Celebration of femininity.
Most work independently, and offer their products as self-employed persons. Popular jewelry pieces are earrings, brooches (flowers, animal shapes, vintage-style) and chaplets. Prices vary on the Internet from 2 euros for an earring pair up to 20 euros for a brooche.
The key reason for why this craft is so widespread is that it is a relatively cheap activity, conducive to selling on the Web, and offers the great value of relaxation to those who participate, away from the daily routine.
One designer, Kristine, says she has tried many similar crafts including glass processing, interior design and floral work. She stopped at jewelry because it fulfilled her creative abilities while she stayed home with her baby.
Kristine says that "jewelry making [provides income], and though small, is still an extra part of the family budget. I cannot have a daily job." She says the hardest part of this craft is coming up with an original idea. The rest, technical issues, are quite easy to deal with.
Inga Grundmane is fully occupied being self-employed. She has her own jewelry company, Akmensrotas.lv, working with different kinds of stones including those with what some believe is healing potential. Grundmane says that she accomplishes every task herself - jewelry production, selling to customers, and the Web site.. "I am happy to manage my time as I want, and I can choose when and whether to work," she admits.
Mara from Tukums, in contrast to Inga, has just started with her own jewelry "style" and recently showed her work to a few shops. She says that if her products will be well received, there could be future selling options with local shops.
Aiga, another "craftswoman," specializes in textile brooches. She says that her passion for jewelry began in early childhood. Her mother sewed clothing, and Aiga made accessories for her dolls. During those days Aiga understood that this could someday be her own business as well. She has been selling her production for one year already. As her education was in the field of communication, her knowledge helps her to promote jewelry better on Web sites, she asserts.
She also says that in terms of selling price, Latvians still like to buy jewelry as cheaply as possible.
Evija, for example, gives extra attention to quality noting that customers often get excited when they see the jewlery in person, rather than looking at photos or brochures.
When asked about raw material, Aiga mentions local textile shops and the Ebay.com Web shop, from where she buys pearls, for instance. Aiga tries to sell with as "decent" a price as possible - from 2 euros to 8 euros per piece - because she cannot afford to lose clients due to high prices, she says.
Evija lives in Ogre, and says that there are fewer options for buying materials than she would like. When arriving in Riga, she goes straight to Perlotava on Cesis Street. She prefers to work with wooden details and crochet cottons and thinks that natural material is the best for jewelry.
When speaking about competitors' prices, Evija says that she has noticed prices being squeezed on the Web. For instance, some who have recently gotten into this business put their earrings on sale for extraordinarily low prices, and keep it there, pulling in customers from other craftspeople.
Evija thinks that nowadays one cannot afford to offer cheap earrings with plain detailing and call it quality. Customers are well experienced and like to buy original jewelry. Mara calculates her prices after determining the cost of raw materials, adding 1 - 1.50 euros on top of it. She admits that in Tukums there are few customers who could actually afford expensive jewelry products, and so she does not put high prices on her products.
Is there a growing popularity for craft jewelry? Inga says yes, and that it is a good sign.
Kristine believes that Latvian women have somehow kept a "handicraft gene," and traditionally have produced articles that help to note their femininity. Aiga says that there really is a wide range of competitors. This is because of the low entry barriers into the business.
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|Publication:||The Baltic Times (Riga, Latvia)|
|Date:||Apr 11, 2012|
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