Artist Spotlight: Sue Rosengard Jewelry

Artist Spotlight: Sue Rosengard Jewelry

Sue Rosengard, Chicago, IL

Sue Rosengard Jewelry Design, Ltd. was founded in New York City in 1986 following a period of study in Paris and Italy. An adult-ed class at the New School in Manhattan awoke an unknown creative side in Sue. She continued her pursuit of jewelry design and metalsmithing after a move back to her hometown of Chicago in 1991 where she has maintained a studio since.

Describe your work.
My tag line is Strikingly Modern - contemporary geometric designs in silver and gold. But there’s a dichotomy: modern while classic, geometric yet soft and flattering. Growing up in Chicago among the skyscrapers and Frank Lloyd Wright influences was certainly an influence. The designers of the modernist era (1940-1960) have also been significant – jewelers Margaret de Patta and Paul Lobel, sculptor Alexander Calder, Eames, and Russell Wright to name a few. Neither trend setters nor trend followers, my designs stand the test of time and can be worn for years. My goal is to have my customers wear a piece of jewelry that complements their own style and personality.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
A casual class in metalsmithing sparked a hidden interest in jewelry making and design. My creative instincts flourished and a business was born.

How long have you been wholesaling?
Since 1993

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
Wholesale – 75%, Retail – 25%, I avoid commissions.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
Print advertising in trade publications, trade shows, online sites

How has IndieMe helped your business?
Both the website and the shows have increased my sales and given me more exposure.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
I recommend trying to find business support groups, government or non-profit sponsored lectures, classes, seminars or one-to-one counseling that pertain to business. It doesn’t need to always or only be craft related. Good business is good business. Take advantage of the wealth of info available. When I started out I went to as many as I could (I still go today but not to the same degree). If there was at least one bit of info I learned at the seminar, I felt it was successful. Come up with a set of very specific questions to ask another artist or gallery owner about the business. Do your homework before you approach them. It proves you are serious and are willing to put in the time to make your business a success. If you are thinking of applying to a trade show, walk the show first to make sure it is a good fit for your work. A plane ticket and a night in a hotel is a better financial gamble than a show fee and a week’s worth of expenses. Be critical of your work. Is it something new to market? If not, what about it makes it special enough for someone to take a chance? Are you selling wholesale or consigning to anyone now? If not, why not? If you sell retail, make sure your markup is competitive with galleries.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
Be fair and honest. Promote the artists and don’t ever hesitate to tell us about it.

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