Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 6852 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2016 innumerable images via social media from competitors, and how focusing on instant feedback can affect their artistic integrity. “I think the amount of visual informa- tion at a person’s fingertips makes it difficult for a designer to quietly listen to what their soul tells them to create,” she says. “Art springs from a deep place within a human, and worrying if you are going to be ‘liked’ muddies the waters.” Mizuki Goltz of jewelry line Mizuki echoes this sentiment, noting the ever-growing areas of her business that have nothing to do with jewelry design. “I think the challenge remains the same as when I first began: What is your vision and how do you define yourself in the market? But now it’s 10 times more accelerated and multifaceted because so much more is expected from a business and branding standpoint,” she explains.  “Years ago, I could focus purely on my artistic vision. You then attended trade shows and sold to your stores, and then the stores focused on re- tail. Now those roles are incredibly blurred. From consignment to website, to campaign images, to social media, stores expect a brand (to be) at a retail level. As an artist, you can feel pulled in so many directions creatively.” THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Goltz brings up another hot topic in the industry and a consistent issue for designers—consignment. “It’s the elephant in the room,” says Ylang 23’s owner, Joanne Teichman. “Many of the major department stores and even spe- cialty boutiques are requiring this from designers, and for truly emerging designers, that business model without an outlay of cash for a buy is impossible.” “I don’t know how a lot of these really independent people who are not connected to a big source of capital can make it,” agrees Schneider. He says that having faced the pressure of supporting him- self creatively has helped him and Twist co-owner Lauren Eulau to stay away, for the most part, from the evermore common practice. Less than 5 percent of Twist’s stock is consignment. “That’s an impossible way for most designers to run their businesses and it’s going to become that only real- ly significantly financed businesses will be able to make jewelry, because you have to come up with all the money in advance,” says Schneider. “With big stores, that rep- resents a ton of output for these small designers.” Schneider thinks it’s up to designers to do away with the consignment model. “I just don’t know how many businesses are going to say, ‘Oh no, we’d rather pay for it,’” he says. He says designers should set suggested retail pricing while offering retailers two wholesale rates: one for goods that are purchased out- right and a steeper price for goods obtained on consignment. New Jersey-based designer Elisa Solomon, whose business has grown organically over the past decade, has found success in ending her consignment relationships. “Requests for consignment used to be the No. 1 struggle I faced with my business,” she says. “I really wanted to have my collection at some of these consignment stores, so I said yes to the ones where I really wanted to exhibit my jewelry.As my business grew, I took on less consignment because it required a lot of work to track the inventory and make sure monthly payment arrived.About four years ago, I cut pretty much all of my consignment and I’ve been extremely happy with the results.” DESIGN LEADERS Consignment issues aside, as the number of independent jewelry designers continues to grow, so does the pool of talent. Retailers are quick to mention bright spots in the industry, from their most successful and established accounts to the design novices they are excited to watch. “I think that there are people in the field who are very important right now, like Eva Fehren,” says Schneider. “The kind of work she’s been doing really sort of captured the idea of expressing minimalism in a kind of geometry as something beautiful, wearable and precious. I think she’s had a big effect on the field; a lot of people have really related to it and as a result she gets knocked off every single day.” He credits Twist’s long relationship with Cathy Waterman as being an essential part of his business, saying that the designer, “continues to mine her own soul for what’s beautiful. She’s never been really trendy, it kind of always seems contemporary but at the same time it has a feeling like something just taken from nature and transformed into a precious piece of jewelry.” Schneider also mentions the importance of the work of Polly Wales, Anaconda, Dezso by Sara Beltran and Sophie Bille Brahe, as well as upstart Japanese brand Shihara. “I THINK THE AMOUNT OF VISUAL INFORMATION AT A PERSON’S FINGERTIPS MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR A DESIGNER TO QUIETLY LIS- TEN TO WHAT THEIR SOUL TELLS THEM TO CREATE. ART SPRINGS FROM A DEEP PLACE WITHIN A HUMAN, AND WORRYING IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE ‘LIKED’ MUDDIES THE WATERS.” —LORI LEVEN, OWNER, LOVE ADORNED Instagram provides opportunities and challenges for designers. Here, images from four jewelry accounts that excite retailers: @PerezBitan, @SelimMouzannar, @RaphaeleCanot, @Shihara_Official. Irene Neuwirth’s 18-karat rose and white gold single earring with rose tourmaline and orange fire opal ($3,980) available at