Friday, July 3, 2015

Inside the Studio :: Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.

Congratulations to thecolorofdreams on winning a $20 gift certificate to Mary Harding's  Etsy shop.
Email Miss Mary
to claim your prize!

Today we visit with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.

My studio is a shambles and I have been so very busy with traveling for beads, ballparks and ballet the entire month of June. And July will be no different. But in between all of the busy-ness, I have some projects that have popped up that involve making kits for sale. So I thought I would let you in on how I go about kitting a project. I call these Creativity to Go kits. I got my first taste of kitting late last year. I enjoy it and I hope to offer more in the future!

The first thing that I do is come up with a project.

That is the easy part! One of the kits that I am making this month will be sold through Interweave (keep an eye out!). The Interweave kit requires a brand new, on-trend jewelry project that will be targeted to new crafters. It will be mixed media in nature, and I think that the idea I have will be fun to play with.

The other kit I am making is a based on my own design featured in the upcoming Create Jewelry magazine. (I can't wait to get my copy of this! It is always a highlight of my year!) Their themes are based on color and one of the pieces that I submitted is called "Seek Beautiful Moments" for their Warm Hues section. Since the focal is only available from me, I thought that a kit would be a good idea.

The focal for this bracelet is from my 'Sari Snapshot' line of Simple Truths. The bright colors are complemented by the marquise-shaped dangles and a chunky brass chain. It is a fun and flirty look that has a lot of impact and movement.

The second thing that I do is come up with a list of all the items that make up the project, right down to the last bead and crimp.

I start with scribbled notes and sketches, and then hit the internet to start researching. To keep track of everything, I put together a spreadsheet so that I can track where I purchase the materials and at what per piece price. That way I can have a record of what I bought and from where, in case I have to duplicate it, plus it helps me with the kit pricing.

It takes a lot of research to put together a kit. Unfortunately, there is no 'one-stop shopping' when putting these types of things together. Sometimes I have to make changes for things that I can no longer get, like the chunky chain. You might notice that the one below is different than in the example above. I had to do my best to come up with a similar substitution. One of the key pieces was on back-order for over a month, and so I sat on pins and needles hoping I could actually get them in time!

Could you find all these things yourself from the list of materials in the instructions? Yes. But the cost of a kit covers the fact that I am pulling it all together in one place so you don't have to search it out or buy it in bulk. It takes a lot of time (this one took me almost 3 months to put together!) and effort to track down the best elements in the right quantities. I am hoping that having all the pieces in one place will be the selling point.
Bezels waiting to be filled and chunky chain... a substitution from the one in the magazine that I couldn't find!

Then I need to divvy up the materials.

When I did my kits in January for the Fabulous Facets DVD from Interweave, they left it completely up to me as to what I would include and how to package it. I know that branding is important and I wanted my buyers to feel like they were getting a gift, the gift of creativity. So I put just about everything in the box that they would need, right down to the paint brush and paint palette and made it feel a bit like a present, which of course it was!

For the 'Seek Beautiful Moments' kits, I have decided to do the same, and make sure that everything needed is included.

However, I decided that I would create it in two limited edition colorways...

'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - the original Spicy color palette
 ...warm and spicy reds and pinks, similar to the piece in the magazine...

'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - new Breezy color palette

...but also in cool water colors of blue, green and purple. Because I am all about variation and choice! I am even offering the focal by itself, if that is more your style and you want to create your own piece (but I am hoping that at least some will want to buy the kits!).

For both kits, you can see that I have included everything you would need, right down to the last jump ring. The only thing you have to bring is your pliers!

Packaging production for the Fabulous Facets bead kits, December 2014
Finally, I assemble the packages. to present them? I have been more than inspired by Rebecca's recent posts about packaging. I could certainly just put the pieces in a zip baggie and send them on their way, but I like it when it feels like a bit of care and planning went into the package.

I have decided to package them in a cute drawstring muslin bag with my skeleton key logo stamped on the outside, and I always  - ALWAYS - include a little personalized note. I can jazz it up with ribbons and my little copper skeleton key charm. I just ordered the bags and they should be here in the next few days. I am also getting a custom stamp created so I can further brand the creativity to go kits from a company called The Stampin Place. Sally Booth was a delight to work with, super responsive and I think that price is right! Now I can use this on all sorts of things. When it is all here in the next few days, I can get my 'kit-elf' on the job personalizing the bags for me. Forgot to mention that...everyone needs a helper when putting together kits! It is good to have another set of eyeballs on them to be sure they are complete. My 'kit-elf' is a stickler for details, so I know they will be done right! ;-)

It is a lot of math (*shudders*), with the calculating cost per item, per kit, and the counting out of each and every supply. So while that part is not something that I look forward to, I do love the idea that others can learn from something I have created, which is one of the biggest pay-offs.

In the end, it may be a lot of hassle, but it is worth it to me to offer kits. I like coming up with the ideas, researching where to find all the supplies and then packaging it up to make it special. I hope those that get them will feel the same and that they will spark their own creativity!

These limited edition kits are now for sale in my web shop, Would you like your own? I will give away one 'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - in your choice of SPICY (reds/pinks) or BREEZY (blues/greens) color palette just for the price of some sort of answer to the following questions (you don't have to answer them all, just tell me your thoughts on kits!):

Do you buy kits? What kind?
Is there a kit you would you like to try?
Do you prefer them complete, right down to the tiniest finding with the most precise instructions, or just a kickstarter with components and a suggested image you can use in any way possible for your own variations? 

Is there a technique that you would like to be able to learn from a kit? 
What price point do you think works best for a kit?
What do you think about the packaging of a kit?

Or perhaps you sell kits of your own... what kind? Do tell!

P.S. There is a special coupon code in an ad I placed in the Create Jewelry magazine. Be sure to look for the ad I have in there so you can get the coupon code!


baymoondesign said...

I love your focal and the design really makes it pop. I have actually been thinking of having a blog hop that is based on a kit. I think that $35 is a top price point for me. Your plans for packaging will really make the kit special. It is fun getting something that is beautifully packaged like a gift.

Divya N said...

I bought kits in the beginning when I learnt to but havent ever since. What I look for in a kit is the promise of versatility. For me making the "project" is not the aim. I like seeing if I can use the findings in another, maybe similar but not same way to come up with a new design. I do love some interweave kits, but dont buy them due to expensive international shipping

OnMyPawz said...

Do you buy kits? What kind? I normally don't, but I would be open to!
Do you prefer them complete, right down to the tiniest finding with the most precise instructions, or just a kickstarter with components and a suggested image you can use in any way possible for your own variations? A kickstarter or something that leaves some freedom sounds appealing to me, but to beginners I think a complete kit is less intimidating =)
What price point do you think works best for a kit? I think accessible for most would be less than 50
What do you think about the packaging of a kit? It is very important!
Or perhaps you sell kits of your own... what kind? Do tell! No, I do not

Carol Briody said...

This is a stunning bracelet idea! I love the idea of a kit that has all the correct pieces and parts! I've noticed I'm sometimes not prepared enough to complete a project..then end up wasting time or more money looking for the parts to finish. Having a kit means being successful in completing the project! (Win-Win!).

Elizabeth Bergesen said...

Those kits are so pretty! And yes I'm impressed on how much time is put into making them!

Terri said...

Beautiful bracelets!
Do you buy kits? Not yet in jewelry but I have when I was card making.
What kind? Paper, ribbons charms...for card making % went to charity to help with various disasters.
Is there a kit you would you like to try? Maybe in the future....
Do you prefer them complete, right down to the tiniest finding with the most precise instructions, or just a kickstarter with components and a suggested image you can use in any way possible for your own variations? Kick starter is fine for me...I seem to always to forget a step when I write instructions as much as I try not to.
Is there a technique that you would like to be able to learn from a kit? Sounds like a good idea....
What price point do you think works best for a kit? 50 to 30 might be good
What do you think about the packaging of a kit? I like it! Makes it special from you to the purchaser.
Or perhaps you sell kits of your own... what kind? Do tell! I have put kits together for basic jewelry well as mix media networks card classes. Takes a lot of time and $$. But in the end it can be worth it!
I really like the kits you have made up...and I like the sentiment!

Shai Williams said...

I purchased a couple of kits when I first started because they had everything in them. I enjoyed making them up but haven't really purchased any since. This kit however has really caught my eye and I love the fact that it is Complete though I would make some changes just to personalize it.

Terri Del Signore said...

That is a really awesome kit and it's so well put together!! I think your price is good for the kit! I would pay that for it! To be honest- I have never bought a kit. There would likely be a voice in the back if my head saying "that's cheating"! But..... looking at your kits, I have thought about it from a different angle! I personally could not wear or gift the bracelet saying that I created it. But I could buy the kit from you as the creator and artist behind it and have great fun putting it together. And of coarse wearing it because it's awesome!!

Unknown said...

That is gorgeous! By the way, I have mentioned this blog on my website's blog at:!blog/c38n

and on my Blogger blog at:

DespinaV said...

Beautiful kit, Erin, thank you!
I've bought quite a few kits.
I love exact projects with everything included when I aim to learn a new technique or project.
I also enjoy inspirational kits where I can freely create.
I'd rather the kits I buy don't cost more than 35 dollars.
Packaging isn't that important to me, but clear instructions are, especially concerning wirework and bead weaving.


Elizabeth said...

I have used kits in the past for making bracelets. It was fun, but not as inclusive as yours. I ended adding my own touch. I would like a kit to show me options for putting together an item, that includes all the combinations, such as, the focal off center or the embellishments stationed differently. The idea of the take-out box is wonderful for the packaging. If I were going to make a kit, I would make earring kits. I think they are easy for beginners and playful enough to be interesting. Also, the price point of earrings would maybe be a little more enticing for the beginner. I like the idea of focusing a kit on beginners so that they can have some success right away.

Have a great week.


thecolorofdreams said...

I do not usually buy kits, but yours is very reasonable. It would cost more to buy each item separately, if you can even find them. I also think that you have set yourself apart because you include your own handmade component in the kit. With the kit you have everything that you need, you know exactly how it will look and you do not have to substitute when you can not get the right components.

Erin S said...

Man, those kits look like a ton of work, but I bet they will sell well. I'm a sucker for nice packaging, but when it comes to doing my own, I am super lazy. something I need to improve. I love your idea of the stamped muslin bag. I'm checking out that stamp place you recommended. :-)

Denise said...

Erin, These kits look like a lot of fun! I bought your kit for the Fabulous Facets earlier this year, primarily because I've never worked with polymer clay and it was a good jumpstart to figure out how to work with it and to create something beautiful and useful. I feel if I had just bought the polymer clay I would have wasted the time and money in playing with it and not had something to show for it.
I certainly like to make my own designs, but sometimes kits are useful to me when there is a certain hard-to-find component or when there are so many items from different vendors that it would not be worth it to purchase from all those different vendors. If I make a kit item, it is for myself or for a gift and I will substitute items as I like but generally like all the stuff to be there.
Mostly I buy kits for beadweaving - trying to find certain colorways that look good together can be challenging with seed beads.

Anonymous said...

I do like to work with a kit now and then, especially if it something that I know I would wear. When I first started beading, kits were a great way to improve my own technique, as well as give me ideas for how to put together something a little more complicated -- in the same way that looking at magazines can teach you new tricks and design/construction ideas. I think that kits with and without detailed instructions can be great, although it depends a little on your own level of comfort.

Deb Fortin said...

I have purchased kits for bracelets and like them for the fact that everything i need is included in one place, no internet searching , or driving from shop to shop, hunting for the bits and pieces needed.

i am most intrigued by kits that offer something i don't have in my stash or let me try some new technique for which I dont have the supplies on hand.

i think my price limit would be around the $35 mark as I have to factor in not only shipping to Canada but our CDN Dollars high exchange rate right now. that adds about 22% to the cost of things from the USA.

as for making the project exactly as shown , seldom happens as my muse jumps in and has her say.

the only kits I've made were for a child's birthday party, and i know the amount of work involved , and the second guessing one does as to contents.

Love your new kits and though I'm usually a cool palette lover, this time i prefer the warm colours with the brass metal. but obit colourways are gorgeous .

Wendy said...

such a lot of work goes into making a kit! I do buy kits sometimes. I mainly buy them for trying a new craft, or a new technique but I have bought some beading and beadweaving kits. The beadweaving kits I bought included a reel of nymo thread and a needle which I thought was a great touch. I wouldn't mind if a kit didn't include basic finding, but anything out of the ordinary would have to be included. I suppose that would be a problem shipping internationally as you wouldn't be sure what is available in the destination countries. Kits I've bought have ranged from pretty packaging to simple ziplock bags and both are fine for me. I'd love to receive a kit in one of your boxes, but it wouldn't put me off buying it if it didn't come in a box like that.

Renee M said...

These bracelets are so pretty, and all of the behind-the-scenes info is helpful and interesting! I've purchased bracelet kits before that included all but the tools. I like to take them on vacations to do. Because budget is limited with kiddo in college, the top I could pay right now would be about $25-$30.

I need clear directions with good photos or diagrams. Learning a new technique would be great, but I'd need to understand how to do it. I think a kit teaching how to make a seasonal pendant would be fun!

It's great you also offer just the finished pendant as well as the kit, b/c I was thinking it would be pretty on a necklace. Enjoyed this blog post!

Unknown said...

This kit is great in both colors! I don't buy a lot of kits, but if I did I would love it to be complete like you described. I have purchased tutorials and then find I am a bit pokey in getting all the materials, so having them all together would be great. I think your sort of "gift" packaging does make it more fun.

Sarajo Wentling said...

Cute bracelets! I'm sure that these will sell fast! I sometimes buy kits... especially when it highlights a technique I'm wanting to learn more about. Because of how I tend to buy kits, I prefer to have everything I'll need included. On the other hand, I also enjoy a different sort of kit too from time to time... a design challenge type kit like Andrew Thornton does where everyone gets the same things (more than enough to spark multiple projects) and use the kit as a jumping off point.