There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but as a retail jeweler, I have found the change of pace it created to be completely refreshing. People have become more intentional and more real. They are slowing down, appreciating the arts and expressing gratitude. Little did I know that by streamlining my entire commissions process last year, I would unintentionally be prepared for something we had no idea was coming in 2020.
At Kristen Baird® Jewelry, I often have the opportunity to create custom pieces of jewelry for a variety of occasions and for all types of people. Sometimes clients see my work online and would like to customize one of my pieces to fit their color, size and style preferences. Or they have an heirloom piece of jewelry that they want reimagined into a new design. Whatever the reason, I saw an increase in commissioned work during 2019, so I knew that I needed to work smarter and not harder.
To streamline, my process now begins with the client filling out and submitting a commission inquiry form, entirely online. This form provides me with the initial details and helps set expectations for the custom piece. Although the questions on this form may not seem relevant at first, trust me, everything has its place and each little snapshot is part of the larger picture to help me with the design.
Then when the coronavirus hit, I pivoted from an in-person consultation to Zoom video chats. Initially, it saved me travel time, but now, it’s the only way to socially distance but still have the opportunity to thoroughly go over the scope of the project, such as design ideas, budget, and timeline. And I have to say, it’s been so much fun doing Zoom calls and incorporating more phone calls or text messages into my process. I have really been able to give my clients something to look forward to, and I happen to have fun with it as well!
As a designer, I have always worked with people from across the country, but now we are doing the entire process from the comfort of our own homes and in real-time. I have enjoyed welcoming clients to my studio, virtually, by using my computer camera to give a behind-the-scenes tour of my private space. This is something that I have never been able to do previously and it is a HIT! This whole process really exposes how we are all humans. We all have lives and families. It reinforces the idea that when people shop with us, they are directly impacting our future by spending their dollars with us. It’s raw, yet fresh.