Urban Charm: Meaningful Handmade Jewelry: Meaningful Handmade Jewelry
Dec 01, 2015 07:17AM
● By Julianne Hale
Kim Lewis studied graphic design in college and has spent her professional life doing web and print design. Two years ago, a foot surgery left her unable to walk for a few months. An avid hiker and outdoorswoman, Lewis had to find other activities to occupy her time. She turned to a hobby she has enjoyed her whole life: jewelry making.
“After my surgery, I started making jewelry and that experience compelled me to explore the idea of offering my work in craft shows,” says Lewis. In the beginning, Lewis took every vendor/artisan spot at a craft show she could find. “That first year, I did so many shows that I was doing one every weekend,” explains Lewis. The experience helped her to understand her place in the crafter’s world and who her target demographic was. Once she pinpointed her market, she was able to focus on a few profitable shows, scaling back to about 10 per year.
In 2016, Lewis plans on taking her jewelry in a new direction with wholesale shows. This means that instead of selling her jewelry to individuals, she will be selling it to boutiques and stores. While she still plans to sell her items through her website and a small number of shows, Lewis intends to shift her primary focus to selling to retail markets. She was recently accepted as an exhibitor at the American-Made show, a wholesale market for designer products that are handcrafted by studio artists from the U.S. and Canada. She will participate in a show in Washington, D.C. in January and one in South Carolina in May.
The jewelry that Lewis creates for her company, Urban Charm, is an eclectic mix of beading, copper, gemstones and stamped metal. “When I first started making jewelry, I was addicted to this style of bead-weaving called kumihimo,” explains Lewis. “I started making that, experimenting with colors and styles, and then I found that it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to incorporate more meaning into my jewelry. I’m a big fan of inspirational words, sayings and affirmations, and I started getting into stamping and making custom-stamped items so I could include that in the pieces I create.”
A theme that runs throughout Urban Charm’s collection is meaning. Lewis wants each of her pieces to have some sort of inspirational or personal significance. “When I am at a craft show, I sell stamped bracelets and they come with a charm. I let the customer pick a charm they want based on their individual experiences,” states Lewis. This small, customized addition adds big meaning to a jewelry purchase.
Lewis is also dedicated to making her jewelry available to all consumers. “I think my price point sets me apart from other jewelry artisans,” she claims. “I make my pieces affordable. Everything is unique, fun and durable but I want it also to be accessible to everyone.” The affordability of Lewis’s pieces does not impact the quality. “In all of my art, it is very important to me that I strive for technical excellence and the highest quality of workmanship. I want people to smile when they hold my piece of jewelry and appreciate my designs and use of color,” says Lewis.
For more information or to view Lewis’s work, call 610-790-3244 or visit UrbanCharmBeads.com.
Julianne Hale is a freelance writer and editor. She blogs at AnotherGrayHair.wordpress.com and can be reached at [email protected]