Creating your signature style
This guest blog post is by Hannah Belton, a brand consultant and creative director. She runs Ditto, an independent branding agency that works with small businesses and solo entrepreneurs to capture and communicate the magic of what they do through beautifully emotive brand identities that put their businesses on the map. Over the years, Ditto has evolved significantly from a local design company to a specialist agency with a distinctive signature style. Here she shares her tips on finding and celebrating your unique creative style.
This is a tale of transformation, rooted in my experience of developing our own creative style and freeing us up to do our very best work for people who adore what we do. So if you’re in the position of evolving your business or trying to break out of the rut of people just not ‘getting’ what you do, read on.
Having worked with a number of jewellers over the years, I know you face the same battles. It’s the same for most creative businesses. You might be winning lots of work right now through friends, and their friends… but is it the work that makes your spirit soar? Or is it yet another request for a replica of something they’ve seen elsewhere?
If there’s one thing that’s made winning business immeasurably easier for our branding agency it’s been developing and showcasing a clear signature style. That has been the catalyst in transforming Ditto from a business struggling to be taken seriously, taking on any work that paid the bills, to one with clients coming from across the world to work with us.
It’s so immensely rewarding and liberating to have people seek you out for the style that only you can deliver. It enables you to do your very best work, and makes your business so much stronger. All of this comes from having a strong and distinctive sense of style, and that’s what I want for you too.
1. First things first
A distinctive style does not mean that all of your work looks exactly the same. However, there may be characteristics of your work which shine through in your style and these should be things that you are truly amazing at. Maybe you’ve completely nailed a particular technique that forms part of your signature look? Perhaps you have a love of geometric designs – or maybe all of your work features certain stones or finishes? Look for a consistency in your style – it’ll be in there somewhere!
To build a distinctive style, you need to identify your strengths and your aspirations for the sort of work you’d like to do more of. This is an absolute must, and for us, defining our style completely revolutionized everything.
More than this, you need to think about your commercial goals. If nothing stood in your way, what kind of pieces would you love to create, and for what price point? This will immediately shift your focus to the sorts of people who’d be willing (and able) to afford you, making your marketing efforts much more directed.
2. Analyse your current style
Time to get honest. How does your current jewellery look? What’s stopping it from looking as beautiful as you want it to? Has it not been updated for a while, or have you simply not got the right sorts of commissions or retail outlets under your belt just yet? Is the work cohesive – is there a clear style or approach being shown? Is it truly your best work?
Once you’ve identified your style, you’ll instinctively know which projects have earned their spot in your range and which do not belong there. Cull everything that doesn’t fit. I used to think that showing a breadth of style proved that you were capable of doing lots of different things, but in fact it just confuses people. Be brutal!
3. Only show off the work that represents your style
This is mega. You should only talk about, only show off, and only promote, the work that really represents your creative style and plays to your strengths.
In reality, you may well be quietly working on commissions that don’t make your heart sing – but the wider world doesn’t need to know that, and you shouldn’t be showing it off.
4. Promote promote promote
No use hiding your light under a bushel, my friend. Be strategic in where you post – creative businesses gain the most traction on Instagram and Pinterest where there’s a huge appetite for gorgeous visuals to lust over. Don’t forget to make sure that your photography is on point!
5. Keep things current
You need to stay up to date and not be seen to be going stale. You’d be surprised how many prospective customers may be dipping in and out of your Instagram feed; tempt those lovely people towards becoming customers by showing them plenty of fresh new work to keep them excited.
Over to you!
Your homework is to go and get cosy with your jewellery style and show it some love!
Have you seen the Jewellers Academy membership? One of the courses you get as a member is Create an irresistible brand for your jewellery business - a great resource that takes you through all the things you need to think about to create a brand for your business - whether you're just starting out or are established.
A quick reminder of some of the other benefits of becoming a member...
Access to all our making courses and core jewellery business courses (current ones and a ton of great new ones on the way)
Monthly live masterclass and Q&A session
Supportive members only facebook group
Specialist business courses including our signature 8 week Jewellery Business Bootcamp and our Jewellery Photography Course
Exclusive discounts from suppliers such as Cookson Gold, Kernowcraft and 10% off day and evening courses at the London Jewellery School
We will support you to...
Create a jewellery business
Launch your first range of products
Set up your website and get sales through it
Build your audience and profile as a jeweller on social media
Develop your making skills in silversmithing, metal clay, stone setting, beading and wire work and wax carving (to name a few)
Meet lots of lovely new jewellers
Create a career out of jewellery
Questions? If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Have a great week Jewellers and I will see some of you in the membership very soon