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Aug 12, 2015 5:30 PM ET

Archived: Splendid Colors: acrylic jewelry combines contemporary laser-cutting techniques with traditional motifs from many cultures for eye-catching pieces that transcend fads.

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 12, 2015
Personal Story

I’m a California native who grew up enjoying arts and crafts as well as science and technology. Today I’m fortunate to live in the SF Bay Area amidst an amazing handmade community, TechShop workspaces and equipment, and many opportunities to show and sell my work. This environment is the biggest difference between my current venture and my art shows and curry lunch fundraisers in graduate school. Looking back, it seems inevitable that my independent research was better training for entrepreneurship than for a career as a research assistant.

My thesis advisor at Humboldt State expected students to plan our own projects, rather than treating us as his employees. He had little funding, so we applied for student grants and fellowships to pay for supplies. The long hours I spent at a microscope to complete my own goals were far more satisfying than overtime in my previous career helping my employers reach their goals. My advisor also supported my artistic interests as a possible path to science illustration; these skills proved more useful for designing laser-cut items and creating my brand identity. My goal for Splendid Colors is to help people display their creativity while making a profit to support myself and other employees and give back to my community. If possible, I will support disability rights by hiring qualified disabled employees.

Business Description

Splendid Colors acrylic jewelry combines contemporary laser-cutting techniques with traditional motifs from many cultures for eye-catching pieces that transcend fads. Their vivid colors and graceful lines appeal across age groups, and my fans collect new pieces at local boutiques and craft fairs for themselves and their friends. My Steampunk holiday décor is popular in its niche online and wholesale. My custom souvenir lantern kits are growing fast. Raising my prices this year has increased profits, and I’m testing a deluxe line of Florentine-inspired hand-painted jewelry that has been compared to Murano glass. I have earned local brand recognition and hope to exhibit at wholesale gift shows in 2016.

My business began small and grew organically. After I moved to the Bay Area seeking biology jobs, a friend who knew my interest in DIY introduced me to TechShop to make Steampunk projects. In October 2011, I made Steampunk holiday décor to decorate the local Ainsley House museum. People wanted to buy ornaments, so I listed some on Etsy and quickly recouped my costs. Experimenting with products to sell year-round showed that my jewelry and lanterns were the most successful trial products. I’ve steadily reinvested revenue back into the business for sustainable growth. I’ve also studied entrepreneurship and craft business topics. Now I’m ready to increase my productivity and revenue by moving into a dedicated studio and hiring staff. This will let me expand Splendid Colors into full profitability by expanding my product lines, marketing more intensively, and producing stock to fill demand.

What is the purpose of this loan?

Initial rent and deposit on new space for 4 months (utilities included) = $1600
Moving van and laborer = $200
Internet for 4 months = $300
Wages for part-time assistant = $1200
Wages for part-time bookkeeper or manager = $1400
Inventory software = $300

Currently I waste countless hours inefficiently shuffling projects, materials, and stock between my apartment, my storage, and TechShop’s workbenches. I can double my productivity by establishing a studio with dedicated workstations for each process, as well as shipping and photography. Due to high rents in Silicon Valley, renting office space in Downtown San Jose is actually cheaper than getting a larger apartment closer to TechShop. I’ve been approved to rent a 250 square foot office in a historic office building in the heart of Downtown with traditional jewelers as neighbors.

Delegating routine tasks, bookkeeping, and paperwork to an assistant and a manager will give me more time for the creative side of the business. This will free up my time for designing new products, photographing new items for listing online, searching for new accounts, and other marketing activities. I’m also long overdue for having an assistant at shows.

Managing stock and materials effectively with inventory software will be essential after I hire staff, as I won’t be the only one handling stock, work in progress, and supplies.

Treating Splendid Colors like a real business will get me past the current obstacles so I can become profitable helping other people express their creativity. Please contribute what you can to my crowdfunding, and share with your friends.

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