When I create jewellery, generally its stuff I would like to personally wear… it doesn’t usually fit with the fashions of the moment, or the colours of the season. This works both in my favour and to my detriment. I like to think it doesn’t matter as the kind of jewellery I create is fun, quirky, and classic in its own way.
I created the brand Imogen Wilson Jewellery around my crane earrings. They were the first origami jewellery I made, they started to sell, I made more. I created packaging, a logo, a brand around them. They continued to sell so I continued to make them, I added new colours, patterns, eventually expanded the range (slightly) to include origami butterflies. They were doing so well that I wanted to expand further, make different origami to add to the collection, monthly, seasonally, hell even yearly would do. But I never seemed to have the time. Just as I felt comfortable enough with where I was, on top of the work, to expand something would happen. A big order, the Christmas rush, a new client, so I just kept doing what I knew, recreating the same things again and again. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it, as they say.
So when I quit my job to do this full time I thought it would be exactly the time I needed to expand the range. What I didn’t count on was my mind being so fickle that although I did have loads of new ideas, none of them fitted into my pre designed, pre marketed brand. The brand I had spent a long time working on making cohesive, whole, rounded. None of this new stuff fitted my aesthetic at all, it was so all over the place in fact that some of the new stuff didn’t even fit the other new stuff. What was I to do? Some people I discussed it with said I could have collections within my current brand, but I didn’t want to dilute the work I had put into the look of my brand, my website, my Facebook page, my Felt shop, my Etsy shop. The Japanese theme, the bright colour, none of that tied in with the new stuff. What do paper cranes, books, and space have to do with each other? Nothing (well OK, there is the paper element in the first two- but you see my point).
So I decided to re-brand. Not once, but twice. Looking back (and forward, as the work is in no way done) it was very clever and also a totally stupid idea. I forgot how much work is involved in starting from scratch… First I read the Etsy rules about multiple shops operated by one person… then did a Google to make sure the names I wanted weren’t taken. Not wanting to leave anything to chance I started an email account for each, a Facebook page for each, an Etsy store for each, and a Felt store for each. As I realised immediately that if I was going to go to the trouble of doing logo and design work for two new companies I better save the shop names NOW not later when they may be taken and it may be too late.
Then I had a lie down. Was I nuts? This was going to be a lot of work. I keep telling myself at least I’m doing it now, while business is relatively quiet… that’s what I tell myself anyway, it helps me sleep at night.
New brand #1 is called Ex Libris. It is, as the name may suggest, book themed jewellery. You can check out the Facebook page here. I’m currently focusing on slowly growing a following as only some of my IWJ fans have come over so far, I don’t blame them really… there isn’t much to see yet. I plan on releasing the jewellery in September, to the public and to the shops I stock. I’m going to give myself a couple of months to get used to juggling two brands before introducing the third, called Major Tom in early November (all going to plan). You can check out the Facebook page here (and get in on the ground floor, as there isn’t much to see yet, in fact anything, this is the first time I’ve told anyone about it, you are the privileged few)
All going to plan both will boom, Christmas will be a crazy juggling act and in the New Year my lovely computer wiz husband will make websites for both of them. At the moment we are holding fire on the website as I don’t even know myself if three brands is too many for me to handle. Only time will tell… which I suppose is why this blog is called ‘watch this space’…