the things we buy. How much a person appreciates (not just in terms of thankfulness) something often dictates how regularly something is worn, and I’m glad and so thankful that this was considered.

Ps. I love that the necklaces are being worn by people of all ages! That is the ultimate epitome of timelessness, which is #goals.

The day christmas sale in uni ended, I got an email from a Masters student in GSA, saying she really wanted to buy the necklace but couldn't make it for the sale before it was closed. And I didn't know about the email until one day, we were sitting in the workshop and this girl comes in and asks if she can still buy jewellery. We asked her, 'do you know what you want? It's over now, but we can put you in contact with the person to ask him/her!'

And she said my name, and it took a while to process. I was like, did she just say my name? YES, SHE DID JUST SAY MY NAME.

She ended up buying 2, one for her sister, and one for herself.

I think the most heartwarming thing about the whole experience was knowing that someone genuinely likes and treasures something you made. (And was willing to email, and personally head up to the studio just to make sure she got it.) And aside from realising I need to check my email no matter how crazy life gets, I learnt that while it takes time and effort to find people (or people to find you) who value what you do, it's well worth it.

The purpose of the sale is to raise funds for 3rd years to go to Munich in March. Every year, the 3rd years travel to Germany for Munich Jewellery Week. It’s a really good eye-opening experience. Think Art Stage, but for jewellery.

So this is how it works:
Proceeds from all the sales come in, the department takes off the costs, then splits the profits 50-50. But I didn’t realise (and 100% do not agree with) they did not consider the cost of packaging as a cost. So all packaging falls under the responsibility of the maker, and not split with the department.

At the end of the official sale, 13 of the 17 pieces made had been sold. The remaining 4 were bought by other people, including the girl in the previous story. But because I didn’t sell everything with the department, I got to keep 100% of the proceeds from the last 4 sales! It not just covered the cost of the packaging, but also bumped up the amount we get to give! If you’re new here, it might be nice for you to know that we always use 10% of our proceeds (not just profits!) to support individuals, foundations, organisations, charities and groups that we believe in. They typically center around education, heritage, and social & environmental research and conservation.

And because of that, I’m thoroughly pleased to say that the amount we’re giving this christmas has never been higher!