Friday, April 15, 2011

(Apparently) there is a need to micromanage

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Ordinarily, a post like this would end up in the Thursday rant section, however, this unfortunately isn't a comical rant.  Back at the beginning of the year, I decided that it was important for me to delegate more of my jewelry making tasks.  Time is a pretty precious commodity in my life, and if I was going to expand my art jewelry business into the wholesale arena, I was going to need help in some areas.

Now, I'm letting the cat out of the bag a bit here, but I'm working on a new line of resin jewelry as an alternative to the increasingly expensive sterling silver variety.  Based upon the feedback I got from the ACRE Orlando wholesale show in January, I had my ideas and decided to make a line of resin jewelry based in pewter.  (similar look, lower retail price). 

Now I will cut to the chase here and just say in gathering my information and doing my research about pewter casting, it was going to be cheaper to have someone make models out of wax, then have those models sent to someone who could do bronze casting.  Once they were cast in bronze, they would be on their way to the pewter caster.  (All of this versus me making master models, then sending them to the pewter caster.)

I started this process the third week in January with the ultimate goal of having finished pieces for me to work with the resin by May 1.  I want to have these ready to show at the ACRE Las Vegas show in early June, not to mention there was interest in customers from the ACRE Orlando show.  I only need a few samples for Las Vegas, so as long as I have something to show shops and galleries, I'm good.

What is Murphy's Law again...."If it can go wrong, it will".

(I would type lots of expletives here, but my kids might read this years from now and think their mom has a serious potty mouth.)

I get pieces back from the pewter caster today and there are two major problems.  One is not salvageable at all (piece won't hang straight) and the other is hopefully salvageable (chain won't fit through the bail).  I need to take responsibility right away and say that I trusted everyone in the process to do their job correctly.  All came with recommendations and good samples and I thought this was a job I could completely delegate and expect it to be done properly.


Here's what I have learned:

1.  I should have had each person mail me their piece work in between each step.  I didn't, for the sake of time.  Two to three days coming and going would have added 2 to 3 weeks to the overall process time.  I'm going to be at that now and an additional $500 in the hole.

2.  You can't assume you have anything but drones working on your stuff.  I don't mean that people are stupid, but, especially for the the piece that was unbalanced, I have a hard time believing no one noticed it, when I did only after having the piece in my possession for 30 seconds.  Did people not look?  Didn't notice?  Noticed but thought it was part of the design?  Maybe they all thought I was a two-headed monster that breathed fire and would vaporize them and their elderly grandmother if they approached me about a "problem".

3.  I either need to do things myself, or I need to micromanage.  I REALLY hate this one.  I have been looking for another assistant (my current one is graduating college at the end of the month and leaving town), but now have put that on hold.  I'm trying not to let this situation ruin hiring a new assistant, but it's hard not to.

So, at this point, the unbalanced piece is being reworked by the bronze caster, and the pewter caster is going to try to rework the bails.  I'm on my second glass of wine and it's not even 4 PM yet. 

Is it tomorrow yet?

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