I have struggled with writing this blog post because it is such a big event in my career and life, that I want to give it justice, but I also had no idea where to even start. My career as a jeweler has been filled with so many wonderful experiences. It has been a series of events that all intertwine into each other. I have met one person here or there, which led to this and then that. I sold a necklace to this person, who showed it to this person, which mentioned it to this store. I can trace a line of occurrences, blog posts, acquaintances, calls, emails, facebook posts, thank you notes that all lead to where I am now. It is all one web of this happened then this, some of it has been luck, a lot of it has been hard work, but some of it I think just narrows down to a gut feeling and fate. Having Orion welders choose me for their first customer feature promotional video was one of those events that I would put in the category of pure fate. If you haven’t seen the video yet, here it is. Go ahead and watch it, then continue reading the rest of this post.
From the first email that I received from Joel at Orion Welders about this opportunity, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. I was completely honored knowing that out of all their customers in the entire world, they had chosen me. This naturally made me ask the question, why? Why me? From how I see it, I am just a one-woman show mostly self-taught jeweler. I thought to myself, “I am sure they have far more talented jewelers using their products, why me?” A few weeks after emailing back and forth I spoke with Joel on the phone for the first time, it was during this call that the “why me” question was answered.
Joel had a vision, he wanted to show the world not the focus of the product, but the customers that use them. Orion as a whole cares for their customers and this was apparent to me from the first time I spoke with them about a welder a few years ago. They want their customers to advance in their craft and business through using their products. Their products sell themselves when you understand what they can do for your business, so featuring their welder owners is a brilliant way to show the world what their business is about. Their business is not about their product. It is about their customers and what their product does for them. Through the video they wanted other jewelers to be able to relate to me.
After months of planning, emails, phone calls, sending pictures of my studio and making arrangements it actually looked like this would happen. I was still kind of in disbelief. I had done so much to prepare for the arrival of Joel and Scott. For years I had been wanting to really decorate my studio and this finally gave me the excuse to do so. Jon and I built new work tables, put up artwork and I cleaned my studio like never before. I had also worked hard on coming up with a unique new design specifically for the video. I tested it out and shared it with my followers and had a very positive response, in fact it was the best response I have had on any single piece of jewelry I have ever made. I could hardly wait for them to arrive. Traveling all the way from Utah to South Carolina with all their camera gear in tow in addition to more equipment they had shipped. I was nervous. Okay nervous is an enormous understatement. The night before Joel and Scott arrived I was a wreck, nearly in tears. So much was riding on this. The initial excitement of everything was still there, but the pure terror of, what if I am not what they are expecting was setting in. I had only met Scott before and never met Joel. They had put all of their eggs in one basket so to speak with me and what if I was a disappointment?!? Jon is always my saving grace when it comes to giving me a pep talk. He reassured me of everything and I did my best to fall asleep that night. Then at almost 1am Jon’s phone rang and woke us up suddenly. When you get a call in the middle of the night like that it is never good news. It was Jon’s sister saying she was taking Jon’s mom to the hospital because she thinks she got bit by a copperhead! Talk about a distraction to take my mind off things! Long story short she was letting her dogs out before she made her way to bed. One of the dogs was not making his way back in quickly so she went in the back yard to fetch him. She must have stepped on it or startled it because she was in fact bit by either a copperhead or water moccasin on the top of her foot. Jon hurried to the hospital and didn’t get home until about 4am. She was in a lot of pain for a few days, but recovered with no problems. I could have never imagined this kind of thing happening the night before Joel and Scott arrived. I was so glad she would be okay, but I had to collect myself again to focus.
Once Joel and Scott arrived it was so exciting. I could not believe this was actually happening. I showed them around giving them a chance to see all the possible places to film which we unanimously decided on my studio. My studio has amazing light in the morning and we had a perfect day. After setting up all of their equipment it was go time. The first day we did the first part of the interview process. It is not as easy as one would think. Remembering to wait to answer questions after the question is completely finished is tricky, kind of like on Jeopardy. Making sure you look in the proper location and not stumble over your words or make any funny faces, not tap your feet or slouch is all running through your head while trying to answer questions. It can be nerve-racking. After a little while I got the hang of things. The sound equipment used was soooo sensitive we had to keep waiting for planes to fly by and sirens in the distance. Every little noise was picked up on the recording. We kept joking it was like the movie Wayne’s World, “game on”.
Over the next few days we had two very early mornings to catch the sunrise at the beach. Waking up at 4am was worth it though, the color that was captured was so amazing. I felt really bad for Joel and Scott because with the time difference it was even earlier for them! It was fun just walking on the beach and picking up treasures like I normally do. At times I forgot Joel and Scott were even there. The waves and atmosphere at the beach has a way of making me forget everything around me. I would look up and look around wondering where they even went. Then I would spot Scott up in the dunes barely visible probably getting the shot of the day.
The evening we shot with Jon, Clara and Autumn was fun. Clara loved the attention and was so excited when she understood what we were doing. She asked for days after if Mr. Joel and Mr. Scott were coming to do another video. Maybe she will be a movie star one day, she seems to enjoy it. It was important to me to include my family in what I said in the video and to have them be a part of everything. Like I said, none of this would be possible without them. Not just Jon, but my entire family. The support, guidance, help and encouragement I have gotten from my entire extended family means everything to me.
I loved the way Joel and Scott were open to my suggestions for the video. Not that I am a videographer, but I really felt I understood their vision and how they wanted my story to come to life. I figured I would make a suggestion or two and they could take it or leave it. The story was supposed to be about me, so I figured, why not. One of the ideas I threw into the mix was to include me drawing my design. Sometimes drawing a design is part of my process and sometimes it’s not. For this particular design I had sent a drawing to Joel months earlier when I was planning the perfect feature piece for the video. I use the welder for many of my pieces, but I wanted to feature one piece that was made completely with the welder. I designed this necklace specifically for the video and since then it has become a favorite of mine. It is called the Barbara. It is named after a very special customer of mine that ordered one the second she saw the picture of it. It is actually her necklace in the video. When Joel and Scott came to do the video I was slammed with orders and figured, if they are going to have me work on a piece while they are here, it should be one that is an order. Two birds with one stone.
The video shows many things that are very special to me. I wanted to take the opportunity to explain a few of them a bit more. The old piece of paper that is briefly shown when I am discussing sentimental items. That is the original diamond guarantee from my grandmother’s engagement ring. I actually have the sales receipt in the frame behind it. I came across it in a folder of papers a few years ago and asked my mom if I could have it to hang up in my studio. It is very special to me.
The frame full of metals that is shown are all the metals that my Father In Law was awarded during his service with the Army during the Vietnam War. These metals sit proudly in our office seen right when you walk in our front door. They were one of the first things we discussed when Joel and Scott arrived.
The collage of pictures that is shown is from one of two frames we have in our main hallway. These frames contain pictures of all of the important people in our lives. We walk by them every day and they are a constant reminder of family, friends and love. The shot of my business logo is a version of my logo that Jon created for me. He cut each tiny letter with a jigsaw to create the 3D effect. It took many hours, but it is always one of my very proud moments of every show to hang up that logo. Jon and I both believe in the importance of details. That logo is the epitome of caring for every detail. When he first told me his idea for it, I have to say, I rolled my eyes and said “that is going to take forever!!!” It is so fragile and always packed last on top of everything for every show, I love it though. And last but not least the hammer.
The now infamous hammer. Everything in my studio and even my home has a story, I will never just say oh we bought that at such and such store because it was cool. Everything, I mean everything has a story. The hammer is probably the most sentimental item in my studio and a difficult one to talk about. My father in law Ron, more commonly known as Captain lost his battle to cancer in May of 2014. Although some time has passed, it still feels like yesterday. He was the kind of guy that could fix anything, I am lucky that his son is very much the same and learned everything he could from him. Shortly after he passed, Jon and I were doing just that, we were fixing his mom’s sliding door for her. While in the garage surrounded by hundreds of Captain’s tools we were using “the hammer” and I commented that “I wanted to get one like it for my tool collection.” Jon simply said back “why don’t you take this one?” I was not implying that I should take that one, but Jon figured it was just one of countless hammers in the garage and he didn’t need so many at his mom’s house. I was thrilled not because I finally got a ball peen hammer to add to my tools, but because it was THIS ball peen???? hammer. Jon told me he remembered using it as a kid to build marble circuits while his dad worked on things. “CARTER” is carved into the handle and paint specs from various projects still show, making it even more special. Although some days it is hard to even pick up, because of the emotion that comes with it, I use it in my jewelry from time to time. I know that would make Captain happy and proud.
Overall being a part of this amazing experience has been life changing for me and my business. I can’t say thank you enough to Orion Welders and Sunstone Engineering. Joel and Scott, thank you so much for working so hard on this and being just awesome in general. If I ever have two guys following me around with cameras for 5 days again, I want it to be the two of you. Thanks for making this such a fun experience and for your friendship. I hope my story helps to advance Orion Welders and helps show what your customers or at least one of your customers is all about. I am honored to have been a part of all of this. Thank you.