Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Keeping Organized...

Sally asked in a comment on a previous post how I keep organized and manage my bead stash.

Before I get into my system, I wanted to mention why I do what I do. Since I write for books and magazines, it's important to keep organized on this front. Almost always, you're required to have resource list with the items you used in your projects. Also, when you're pricing your jewelry, it's often helpful to have a reference to see how much money you're putting into each piece and how much money you're going to make. This is particularly important if you wholesale your work. I think one of the reasons why a lot of jewelry artists don't make any money on their pieces is that they sell themselves short. This might be useful when they're starting out and building up a clientele list, but in the long run... it's a place where a lot of people hemorrhage money.

As soon as I get home from a bead show or purchasing materials, I either seal it up in a bag until I have a solid block of time or I sit down and start organizing right then and there. It's helpful to do it as soon as possible! Above is a shot of one of my bead boxes and to the right of it is a close-up.

I use little stickers, but it has been suggested that I could use a spreadsheet. I like the old school system better though, because when I'm making stuff, I don't want to have to go look up a spreadsheet to check a price or material. I just want to glance down and know.

I write down the material, price per strand, where I got it from and how much per bead. It's helpful to count the beads while they're still strung up. I also like to keep the original tags, if possible, and put those at the bottom of the bead bins.

Another thing that I do to help keep organized is maintain relationships with a select number of vendors and artisans. It's true that every now and then, I'll see something and have to have it, but for the most part, I try to control who I spend my money with. I think it's a good way to keep track of where I get things, as well as to support companies that I want to see succeed. I think it's also a good way of "employing personal shoppers". If you've got a good relationship with your vendor, they'll know your tastes and keep an eye out for materials you'll most likely want and in a price range that you can afford. When they go to the dealer only showrooms, they won't be flying blindly.

12 comments:

Marie Cramp said...

What a great post! I have to say that is almost exactly what I do! I am trying to figure out right now exactly who my main vendors will be for the exact reason you do it. It really is so much easier to remember where you got something. :)

Doreen said...

Wow, thanks! You've given me lots of good ideas here. Hope you post more about your organizational systems and your studio. It's fun see other folks' setups.

Right Turn ArtWerks said...

I think that is a wonderful system Andrew. I am, unfortunately - not that organized. All like colors are together and do leave the price tags on but sometimes that does not work either. Thank you for sharing.

Oh, and this is off topic - but someting that might be right up artistic Andrew's alley. Google The Sketchbook Project.

Imaginative Jewelry said...

Andrew, I do something quite similar.

I still have a lot of things in bags and a lot of things that I bought before tagging everything. Those are the toughest ones to track.

Kinderhook said...

Thank you so much, Andrew! This is EXACTLY what I needed. Now I'm going to get out old invoices and see if I can do this retroactively. Wish me luck! --Sally

SummersStudio said...

Andrew, this is fantastic. I shove the labels in the bottom of the bin also. But I've never thought to place a sticky in with the price per piece and other info. I do have a pricing scheme for things I make for shows. But this just takes it to another level altogether. Thanks so much for sharing this. It's a very useful tip.

sandi m said...

Andrew, This is exactly what I do. As soon as I get home, count and label everything with price, vendor, date. Label goes into a loose bead box (like yours) or stays in the plastic bag.
All inventory is sorted by type rather than color: lampwork, stones, pearls, Czech, African, silver, copper, seed beads, findings, etc.
The actual purchase receipts are all retained together.
It works, and yes, I agree, seeing the price "right there" rather than in the computer expedites pricing.
Thanks for sharing.

Indonesia Heritage said...

I'm have been doing the same way, but I'm using spreadsheet =)
And my problems is how to keep all my beads? Should I prepare 1 special room just for my beads? Cause it's lots lots of beads. Right now I keep them on my wood cupboard.

TesoriTrovati said...

I created a little set of address labels that I used to use to label all the baggies. But my baggie fetish got out of control. Now I have my printers cabinet. I ran out of stickers for my dymo but I have some others lying around. problem is that I got lazy this summer. So I know I need to get to organizing that sucker. If you want a copy of the file with the labels, let me know! I think I could attach it.
Enjoy the day!
Erin

Alice said...

That's what I do too. In addition, I keep track of all the beads and their source in a spread sheet so when the beads are gone I can go back to the source.

Charlene said...

I love this. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with teeny tiny pieces of paper with prices in my bead boxes. It might be old school, but it works.

I then use Excel to track the price of the completed piece.

ggs said...

Thanks so much for the ideas. I'm not selling my work (yet) but I still would like to know where I got supplies and what they cost, and I have not been doing a good job of it. I'm going to start keep track now :)