The Wild Hare
A couple of years ago, when I started what has turned into my F3/Intensive coaching group for emerging jewelry designers, I got this wild hare of a thought.
“Wouldn’t it be perfect” I thought, “if I had a tangible goal for these designers? A place to go and show and learn the real ropes of wholesale, to launch their brands in the professional marketplace?”
An incubator, where you could try and fail and try again, in the real world, but with support and without the cost and enormous hassle usually attached to venturing into the fashion tradeshow arena.
Being a stubborn one, I couldn’t shake this idea. When two of my “kids” had less than stellar experiences in the temporary section of my home base – AmericasMart in Atlanta – the hare began to dance.
Coincidentally (or cosmically, take your pick) a beautiful and perfect location in the building became available. Having never done this before I took a leap anyway and decided to put the idea out there. (This concept and I have met numerous times, the holding-my-breath-and-jumping thing)
Enough of my emerging designers were crazy enough to give it a try to make it work.
In the space of a few short months (too few really) we not only pulled a room together – thanks to a magnificent contractor and very supportive market staff – but we also pulled the group together.
Collections were finalized, linesheets developed, hit lists finetuned, travel arrangements mailed down, and suddenly, 18 people from quite literally all around the world met in 1,000 square feet of the AmericasMart that would be home for at least the next few years.
I wish we’d had a camera running. Friends who’d never met hugged like long lost twins. “You’re taller than I thought!” “You’re so tiny!” “You’re exactly like I knew you’d be.”
It was the single most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed save for the birth of my kids.
Then the work began. Tools appeared and the team went to work building furniture and displays, hauling jewelry and other necessities up and down the freight elevators… everything we’d been learning and talking about for the past two years became real. The guys at the display store downstairs had a serious bump in sales for the week.
Everyone helped everyone else. There wasn’t an ounce of the “every man for himself” you so often feel in this industry. As I was explaining the room to a new neighbor he asked, “They don’t fight and copy from each other? How does that ever work?” I almost laughed when I answered him, feeling like I was holding a new secret that only the initiated can truly understand.
We’re EmpowerDesign, and we’re changing the way things happen in one small part of the jewelry industry.
If you’re a buyer I hope you’ll check us out. AmericasMart Building 3, 8-S332. EmpowerDesign: The Showroom on 8 will be open for all eight major markets throughout the year. From rubber and resin to glass and brass to sterling and gemstones and vermeil, let us help you impress your clients with handcrafted artisan jewelry from around the world. Wholesale from $9 to $3,000.
If you’re a maker, join us. The road is long but you don’t have to walk it alone. Our free support group, F3, is our front door. Apply for membership today.
Hello@empower.design for more information.
…with love to the freshman class of EmpowerDesign: The Showroom on 8:
…stay tuned for “First Day of School”, coming soon. Lessons learned from the first market…
Need some getting from here to there? Come check out F3, our(free!) kickass, toughlove Facebook support group. Apply here for membership.