Wednesday, September 15, 2010


So this is so not about jewelry, but it is about my life which is what blogs are all about, right?

Many of you don't know that the reason I've been so busy is that we've been fostering a very sweet dog. He followed my husband and our two dogs, Spike and Ruby home from a hike a few months ago.

We tried to find his owners, but he had no tags and no microchip. We waited a month for an owner to surface before we had him fixed.

Not only was he "intact" but he was not housebroken at 10-11 months old, so he walked into our house and lifted his leg- yikes! But he also didn't know the word "no". Since then, he has made great strides. Mostly through Dave's diligent work with him. He sits and lays down on command, is becoming a great heeler on the leash and is learning "stay".

As much as we've enjoyed having him around, and Ruby and Spike have loved him as well, we simply do not have the time, money, energy to keep a third dog and do him justice. So we're looking for a forever home.

Please send this to your friends, even if they are
not looking for a dog, they might know of someone who is. You can also go to facebook and "like" our AdoptTrouble page and ask your friends to do the same. Even if you are not in the Los Angeles area your friends or friends of your friends might be. He is a lovely dog and we'll miss him when he's gone so hopefully the forever home will be local and we can have Trouble over for play-dates and the occasional weekend.

here's the facebook page:

Here's the flyer I've been sending out:

Please help me find my forever home!

Hi my name is Trouble. My foster parents found me abandoned at a popular dog hiking spot and have taken me in until they can find me a forever home. But my time is running out and I need a home ASAP.

I am very sweet and cuddly and also have loads of puppy energy. There is not a mean bone in my body, I'm the first to roll over at the dog park.

I am male, neutered and believed to be about 11 months old. I love, love, love other dogs and kids, but I'm still a little rambunctious so for now, it's best if the kids are bigger than me. Did I mention that I love to cuddle?

I'm a neutered male lab/pit mix, weigh 55 lbs. I have all my shots and paperwork.

My foster parents would love to have me back for visits and the occasional weekend if the situation works out, so you'd have a built in dog sitter!

Contact info: Amery Carriere 213.413.8813
located in Los Angeles, CA

Friday, May 21, 2010

Butterfly Girl

Spring is here!

You should see my backyard, it's teaming with life, bees, hummingbirds, butterflies of many colors.

It's amazing. The roses are blooming, the tomatoes are planted and it's my little oasis. So inspiring, in fact, that I abandoned all of my nearly completed pieces to take on a whole new project- oh about 2 weeks before my Vegas show. New stacking rings just had to take a back burner for a day- the butterfly must be set free! It must!

I've always been a butterfly girl at heart- ask my mom and my sis. It has made present shopping for me soooo easy- if it has a butterfly on it, it's perfect. What can I say, I'm easy.

I was struck by the beauty of the monarchs in my backyard this past week. (I mean, come on, how can you not love a butterfly in flight?) We normally don't get too many of those, but this week it's been glorious. Incredible how they dance from blossom to blossom, warming their wings in the sun. I had to do yet another butterfly inspired piece. It was imperative.

First I did a sketch of an entire butterfly, but I have whole butterflies... what about a single wing?

So I traced only the wing with my trusty "dripper" and set about making my new pendant. A quick wax lesson: I place the clear sheet wax over my drawing and trace the lines with the "dripper". Carving away any excess wax from the wax sheet. My original intent was to have the lines raised, the background recessed thus grabbing the oxidization.

But then I realized that I had a few solid butterfly designs and it might be nice to have something open and airy. Free, if you will. :)

So I cut out the white sheet wax leaving an outline of what's normally the black of the butterfly wing. Can you tell that the white sheet wax has been carved away? A tedious process, but necessary to achieve my desired pendant.

Then I thought...Hmm... the black of the butterfly wing? Maybe it'll be blackened with some sparkly diamonds or white with rubies? Augh! Too band I don't have a pic of that yet.

Patience, grasshopper. Or shall I say "Patience, Butterfly".

Peace, Namaste and happy spring to all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To rep or not to rep- it's not over yet!

So, a friend and fellow artist, Ruth Apter called me the other day and said- "you remember I used to be a rep, right". Oh, yeah! you did! She mentioned a few really good things that I forgot to include. So my three part series is now a 4 part series.... thanks, Ruth!

Breaking up is hard to do.....
Make sure both parties are clear on how to end the relationship. What's the lead time for returning samples? How much warning does each party want before the relationship is terminated.

What condition do you want samples returned? Ruth pointed out that jewelry is one thing, but what if it's a card line? Cards get really beaten up, do you really want to pay to ship them back?

Make sure that you include an invoice with all of your samples, have your rep sign it and return it to you so you can keep track of what's expected back. I've have reps want to purchase pieces for their personal use. Even though it's only one piece, I've always given them my wholesale price. In some cases I've gifted a few pieces, especially after a really large sale. :)

Talk Talk Talk...
Make sure are in constant communication with your rep and listen when they make suggestions. If they are confident that they can sell a wider band in a really popular ring- make them a wider band. They are in contact with your customer and will be getting lots of feedback that could be really valuable to you.

Get Noticed...
So remember when I said that every rep I've ever had has found me. Well, it's struck again. I got an email from a rep last week and guess how he found me? My BLOG! On REPS! Isn't that the funniest thing? So, I guess my point is with this is get yourself out there. Do a blog, a facebook page for your business, a web site, twitter. Use the social networking sites that are out there. All this is free- or very low cost and it's exposure. Exposure might not get you an immediate response, but it's all building a foundation for a successful business.

One last thing- I came across an old email for Cal Gift. You can go to this site, log in and post that you're looking for reps. Here's the web link- I haven't actually done this myself so I don't know how hard/easy it is to do, but it's worth a look if you're in the market for a rep.

Good luck!

Friday, May 7, 2010

To rep or not to rep? Part deux

I am so sorry it's taken me so long to get back on the blogging wagon. I promise to be more consistent in the future.

So now that you’ve decided to go the rep route, now how to find one?

This is actually a very hard question as all of my reps have found me. I’ve been found through retail stores, trade shows and advertisements/press in trade magazines. In fact, I turned to my talented artist friends and it turns out that 90% were found by their reps.

“So what if I’m new and don’t do tons of trade shows and marketing?” you ask.

Well, it might be a little harder, but I really put my thinking cap on and talked to some people that have been in the biz for a while and have come up with some suggestions. There is no quick and easy formula for searching for a rep, and it will take some time. It’s kinda like planting seeds for the future. You might get some rejection at first because this business is all about timing, but who knows what the future will hold. The more you put yourself in front of people, the more people will remember you and keep you in mind. There is a fine line between being accessible and memorable and being a pest.


#1- if you do any trade shows, there is normally a board near the press room or show office. You can post for reps wanted there and also see if any reps are looking for new artists.

#2- if you have a relationship with any of your stores, ask them for referrals. What reps do they work with? Do they have any recommendations on who would be a good fit for your work? Any reps they wouldn’t recommend (this info is helpful as well).

#3- ask other artists if they have recommendations. They too might be able to tell you who they’ve used in the past that might be a good fit.

#4- try an on-line service like:

I’ve never used them, but a friend has and she had great luck, not only with reps but with some stores, too. It’s a paid service, but when you read through #4, you’ll be back.

#4- hit the road. If you live in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, Dallas or Chicago you’re lucky enough to have a centralized “Market Center” full of reps. This makes things a little easier, call the building office and ask if there is a bulletin board or a newsletter that might list reps with openings or is there someplace you can post your availability? You can either go there, and take a peek at what showrooms are there or you can call the building office and ask for a list of accessories reps or look on line. Here’s a great blog which speaks to the different websites of some of the major markets:

When I first started looking for a rep, I visited the buildings on a day when I knew they’d be closed. Many have their designers listed on their windows, so I took copious notes and went home and googled the designers. I’m sterling and gold so I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time if they only represented costume jewelry. Some do represent a range, so don’t immediately pass someone over if they have something totally different from your work.

Then, with my narrowed down list in hand, I went armed with a bag of line sheets and some samples just in case. And of course I was wearing my best pieces! J I walked in- did not peruse the jewelry on display, but went right up to the desk and introduced myself as a jewelry designer looking for representation. There’s nothing worse then not being upfront in this situation, I didn’t want them to think I was a buyer even for a minute. I asked if they had any openings for new lines, and if not could I leave a line sheet for their review for the future. If they were friendly I’d ask if they had any suggestions about other reps, or if I could keep in touch for the future. Were they interested in receiving updates about my work should a space become available? If they seemed busy and like they wanted me out of there (remember, they probably get loads of people just like you in every week) I asked for a card, thanked them for their time and hit the next one.

If you can’t visit in person, do some research on line and via the phone. This is going to be much more time consuming, but I have known people who sent out mailers to all the accessories reps in an area and got multiple appointments to view their lines.

Get a directory from the show office and ask if they have it separated by types of reps (accessories, clothing, etc..). Figure out who your targets are- you might have to call first to see if they are accessories reps, and if they’d be a good match- ie: if you are a costume jewelry designer, someone who reps 18k might not be a good fit. But ask if they are interested in receiving information about your work.

Put together a nice easy presentation that you can send via mail and do a mailing. Get some postcards printed with your best designs to show them. Write a nice letter, stating your intent: to gain representation in the Dallas area, and a little about your line: Romantic jewelry with an edge… etc… keep it short and simple. Then follow up with a phone call a few days after they receive it. Did they receive it, do they have any openings, if not, do they think it’s a good fit for the future if something opens up? Would they like to see occasional updates on your work?

If there’s no room at the Inn for you right now, keep in touch. Every few months send an update, some pics of new work. In your letter, offer to send samples or make an appointment (if you’re local or willing to fly) if they are interested. Be polite and upbeat and to the point.


Do not approach reps at a trade show when they are in their booth (or during market week in their showroom). They are there to work and to sell to their customers. Also, they are very protective of their artists and do not want other artists checking out their work. I learned this the hard way, I was escorted out of the booth! You can ask politely for a card when they are not busy- perhaps in the evening when the show is closed and then contact them when the show is over.

Don’t walk into a showroom and open a sample roll of your work. It’s presumptuous and disrespectful of their time and space.

I hope this helps all of you looking for a rep. Feel free to leave comments or questions below.

Check out #3: your to-do list once you’ve narrowed your search. I'll post this over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To rep or not to rep- Part trois

Welcome back...

I've put together a to-do list for those thinking of going the rep route. This includes things you need to do and things you need to discuss with your potential rep.

1) Ask for references. Who else have they worked with? Can you call those artists to ask a few questions such as: What are they like to work with? Do they stand behind their artists and help them get paid if the account is slacking? How does your work fit in with their other lines? Are you the highest end or lowest? Is there a competing line or complimentary one?

2) Make sure you are clear about your policies with your rep and they can convey these to the customer. Make your line sheets and your boards very very easy to read so there is no confusion and alienation of potentially good customers down the line when you have to fix prices or you send the wrong piece because the style #'s are confusing.

3) If there is a monthly showroom fee how long is the contract? Can you get out of it if your line isn't selling? What kind of commitment are they looking for? What promotions do they do each month to get customers in? Get a list of the market/event dates to make sure you have new materials to hand out and any new pieces from your line.

4) Turn-around time. If it takes you 4 weeks to produce, make sure your rep knows this and calls you if the customer wants it earlier. I say 4 weeks even though I can turn things around much faster. It's better to under promise and ship early looking like the hero than it is to have to call with excuses on why their order is late.

5) Do you turn over all of your accounts in their territory? Can you keep one or two as a "house account"? One that you service that you don't need to pay them a commission on? If you do a trade show and you have a rep in the Texas area and a new store comes in and orders, are you expected to pay a commission to your rep and to turn that account over to them? If an account that your rep has opened sees you at a trade show and they order, do you pay a commission? Many reps have different policies on this one... some work with different % for different scenarios. Best to talk about it first and then get it in writing.

6) Which leads me to my next point: Get a contract. So you're both on the same page. If it doesn't include the points above, either write an amendment or have them included in the document. This is not so much to protect you in a court of law, but it's to protect your well being so you are both on the same page. Everyone knows what's expected, so if questions come up you can refer back to what was originally discussed.

7) Can you cover the rep fees? Figure out how much you'll have to pay on a $500 order- a $1500 order.... sounds daunting? Do you have enough wiggle room in your wholesale price to pay them 15-20% and still make a profit. If not, you will have to increase your prices.
And most importantly, trust your gut! Sometimes I don't listen and then regret it. Those little warning prickles at the back of your neck were trying to tell you something. If someone is promising you the moon, well... it's probably too good to be true.

And, trust your gut. How do you feel about them? Do you think it's a good fit? Are they excited about your line?

To rep or not to rep? Part uno

So, a friend recently asked me about finding jewelry reps. How I found mine, is it worth it, that sort of thing. I started writing her back and then thought- egads! I will blog about it.

This will probably be a 2 or a 3 parter as I tend to be a tad loquacious (can I use that for the written form?) if I'm not interrupted. Just ask anyone who has received a voice mail from me.

So many indie artists go the rep route. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me, you supply your trusty rep with boards of samples and line sheets and then you kick back and wait for the orders to roll in. Nice. Less stress then doing a 5 day wholesale trade show, and definitely better than going door to door. Let the rep take the rejection, you never have to know about it.

"Where's the rub" you ask? Well, one: you are trusting this person whom you just met with a pretty nice chunk of change- ie: your samples. They can be lost, stolen, you could be dealing with someone who isn't on the up an up.

And, two: you do have to pay them. Luckily it's after you've been paid, and a good rep will help you collect if the account is late for any reason. Rep fees range from %15-20%, and if you're in a showroom, there's a monthly showroom fee as well, and if they do trade shows there's a fee for the show too. The showroom fee is paid whether or not they write any orders that month (as is the trade show fee). And... the more samples they have to show, the bigger the orders will be. So that means more cash tied up in inventory.

Some designers do not like reps. They don't like their methods of selling. They don't do enough sales. The showroom fees are too high. They pick up competing lines.

Me? I'm all for reps, I currently have two. One is brand new and I think I already love her. :) I definitely love my Mississippi rep, as she has written with stores that were dragging their heels with me for years AND got me some great press. yay!

But a big part of why I like my reps is that they are #1 excited about my line, they like my work and think they can sell it. And #2 I like them as people. I trust them. One rep, I've never met, but I've had enough contact with her and her staff to feel like I know her.

Stay tuned tomorrow for pointers on finding that perfect rep. Not the easiest thing in the world, and there is no black and white answers, but I'll do my best.

And on day three, I've put together a to-do list, questions you should be asking yourself and your potential selling partner.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Show Pony: Show Pony welcomes Amery Carriere Designs… Romantic Jewelry with an Edge

If you're in Seattle, visit my friend Stephanie at Show Pony in Fremont, or what they like to call: "The Center of the Universe".

I've had the pleasure of working with Stephanie for a few years when she was with "Something Silver" a West Coast chain of fantastic jewelry stores that carry my work. Recently she was lucky enough to fulfill her dream of owning her own store and landed in "The Center of the Universe" at Show Pony. If you haven't been there you need to stop by. Hip, cool and really really different.

She carries clothes that people come over from Europe to get! And many one-of-a-kind items in her airy consignment store upstairs. And of course, she carries the hip, the fashion-forward, the original "Romantic Jewelry with an Edge".

Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't laugh... I'm a newbie.

Hello? *tap tap tap*

Is this thing on?

Wow, I've been thinking about blogging for quite some time and now that I'm here I'm actually quite shy.

For weeks, months even, I've
been thinking about all the wise, insightful, inspirational, helpful things I was going to post. My thoughts were rampant and varied: from sharing about the Green Sand Beach in Hawaii to do's and don'ts of a wholesale trade show. Where new inspirations come from... marketing 101.... the idiot drivers in Los Angeles.... my newest accounts... the fool I made of myself at karaoke.... funny trade show stories...

I guess I want to write about what makes me tick as a designer, why I do
the things I do: crazy, sane and everything in between. I also think this will be an excellent place to share my experiences in wholesaling that other designers often ask me about.

Honestly, what really got me off by lazy butt to finally start a blog was the movie Julie and Julia. You know, the one about the girl (Julie) who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's opus of a cookbook in one year while blogging about it all the while. I don't have anything nearly as exciting as that, but hopefully I will be entertaining and charming and dazzling and my faithful readers will be begging for more. Hopefully.

So let me start with the last thing that inspired me.

My girlfriend had this plant on her porch and it was glorious. It's a carnivorous plant called a "purple pitcher plant" or "sarracenia purpurea venosa" if you want to get technical. Frilly and girly, it's deadly to any bugs that helplessly find themselves lured by the promised sweetness.

All those pink ruffles sent me into a tizzy of sketches for a new series. I'll post some pics of the waxes once they are "picture ready".

My only question is: does anyone know how to turn metal that fantastical color?