Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s The Little Things…

"I can do no great thing, only little things with great love." Mother Teresa

What is it about the little things in life? From baby birds to blades of grass…from the smallest shell on the beach to the fascinating array of bugs that are coming out in the world, there are so many little things around us each day that could be an inspiration for our creations.

When it comes to my own designs, I try very hard to focus on the little things..and to place them deliberately with great love. From the clasp to the packaging, there are little details in each piece of Tesori Trovati jewelry that show my clients that they are more than consumers, they are friends.

Each piece of Tesori Trovati jewelry is given a name. Not just any name, mind you. I am so weary of seeing jewelry that is named for its components. “Pearl and Garnet Necklace”…“Silver Quartz Ring”...”Lucite flower earrings”….(yawn). I am inspired to create intriguing names that tell a story to the wearer. I like names that evoke a certain mystery or have the customer spinning their own tale to go with it. Some of the names that I have created recently…”The Invitation”…”Norma Jean’s Pearls”…”Tiffany’s With A Twist.” All evoke a certain feeling and that is a little thing that customers are willing to buy into. It might take a bit more time to come up with a compelling name, but it is worth it. If you are stuck…try looking to poetry or song lyrics or even paint chips [see my post about that here.]

Each piece of Tesori Trovati jewelry features a little sig tag with my logo on it. I could easily overlook this little detail, but it is more than just an identifier. It is a sign that I care enough about the wearer to put that little tag where only they can see it, to remind them that I took great care in designing the piece. My custom stamp is from MicroStamp. I found it easy to send them a crisp black and white image of my skeleton key logo which took about 3 weeks and ~$150 to make into the cutest little custom stamp. You can do letters, words or pictures. It has taken me some time to get used to stamping on those little tags, but I now have a system that works for me. Or have them already engraved at The Charm Factory. And if you want to invest the money in a really slick operation, you can opt for the crème de la crème at Infinity Stamps. Their special die ensures that you will have a perfect strike every time. I did consider this, but ultimately it came down to the metal tag choices. Infinity has a limited range of tags in gold and silver that are sized to fit the die, and since I do work with brass and copper quite a bit, that wasn’t practical. The Charm Factory had a lot of different shapes to choose from, but I didn’t want to order in bulk. So I chose MicroStamp. And they also sold me about 100-200 each of sterling silver, gold filled, copper and brass tags. I have found that I use them all.

Each piece of Tesori Trovati jewelry has the components listed on a signature card in my own handwriting. I write down the main ingredients on a card that has my logo on the back including any notes about the piece…the inspiration, the technique, the care instructions. I could easily type these things on my computer and print off stickers to put on everything, but that little thing is a personal touch that assures them that I am the creator and I take pride in sharing every detail about my work.

Each piece of Tesori Trovati jewelry is packaged with care. While sometimes a copper organza bag from Nashville Wraps is all that is needed, most often my jewelry arrives in a copper and chocolate colored gift box tied with a chocolate satin ribbon emblazoned with my skeleton key logo. I worked with Giles Bellin at Northstar Promotions to find the perfect ribbon for me. Could I have done it myself? Yes, but I relied on an expert company to find me the best price and do all the legwork. Yes, there is a cost involved, but it is that little thing that sets my box apart from a stock jewelry box with a craft store ribbon. I am currently working on getting some labels printed with my logo and website on it that I can use to affix to the top of the box to make my brand even more prominent. I am working with Northstar to make that happen (if you contact him, tell him Erin Prais-Hintz said, “Hi!”). Which reminds me…I need to order more packaging!

So although I do think that I make great things, I know that it is the little things that make a big difference. And I hope those little things show the great love that I have for what I create.

What is a little thing that you do for your customers that makes them feel special…do tell!

Erin Prais-Hintz designs one-of-a-kind jewelry for her company Tesori Trovati, Italian for “treasures found.” Her goals this year involve donating to at least twelve charities that she believes in (she just finished making four pieces for June), being published once per month (she is good through October) and finding daylight hours to create (currently her 9p-midnight job). She collects quotes and dust, and you are invited to send her your favorite (quote, not dust!) to You can read more of her inspirations at see more of her designs at or read more about her creative process at Enjoy the day!

P.S. Thanks to Heather Powers and the wonderful contributors to Art Bead Scene for inviting me to come and play with you in June! I am humbled by all the beauty and art that abounds on Art Bead Scene. I have been so affected by everything from the monthly challenges to the Studio Saturdays and every stop in between. And those that lurk here, like me, and create to the best of our GGA (God-given abilities), I am so inspired by the heart and soul that you put into your creations. Thank you for letting me be one with all of you.


Jeannie said...

Erin, I just want to say your work is beautifully orginal and full of passion. I don't know how you find the time and energy to balance work and design. Even the name of your business is beautifully orginal. I also
love your "tag line."
The first time I saw your work was in the March issue of Bead Trends magazine. You were the featured designer that month and I was stunned by your work(and drooling.)
I'm a business women who own's two brick and mortar businesses and I know from experience that it's more important to do special things for my employees and (highly paid managers) because if they're happy, my clients are happy.
One of my favorite quotes, "Life happens when you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

Stories They Tell said...

Thanks, Erin, for your amazing (as usual) insights! You do indeed treat your customers as "treasures"! Personally, one of my favorite things in the process is to wrap the packages and send them out to be loved and enjoyed-- it's not merely a matter of getting paid (to do what I love to do anyway).

sharon said...

Beautiful, beautiful post Erin, just as every little thing is that you involve in your process, which most certainly a reflection of a beautiful person.

lunedreams said...

Yeah, I hate naming my stuff literally (i.e., carnelian and red agate bracelet with blah blah blah), but unfortunately online sellers, such as on Etsy or Artfire, who are as yet undiscovered by the shopping community, really must do this if they want any benefit from Google Base. Google uses item titles (as well as the first few lines of descriptions) to index its search results. Shoppers looking for a carnelain bracelet on Google don't type in "sunset memories"; if that's the name of your bracelet, that shopper may never find it. If you're an established seller maybe you can get away with poetry, but unfortunately the logistics of SEO make poetry counterproductive for most of us.

sandi said...

Great piece!
I love designing/creating/preparing all the details that "surround" my jewelry creations. Packaging is sooo important; I'm always reminded of watching the French salespeople in Paris wrapping my purchases. No matter what you buy, your purchase is a beautifully packaged work of art. I believe it sends a message to your customer that you took great care creating and presenting the piece they now own.
What I'm now finding challenging is that I, too, handwrite all my tags explaining the details and components of the piece. As I start to do more volume, the handwriting aspect takes longer and longer to do. I'm trying to work on alternatives without losing the personal touch. I know I'll come up with something.
Glad to hear of your positive dealings with Microstamp - I've considered them as well as Infinity and lean towards MS for the flexibility of using various tag sizes and shapes. I'm currently using a charm and want to make my logo really my own.

Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

jewelry creator

Alice said...

Erin, your packaging and hang tags are just beautiful! Thank you so much for such an inspiring post. As for naming pieces, sometimes a name comes to me when I'm creating it, sometimes a clever name comes first--which inspires the piece, and sometimes it takes days before a name surfaces.


Anonymous said...

I not sure who you thought was going to read this, but I'm "one of those" designers that make you yawn by naming my jewelry by it components.
For us untapped, undiscovered artists, I do it for the search engines as lunedreams so eloquently stated.
I'm sure it was not your intention to come off as a snob, but this post is.

TesoriTrovati said...

Dear Anonymous-
I am very sorry that you took offense to my post. That was not my intention. I know how important branding is and packaging is a big component. I do understand fully the issue of SEO and tools that make it easier to find you, and if that is what you choose to do then that is fine. While purely description names are not as interesting to me, I didn't say that the pieces themselves were not interesting. Quite the contrary! I think that those lovely designs deserve better, and I have seen sites like Etsy where both names and descriptions help me find what I am seeking. But for me, part of the fun of creating is coming up with an interesting name. So I am sorry that you felt slammed by what I said, but more sorry that you didn't feel you could openly share who you are so that we could carry on a conversation. As with everyone I meet on Art Bead Scene, I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your dreams.
Enjoy the day.