Friday, July 13, 2012

The CraftStar Community Collection: Galleria di Giani

The CraftStar Community Collection:  Galleria di Giani

My love of crafting started as a kid.  We lived across the street from a city park.  During the summers, on weekend afternoons, the park sponsored arts and crafts.  We learned how to make all kind of things.  We did birdhouses out of popsicle sticks, we made pot holders using stretchy fabric loops on a loom, we made lanyards and wallets, and all sorts of crafts. 

As a teen, I had one of those really small bead looms.  I made several strands of a Native American design, and used it to adorn a plain black cotton vest that I wore.  

As an adult, I remember going to a bead show once with my friend Anne.  Every few months we’d do a “road trip” as we called it.  We’d just pick a place to go in the city, and went.  Sometimes it was just lunch, sometimes it was a photo outing, but one time she chose a bead show. 

My first sale on The CraftStar:

I hadn’t done any crafting in some time, so thought it would be fun.  One of the first booths we went to had hematite loops.  I hadn’t seen anything like it before, and thought they were just the coolest thing.  At the same table, I found a strand of tiger eye beads that were just the right size for fitting inside the loops.  I took them home, strung them together, and made my very first necklace.  This was around 1996 or 1997, somewhere in there. 

Tiger Eye in my The CraftStar Collection:

So many people liked it, and asked me where I got it.  When I told them I made it myself, they wanted to know where I sold them.  At that time, I hadn’t even remotely thought in those terms.  A few months later, I met this couple who had a craft shop, and the rest, as they say, is history.  I have been selling jewelry through consignment shops, wholesale, craft fairs, and online ever since.

When I started selling through shops, I was using my real name.  It wasn’t until I started selling online that I started to think about having a “business name”.  When it came time to choose one, I started to think about what I wanted to say, as a designer.  Being Italian, I knew that Italy has a long tradition of being in the jewelry business.  I also knew that having an Italian name would be classier than using my real name, John.  My maternal grandmother was the only person who ever called me Johnny.  However, on my birthday and on Christmas, she would always write my name as “Giani”.  I decided it would be the perfect name to use for my jewelry business. 

Aromatherapy or Perfume Necklace – Moonstone in my The CraftStar Collection:

I have inherited so many things from her, such as her sense of humor (oh did she love to laugh), the way that nothing slowed her down (she lived by herself into her late 80’s!), and her love of cooking for people.  So, it was only natural that I chose the name she used for me for my business.

My favorite pieces on The CraftStar:

Blue Coral and Onyx Set:

One of the things that I strive for in my collection is versatility.  By doing this set as three separate necklace, instead of one three-strand necklace, I give the user an amazing amount of versatility.  Rather than only being able to wear it the one way, by making them three separate necklaces, the wearer gets *seven* different ways.  They can wear any one by itself, any two together, or all three.  This gives them the ability to match a single strand to any neckline they are wearing, or wear any number of them to suit the outfit, or the occasion.  That is the kind of versatility that I love to give my customers.

Lampwork Glass and Sterling Silver Necklace:

This piece was part of my newest collection, and I designed it as a challenge for myself.  I have never done station necklaces and always wanted to.  Since I am still learning how to wire wrap, I decided to use regular beading line and crimp beads/covers for the stations.  I wanted to make sure it looked its best!  The lampwork beads are also something new for me.  I had only worked with gemstones before and wanted to branch out a little bit.  So, in my newest collection, there are several pieces made with lampwork beads.  I really love the creativity of lampwork artists, and I know I will continue to use them in the future.  At 52” in length, this is another of those versatile pieces I was speaking about.  You can wear is in a single strand, double it, even triple it.  You have to love options!

Jade, Pearl and Sterling Silver Necklace and Earring Set

Many of my pieces are made from unique stones.  As a result, it is often difficult to acquire them in large enough batches to make multiple pieces.  This makes wholesaling a very difficult endeavor.  How can you wholesale when almost every item you make is singular or limited quantity?  So, in m newest collection, I decided I needed a design that could stand as the cornerstone to my new wholesale collection.  What I love about this set is that is uses a small amount of beads.  This means if I acquire two or three strands of something (such as something unique I see at a gem show), I can get multiple pieces out of it, and can wholesale it in a number larger than one.  Another thing I love about this design is that it also makes it a great piece for using up those last few beads you have lying around from other projects.  So, if you only have a few of something left, you won’t be able to make enough to wholesale, but this is a design you can produce and put it in your shop as well.  Win/win!

My The CraftStar Collection:

In putting together my collection, I really wanted to accomplish three things: I wanted to acknowledge some of my chat friends, say thanks to the people who have favorited my shop or items, and to show the wonderful diversity of items that The CraftStar has to offer.  I think I succeeded in all three.  Enjoy!

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