Decoding the Sales Talk
Sales talk--the words used to describe products and services can be helpful and easy to understand or they can be confusing. We'll look at some commonly used descriptive or modifying words and phrases from the jewelry-making business and decode them so we can all enjoy some clarity of meaning.
Professionally finished/professional quality/professionally finished look
"Professional quality" means using standards that should be achieved by professionals and can be aspired to and achieved by non-professionals. "Professional quality" does not necessarily indicate the end product was created by a professional, it says it has the quality that a professional would recognize and approve of. An example of professional quality is Accu-Flex Beading Wire.
||These phrases are sometimes used interchangeably--not a best use of terms that should be clear and precise.
First, let's define "professional."
A professional is someone who uses specialized knowledge, skills and experience in their vocation or livelihood. The use of the word professional indicates conforming to an exacting set of standards of quality higher than typically reached by an amateur or novice. These professional standards can include techniques, tools, work conditions, supervision and review--also known as quality control.
Of the three terms listed, the highest level is "professionally finished." This means the work is actually done by, or supervised by, a professional to ensure the best results. The term is used quite often in the world of home improvement to describe work done on flooring, terraces, basements and more. In the world of jewelry-making, examples of professionally finished would include collections from name brands such as Swarovski® crystals, JBB Findings and TierraCast®.
I am reminded of the opening to the classic TV spy series The Avengers, in which the main characters are introduced as "John Steed, top professional, and his partner, Emma Peel, talented amateur. Otherwise known as The Avengers." In episode after episode, Mrs. Peel demonstrated she was Steed's equal when it came to spying and sleuthing (as well as hand-to-hand combat). She consistently delivered professional quality through her skills and talent; it was her choice not to be a professional spy.
Many designer-artists may not consider themselves professionals in the career sense of the term, yet they are proud of the professional-quality designs they produce using professional-quality tools and techniques.
Professionally finished look
Of the three terms, a professionally finished look is the easiest to be attained by a professional or non-professional. There is no indication of skill level, techniques or standard of quality that went into making the item. It simply indicates the final look of the product--that it appears to be of a professional quality. We sell many products that make it possible to attain a professionally finished look with a variety of findings such as crimp beads, bead caps, settings, terminators, connectors and more.
|Unfortunately, handmade and handcrafted are used somewhat interchangeably.
Handmade means, quite simply, made by hand or with hand tools and not made by a machine. Handmade does not indicate quality; it just describes the means of production. The e-commerce website Etsy has many examples of handmade items. Some artisans or their customers may appreciate the variability from item to item that may occur with handmade items.
On the other hand, they may prefer the consistent size and shape produced by machines. A great example is smooth round metal beads that are inexpensive because they are mass produced by machines.
Additional Resources ...
||Handcrafted items are indeed made by humans, but above and beyond that, the term indicates the application of skills or handiwork and denotes uniqueness and professional quality. Examples of handcrafted components include those with intricate designs or made from lampworked glass, polymer clay, glazed ceramic, porcelain, painted wood and many more materials and techniques.
Although the components may be either handmade or machine made, the final product is assembled by hand, typically in a country different from the country or countries where the components are made. This term is used to avoid misrepresenting the product as being handmade in the country where it is actually assembled: for example, "hand assembled in the U.S.A." versus "handmade in the U.S.A."
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