Serena Van Rensselaer was originally a student of Art History and Cultural Anthropology, but while studying abroad in San Miguel D’Allende, she discovered her untapped passion and aptitude for jewelry design. She is now an inspired creator, perceptive businesswomen and shrewd gallery manager in Manhattan’s picturesque Soho neighborhood. We recently visited Serena’s gallery and spent the afternoon speaking with her about the industry.
Here is part ten of our series, “Life of a Jewelry Designer.”
In order to maintain significance in a field as competitive as fashion design, it’s important to be aware of recurrent industry characteristics. Arguably the most typical of said institutional patterns is the constancy of change.
Consumers notoriously (and understandably) grow bored of trends quickly. Once a certain style is being purchased and worn by a massive number of people, the look loses its novelty and clients are again left searching for a way to demonstrate their individuality. As a jewelry creator, it’s crucial to accommodate said search, attempting to provide buyers with trendy accessories at the ideal peak in this fluctuation.
“It’s tempting to avoid trends altogether,” Serena admits. “I don’t really like making the same (or even similar) kind of stuff that I see in my competitors’ displays. It doesn’t feel as special.”
However, offering buyers a variety of work, including stylistically popular pieces, is important in attracting traffic to your store. Offering trendy pieces may seem cliché, but could easily serve as a catalyst for selling your more eccentric work. “From a business perspective,” Serena continues, “I would be foolish not to sell some popular styles. If something becomes a trend, it’s clearly being purchased by tons of people.”
In following these style movements, a shrewd designer will also soon realize just how crucial timing is to this fast-paced trend watching routine.
“If you start to see a trend forming when you’re browsing Pinterest one week, you kind of need to decide whether you’re on board as immediately as possible,” Serena explains. “Because if you are- if you like a trend and you want to incorporate it in your designs- you need to start working on it and selling it before the trend passes. You don’t want there to be a delay. Otherwise, you’ll seem outdated if you don’t start promoting those ‘trendy’ designs until said trend has already been spoken for by tons of other designers who got to it first.”
A simple way to track these changes is to follow popular style platforms- subscribe to a fashion magazine or two, follow a well-maintained blog, or check out your Pinterest feed and look for obvious patterns. Try to spot at least one or two popular jewelry trends per season- whether it be an actual structure or shape, or maybe just a color that’s seemingly receiving more attention than usual. Pick a trend you like early on, commit to it, and create it as soon as possible. That way, you’ll seem current, and you’ll be able to cross that work off your to-do list, leaving time for you to develop less mainstream styles of your own.
Want to learn more? The New York Institute of Art and Design offers an online jewelry design course that can teach you how to create and sell your own unique line of jewelry. Request your free course catalog today!