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Old 19-08-2012, 09:37   #1
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Question Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

So I have a thread going in the Meet & Greet with a layout of who I am and what our goal is....but the Reader's Digest version is that my husband is currently Active Duty Coast Guard (13 yrs strong) and I'm a working jewelry designer at my own home based studio, selling online and through a sales rep to retailers.

We are considering ditching our shore ties for the liveaboard lifestyle.

I'm thinking aside from all the other "normal" challenges of such, the biggest hurdle personally speaking will be trying to figure out how to continue to do what I do on a smaller scale.

Has anyone ever encountered working artists living aboard or see micro-studios with a tiny workbench?

I don't even know if this is feasible...but I'm a metalsmith, so tools and precious metals are my main necessities. Oh, and a torch, but that's easily remedied with a portable, small MAPP canister. Fire hazards are a concern to me with that, but wondering what the thoughts are regarding this. If all else fails, I will convert my designs to using cold connections and scrap the soldering entirely.

Is there a better forum cat for me and this post?

Thank you!

~Danielle
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:43   #2
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

From what I have seen from my friend who pretty much does what you do, and from my own limited experience making jewelry myself I would say it's a perfect onboard occupation.

Depending on how spacious a boat you would have you could build a small studio into a guest berth, or you could dedicate a few lockers to your supplies and spend some energy on making "portable platforms" that could be pulled out to the dining table and then stowed while not in use.

Carefully stowed you can fit a lot in a small space!
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:48   #3
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

Many cruisers make jewelry, usually out of beach glass and shells. Not expensive stuff. Quite a few sell it too. There always seems to be a ready market. Cruisers usually don't wear expensive jewelry, no precious stones or real gold but much of the good beach jewelry uses silver wire. Some makers are getting quite sophisticated using diamond drills for the glass. I'm sure you could do well on the boat.
Beach Glass
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:53   #4
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

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Many cruisers make jewelry, usually out of beach glass and shells. Not expensive stuff. Quite a few sell it too. There always seems to be a ready market. Cruisers usually don't wear expensive jewelry, no precious stones or real gold but much of the good beach jewelry uses silver wire. Some makers are getting quite sophisticated using diamond drills for the glass. I'm sure you could do well on the boat.
Well, I primarily work in nautical themes with metal stamps, sterling sheet and wire, gemstones and much leather/Irish linen. Those are my main supports. Beach glass, I do utilize here and there, but it's not really my niche. I've worked hard to separate myself from my competition, no matter the living quarters. I'm thinking that I could still transition my brand identity and find some locales where I could sell through ashore. If not, I'll just make a flag for the boat w/ my logo. LOL. The internet is a fabulous tool.


However, I'm glad to hear that this isn't totally off my rocker in terms of achievability. And even if it's not been done before doesn't mean I can't give it a whirl, right?

I like both your advices. I've been trying to find any instances of jewelry people posting pics of their "studio" setup aboard but am finding none. Was hopeful someone here might have experience with it.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:03   #5
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

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I like both your advices. I've been trying to find any instances of jewelry people posting pics of their "studio" setup aboard but am finding none. Was hopeful someone here might have experience with it.
The "studio" setup is usually the saloon table. As for selling you must be discreet as it is against the local laws in most places to "buy sell or trade" without the appropriate duties. Some have managed to get their stuff into consignment places but, unless you're in your home country, you have to keep a low profile.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:06   #6
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

Danielle, it's quite doable. This profile of a liveaboard silver jewelry artist doing exactly what you're wanting to do, originally appeared in the Annapolis Capital newspaper: Life Afloat Archives: Art Afloat
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:27   #7
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Vasco, that's handy to know. I hadn't thought of that!

wingNwing- what a FABULOUS read! Thank You so much!! It's true: art is not what I do. It is definitely who I AM. No matter where I am or what's going on, I have to create. So it is very important to take that with me onboard otherwise I will be a miserable wretch. Or carving driftwood somewhere!! Lol
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Old 19-08-2012, 11:04   #8
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

Well, selling online works from anywhere ; -)

I have put some thought into crafting onboard myself and while I have no pictures, some of the ideas I have had have been thinking in terms of a small station.

If we ever managed the Gemini 105 we both like so much I would make one of the cabins into a studio workbench. Or the side area between fore and aft that isn't the galley. It seems like it would make sense to have a small area to sit and be the actual "work" area, and then built in storage that would really utilize the odd shapes of the boat. Start with storage containers that are good for your materials and then build in shelves that are sized to fit them. Power source here would be needed as well (sewing is my biggest skill) so a converter would be a must for me. Good bright LED lights for task work. A way to secure the stool or chair while underway. I even thiught a roll out that would provide a bit more workspace and storage under that would slide back in under the counter.

I think it is a case where each boat will have a different solution.
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Old 19-08-2012, 12:19   #9
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

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Well, selling online works from anywhere ; -)

I have put some thought into crafting onboard myself and while I have no pictures, some of the ideas I have had have been thinking in terms of a small station.

If we ever managed the Gemini 105 we both like so much I would make one of the cabins into a studio workbench. Or the side area between fore and aft that isn't the galley. It seems like it would make sense to have a small area to sit and be the actual "work" area, and then built in storage that would really utilize the odd shapes of the boat. Start with storage containers that are good for your materials and then build in shelves that are sized to fit them. Power source here would be needed as well (sewing is my biggest skill) so a converter would be a must for me. Good bright LED lights for task work. A way to secure the stool or chair while underway. I even thiught a roll out that would provide a bit more workspace and storage under that would slide back in under the counter.

I think it is a case where each boat will have a different solution.
I've been looking at 41' Lagoons...so converting the 4th berthing area to a studio would be ideal, methinks. Trying to puzzle piece together a solid workbench that can take constant pounding of hammers is necessary. I like the entire thought process of streamlining it all down to the absolute imperatives though and i loved in the article that you linked that they even made way for her rolling mill. they're ridiculously heavy, but how I love them!

My only other consideration was how to get supplies shipped to me. I order much of my metal online as well as my other tools, etc. Cruising about doesn't leave much room for error in planning for extended absences and mailing shipments to customers that have ordered online.

Yeesh!
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Old 19-08-2012, 12:33   #10
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

Well heck, a lagoon 41 has nothing but space ; -)

As far as the shipping goes, shipping out shouldn;t be to difficult. You wouldn't usually be more than a few days between ports.

I wonder if a loving friend or family member might not help you out here. One larger package rather than many smaller packages would usually be cheaper to ship.

Have all your supplies sent to some one at home who can bundle and ship to somewhere you will be able to receive mail. Make your orders and then package for individual shipment, put them all in one package and send them back to that land based person and have them post by what ever method makes sense.

I bet if you advertise yourself as a "sailing jeweler" that folks would get that you were not an instant gratification machine and expect instant turnaround. Just make that clear on your website.
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Old 19-08-2012, 13:40   #11
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

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Well heck, a lagoon 41 has nothing but space ; -)

As far as the shipping goes, shipping out shouldn;t be to difficult. You wouldn't usually be more than a few days between ports.

I wonder if a loving friend or family member might not help you out here. One larger package rather than many smaller packages would usually be cheaper to ship.

Have all your supplies sent to some one at home who can bundle and ship to somewhere you will be able to receive mail. Make your orders and then package for individual shipment, put them all in one package and send them back to that land based person and have them post by what ever method makes sense.

I bet if you advertise yourself as a "sailing jeweler" that folks would get that you were not an instant gratification machine and expect instant turnaround. Just make that clear on your website.
All great points, Sara!

My husband was good to point out that if you plan ahead accordingly and know your port of calls and when you'd be arriving, you can have things sent to the local post offices and they'll typically hold it for you for ten days before returning to sender...so you just alert them that you're on track for arrival at such and such time and you're having mail fwd'd there.

All things I need to consider when figuring out how to have a cruising business!
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Old 19-08-2012, 14:06   #12
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

When I last travelled for long periods at a time, post offices would hold mail much longer than 10 days...
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Old 19-08-2012, 14:19   #13
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Re: Bringing my Jewelry Business Aboard

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Originally Posted by JerseyMermaid View Post
Has anyone ever encountered working artists living aboard or see micro-studios with a tiny workbench?
I met Anja while staying in Almerimar in Spain. She seems to be doing exactly what you describe. A nice and communicative person, so she is likely to give you a lot of info on the topic.

Marius
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