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Sunday, August 11, 2013

How To Get Famous People To Wear Your Jewelry and Why Quality Control Is Critical To Your Success-Not Necessarily In That Order

I am WAY late in getting this blog post up. I could blame my Etsy shop and say that I have just been buried in custom orders (true), or that I have not had time to sit down and write a blog post worth reading (also true), or that I am saving all the blog posts that I would be posting, because I am writing a "Dr Brassy" Book (true, once I find a publisher) but the biggest issue recently that has me both worried and not my normal self, is the serious illness of my spouse (the truest of true).
My ill spouse. He has a Subanachroid growth on his spine which has nothing to do with spiders or Dan Aykroyd.

So this will most likely be my last blog post for quite a while.  If I know you-you are saying "You better make it good Brassy, I know where you live".

I'm going to make you wait for the good stuff (How to get famous people to wear your jewelry) just so you will read this whole post. Because like I said, it may be the last one for awhile and you really should savor every word.  Quality Control is every bit as important as celebrity endorsements, so maybe I am actually talking about the best stuff, first.  Now I am completely lost. What was I talking about? The control of wearing quality famous people? Yea that's it! 

Ever make a piece of jewelry and think, oh this is so pretty? I love the way it looks! Then you go through the motions of photographing it, listing it on Etsy with all the pretty descriptive words and it immediately sells, only to get an email a week later from the person who bought it, that is screaming at you IN ALL CAPS, that it either:

A) Broke the first time they wore it
B) Turned their skin green, black and/or purple
C) Pinched, poked, punctured, scratched or bit them (ok jewelry does not actually bite, but I am making a point here)
D) Turned foggy
E) Became gummy
F) Melted in the sun
G) Poked out their eye (I am pretty sure you will get sued on this one)
H) Insert whatever else here_____________ that could possibly go wrong

 So what could you have done to avert this disaster of a customer service issue? WEAR IT BEFORE YOU SELL IT!

I am not kidding here. I can not stress this enough. If you make it, WEAR IT! And not just for a few minutes. Walk around, go to the grocery store, play with it. Make sure your design is not only visually beautiful, but also functional in that it's not going to give your customer post traumatic jewelry wearing disorder.

This is probably not necessary of every single piece you make-Forever. This is warranted for a brand new design or with a new material. Did you get "Silver" from a new supplier? Check and be sure it's really silver. Same thing with brass and copper. If it turns your finger green, it will do the same for 8 out of 10 of your customers.

Another Quality Control Issue: You must seal your pieces. Brass will turn dark over time, other pieces will tarnish like the dickens and some metals like Nickel silver, your customers can be allergic to. So seal your pieces and you will never be sorry. 

For every piece you make, without exception, check to be sure all your jump rings are closed, the lobster clasp actually opens and closes, the pin back moves freely and the ring base is soldered securely to the band. Tug, pull, twist and give it a good once over to be sure it can withstand normal wear and tear. I don't mean make sure that if your customer happens to be a stunt woman on The Walking Dead, that her Zombie character will not be able to destroy your art. I just mean whatever a normal* person would do while wearing your bracelet-Make sure it can withstand that activity (*Sex in a swing at a Leather Bar does not count as "normal", but does sound kinda fun).

Now here is where I get into an area that ALWAYS makes me nervous. It's the customer that buys the custom or ready-made piece and then after paying for it and after it has shipped out, tells you that little Suzy (who is 7 YEARS OLD!) will just love the _______ that she purchased for her.

Inevitably, I will get the email 6 days later from any angry customer who will go on and on about how "shocked and surprised" she is that the necklace went with Suzy to school and came home broken. Seriously? So my art (that is intended for ADULTS) didn't survive the rigors of second grade recess with 30 kids pulling on it? I am so sincerely shocked (NOT) and who would have known (I WOULD HAVE, IF YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD ME BEFORE YOU BOUGHT IT). So in these instances, there is really nothing you can do except block this person from ever being able to buy from you again, and then put some disclaimer on your website or Etsy that says your "Art is not intended as a toy" and is really not indestructible in the hands of a child. As we know, children can completely destroy a nuclear power plant if enough of them get in cahoots together, but a direct hit from a 747 does little but piss a nuclear reactor off. Nuff said about this subject.

Now for the stuff of legend. The meat in this blog, the whole reason you all do what you do, besides to get rich! (Ha ha ha oh that was soooo funny. You will never get rich. Give that idea up right now). You want someone famous to wear your jewelry, say how beautiful it is, and then like lemmings really smart shoppers, everyone on the planet will want to buy one. And then they lived happily ever after....

That's really not what happens.

I will tell you what happens in real life. First off, IF you get a TV Show or Movie production company that wants to use your art in a Movie or TV show, be prepared to provide it for free. A LOT of pieces, for free. You see, the simple joy of maybe, possibly, 1-in-a-million chance, of them using your art, is gift enough and you're welcome. To think that they would actually pay for your time and hard work? Silly girl/guy. What were you thinking? The most painful of these scenarios is the legendary "Celebrity Gift Bag" at events where you will be asked for 500 pieces. Good luck with that, those gift bags often end up in the hands of their housekeeper/gardener or Nanny. Unless your whole business plan is to see your necklace on Thomasina the illegal housekeeper at the local Food for Less. Forget it.

On the rare occasion (and I have had 5 of these) that you get someone who I am sure was an unpaid Artist once themselves, or maybe the Director of the TV Show/Movie is like Jesus or something, they will actually pay for your art. Not only will they pay you (this is the HUGE part), they will give you name credit, and also send you photos/video of your art being used in the production. These instances are so rare that the people who actually have done this for me are in my Will and on my list of organ donor recipients should the need arise. They are that special to me and La Esmeralda has both a kidney and a lung earmarked for her. 

My super-secret business plan for getting famous people to wear and promote my art goes something like this. ASK them and expect NOTHING in return. That's really it. That's the secret....Goodnight.

Ok, I am not really done here. Some people who have promoted my art,  I didn't even realize how famous they were. Like Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess aka NEW YORK TIMES Best Selling Author-(Duh Brassy!!!) I had NO idea how famous she was/is.  I just really liked her as a person, evidenced through her hysterical blog posts, so I sent her a Sightmares ™ © Eye necklace. I never expected anything in return, so when she DID do something, it was both a total surprise and a huge boon for the street cred of my art.

Blog Post from the Bloggess boosted my Etsy shop views to over 24,000 in one month
 Other people that have been VERY generous and kind to me, I had some clue that they were famous and usually got paid thousands of dollars for promotions. But again, I just pick people I really like, I send them a gift and the only thing I expect is the joy of knowing they own a piece of my creativity. Anything else is gravy, or frosting, if you're a Vegan. (See how P.C. I am?)
The actual Sightmares I sent Jenny

I won't send my jewelry to someone who is rude or mean, no matter how famous they are. Nope, Nada, won't do it. I have only had one issue with someone who is a total douchebag widely disliked who bought a piece from me. I keep telling him, lets just keep this as our little secret. You are WAY too important to promote my little shop. Really. No- REALLY!

Just to name drop here, I will point out that these people were so kind and gracious (and might have even taken a little bit of pity on me) that they made time in their day (which I imagine for the famous includes lots of spa visits and drinking of expensive champagne) to send me photographs of them wearing my jewelry or blogging or posting on their websites or in their magazines, about how awesome my jewelry is.  Some even had nice things to say about me as a person, cause well, they obviously never met me in real life and have no idea what a complete geekitard I am.

Alphabetized by first name:

Alison Schwartz
Anastasia Heonis
Brenda Sue Landsdowne
Dark Beauty Magazine
Erica Mulkey aka Unwoman
Erin Layne
Essex Machina
Gail Folsom
Gothic Beauty Magazine
Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess
La Esmeralda
Matt King
Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead 
Philippa Ballantine
Samuel Ratcliffe
Terry Goodkind
The League of Steam
Topher Adam
Sean Makiney
Sean McCaffrey 
Tee Morris
Ulorin Vex
Victoriana Lady Lisa
Von Gutenberg Magazine

...and probably a bunch more that I am forgetting so they are, right at this moment, throwing my jewelry in a 24k gold-plated garbage can.

The best advice I can give anyone who wants to promote their art (and to be honest, famous people showing off how truly amazing you are, can make or break an Artist)- Is just to be authentic and be yourself. Don't go bug the people on this list and say you are a friend of Dr Brassy and Dr Brassy says you will do "Such and such" for free (and yes someone did this and now she looks like a total douchette). Find someone who embodies whatever your art is about. Be it Cowboy/Country theme or a Gothic/Rock Star theme, find someone you like, that seems like the kind person that would enjoy whatever you are making. Send them a gift and forget about it. Maybe you hear back, maybe you don't. I am sure there are plenty of costume and prop department employees who are swimming in freebees that will never seen the light of a Hollywood camera (the freebies not the employees). And that's the point. Let it go and let whatever Karma or the plan of the Great Jewelry God decides should..... Be. You just might be surprised at the new friends you can make and the doors that will open. 
My all time favorite photo of Philippa Ballatine

I have found that Facebook is the most effective bridge to the famous. Much better than any manager or public relations firm. Fan pages are a great way to get in touch with that one person that you would just *die* if you saw a photo of them wearing your art. 

I hope that someday, I am famous enough that people will send me free stuff, and I can return the favor. Or not. Depending on if I have a spa appointment that I am late to, or a glass of champagne that needs drinking#. 


Dr Brassy

# Dr Brassy does not actually drink alcohol, so this is obviously a total joke.


  1. Great the mix of humor and great advice. My best wishes to your dear hubby....

  2. Brassy, you are a totally awesome wonderful geekitard (I'm so stealing that word...I love it!). Your sight mare, my panic button and cthulhu bracelet are among my favorite pieces of jewelry, so next time you get one of those helicopter parent letters about little Darling thrashing your art, let me know...after all you did add a 'call elder god of doom' button to my bracelet and I've finally learned how to use it safely (well sort of...ignore the sucker marks on my arm...) Thanks for being you and for doing what you do even while you take care of your hubby. Good thoughts being sent your way...

  3. Brassy, you are a totally awesome wonderful geekitard (I'm so stealing that word...I love it!). Your sight mare, my panic button and cthulhu bracelet are among my favorite pieces of jewelry, so next time you get one of those helicopter parent letters about little Darling thrashing your art, let me know...after all you did add a 'call elder god of doom' button to my bracelet and I've finally learned how to use it safely (well sort of...ignore the sucker marks on my arm...) Thanks for being you and for doing what you do even while you take care of your hubby. Good thoughts being sent your way...

  4. How do you go about getting the address of a "famous" person? What's that?? Shhh! Shhh! *hears a far off voice within the Basal Ganglia of my brain* "you silly girl, don't you know?" ~ I respond to myself "Why no! Tis why I'm sitting first in line *chuckles the laugh of Renfield* waiting for Dr Brassy. ° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * *。*˚° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * *
    。*˚˚ ˛ ˛˚ *˚ ˚ ˛ ˛ ˚ ˛ * *。
    ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ * *。˚ ˛ ˛˚ *˚ ˚

  5. You are a hoot lady. Love the advice as always and of course your art is fabulous. Hope your hubby heals up soon. Good wishes.

  6. I have found Facebook invaluable in connecting me to the people I want to gift with my art and much more effective than any manager list or publicity (PR) contact person.

  7. Michael Rooker? Where? When?

  8. When I was on Mythbusters. (Re: Michael Rooker).

  9. Thank you for the great advice and totally entertaining post. I appreciate it. I'm sorry to hear about your husband's illness and wish you both the very best, including fast and total healing for him.

  10. Wonderful humorous and sincere advise. Thought I am not famous, I promise if u send me a bead or two, I will tell the world about my creative and talented on line friend. Wishing u husband only good thoughts with you by his side.

  11. I would so totally send you a photo of me wearing your jewelry...but no one would care to see it! LOL. Love the blog, and the wit (so rare these days). But mostly wanted to send healing thoughts to your sweet hubby, and hope that all goes well!

  12. grggrgr just lost my post when I signed in....gggrrr....anyway I promise to send you a photo of me wearing your jewelry any time you want....No one would care but I promise a photo! the blog, your wit (very rare) and mostly wanted to send healing thoughts to your sweet hubby. Hope he gets better very soon, Best wishes to both of you!

  13. My very best quality control person is my daughter and her friends. They LOVE to "play jewelry store" with my stock. If anything breaks, I figure it is my fault, and take a long look at where the construction went wrong. I learn so much from finding the weak links, so I don't mind if they tear up my studio in the process.

    As they've gotten older, I've even got them trained to put things back where they belong, and put the broken pieces in the "fix box".

    Believe me, it's much easier than driving myself crazy trying to keep them away from all the sparklies!