Create Production Processes that Work for You
Organization is a priority when I design jewelry.
To each piece I create, I assign a unique style code, a “SKU,” in the retail world. SKU is shorthand for “stock-keeping unit.” A SKU is a singular code assigned by a maker to an individual item. In big businesses, SKU’s are printed on tags and often accompanied by bar codes. Bar codes are scanned electronically to facilitate consistent and speedy organization in a storage area or on a sales floor.
I believe it’s important to differentiate between designs, but a small business like mine doesn’t use SKU’s and electronic equipment. Instead, I developed my own system of style codes that supplies important information consistently over time. Here’s what works for me:
Each of my designs gets a code starting with a letter that corresponds to its jewelry type. That means each necklace code starts with a capital letter “N,” each earring design, an “E,” and so on. Every once in a while, I run into a problem when I apply a “P” to a pendant. I use “P” for pin as well, so I’ve created my own confusion on this one. Oops. “P” for pendant is infrequent, however, as I usually make complete necklaces, which of course will start with “N’s.” Situation resolved.
After the letter comes a two-digit number specifying the year the design was created. When you see a letter followed by “19,” for example, that means the design was created in 2019. I have pieces in my collections whose codes start with “91.” That means I first made the design in 1991. The craziest thing is that those items are still relevant, which is just one of the benefits of buying jewelry from an artist: items are seasonless. Customers still order these designs. That’s the sort of thing that makes me feel really good.
The last two numbers in the code indicate the order in which the design was created during that year. This designation is simple and sequential. An E2011, for example, is an earring design created in 2020. It the eleventh piece I designed that year and incorporated into my line.
Pieces in a suite- that is, pieces made using the same design motif or similar style- usually carry the same style numbers. As an example, an E2011, Single Star Earring, relates to the N2011, Single Star Pendant, and R2011, Single Star Ring. This device makes sense and helps me remember groups of pieces more easily. When I have an order for these pieces, I know instantly how many settings I need to make in a sitting at the torch. This helps me batch my tasks, an efficient way of using my studio time, which lowers my costs, keeping studio overhead as low as possible.