Estancia Design Precious Metal Clay Adds New Flexibility

Estancia Design Precious Metal Clay Adds New Flexibility
by Jessica Franchuk

Courtesy of Handmade Business

Lisa Twombly Lisa Twombly was utilizing her degree in secretarial science and working for a philanthropic organization when she realized the corporate world wasn't for her. She yearned to follow her creative side and, coupled with her business knowledge, she decided to start her own business doing what she already loved--designing and crafting jewelry--and she's never looked back.

A self-taught artist who studied books, Web tutorials, and any Internet resource she could get her hands on, Twombly has been creating stunning works of jewelry for over 10 years. Starting like many others before her, she began by stringing beads and then moved on to nicer stones, Swarovski crystals, and lampwork beads. Now, she crafts primarily with pearls, natural stones, semiprecious gemstones, and precious metals.

When she began to sell her work, she realized it was time to pick a company name. She knew many jewelers named their businesses after themselves, but felt ''Lisa Twombly Designs didn't exactly roll off the tongue.'' She eventually settled on Estancia, which literally translates from Spanish to mean ''estate.'' She explains, ''Because most of my designs are classic and transcend trends and time, I felt they could be akin to estate jewelry. (And it didn't hurt that it was the name of a chardonnay I had been enjoying at the time!)''
Shell Earrings

Precious Metal Clay Necklace with Pendant After gaining experience with the more traditional materials, Twombly began adding Precious Metal Clay (PMC) to her work, really diving into it in the last several months. Regarding the new-to-her medium, Twombly shares, ''There are endless possibilities with PMC--I like the ease of it's workability. Unlike with cutting metal sheet (where if you make a wrong cut you're out of some material and starting over could cost much more time) if you don't like the way the shape is taking you roll it up and start over. I also like it's versatility. It can be combined with other types of silvers and metals for different looks. I particularly like to make bails from it to use with some of my metalsmithing designs, and to make textured pieces.''

While she sells her work through many venues, including her own website, Etsy, galleries, trade shows, and more, Twombly has found social media to be the best way to market her designs. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have all been fruitful. As she expands her business in the future, she plans on continuing into the wholesale market and reaching out to both stores and galleries. She knows her work needs to be marketable to customers, and has gotten great feedback so far. ''The feedback I've received from gallery owners is that they like the classic look of my designs so they are a little more 'mainstream' for lack of a better word. They like that I use gemstones and natural materials as well as include a description of the materials in each piece so the consumer knows exactly what they are getting. Buyers like the versatility of my work,'' she explains. She also pays attention to what buyers are reaching for these days, adding, ''By far, earrings are the most purchased item at shows and galleries for me (followed by necklaces, then bracelets). I think because earrings are viewed as a good bang for their buck and can be a great impulse purchase as well.'' Close Up of Necklace

Close Up of Earrings With her business branching out in many directions and sales growing, Twombly never forgets the hard work that went into building her business from scratch. She advises: ''Remember that it won't happen overnight. If you open an Etsy shop, the orders will not coming flowing in right away. Keep pounding the pavement to get into more and more stores. Don't stop at just a few because the harsh reality is, in this day and age, stores come and go. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Stay true to yourself and your creativity to find your own niche as far as your designs. And most of all, grow a thick skin. Just because a store may say 'no' to your designs, doesn't mean they are saying they aren't beautiful and well-made. It just means that they aren't right for the demographic of that particular store. Move on to the next! After all, being in a store where your work doesn't sell won't pay your bills.''