on being valued

Lately, I've been feeling sort of hesitant to write anything super personal on the blog. Honestly, I didn't really understand why until I read Kelly's post this morning and realized what it is. 

I am struggling with feeling valued. 

Since I opened my jewelry shop three weeks ago, I've gotten a number of emails and comments from fellow bloggers asking me to host a giveaway or create another coupon code or asking when I'll have my next discount. And I know their hearts are in the right place.

But friends, sometimes it makes me feel cheap and undervalued, as if no one wants to pay the real price for my jewelry. As if my talent and my art is not good enough. And it is hard. It is really, really hard to say no and not give in. My heart wants to say yes to everyone, free jewelry for all! Here, take this and that and no one has to pay full price ever. But I've quickly realized it can't work like that. 

I have to value myself. I have to value my work, my art. My handcrafted jewelry that I invest so much time, effort, care and soul into. And I want others to value it, too.

I can't create discounts all the time and burn a hole in my pocket as well as my personal worth. If I lower my prices, I am only showing my customers that I don't value myself, my talent and my work for what it's truly worth. As Kelly said in her post, where is the line between generosity and preserving value? 

My intention was not to create cheap pieces of jewelry for others to buy without a thought. My goal is to instill beauty in women's lives, to have them open a carefully crafted giftbox and feel valued and appreciated, lovely, captivating and themselves. Like my shop says, each piece is lovingly and intentionally created, down to its very name. 

I'm not just providing a product. I'm a person, creating art and experience and connection. I have value, my jewelry and time have value, and so do my customers. Sadly, this means my jewelry is not for everyone; I have to attract those who are value-conscious--not just of the value of my pieces, but also the value of me as an artist and a person. And in order for me to reach them, I have to be true to myself. I have to be me.

I don't just put together a necklace and call it a day. I spend hours finding the best materials for you, I create each piece with diligence and care, I try on pieces and start over and really think about what you want to wear, what you need. I meticulously make sure every piece is as perfect as I can make it, and I take photo after photo to the extent that my neck aches and fingers are numb from trying to create an image you will covet. I spend hours each day trying to connect with everyone, trying to figure out who you are and what I can give you, how I can help you. I design business card after business card and scrap them all because I just want to give you the best I can. I want to give you my heart, show you who I am, and have you accept me as a person of a value, with art of value. I want you to appreciate the time, attention and design I put into my collection.

So I can't lower my prices. I can't always offer discounts. I can't give away my entire collection, and I can't be expected to create new pieces every day right now.

But what I can do is give you a piece of my heart through my craft and hope you will appreciate it, as I appreciate you. 

"Don’t expect everybody will love your work. Rule of thumb is 35% will love it. 35% will hate it. And 35% will be indifferent. I know that adds up to 105%, but I’m a writer precisely because I’m so bad at math. My point is this: your job is to write, or blog, or design, or paint, or pick stocks, or whatever, for the 35% who believe in you and love your work. Forget about the rest." -Melanie Gideon, Author