It’s so frustrating and disheartening when your work is knocked off. Designs are the lifeblood of a company and for another to take credit for your work is the equivalent of stealing.
NY jewelry designer Wendy Brandes shared her experience earlier this year here when Top Shop “borrowed” her designs. I find myself in a similar situation, though on a smaller scale. I recently became aware of jewelry designs that are identical and extremely similar to my own, being sold by Laura Preshong, a Boston jeweler. The owner bought jewelry from me as a regular customer back in 2010 and subsequently, I have found her name associated with jewelry I would have mistaken for my own. From internet press clippings it appears she has been selling my work since at least 2011. To be absolutely certain to not falsely accuse, I purchased a brass twig bracelet from her online store and compared it to my own sample in sterling. Holding the fake and feeling nauseous and angry, it was a snap to confirm that Laura Preshong made a mold of my work because every bud and line match exactly. There is one notable difference that is consistent with making copies -her bracelet is a hair smaller. When silicone molds are used to duplicate designs, each generation becomes slightly smaller because the molds shrink three to ten percent when curing.
I'm sharing this story with sadness, awe and gratitude. My dear friend who also was my first ever employee, was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. Her courage, perspective and story are so inspiring.
Recently, Yosra had been on tour with Beyonce as her photographer when she fell ill. Beyonce and her tour family put together this wonderful video where she shares her story. I hope you will watch it and join me in sending warm healing thoughts her way.
Yosraa and I met by chance in 2006 at The School of Visual Arts, in a class for artists about creative expression and getting it together. I was immediately taken with her openness and sensitivity and we quickly became friends. At the time, she was determined to be a painter and even more determined to experience life in NY and everything it had to offer. I think I casually mentioned my frustration photographing jewelry she generously offered to help and invited her supermodel friend along! Here are a few images from a fun photo shoot back then. The very beautiful Yomi Abiola, was our model and Michelle and I were helpers. Yosra, wishing you the health & happiness! Thanks for being my friend. XO To join Team Slug Slayer and follow Yosra's journey more closely please visit her blog www.teamslugslayer.com Jewelry photo shoot 2006
Photographer Yosra El-Essawy, Model Yomi abiola, Key grips Michelle and Barbara Polinsky, Jewelry by Barbara Polinsky www.bmjnyc.com
A sad update to this article:
Yosra passed away at the age of 33 on October 25th 2014. Shortly before her death friends and family surprised her exhibiting her work at a London gallery. Yosra generously shared the lessons she learned throughout her journey and battle with cancer. I will miss her playful optimism and her passion for life. May she rest in peace.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being interviewed by Amy Cliser, the director of social media for Rio Grande Jewelry which happens to be one of my favorite places to buy tools and equipment. Our conversation resulted in this article in the Rio Blog. Amy wanted my take on starting a jewelry business on Etsy, something I set out to do five or six years ago. In case you're unfamiliar with Etsy, it's an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items, as well as art and craft supplies. These items cover a wide range, including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys. They see themselves as "anthropologists of commerce", connecting buyers and sellers of unique items. As a maker, Etsy has been a wonderful and complex gift, linking me with amazing like minded customers and allowed me to get the business off the ground quickly without having to build an e-commerce web site. I've since developed by own site and online presence and also continue to be very involved with the Etsy community. Thank you Rio, for the recognition! I would love to hear about your experiences with buying and selling on Etsy. Please leave a comment. Here's a reprint of the article:
Barbara Polinsky with her beautiful rings masterfully cast from twigs I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Etsy jeweler and business woman, Barbara Polinsky, who has built a successful jewelry business over the past five years. We spotlighted Barbara's cast-from-nature jewelry here on The Studio back in April, but in today's conversation she will share some of her best advice about how to find success on Etsy.com. Selling as Barbara Michelle Jacobs on Etsy, she has been featured on Brides.com Summer Jewelry Finds 2010, Etsy Weddings, Lucky Magazine, Refinery 29, Huffington Post Weddings—where her work was the Handmade Object of the Week in October 2011, Glamour.com, and more.
It's been a crazy busy past two months with wedding season in full swing and many orders both bridal (and unbridled) to make and ship. Here are some photos from Wed Altered, the eco friendly design collective which I'm so flattered to have been invited to join. Please check out the styling blog Dress For The Wedding, they ran a really nice story about the event.Dresses galore at Wed Altered Event
Photos by Brandi Schaffran-Webb
I recently attended the annual MJSA trade show at which Rio Grande Jewelry was a major sponsor. Marketing Manager, Eugene Brill, gave a rousing seminar on e-commerce and he invited designers and other industry professionals to submit articles and ideas for blog entries on Rio's web site. I submitted my article " Flora Refashioned," published in Belle Armoire Jewelry. To my great delight, they accepted and posted it! See their posting titled "In the Spotlight: Barbara Michelle Jacobs Casts from Nature in the Concrete Jungle". I am so thrilled to be endorsed by Rio Grande, a well respected industry resource for tools, supplies and training.
Examples of jewelry cast directly from nature can be found here.
This week I stumbled upon the Green Bride Guide and knew that I just had to be a part of this great organization. I took their "Green" survey and was qualified because I use recycled metals and antique or ethically mined stones but it got me thinking about what else I could do. After a little research, I - Joined 1% for the planet where I have committed (based on tax returns) to donate 1% of my sales to my choice of their affiliated and approved vendors. -Sourced packaging made of renewable resources which I will be switching to for silver jewelry. The new Celebrate Reclaimed Silver collection will be packaged in renewable sinamay. More info to follow soon. -Researched and purchased "green" chemical alternatives for the studio. Not bad for one week! But stay tuned for more....
May 14 2012